Nov. 3, 2012
LANCASTER, PA - Host Franklin & Marshall built a 14-point third-quarter lead and held off a late rally by ninth-ranked Johns Hopkins as the Diplomats pulled off a 14-12 upset of the ninth-ranked Blue Jays at Sponaugle-Williamson Field Saturday afternoon. The win, F&M's first against JHU since 2007, snaps JHU's 22-game regular season winning streak and its 20-game Centennial Conference winning streak.
The Blue Jays trailed 14-6 late in the fourth quarter before sophomore Braden Anderson directed a 14-play, 84-yard drive that senior Jonathan Rigaud capped with a seven-yard touchdown run with 27 seconds remaining. The Blue Jays converted a pair of third-downs and a fourth-and-15 to keep the drive alive, but Anderson's pass to the corner of the end zone on the two-point attempt sailed over the head of junior Bob D'Orazioand F&M recovered the ensuing onsides kick to secure the victory.
The Blue Jays' first three drives of the game all ended inside the F&M 20-yard line, but none resulted in points as the Diplomats stopped JHU on fourth-down plays to end the first two drives and a missed field goal ended the third.
Still, the game remained scoreless until F&M capitalized on the first turnover of the game as junior E.J. Schneider threw a 30-yard touchdown pass late in the second quarter one play after Sam Massaro recovered a Blue Jay fumble at the 30.
The 7-0 lead held until midway through the third quarter, when the bend-but-don't-break F&M defense again came up with a fourth-down stop - this one inside the Diplomat 10-yard line - and Schneider directed a nifty seven-play, 96-yard drive that he polished off with a 19-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Zackery on a backside screen to make it 14-0.
Anderson came on when the Blue Jays took over after Zackery's touchdown and promptly led the Blue Jays on a 10-play, 62-yard drive that resulted in the first points of the day for the Blue Jays. After converting third and fourth-down plays to keep the drive alive, Anderson found junior Jared Beekmanoutside with a swing pass and Beekman outraced a defender to the pylon to make it 14-6. The Blue Jays missed the extra point.
The Blue Jay defense sandwiched a pair of stops around a Massaro interception of Anderson deep in F&M territory on the first three drives of the fourth quarter before the Blue Jays got the ball back with 3:23 remaining at their own 16. Just under three minutes later, Rigaud fought his way into the end zone on the seven-yard run that sliced the deficit to 14-12, but the failed two-point attempt followed and the Diplomats needed to take a knee just once to kill the final 23 seconds.
The Blue Jays outgained the Diplomats 447-317 as Anderson threw for a career-high 153 yards and the one touchdown. Rigaud rushed for 114 yards and the one score and Dan Wodicka had 10 catches for 102 yards, but F&M's ability to keep the Blue Jays scoreless on four-of-six trips into the red zone was more than JHU could overcome.
Senior Taylor Maciow paced the Blue Jay defense with a career-high 15 tackles, including 2.5 for losses, while junior John Arenaadded a career-best 12 tackles, including two for losses, and one forced fumble.
Schneider was 20-of-28 for 189 yards and two touchdowns and also rushed for 86 yards to pace the Diplomats offensively. Zackery had a team-high eight receptions for 56 yards and the one score and Massaro led the F&M defense with nine tackles, the interception and the fumble recovery.
Despite the loss, the Blue Jays still control their own fate in the race for the Centennial Conference's automatic bid to the upcoming NCAA Playoffs. Hopkins has already clinched at least a share of the Centennial title and can secure the outright championship and the automatic bid with a win next week at home against rival McDaniel.
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