/playoffs/2018/semifinal-johns-hopkins-at-mount-union

Mount Union defense has its semifinal moment

More news about: Johns Hopkins | Mount Union

By Keith McMillan
D3football.com

ALLIANCE, Ohio — On a day when Mount Union's high-powered offense sputtered, its defense scored two touchdowns and the Purple Raiders held off a game Johns Hopkins squad to punch a ticket to their 21st Stagg Bowl, and first in Shenandoah, Texas, with a 28-20 semifinal win.

Cornerback Gabe Brown, just five plays after he was tagged for pass interference, intercepted a throw that David Tammaro couldn't quite hurl out of bounds, and took the pick 76 yards down the sideline for a 28-13 lead. Johns Hopkins had been driving with a chance to tie.

"I just heard screams and I blacked out, honestly," Brown said, recalling how he felt after the ball hit his hands. "Once I got to the end zone, I was like, 'I'm here already?' "

Cornerback Louis Berry and defensive end Andrew Roesch had hit Tammaro as he let go of the ball. Brown hauled in the pass like a basketball rebound and scored the Purple Raiders' clinching touchdown. Brown's score went alongside a 90-yard first-half tipped-ball interception return touchdown from safety Trevor Cox, and helped make up for a four-turnover day from Mount Union quarterback D'Angelo Fulford.

Trevor Cox runs up the sidelines to finish off his pick-six of Johns Hopkins. (Photo by Dan Poel, Ohiosi.com)
Trevor Cox runs up the sidelines to finish off his pick-six of Johns Hopkins.
Photo by Dan Poel, Ohiosi.com
 

Johns Hopkins backup quarterback Nick Leongas led a 48-second touchdown drive after Tammaro aggravated an injury during Brown's touchdown. But Mount Union's Luke Herrington recovered an onside kick with 1:56 left, and Mount Union ran out the clock.

"Having a defense like we have, it helps us because they can score whenever, and we can score whenever also," said running back Josh Petrucelli, who led the Purple Raiders with 28 carries for 110 yards, many of them out of a direct-snap package that sent Fulford to the sidelines.

Wide receiver Justin Hill scored both of the Purple Raiders' offensive touchdowns, the first on a blown coverage on the opening drive, and the other to cap a 5-for-5 passing drive from Fulford in the third quarter. But it was the ability of the defense to score, and come up with stops in short-yardage situations, that stood out.

"It's awesome," Hill said. "I don't really want to say I rely on our defense, but I'm not scared for our defense on fourth and 1 or third and 5 or third and 3. I know our defense is most likely going to stop them."

Two fourth-down stops loomed large for Johns Hopkins, but Blue Jays coach Jim Margraff said going for it fit the personality his team had exhibited all season, and fit the mentality they needed to have to win at Mount Union, which rarely loses, much less on its home field.

"When I look at the missed opportunities, and I'll look at our coaching decisions too," Margraff said " ... we're not a field goal team. We're going to try to score touchdowns."

Credit went to the Purple Raiders, who allowed 367 yards to the Blue Jays but had three red-zone stops, six sacks, the two interception return touchdowns and the success in short yardage.

"They're a great defense ... when they know what you're doing, they're a tough team to compete against," Margraff said.

Johns Hopkins had made it a one-score game early in the fourth quarter when Tammaro beat a Purple Raiders blitz on fourth-and-7, finding tight end Emmett Turner for 8 yards. Running back Stuart Walters scored one play later, and the Blue Jays completed a two-point conversion pass to Luke McFadden in the end zone, but were called for pass interference. After the penalty, they kicked to trim Mount Union's lead to 21-13.

Johns Hopkins essentially played the Purple Raiders to a statistical draw in the first half, but went into the locker room down 14-6 because of some big plays.

Johns Hopkins had a fourth and 1 Walters run from the 12 stuffed. Later, on another fourth down, Tammaro threw high and behind McFadden, and the ball skipped off his hands and into those of Cox, who glided 90 yards to the end zone for a 14-0 Mount Union lead.

Instead of folding, the Blue Jays returned the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown, but a questionable penalty deep downfield took the touchdown off the board. Johns Hopkins went backwards, and missed a field goal attempt.

