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The Game: Johns Hopkins (1-0) welcomes Susquehanna (1-0) to Homewood Field for the Blue Jays' 2011 home opener.
The Teams: Johns Hopkins opened the 2011 season with a 45-14 victory at Merchant Marine last Saturday. Susquehanna joined the Blue Jays in the win column as the Crusaders knocked off visiting Wilkes, 33-30, in overtime.
The Coaches: Johns Hopkins is coached by Jim Margraff, who is now in his 22nd year as the head coach at JHU and sports a 138-78-3 (.637) record. He is the all-time winningest coach in school history and also ranks second in CC history with 92 league victories to his credit.
Susquehanna is coached by Steve Briggs, who is in his 22nd season leading the Crusaders and sports a 113-101 record in Selinsgrove. He led the Crusaders to the NCAA Playoffs just two years ago (2009) as SU claimed the Liberty League's automatic bid to the playoffs. Briggs guided SU into the Centennial last season.
Good Scheduling: Fans of the Centennial Conference have probably noticed that the league schedule had some adjustments to it this year. One of the changes has Susquehanna visiting JHU on the first weekend of league games. As fate would have it, this week's JHU-Susquehanna game features the only two teams in the league that won last weekend.
For Openers: Johns Hopkins won its first game of the season for the ninth time in the last 13 years with last week's 45-14 win at USMMA.
More Openers: The 45 points the Blue Jays scored last week at Merchant Marine are the most by a JHU team in a season-opener since 1915, when they beat Mount St. Mary's, 55-0.
One Win From Evening Things Out: Last week's win at Merchant Marine improved JHU's all-time record to 472-473-58 (.499). A win this week against Susquehanna would improve JHU's all-time winning percentage to .500 for the first time since 1912.
Streaking: Johns Hopkins closed the 2010 season with five straight wins and ran that streak to six with last week's win at Merchant Marine. JHU has outscored the opposition 244-71 during the winning streak, the longest by the Blue Jays since they opened the 2005 season with seven straight victories.
Centennial Conference Champions: Johns Hopkins earned a share of its sixth Centennial Conference title since 2002 as the Blue Jays posted a 7-2 league mark and shared the title with Muhlenberg and Ursinus last season.
A Grand Victory: In addition to keeping themselves alive in the race for a share of the Centennial Conference title, JHU's win at Franklin & Marshall on November 6, 2010 will also go down in the record books as a victory in the 1,000th game in school history. JHU closed the 2010 season with an all-time record of 471-473-58 (.499).
Tomlin Honored by Centennial Conference: Senior quarterback Hewitt Tomlin wasted little time getting the 2011 season off to a quick start as he fueled last week's 45-14 win at Merchant Marine with another solid performance. For his efforts, he was selected as the Centennial Conference Co-Offensive Player of the Week (an honor he shared with this week's opposing quarterback - Susquehanna's Rich Palazzi).
Tomlin was 28-of-37 for 297 yards with a school-record-tying six touchdown passes in the win. After throwing three first-half touchdowns, Tomlin really got rolling after halftime as he was 17-of-17 for 189 yards with three touchdowns in the third quarter alone. He would eventually complete 19 consecutive passes - just two shy of the NCAA Division III single-game record - before misfiring on his final attempt of the game.
Another Note About the Passing Game: In addition to Hewitt Tomlin's exploits in the passing game, sophomore Robbie Matey also enjoyed a productive outing after relieving Tomlin in the fourth quarter. Matey was 5-of-5 for 38 yards and also rushed twice for 13 yards. In all, Matey and Tomlin combined to go 24-of-25 for 229 yards with three touchdowns in the second half of last week's game at USMMA.
Balanced Receiving in Season Opener: While 2010 Centennial Conference Offensive Player of the Year Sam Wernick will draw most of the attention from defenses throughout the season, the Blue Jay receiving corps is deep and talented as displayed in the season-opening win at Merchant Marine.
