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Hopkins tops Randolph-Macon for season opening win

Posted on 07 September 2013 by WNST Staff

ASHLAND, VA – Johns Hopkins head football coach Jim Margraff had seen this script before; on the road at Randolph-Macon in the season opener and facing a quick early deficit. In both 2006 and 2008 his Blue Jays had fallen behind by 14, only to storm back and win 21-14 in ’06 and 39-31 in triple overtime two years later.

This time, the Blue Jays altered the script sooner and didn’t need any late-game heroics as they rolled up 523 yards of total offense in a 38-14 victory at Day Field Saturday afternoon. The win is the 11th in the last 15 season-openers for the Blue Jays, who are ranked in top 20 in three preseason polls, including 17th by D3football.com.

The Yellow Jackets got a great return on the opening kickoff of the game and started with possession at the Blue Jay 44-yard line. Six plays and just 2:34 later Randolph-Macon had an early 7-0 lead as junior quarterback Zac Naccarato found senior tight end Matt Williamson in the back of the end zone to cap the game-opening scoring drive.

After a moving from their own 25 to the RMC 28 on their ensuing possession, the Blue Jays failed to convert on a fourth down play, but quickly forced a Yellow Jacket punt that was downed at the JHU 11.

The Blue Jays quickly went to work, keeping the drive alive early with a pair of third-down conversions, and senior quarterback Robbie Matey connected with senior receiver Bob D’Orazio for a 29-yard gain that set the Blue Jays up inside the Randolph-Macon 10-yard line. One play later, Hopkins executed a perfect wide receiver screen that sophomore Ryan Finkel carried into the end zone to tie the game at 7-7 late in the first quarter.

The tie didn’t last long as JHU forced a quick three-and-out and then went 72 yards in 15 plays with Matey firing his second touchdown pass – a 16-yard strike to senior tight end Brendan Hartman – to give the Blue Jays the lead for good at 14-7 with just over nine minutes remaining before the half.

A stand by the Randolph-Macon defense inside its own 10-yard line on JHU’s final possession of the first half kept the Blue Jay lead at seven, but it didn’t take long in the second half for the Blue Jays to double that margin.

Starting at their own 37, the Blue Jays mixed the run and pass effectively and needed just over two minutes to push their lead to 21-7 with senior JD Abbott going over from two yards out to cap the drive. A 19-yard pass from Matey to Abbott on fourth-and-three at the RMC-28 kept the drive alive.

A 26-yard field goal by freshman Nick Campbell on JHU’s next possession gave Hopkins a 24-7 lead, but the `Jackets weren’t finished and only a goal line stand by the Blue Jays kept Macon from getting closer than 10.

The `Jackets had a first-and-goal form the Blue Jay five-yard line on the drive after Campbell’s field goal, but senior Mike Zikoski tackled Will McGhee for a three-yard loss on third-and-goal from the one and a Naccarato’s pass fell incomplete in the end zone on fourth down and JHU held it’s 17-point lead into the final period.

Naccarato and McGhee hooked up midway through the fourth quarter on a perfectly executed screen pass and McGhee raced 45 yards for a touchdown to pull RMC within 10 at 24-14 with 7:19 remaining.

The final seven minutes were vintage Hopkins offense as the Blue Jays used nine plays to go 74 yards in 3:02 with Abbott sweeping left for a six-yard touchdown that answered McGhee’s scamper and freshman Dionisio Roman added the first touchdown of his career on a 12-yard run of his own with just over two minutes remaining to close the scoring.

Matey enjoyed one of the finest games of his career as he was 31-of-42 for 318 yards with the two early touchdown passes. The 318 yards are the second-most ever by a Johns Hopkins quarterback in a season-opener. Finkel had a career-high eight receptions for 63 yards and the one score to lead a balanced effort that saw Matey find 11 different receivers on the day.

Defensively, the Blue Jays held the Yellow Jackets to 280 yards of total offense, including just 29 yards on 28 rushing attempts. Chris Ibrahim led the Blue Jay defense with five tackles in his first start at safety, John Arena, Michael Longoand Charles Strippoli all picked up sacks and the Blue Jays held the `Jackets to just 4-of-12 on third down and snuffed out all four fourth-down attempts by Randolph-Macon.

Naccarato threw for 243 yards and the two scores, but McGhee, who rushed for more than 1,200 yards last season, was held to 15 yards on 13 carries. Christian Cook was Naccarato’s favorite target as he had eight catches for 118 yards.

Johns Hopkins will return to action next Saturday when the Blue Jays welcome Susquehanna to Homewood Field.


