BALTIMORE, MD – Kevin Ryan intercepted a Hewitt Tomlin pass deep in Muhlenberg territory to end a potential game-winning drive with just over two minutes remaining as the Mules escaped Homewood Field with a 30-27 victory over the Blue Jays Saturday afternoon. The Mules improve to 3-1 overall and 3-0 in the Centennial Conference, while the Blue Jays slip to 2-2 overall and 2-1 in the Centennial.
The Mules appeared to have the game well in-hand early in the fourth quarter as a 22-yard touchdown pass from Dan Deighan to Isaiah Vaughn on the second play of the quarter gave the Mules a 27-13 lead and Michael Katz added a 37-yard field goal less than three minutes later to push the lead out to 30-13. Vaughn out-leaped junior Sam Eagleson at the pylon and kept both feet in on his touchdown reception.
The 17-point lead held for nearly half the quarter before the Blue Jays rallied with two touchdowns in a four-minute span to make it 30-27 with more than four minutes remaining.
After forcing a Muhlenberg punt midway through the quarter, the Blue Jays needed just five plays to go 50 yards to slice the deficit to 30-20 with 7:44 remaining. Tomlin was 5-of-5 on the drive, which was capped by a 22-yard touchdown pass to junior Sam Wernick, who beat his defender cleanly off the line and managed to tip-toe down the sideline and into the end zone after catching the ball just inside the 10-yard line.
The Blue Jay defense forced a quick three-and-out on Muhlenberg's ensuing possession and methodically moved 80 yards on 11 plays to pull within three. Tomlin was 5-of-6 on the drive, including a clutch throw to senior Tucker Michels keep the drive alive on a fourth-and-three, and junior Nick Fazio's second touchdown run of the game – this one from 13 yards out - made it a three-point game.
The Mules managed just five yards on their next drive and an 11-yard punt by Jason LoPipero went out of bounds at midfield to give the Blue Jays a golden opportunity with 3:11 on the clock.
Three rushing plays moved the ball to the Mule 27 before a false start moved the Blue Jays back five yards. That's when Ryan came up with a deflected pass at the Muhlenberg 15-yard line and the Mules got one first down they needed on the drive after Ryan's interception to seal the victory.
A late-game rally didn't look like it would be possible after the first half, which saw the Mules sprint to a 20-7 halftime lead. The Blue Jays led 7-3 after a three-yard touchdown run by Fazio, but a nine-yard touchdown pass from Deighan to John Grover less than three minutes into the second quarter was followed by a 38-yard interception return for a touchdown by Mark Accomando just over two minutes later to quiclyk turn the 7-3 deficit into a 17-7 lead. A 25-yard field goal by Katz in the final minute of the half accounted for the 20-7 halftime score.
Johns Hopkins got 27 and 38-yard field goals from senior Alex Lachman in the third quarter to make it 20-13 entering the fourth quarter, but the Deighan-to-Vaughn touchdown 11 seconds into the period made it 27-13 and set the stage for the wild fourth quarter.
Sophomore Terrence Dandridge paced the Muhlenberg offense with 117 yards rushing on 20 carries and he added 28 yards on two receptions. Deighan was harassed into a 14-of-37 showing for 149 yards with three interceptions, but he threw the two key touchdown passes to fuel the victory.
Tomlin was 25-of-47 for 182 yards with the one touchdown to Wernick and four interceptions. Sophomore Jonathan Rigaud rushed for 65 yards on 12 carries, while Fazio took two of his 12 carries to the end zone and finished with 52 yards on the day. Wernick had a career-high 12 receptions for 107 yards and the one touchdown and also returned three kickoffs for 89 yards to account for 196 all-purpose yards.
Pat McDonough pace the Muhlenberg defense with 13 tackles, while Ryan added two of Muhlenberg's five interceptions in the game. The Mules added eight pass breakups as well as they held the Blue Jays to season-lows in points and total offense ( 340).
Ryan Piatek totaled a game-high 14 tackles for Johns Hopkins, which got two of its three interceptions from Eagleson and added four sacks of Deighan on the day. The JHU defense has now forced at least one turnover in 20 straight games and ran its streak of consecutive games with an interception to 18 with its three today.
Johns Hopkins will return to action on Friday, October 8 when the Blue Jays host Dickinson at 7 pm.
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