BALTIMORE, MD – Host Johns Hopkins outscored visiting Randolph-Macon 42-7 after halftime to turn a 24-21 deficit into a 63-31 season-opening victory at Homewood Field Thursday night. The win is the Blue Jays' eighth straight season-opening win and sixth straight against the Yellow Jackets.
The game was the 300th for Jim Margraff was the head coach at Johns Hopkins. Margraff, who ranks fourth among active Division III coaches in career victories, improved to 210-87-3 with the win.
The Blue Jays (1-0), ranked 19th in the natioin by D3football.com, needed just five minutes of the third quarter to turn the three-point halftime deficit into an 11-point lead. A 22-yard pass from junior David Tammaro to sophomore Ryan Hubley capped a seven-play, 70-yard drive to open the second half; after the Blue Jay defense force a quick three-and-out, Johns Hopkins needed just four plays and 78 seconds to go 53 yards with Tammaro finding senior Luke McFadden from 12 yards out to make it 35-24.
Randolph-Macon (0-1) sliced the deficit to 35-31 late in the third quarter when senior Eric Hoy scored his third touchdown of the game on a one-yard run to polish off a nine-play, 77-yard drive; Hoy's touchdown came on fourth and goal.
The Yellow Jacket momentum lasted less than 90 seconds as the Blue Jays pushed the lead back to 11 at 42-31 just 13 seconds into the fourth quarter. A highlight-reel touchdown reception by senior Stuart Walters covered the final 37 yards in a four-play, 72-yard drive that took just 62 seconds.
The Walters touchdown ignited a game-ending 28-point run for the Blue Jays, who got a 34-yard interception return for a touchdown from Macauley Kilbane less than two minutes after Walters' score and touchdown receptions from sophomore Zac Fernandez (four yards) and junior Jacob Yohr (24) to close out the scoring.
After Hoy's touchdown made it 35-31 late in the third quarter, the Blue Jay defense held the Yellow Jackets to 62 yards on 20 fourth-quarter plays and 42 of those 62 yards came on their final drive of the game.
A 32-point victory didn't seem likely in the opening 30 minutes as there were six lead changes before halftime. The Blue Jays got a 32-yard blocked punt return for a touchdown from senior Tyler Messinger to grab an early seven-point lead, but the Yellow Jackets answered with 10 straight points to grab a 10-7 lead after the opening 15 minutes. Hoy scored one play after a 91-yard return of a blocked field goal by Owen Riter.
Hopkins had a 21-17 lead midway through the second quarter as the Blue Jays sandwiched a nine-yard touchdown run by junior Hogan Irwin and a 69-yard touchdown reception by junior Dane Rogerson around a two-yard scoring run by Hoy.
Randolph-Macon, which had nearly 22 minutes of possession time in the first half, answered Rogerson's long touchdown with a methodical 17-play, 75-yard drive that Burke Estes capped with a one-yard touchdown pass to Sean McDonald with just 14 seconds remaining in the first half.
Including the 14 seconds remaining in the first half, Randolph-Macon's 24-21 lead lasted all of 1:58 before Hubley's 22-yard touchdown reception gave the Blue Jays the lead for good and jump-started the 42-7 second-half surge.
Tammaro fueled a 606-yard effort by the Blue Jay offense as he was 21-of-33 for 349 yards and four touchdowns. Rogerson had five receptions for a game-high 120 yards and one score and Fernandez added five catches for 75 yards and the one score. Irwin paced a Blue Jay rushing game that churned out 196 yards as he rushed for 81 yards and the one score on just nine carries.
Junior James Closser posted a team-high 13 tackles to lead the Blue Jay defense. Freshman Robert Fletcher added seven tackles and blocked the punt that Messinger returned for the early touchdown. Seniors Ian Lodge and Anthony Davidson both added seven tackles with Davidson counting 2.5 for losses among his seven stops.
Senior Tre Frederick rushed for a game-high 116 yards on 34 carries for Randolph-Macon, while Estes was 18-of-28 for 170 yards and one touchdown. Hoy scored on three of his five rushing attempts in the game and junior Calvin Whitehead posted a team-high 10 tackles for the Yellow Jackets.
Johns Hopkins will return to action on Saturday, September 8 when the Blue Jays travel to Susquehanna for their Centennial Conference opener against the River Hawks (1 pm).
Notes: Tonight's game was the first-ever for Johns Hopkins in the month of August • The 63 points are the fifth-highest total in school history, the most ever in a season-opener and the most for the Blue Jays since October 5, 2013 when they topped Juniata, 65-10 • Hopkins topped the 600-yard mark for the 10th time in school history and the 606 yards are the second most in JHU history in a season opener • The 42 points JHU scored in the second half are tied for the third-highest single-half total in school history and the 28-point fourth-quarter is also tied for the third best • Messinger's blocked putn return for a touchdown is the first for Johns Hopkins since Adam Schweyer returned one 36 yards for a touchdown against Juniata in 2010 • Johns Hopkins has won 39 consecutive regular season home games.
- 30 -