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Hopkins dominant in season opening win over Randolph-Macon

Posted on 01 September 2012 by WNST Staff

BALTIMORE, MD – One year after turning loose the greatest passing attack in school history, the Johns Hopkins football team unleashed a lethal running game that churned out 344 yards and four touchdowns in a 36-13 season-opening victory over Randolph-Macon at Homewood Field Saturday afternoon. Complementing the offense was a stingy defense that produced six sacks and held the Yellow Jackets to just 32 yards rushing in Hopkins’ 15th consecutive regular season victory.

It took the Blue Jays exactly one play to take control of the line of scrimmage as senior Jonathan Rigaud got outside on the opening play of the game and scampered 62 yards to set the Blue Jays up at the Randolph-Macon 13-yard line. Rigaud capped the drive with a two-yard scoring run four plays later to stake Hopkins to an early 7-0 lead.

While the Blue Jays got out of the gate quickly on offense, the Yellow Jackets struggled in the early going against an aggressive Hopkins defense that dominated play along the line. Randolph-Macon generated just 48 yards of total offense in the first half with five of their six first-half possessions generating 10 yards or less of total offense.

With the Blue Jay defense doing its part, the Hopkins offense got rolling in the second quarter with touchdowns on three straight possessions that turned the 7-0 lead at the end of the first quarter into a 27-0 lead at the half.

Senior Scott Barletta capped a 13-play, 80-yard drive with a one-yard scoring run that pushed the lead to 13-0 midway through the quarter. The Blue Jays were forced to convert just once on third down on the drive, which saw junior quarterback Robbie Matey complete all four of his pass attempts for 44 yards while also rushing 14 yards.

Randolph-Macon gained just one first down on its ensuing possession and was forced to punt the ball back to the Blue Jays with just over 90 seconds remaining in the half. A 29-yard pass from Matey to junior Daniel Wodicka opened the drive, which later included a 10-yard Matey run and a nine-yard scoring run by Rigaud that pushed the lead to 27-0 at the half. Hopkins outgained the Randolph-Macon 342-48 in the first half alone.After a quick three-and-out by the `Jackets, a drive which sawAndy Laychur and Michael Roccasack RMC quarterback Zac Naccarato on back-to-back plays, the Blue Jays turned to freshman Brandon Cherry and junior JD Abbott to fuel a seven-play, 54-yard drive. Abbott gained 22 yards on three carries to set the Blue Jays up at the Randolph-Macon 21, where Cherry took a handoff and bounced off a would-be tackler at the 15 yard-line and raced into the end zone to make it 20-0.

The `Jackets pieced together their best drive of the game on the opening possession of the second half as Will McGhee rushed for 28 yards on nine carries and had a pair of receptions for 15 yards to account for 43 of the 70 yards on the 15-play drive and capped it with a 10-yard run to slice the deficit to 27-7.

Any momentum gained was gone less than two minutes later as Mike Zikoski sacked Naccarato for a safety to make it 29-7. A 15-play, 88-yard drive that ate nearly eight minutes off the clock in the fourth quarter put the game away for Hopkins as Abbott rushed for 44 yards on the drive and Matey connected with Wodicka from eight yards out to make it 36-7.

An eight-yard scoring pass from Naccarato to Luke Sellers on the final play of the game accounted for the final scoring.

Sophomore Hani Annabi led the way defensively for the Blue Jays as he posted 10 tackles, including 1.5 for losses and one sack, and also forced a fumble. Adam Schweyer counted 2.5 tackles for losses among his nine stops on the day and Laychur (2), Joe DiTrolio (1), Zikoski (1) and Rocca (1) all contributed to JHU’s six-sack effort.

Abbott totaled a career-high 123 yards on 15 carries to lead the 344-yard rushing effort, while Rigaud (97) and Cherry (70) combined to average better than eight yards on their 21 rushing attempts. Matey was an efficient 15-of-20 for 166 yards with the one touchdown pass to Wodicka against two interceptions. He also rushed for 28 yards on seven carries and found Wodicka 11 times for 108 yards.

In all the Blue Jays gained 510 yards of total offense and averaged 7.4 yards per play while limiting RMC to 197 yards and 3.0 yards per play. The JHU defense came up with 10 total tackles for losses.

Despite playing under constant pressure, Naccarato was 17-of-25 for 165 yards and the one TD pass to Sellers, but the Yellow Jackets’ 40 rushing attempts netted just the 32 yards and the three-touchdown run by the Blue Jays in the second quarter was more than they could overcome.

Johns Hopkins will return to action on Saturday, September 8 when the Blue Jays travel to Susquehanna for their first Centennial Conference game of the year.


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