BALTIMORE, MD – Eighth-ranked and defending national champion Mount Union scored the final 21 points of the game to rally past sixth-ranked Johns Hopkins, 28-21, in the second round of the NCAA Division III Football Playoffs at Homewood Field Saturday afternoon. The win propels the Purple Raiders into the NCAA Quarterfinals against Alfred.
Both teams had a 21-point run in the game as Raiders answered Johns Hopkins’ spree with their 21-point run that turned a 21-7 deficit in the seven-point victory.
Hopkins grabbed its 14-point lead late in the second quarter when senior quarterback Jonathan Germano took the Blue Jays 66 yards in 10 plays and capped the drive with an eight-yard scoring strike to junior Brett Caggiano with 4:34 remaining in the first half.
Taking over at their own 37 after the ensuing kickoff, the Raiders used all but 49 seconds remaining in the first half to go 63 yards on 12 plays and Jawanza Evans-Morris covered the final three yards to account for a 21-14 halftime score.
After forcing the Blue Jays to punt on their opening possession of the second half, Mount Union put together a methodical 14-play, 82-yard drive that ate nearly five minutes off the clock. The Purple Raiders converted a pair of third-down chances on the drive and freshman quarterback Dom Davis raced around right end from four yards out to even the game at 21-21.
Neither team could do anything over the next seven combined drives as each ended in a punt. The final of those seven straight punts – a punt into the wind by the Blue Jays that took a Mount Union bounce – set Mount Union up at the Blue Jay 30-yard line early in the fourth quarter and Davis hit Jared Ruth in the corner of the end zone on the first play of the drive to give the Raiders a 28-21 lead with just over 12 minutes remaining.
Johns Hopkins (11-1) had three possessions over the final 12 minutes and twice got into Mount Union territory, but a failed fourth-down conversion and interception ended the first two of those drives and the final drive ended as time expired with the Raiders recovering a fumble after the Blue Jays tried several laterals after a completed pass from Germano to senior Quinn Donaldson.
Johns Hopkins’ 21-point first-half surge took barely more than 15 minutes as Germano threw three touchdown passes to stake the Blue Jays to the 14-point lead.
After Mount Union (11-1) took the opening kickoff and went 65-yards in 11 plays, Johns Hopkins answered with a 65-yard scoring drive of its own that Germano capped with a two-yard touchdown pass to Caggiano.
After forcing a Mount Union punt, the Blue Jays needed just five plays and 1:41 to go 91 yards with Germano hooking up with junior Ryan Cary to cover the final 62 of those yards. After converting a third-and-seven with a 23-yard strike to senior Bradley Munday, Germano and Cary hooked up on a second-and-seven play when Germano scrambled to avoid pressure and found Cary all alone along the sideline and Cary raced untouched into the end zone to give the Blue Jays the lead.
That lead doubled late in the second quarter when Caggiano caught the eight-yard touchdown pass from Germano. Evan-Morris’s three-yard scoring run four minutes later jump-started the game-ending 21-point run for the Purple Raiders.
Davis was 15-of-26 for 159 yards and two touchdowns and four different ball carries churned out 222 yards and two scores on the ground for the Raiders.
Defensively, Mount Union finished with five sacks, one interception and one fumble recovery and Danny Robinson totaled a team-high 10 tackles.
Germano was 30-of-49 for 355 yards and three touchdowns to lead the way for Johns Hopkins. Munday and Cary both had 10 receptions and totaled 130 and 122 receiving yards, respectively. Junior Lance Hammond totaled a career-high 10 tackles for Johns Hopkins, which outgained Mount Union 410-381, but managed just 38 yards with the wind in the third quarter as the Raiders drew even and flipped field position behind a stingy defensive effort.
Notes: Mount Union advances to the NCAA Quarterfinals for the 25th consecutive year • Bradley Munday became Hopkins’ career leader in receptions (268) with his 10 today and became the fourth player in school history to reach 3,000 career receiving yards (3,037) • Jonathan Germano’s three touchdown passes extended his streak of consecutive games with a TD pass to a Centennial Conference-record 24 • In four career NCAA Playoff games as Johns Hopkins’ quarterback, Germano threw 15 touchdown passes.