The Purple Raiders took over, again at a moment in which the Blue Jays could have folded. Instead, Fulford was stripped from behind, and freshman Robert Fletcher scooped and scored, allowing Johns Hopkins to go into the half trailing by eight.

Fulford finished 12-of-23 passing for 210 yards, two touchdowns, three interceptions and the fumble. But he also ran six times for 51 yards, a 10.8 average. His counterpart, Tammaro, was 27 of 40 for 250 yards. The junior passer injured his ankle during the RPI quarterfinal and had not practiced this week.

Though it took the Blue Jays' best shot, Mount Union is again headed to the national championship game. At the time of the postgame news conference, Mount Union didn't know, and said it didn't care, whether it played UW-Whitewater or Mary Hardin-Baylor.

"No matter who wins that other game, it's going to be a team that has some playoff experience, and a lot of great football players and coaches," Mount Union coach Vince Kehres said. "I told our team this was a great win today, but it's not the hardest game. The hardest game to win is what's looming."

Sep. 19: All times Eastern
Final
Manchester 52, at Defiance 21
@ Defiance, Ohio
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Sep. 20: All times Eastern
Final
at Johns Hopkins 41, Moravian 0
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Final
at St. Lawrence 32, Morrisville State 22
Final
MIT 13, at Becker 6
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Sep. 21: All times Eastern
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Alfred State 27, at Rochester 21
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Brockport 55, at Buffalo State 22
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Final
DePauw 21, at Kenyon 7
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Massachusetts Maritime 42, at Maine Maritime 21
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Salve Regina 62, at Dean 35
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at Hobart 20, Rowan 17
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at St. John Fisher 40, TCNJ 16
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Juniata 44, at Ursinus 38
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at Framingham State 48, Westfield State 21
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Wesley 20, at Endicott 17
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Amherst 24, at Colby 10
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at Methodist 30, Catholic 14
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Middlebury 28, at Bates 0
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at Merchant Marine 45, SUNY-Maritime 0
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at Trinity (Conn.) 61, Bowdoin 7
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at Union 27, Springfield 17
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at Apprentice 49, Gallaudet 13
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Hanover 31, at Maryville (Tenn.) 10
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at Trine 21, Concordia (Wis.) 16
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at Westminster (Pa.) 42, St. Vincent 14
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Wesleyan 28, at Hamilton 10
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at Hope 34, Aurora 32
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at Carnegie Mellon 20, Washington and Jefferson 13
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at Washington and Lee 52, Guilford 14
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WPI 31, at Husson 12
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at Albion 56, Eureka 41
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Averett 35, at Ferrum 12
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at Southern Virginia 29, Hampden-Sydney 17
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at Randolph-Macon 20, Emory and Henry 17
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at Franklin and Marshall 34, McDaniel 17
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at Plymouth State 34, Worcester State 9
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at Ithaca 27, Alfred 9
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Final - 2OT
Wilkes 24, at Lycoming 17
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at Ohio Wesleyan 55, Oberlin 3
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Final - OT
at Muhlenberg 24, Susquehanna 17
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Wabash 48, at Allegheny 35
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at Delaware Valley 28, Stevenson 21
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at Widener 48, FDU-Florham 10
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at Lebanon Valley 31, Alvernia 12
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Dickinson 56, at Gettysburg 20
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Lakeland 28, at Kalamazoo 7
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Concordia-Chicago 23, at Finlandia 12
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Greenville 42, at Northwestern (Minn.) 14
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at UW-Oshkosh 44, Huntingdon 14
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MacMurray 38, at Minnesota-Morris 14
Video Recap
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at Carthage 36, Carroll 7
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Westminster (Mo.) 35, at Iowa Wesleyan 7
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at Williams 44, Tufts 8
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at Mount Union 45, Baldwin Wallace 7
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Franklin 34, at Bluffton 19
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at Mount St. Joseph 34, Anderson 7
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Bethany 41, at Waynesburg 17
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John Carroll 14, at Otterbein 7
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Nichols 37, at Anna Maria 20
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at Norwich 17, Coast Guard 14
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at Wilmington 42, Ohio Northern 38
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at Alma 51, Rockford 16
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at UW-Platteville 41, Thomas More 10
