Nov. 5, 2016
LANCASTER, PA – The Franklin & Marshall football team entered Saturday's showdown with seventh-ranked Johns Hopkins allowing an average of just 16 points and 289 yards per game. The Diplomats hadn't surrendered more than 17 points since September and had allowed a total of just 42 points in four home games before Saturday.
By halftime, Hopkins (9-0, 8-0 Centennial) had scored 35 points and rolled up 379 yards of total offense in what eventually became a 48-28 victory that locked up no worse than a share of an eighth straight Centennial Conference title and secured the league's automatic bid to the upcoming NCAA Playoffs. It will be the sixth straight trip to the NCAAs for the Blue Jays.
It took less than 10 minutes for Johns Hopkins to jump out to a 14-0 lead as the Blue Jays put together a methodical nine-play, 62-yard drive on their first possession that end with a three-yard touchdown pass from senior Jonathan Germano to classmate Boone Lewis, Jr.
After forcing F&M to punt on its ensuing possession, the Blue Jays were slightly more efficient on their next drive – as in, it took just one play and 12 seconds to cover 79 yards with Germano finding a wide open Brett Caggiano behind the defense to give the Blue Jays the early 14-point lead.
The Diplomats hopped back in the game with the first of four long scoring drives. After working from their own 40 to the Blue Jay 39, quarterback Tanner Erisman found K.J. Pretty a step behind the secondary and he out-jumped a Blue Jay defender in the end zone to slice the deficit to 14-7.
That would be as close the Diplomats would get as Hopkins, after punting once, scored on three straight possessions to push the lead to 35-7 late in the second quarter.
The first of those three drives was another of the quick-strike variety as Caggiano threw his second touchdown pass of the season to junior Ryan Cary from 47 yards out after a lateral from Germano; that was the second play in a 55-yard drive that took just 53 seconds.
The scoring reception was the first of three straight touchdowns for Cary, who found the end zone on rushes of three and 45 yards in a span of just over four minutes midway through the second quarter. The three-yard run came two plays after a 79-yard run by Germano, who becomes the first player in school history to have a pass and rush of 75 yards or longer in the same game. His 79-yard run is the longest by a Johns Hopkins player since Hari Lymon had a 79-yard run against McDaniel in 1992.
F&M (6-3, 5-3 Centennial) sliced the deficit to 35-14 at the half as Erisman's second touchdown pass of the game, this one a four-yarder to Drew Farber, capped a 12-play, 71-yard drive late in the second quarter.
While the Johns Hopkins defense was forcing two punts and causing a turnover on F&M's first three drives of the second half, the Blue Jay offense was putting together scoring drives of 59, 69 and 65 yards on its first three second-half possessions.
Jamie Sullivan (26 yards) and Nick Campbell (20) polished off the first two of those drives with short field goals before Germano capped his day the same way he started it - with a short touchdown pass to Lewis.
The Diplomats put together two long scoring drives of their own in the fourth quarter as Zachary Bradley hit Anthony DeStefano with a six-yard touchdown pass to polish off a 95-yard drive and Pretty made another leaping touchdown grab from 41 yards out in the last 90 seconds to close out the scoring.
Germano threw for 255 yards and the three touchdowns and rushed for 113 yards on just seven carries to fuel a 581-yard effort by the Blue Jay offense. Cary also topped the 100-yard mark as he rushed for 121 yards and the two scores on 12 carries and added three receptions for 73 yards and the one touchdown.
Caggiano had three receptions for 123 yards and the one score and also threw the touchdown pass to Cary; Johns Hopkins averaged 8.8 yards per play with Caggiano's 41 yards per reception leading the way.
Five different Johns Hopkins players totaled five tackles on the day for the Blue Jay defense, which held F&M to just 14 points and 205 yards through three quarters before the Diplomats got the two late scoring drives.
Johns Hopkins will close the regular season on Saturday, November 12 at home against long-time rival McDaniel. Kickoff at Homewood Field is set for noon. The Blue Jays secure the Centennial Conference title outright with a win against the Green Terror or a loss by Muhlenberg against Moravian next week.
Notes: Johns Hopkins won its 40th consecutive regular season game and improved its Centennial Conference winning streak to 36 games • The JHU seniors improved to 41-3 in their career – the 41 wins are tied for the second most by a class in school history and are just one shy of the record • The eight straight Centennial titles are a record – JHU had shared the record of seven with Dickinson (1988-94) • Jonathan Germano improved to 20-1 as JHU's starting quarterback and tied current head coach Jim Margraff for second on JHU's career 200-yard passing games list (15) • Junior Lance Hammond recorded the 100th tackle of his career • Senior Bradley Munday's 82 all-purpose yards give him 4,081 – he is just the fourth player in school history to reach 4,000.
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