NCAA Division-III Playoffs: Johns Hopkins vs. Randolph-Macon
The No. 6 Johns Hopkins Blue Jays will open the NCAA Division-III football playoffs by hosting the Randolph-Macon Yellow Jackets on Saturday. Johns Hopkins finished the season 10-0, and were undefeated in the nine conference games to win the Centennial Conference title. Randolph-Macon went 9-1 with a 6-1 record in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference to win the title and advance to the playoffs for the first time since 2008.
How They Got Here:
The Blue Jays opened the season with a 45-29 victory over Washington and Lee. After downing Susquehanna 41-7, Johns Hopkins won two close games, then got on a roll to down their next six opponents by at least 20-points in every contest. The team scored at least 41-points in all but two of their games and had a season high 54 on October 21.
The Yellow Jackets won their first five games of the season, putting up huge offensive numbers in the first three games of the season and recording shutouts in the first and last games of that streak. The team suffered their only loss of the season at Emory and Henry on October 15, 27-20, then won the last four games to finish out the season. The defense was quite impressive, pitching three shutouts and only allowing more than 19 points twice.
Johns Hopkins 43.4 PPG, 187.8 Rushing/Game, 333.3 Passing/Game, 521.1 Yards/Game
Randolph-Macon 31.2 PPG, 223.6 Rushing/Game, 178.6 Passing/Game, 402.2 Yards/Game
Johns Hopkins 18.5 PPG, 169.2 Rushing/Game, 189.6 Passing/Game, 358.8 Yards/Game
Randolph-Macon 11.5 PPG, 70.6 Rushing/Game, 211.0 Passing/Game, 281.6 Yards/Game
Players to Watch
Jonathan Germano returned as the quarterback for the Blue Jays and had another impressive season, throwing for 2,820-yards and 26-touchdowns. He completed 65.7 percent of his passes, but did throw 12-interceptions. With the Yellow Jackets having such an impressive defense against the run, his performance is critical. Ryan Cary will have to help keep the defense honest though. He rushed for 918-yards and 14-TDs. Eight different players caught at least 11-passes, with Bradley Munday leading the team with 69-receptions for 579-yards and 5-TDs. Quinn Donaldson and Boone Lewis, Jr. led the team with 6-TDs each.
Jack Campbell was the team’s leading tackler with 83, followed by Garrett Spek (77). Kyle Bonci is a beast on the line, making great plays against the run and leading the team with 9-sacks. Jack Toner is as difficult to throw against in the country, recording 7-inteceptions and 15-pass defenses.
Running back Tre Frederick is the key to the Randolph-Macon offense, rushing for 1,345-yards and 11-scores. Joseph Vairo is a solid but not spectacular quarterback who threw for 1,276-yards and 10-TDs. Eric Hoy is a solid receiver who made 45-catches for 514-yards and a TD. Sean McDonald led the team with 6-touchdown receptions.
Michael Farry leads the team with 63-tackles and adds 1.5-sacks. Cole Burdette led the Yellow Jackets with 9.5-sacks, and Tom Buchanan added 6.5 of his own.
The Yellow Jackets enter as the underdog, and that is justified. The question is if they have enough sting in their defense to shut down the Blue Jays offense. That will be the key to the game, but unless they can get a whole lot of pressure on Germano they are going to be scorched. Sadly, that will likely be the case. Johns Hopkins is simply too good. Take the Blue Jays 44-17.
By Robert Pannier