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at St. Olaf 36, Carleton 19
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Final
at St. John's 33, Gustavus Adolphus 21
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at Concordia-Moorhead 48, Augsburg 0
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Final
Nebraska Wesleyan 37, at Buena Vista 16
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Hardin-Simmons 63, at Howard Payne 20
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at Austin 20, Centre 13
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Final
Wartburg 62, at Luther 10
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Millikin 41, at North Park 7
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Final
UW-Whitewater 28, at St. Xavier 20
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at Lewis and Clark 44, Whittier 41
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St. Thomas 74, at Hamline 14
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King's 41, at Hartwick 19
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at University of New England 31, Castleton 21
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at Olivet 21, Benedictine 6
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Final - 2OT
at Adrian 32, Wisconsin Lutheran 29
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Sul Ross State 21, at McMurry 7
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at Dickinson St. 23, UW-La Crosse 17
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Final
at Waldorf 27, UW-River Falls 24
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Final
at Willamette 34, Occidental 31
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Final
Western Connecticut 42, at Bridgewater State 33
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at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps 24, Pacific Lutheran 17
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at Puget Sound 28, La Verne 24
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at Mass-Dartmouth 37, Fitchburg State 13
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Final
at Wittenberg 14, Wooster 12
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Final
at Dakota St. 38, UW-Stevens Point 21
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at RPI 35, Utica 33
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at Stetson 59, Western New England 28
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North Central (Ill.) 46, at Washington U. 13
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at Marietta 31, Muskingum 25
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at Denison 66, Hiram 7
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Bridgewater 35, at Shenandoah 17
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at Brevard 27, Christopher Newport 6
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at Heidelberg 55, Capital 6
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at Case Western Reserve 52, Grove City 14
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at Geneva 45, Thiel 10
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Coe 24, at Loras 7
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at Augustana 55, Elmhurst 13
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at St. Scholastica 35, Crown 32
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Berry 14, at Trinity (Texas) 10
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Simpson 21, at Dubuque 14
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Birmingham-Southern 49, at Sewanee 30
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Final
Texas Lutheran 31, at East Texas Baptist 21
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at Wheaton (Ill.) 24, Illinois Wesleyan 10
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at Southwestern 50, Louisiana College 3
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at Mary Hardin-Baylor 23, Belhaven 13
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at Millsaps 14, Rhodes 0
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at George Fox 26, Pomona-Pitzer 15
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at Redlands 27, Linfield 19
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at Chapman 37, Whitworth 30
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at Cal Lutheran 45, Pacific 28
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Sep. 5: All times Eastern
Final
Johns Hopkins 17, at Randolph-Macon 12
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Sep. 6: All times Eastern
Final
Salisbury 63, at Albright 28
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Final
Delaware Valley 37, at Kean 7
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Sep. 7: All times Eastern
Final
North Central (Ill.) 43, at Christopher Newport 13
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Final
Wesley 69, at Franklin Pierce 0
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Final
at Muhlenberg 45, TCNJ 26
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Final
Ithaca 66, at St. Vincent 28
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Final
at Susquehanna 42, Lycoming 26
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Final
at Washington and Jefferson 16, Wittenberg 8
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Final
at John Carroll 21, UW-Stevens Point 7
Video Box Score
Final
Centre 45, at Hanover 31
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Final
Berry 31, at Maryville (Tenn.) 10
Box Score
Final
at Bethel 42, Simpson 10
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Final
Wheaton (Ill.) 38, at Monmouth 0
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Final
St. John's 14, at UW-Stout 7
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Final - OT
at UW-La Crosse 21, Concordia-Moorhead 14
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Whitworth 50, at La Verne 24
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Final
at St. Thomas 69, Trinity International 3
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Final
at UW-Whitewater 42, Dubuque 7
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Final
Mount Union 66, at Rose-Hulman 14
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Final
Hardin-Simmons 64, at Sul Ross State 0
Box Score Photos
Final
Washington U. 43, at Chicago 7
Box Score Recap Photos