Marietta upset bid falls short as #10 John Carroll escapes with 27-24 win

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UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS, Ohio — Marietta College ran out of last-second magic this week as the Pioneers fell to No. 10 ranked John Carroll University, 27-24, Saturday (Oct. 20) afternoon in Don Shula Stadium. The loss drops Marietta to 6-1 overall and 5-1 in the Ohio Athletic Conference. John Carroll is also 6-1 overall and 5-1 in the OAC.

"I am proud of the effort our men showed today," Marietta head coach Andy Waddle said. "I thought our offense did a good job against a really good JCU Defense. Their defensive line is as good as you will find at this level. Defensively we played as good as we have played all year."

The Blue Streaks took their first lead of the second half on a nine-yard touchdown run by Devin Limerick with 5:21 left in the game. Matt Danko's point after attempt was no good leaving John Carroll with a three-point advantage, 27-24.

Marietta was forced to punt on the ensuing possession. But the Pioneer defense held the Blue Streaks without a first down giving MC one final opportunity. The Pioneers took over on their own 25-yard line with 39 seconds left on the clock and no timeouts remaining.

A pass interference call against John Carroll on first down moved the ball to the 40-yard line. However, Marietta's hopes of an upset were dashed when its third and fourth down passes fell incomplete.

Darrien Fields got the Pioneers on the board first scrambling for a 14-yard touchdown with 9:02 left in the first quarter. Jimmy Embrescia added the point after for a 7-0 Marietta lead. Javi Zaragoza set up the scoring drive with an interception giving Marietta the ball on the JCU 29-yard line.

Marietta forced a three and out on John Carroll's next possession and took over at its own 20-yard line following the Blue Streak punt.

The Pioneers converted three third downs and marched to the JCU two-yard. With a first and goal to go, Marietta gave the ball to Tanner Clark. But two Clark rushes gained only one yard. On third down Gage Giovengo couldn't haul in the Fields pass and MC settled for an 18-yard Embrecia field goal extending its lead to 10-0 with 12:48 left in the first half.

John Carroll answered with 14 straight points to take a 14-10 lead with 2:34 left in the half. Michael Canganelli scored both touchdowns on runs of one and 19 yards. Danko converted both extra points.

Marietta's high-octane offense went back to work. Fields connected with Andrew Barker for 40 yards on first down moving the ball into Blue Streak territory. A couple of rushes and another pass completion, this time to Robert Nelson for 12 yards, gave the Pioneers a first down at the JCU 11-yard line.

A sack and a personal foul against Marietta moved the ball back to the John Carroll 27-yard line with six seconds left on the clock. Out of timeouts and not in field goal range, the Pioneer senior signal caller stepped up and hit a sliding Ryan VanMeter in the end zone as time expired in the half. With Embrescia's extra point, Marietta took a 17-14 lead into halftime.

Fields finished the day completing 22-of-33 passes for 209 yards and one touchdown. With the 22 completions he has tied Jason Vrable for the Pioneers' all-time record with 495 career completions.

The game was delayed early in the third quarter when lightning was detected in the area. Play was halted for a little over 30 minutes.

When play restarted The Blue Streaks drove the ball to the Marietta 22-yard line before stalling. Danko's 39-yard field goal attempt sailed wide left.

Marietta took advantage of the miss and needed just four plays to reach pay dirt. Clark carried the ball twice for seven and eight yards. Fields hooked up with Barker for 10 more and then Clark broke a 53-yard touchdown run. Embrescia's point after made it 24-14 with 4:29 left in the third quarter.

The fourth quarter belonged to the Blue Streaks. Limerick capped a four-play drive with a 13-yard touchdown run cutting the Pioneer lead to three, 24-21, with 8:35 left in the game.

The John Carroll defense did its part on MC's next possession. Marietta elected to go for it on fourth and one on its own 34-yard line. Clark took the handoff and was hit in the backfield and stopped for no gain.

With all of the momentum, the Blue Streaks covered the 34 yards on only four plays to take the lead for good. Limerick scored the winning touchdown from nine yards out.

Clark notched his sixth game with over 100 yards rushing. He had 25 carries for 142 yards and one touchdown. Clark also caught eight passes for 61 yards. Barker, playing for the first time after missing two games with an injury, had four catches for 67 yards. Jake Tracewell led the defense with 10 tackles.

Canganelli rushed for 165 yards abd two scores for the Blue Streaks. Limerick finished with 37 yards on six carries with two touchdowns.

JCU quarterback Anthony Moeglin completed 12-of-25 passes for 240 yards. He was picked off once. Darrin Davis was Moeglin's favorite target catching five passes for 83 yards.

Marietta returns home to host Baldwin Wallace University next Saturday (Oct. 27) at 1:30 p.m. The Yellow Jackets are 6-1 overall and 5-1 in the OAC after defeating Wilmington, 35-33, this week.

There are plenty of activities planned for the final home game of the season. The Pioneer seniors will be honored prior to the game and local retired and activity duty military personnel will be honored at halftime as part of Veterans Appreciation Day. Finally, it is the annual Shrine Game with all proceeds from the game going to the local Shrine Club and Shriner's Hospitals.

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Dec. 8: All times Eastern
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