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Johns Hopkins, Messinger Rush Past Frostburg, 58-27, Into NCAA Quarterfinals

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FROSTBURG, MD – Joe Figueroa, Laurence Okeke, Frank Petracco, Jarrett Smith, Zack Toussaint.  Alphabetically, those were the names of the five starting offensive linemen for the 14th-ranked Johns Hopkins football team in Saturday NCAA second round game at sixth-ranked Frostburg State.  Only Smith, the Blue Jay center, touched the ball on any of Hopkins' 71 offensive plays in the game, and yet the 58 points, 647 yards of total offense and 400 rushing yards Hopkins amassed wouldn't have been possible without them.
 
With the five linemen leading the way, the Blue Jays turned a 20-19 halftime deficit into a 58-27 victory that propels Johns Hopkins into the NCAA quarterfinals for the second time in school history.  The sixth-ranked Bobcats become the highest-ranked team Johns Hopkins has ever beaten and the win earns the Blue Jays a quarterfinal date with RPI, which upset third-ranked Brockport, 21-13, on Saturday.
 
The Blue Jays (11-1), who tied the school record with their 11th win of the season, led 12-3 early, but the Bobcats used a 17-7 second-quarter spurt to turn the nine-point deficit into the one-point halftime lead.  That lead lasted less than four minutes into the third quarter, when senior Tyler Messinger capped a stunning six-play, 95-yard drive with a 52-yard touchdown run that gave the Blue Jays a 27-20 lead.
 
By the time the Bobcats scored again – four minutes into the fourth quarter – the Blue Jays had scored three more touchdowns in a span of just under four minutes midway through the third period to extend the 27-20 lead to 48-20.
 
Messinger's touchdown was followed three plays later by an Anthony Davidson fumble recovery that gave the Blue Jays possession at Bobcat 47.  Six plays later, junior quarterback David Tammaro scored on a quarterback keeper to push the lead to 34-20.
 
It took just two plays for the Blue Jay defense to force another turnover, this time it was Macauley Kilbane intercepting a Connor Cox pass at the Johns Hopkins 41.  Four plays later, facing second-and-10 at midfield, Tammaro rifled an out to senior Luke McFadden, who spun inside and darted untouched into the end to make it 41-20.
 
After the Blue Jay defense forced a three-and-out, the quick-strike Blue Jays needed just two plays to go 46 yards to cap their 29-point run.  A 27-yard Messinger run and a perfect back-shoulder 19-yard Tammaro-to-Dane Rogerson touchdown strike covered the 46 yards in just 44 seconds.
 
Frostburg (10-1) ended the run when Cox hit Christan Thornton from 18 yards out to polish off a six-play, 69-yard drive early in the third quarter that sliced the Blue Jay lead to 48-27, but that would be as close as the Bobcats would get.
 
The Johns Hopkins defense set up Hopkins' final touchdown as freshman Robert Fletcher intercepted a Cox pass and returned it to the Frostburg five-yard line to set up Messinger's fourth touchdown of the game and Mike Eberle closed the scoring with a 39-yard field goal.
 
Hopkins' 12-3 lead at the end of the first quarter came as the result of a 23-yard touchdown run by Messinger on the Blue Jays' first drive of the game and a 37-yard Tammaro-to-McFadden strike that Frostburg answered with just a field goal in between.
 
Still, the Bobcats had the 20-19 lead at the half as Terrell Brown caught a 24-yard touchdown pass with 48 seconds left before the break.  Jamaal Morant's one-yard touchdown run had opened the second-quarter scoring and a Jeremy Harrison field goal gave Frostburg a 13-12 lead midway through the period.
 
Messinger answered Harrison's field goal with a 19-yard scoring run to finish a five-play, 75-yard drive that took just 77 seconds, but Brown's score in the final minute of the half gave the Bobcats the one-point lead they held into the third quarter.
 
After the Blue Jay defense forced a three-and-out to open the third quarter, Messinger opened the 29-point Blue Jay run with his 52-yard touchdown run that put the Blue Jays ahead to stay.
 
Messinger rushed for a career-high 231 yards and tied the school record for touchdowns in a game with his four; he finished with 237 all-purpose yards.  Senior Stuart Walters totaled 238 all-purpose yards as he rushed 87 yards, added 17 receiving yards and 134 yards on five kickoff returns.
 
Tammaro extended his school record for consecutive 200-yard passing games to 22 as he was 17-of-24 for 247 yards and three touchdowns.  McFadden was his favorite target as he had five receptions for 164 yards and the two scores.
 
Fletcher led the Blue Jay defense with 12 tackles, including one sack, added the one interception and one pass breakup.  Sophomore Ryan Weed, senior Addison Quinones and junior James Closser all added eight tackles for the Blue Jays.
 
Cox was 24-of-44 for 355 yards and two touchdowns against two interceptions and Sergio Andino was on the back end of seven of those completions for 124 yards.  Morant rushed for a team-high 92 yards and the one score.
 
Johns Hopkins advances to the quarterfinals for the second time in school history (2009).  The location of next week's quarterfinal game against RPI will be announced later tonight or on Sunday.
 
Notes:  The 58 points are the most Johns Hopkins has ever scored in a post-season game • the 400 rushing yards, which came on 47 carries (8.5/attempt) are the most by the Blue Jays under the direction of 29th-year coach Jim MargraffMessinger's 231 yards rushing are a school playoff record and the fifth-most in any game by a Blue Jay • Prior to today's win against the sixth-ranked Bobcats, the highest-ranked team Johns Hopkins had ever beaten was then ninth-ranked McDaniel in 2001 • Hopkins has won 10 straight – this is the eighth winning streak of 10 games or longer in school history … all eight have come since 2002-03 • The 647-yard effort is the sixth, 600-yard game of the season for JHU.
             

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Dec. 8: All times Eastern
Final
at Mount Union 28, Johns Hopkins 20
Video Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Mary Hardin-Baylor 31, UW-Whitewater 14
Box Score Recap Photos
Dec. 14: All times Eastern
7:00 PM
Mount Union at Mary Hardin-Baylor
@ Woodforest Bank Stadium; Shenandoah, Texas
Audio Preview Video Tickets
Dec. 8: All times Eastern
Final
at Mount Union 28, Johns Hopkins 20
Video Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Mary Hardin-Baylor 31, UW-Whitewater 14
Box Score Recap Photos
Dec. 14: All times Eastern
7:00 PM
Mount Union at Mary Hardin-Baylor
@ Woodforest Bank Stadium; Shenandoah, Texas
Audio Preview Video Tickets