Ursinus Slips Past Johns Hopkins, 26-17, in Centennial Showdown

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COLLEGEVILLE, PA -  Unbeaten Ursinus got a 38-yard field goal from Michael Bennett and a one-yard touchdown run from Justin Descristofaro in the final eight minutes of the fourth quarter to snap a 17-17 tie and slip past visiting Johns Hopkins, 26-17, at Patterson Field Saturday afternoon.  The Bears improve to 6-0 overall and 5-0 in the Centennial Conference, while Johns Hopkins slips to 3-3 overall and 3-2 in the Centennial.

The Bears appeared to be in control with a 17-9 lead and possession in JHU territory early in the fourth quarter, but Taylor Maciow returned a fumble 54 yards to the Ursinus one yard line and Nick Fazio scored two plays later to make it 17-15.  When Hewitt Tomlin hit Tucker Michels on a quick slant for a two-point conversion, the Blue Jays had tied it at 17 with more than 11 minutes still remaining.

Ursinus got a 39-yard return from Mike Rissmiller on the kickoff and after Fazio's touchdown and used nine plays to set up Bennett's 38-yard field goal.  Joe Henry then intercepted Tomlin on JHU's first play of its next possession and Decristofaro went over from a yard out six plays later to seal the victory.

The Blue Jays had the ball for just 2:25 in the first quarter, but still led 7-0 after the first 15 minutes as junior Mike Milano's 45-yard interception return for a touchdown staked the Blue Jays to an early lead.  It is the second time in Milano's career that he has returned an interception for a touchdown.

The lead held until early in the second quarter when Decristofaro found Nick Giarratano all alone down the middle with a 25-yard touchdown pass. 

Despite holding the ball for more than 20 minutes in the first half, Ursinus appeared ready to settle for a 7-7 halftime tie, but the Blue Jays failed to run out the clock late in the second quarter and the Bears moved 34 yards one two plays and got a 35-yard field goal from Bennett as time expired to make it 10-7 Ursinus at the half.  Bennett's field goal came on an untimed play after JHU was flagged for pass interference with no time on the clock.

Johns Hopkins pulled within 10-9 after an errant snap on an Ursinus punt attempt sailed out of the back of the end zone early in the third quarter and it remained a one-point game until the first play of the fourth quarter, when Giarratano snagged his second touchdown reception of the game – this one from 28 yards out - to make it 17-9.

Ursinus came up with a fumble recovery on JHU's ensuing possession, but Mike Todisco forced the fumble that Maciow returned to set up Fazio's game-tying touchdown with 11:32 remaining in the fourth quarter.  That set the stage for the Bears' final push, which sealed their first 6-0 start since 1996.

Freshman Brian Ellis rushed 39 times for 138 yards and Decristofaro was 16-of-29 for 152 yards with the two touchdowns and two interceptions.  Ursinus held the ball for more than 41 minutes and the UC defense held JHU to a season-low 148 yards of total offense.

Tomlin was 14-of-33 for 131 yards with the one interception.  Sam Wernick had four receptions for 58 yards and Scott Cremens added four for 47 yards for the Blue Jays.  Ryan Piatek posted a game-high 13 tackles, while Dan Keenan added a career-high 11 for Johns Hopins.

Johns Hopkins will return to action next Saturday when the Blue Jays make their first trip to Susquehanna since 1977.

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