NCAA Division-III Playoffs, R. 2: Johns Hopkins vs. Mount Union
The No. 6 ranked John Hopkins Blue Jays welcome the No. 8 ranked Mount Union Purple Raiders to Maryland this Saturday for their second round matchup in the NCAA Division-III football playoffs. The Purple Raiders finished second in the Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC), going 9-1. Last Saturday they defeated Hobart to advance. Johns Hopkins won the Centennial Conference and defeated Randolph-Macon to set up this week’s matchup.
How They Got Here
The Blue Jays started the season with a 45-29 victory over Washington and Lee in their only non-conference game of the season. They then ran the table through the conference, scoring at least 41-points in every game but two, with their closest margin of victory being an eight-point win over Moravian.
Last Saturday, the Blue Jays took command of the game from the very start, scoring 21 first quarter points on their way to a 42-21 win. Johns Hopkins scored on their first three possessions of the game. Jon Germano ran for a touchdown and threw for the other two in the first frame. Randolph-Macon made this a closer game with two touchdowns in the second quarter, but Germano’s third touchdown pass of the game kept it a 14-point lead heading into the half. Johns Hopkins would add two more touchdowns in the second half as the Blue Jays won by 21.
Germano finished with 418-yards passing and 4-touchdown tosses. He also rushed for 32-yards and another score. Luke Mcfadden had 11-receptions for 222-yards and 2-scores, and Bradley Munday had 8-receptions for 104-yards and 2-scores. Jack Toner had 8-tackles and an interception.
The Purple Raiders were rolling through the first nine games of the season. They had posted three shutouts and scored at least 38-points in every one of those games, with a high of 71 against Wilmington. On the final weekend of the season, Mount Union welcomed archrival John Carroll to town and fell in a nail-biter, 31-28. That dropped them from the No. 1 spot.
Mount Union faced Hobart in the first round of the playoffs. They jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter as Dom Davis threw a 51-yard touchdown pass to get the scoring going. Jawanza Evans-Morris added two touchdowns that made the score 21-7, but Hobart got two touchdown passes from Shane Sweeney to tie the score. With the game tied in the third, Mount Union scored the next 17-points to earn the victory, 38-21. B.J. Mitchell scored the two touchdowns.
Davis threw for 321-yards and a score. Mitchell added 90-yards on the ground and 2-touchdowns and Evans-Morris gained 76-yards and 2-scores. Jared Ruth had 113-yards receiving and a TD, and Tim Kennedy added 103-yards receiving. Danny Robinson had 12-tackles for the Purple Raiders and Mike Vidal recorded 1.5-sacks and an interception.
Mount Union PPG: 48.2, Rushing YDs/Game: 264.5, Passing YDs/Game: 248.7, Total YDs Game: 513.3
Johns Hopkins PPG: 43.3, Rushing YDs/Game: 178.2, Passing YDs/Game: 341.0, Total YDs Game: 519.2
Mount Union PPG: 10.7, Rushing YDs/Game: 70.6, Passing YDs/Game: 195.0, Total YDs Game: 265.6
Johns Hopkins PPG: 18.7, Rushing YDs/Game: 166.6, Passing YDs/Game: 188.1, Total YDs Game: 354.7
Why Johns Hopkins Will Win
- The Blue Jays are awesome at home and have the experience and talent to dominate on their home field.
- Germano is an unbelievably good quarterback who showed that he can make huge plays and be a star.
- Jack Toner and Michael Curry are difference makers that can really hamper the Purple Raiders offense and make them one dimensional.
Why Mount Union Will Win
- There is a lot to like about the Mount Union offense, but it is their defense that really is the headline. They simply deny opponents any kind of chances to get things going
- Bradley Mitchell not only is one of the better running backs in the country, but he will keep the ball in the hands of the Purple Raiders offense.
- There is a reason that Mount Union was No. 1 for most of the season. They are that good, despite the tough loss to John Carroll.
This is an exciting matchup for sure, and fans should be treated to one heck of a game. The biggest concern is the number of interceptions that Germano has thrown this season (14). The Purple Raiders will make him pay for any mistakes he makes. This will be a very close game, but Mount Union will pull it out, 31-27.
By Robert Pannier