Wernick had seven receptions for 90 yards and two touchdowns, but Hewitt Tomlin's top target on the day was actually sophomore Dan Wodicka, who finished with a career-high 11 receptions for 133 yards and two of Tomlin's six scores.
Also catching touchdown passes were junior wide receiver Scott Cremens and sophomore tight end Brendan Hartman. In all, 10 players caught at least one pass for the Blue Jays in the game.
Closing on 200: Senior LB Ryan Piatek entered the 2011 season with 193 career tackles to his credit and opened the season with six in last week's win. JHUs career active leader in tackles, he enters this week's game against Susquehanna just one shy of 200 in his career.
Eagleson Moves Up: Senior CB Sam Eagleson's third quarter interception last week not only led to a Blue Jay touchdown, it also moved him into a tie for fifth place on JHU's career interception list. Eagleson now has 12 career interceptions, which ties him with Ken Hirshman and John Donovan in the JHU record book. The Johns Hopkins career record for interceptions is held by Brian Hepting (20).
Defense Fuels Victory: Playing against an option offense that is difficult to prepare for, the Blue Jay defense more than held its own last week at Merchant Marine. Consider:
• The Mariners had 11 possessions. They gained 67 yards on one impressive scoring drive in the second quarter. On their other 10 possessions combined, they totaled just 140 yards of total offense.
• All five USMMA possessions in the second half lasted less than three minutes. Four of the five lasted 2:10 or less.
• The Blue Jays forced two turnovers for the 22nd time in their last 26 games.
• JHU allowed an average of just 3.1 yards per play.
Early Action: A total of 61 players saw action in last week's win at Merchant Marine. Of the 61, nine were freshmen.
Tomlin Continues Assault on JHU, Centennial Record Books: Senior Hewitt Tomlin continued to assault the Johns Hopkins and Centennial Conference record books with his performance last week at the Merchant Marine Academy.
In addition to tying the JHU single-game record for touchdown passes (6), he also moved out of a tie with current JHU head coach Jim Margraff for first place on JHU's career touchdown passes list (56). He also became the first player in school history to top 8,000 career passing yards (8,095) and 8,000 yards of total offense (8,299). His 19 consecutive completions are also a Johns Hopkins record, as are his 17 completions in one quarter (3rd / 17-of-17).
Tomlin did have his school-record streak of consecutive 300-yard passing games snapped at USMMA with his 297-yard effort. He did not play the final 13 minutes of the game.
It's Been a While: Johns Hopkins had a 24-game streak where it forced at least one turnover snapped at F&M last season as the Blue Jays failed to post an interception or recover a fumble. Still, JHU has been on quite a roll in the turnover department. Consider ...
• JHU has forced at least one turnover in 27 of its last 28 games.
• JHU has forced two or more turnovers in 22 of the last 26 games.
• JHU has at least one interception in 24 of the last 27 games.
Road Warriors: Including last week's win, JHU is 19-6 since the start of the 2007 season on the road and 41-15 on the road since the start of the 2001 season.
Streaking: Since the start of the 2002 season the Blue Jays sport a 72-28 (.720) record. Taking it back farther the Blue Jays are 78-31 (.716) since the start of the 2001 season and 83-36 (.697) since the beginning of the 2000 season. The 74 wins the Blue Jays amassed from 2000-09 are the most wins in a decade in school history. Johns Hopkins had never won more than seven games in a season prior to this decade. In the decade completed in 2009, the Blue Jays averaged more than seven wins per season (7.4).
Seven's Heaven: Since the beginning of the 2003 season the Blue Jays are 63-19 (.768) when scoring more than seven points and 0-7 when they have been held to seven points or less.
Blue Jays Set Scoring Record: Johns Hopkins scored a school-record 394 points last season. The previous record of 388 points scored was set in 13 games during the 2009 season. In addition, JHU's scoring average of 35.8 was just shy of the single-season school record of 36.4 set in 1967.
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