Juniata drops Homecoming game to No. 20 Johns Hopkins, 34-0
HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Heading into Saturday's matchup with 20th-ranked Johns Hopkins University, Juniata College Head Coach Tim Launtz didn't mince words: the Blue Jays would be the best team his Eagles would face all season.
Johns Hopkins proved to be as good as advertised, as the Blue Jays tallied 381 yards of offense while holding Juniata (0-5, 0-4 Centennial) to just 37 yards offense on the day in a 34-0 Centennial Conference football win over the Eagles on Homecoming & Family Weekend at Knox Stadium.
The Blue Jays (5-0, 4-0 Centennial), who entered Saturday's game with the ninth-ranked defense in all of Division III, held the Eagles to a 1-of-14 conversion rate on third downs, and sacked Juniata quarterback Ward Udinski (Doylestown, Pa./Central Bucks West) four times for 27 yards.
Udinski completed two of his 14 pass attempts against the Blue Jays and finished with 17 yards passing. He also rushed 17 times for a net of four yards.
Much of that yardage came on Udinski's 15-yard pass hookup with junior wideout Isiah Morgan (Clearfield, Pa./Clearfield) on the Eagles' second possession of the first half. His other completion was a two-yard catch by sophomore running back Zach McCaulley (Bellwood, Pa./Bellwood-Antis) at the start of the 2nd quarter.
Senior backup quarterback Brian Pugh (Valley Stream, N.Y./Holy Cross) saw the field in the 4th quarter and had one completion to Zane Bussard (Saxton, Pa./Tussey Mountain), who was stopped behind the line of scrimmage.
Juniata held Hopkins off the board until the waning seconds of the 1st quarter, when quarterback Robbie Matey hit Sam Wernick in the endzone on a 22-yard pass play to give the Blue Jays a 7-0 lead.
Hopkins' Matey connected with Scott Cremins for a seven-yard score at the 9:24 mark of the 2nd quarter, and the Blue Jays' Jonathan Rigaud scampered 22 yards for a rushing TD to extend Johns Hopkins' lead to 20-0 at the half.
A fumble on a low snap to Juniata punter Owen Phillips (West Chester, Pa./Downingtown West) at the Juniata 33 turned into a recovery and 20-yard return for a touchdown by Hopkins' Michael Longo at the 13:51 mark of the 3rd quarter.
Juniata's ensuing drive, its second of the half, produced a first down on the 15-yard Udinski-to-Morgan pass play, but was brought to a close when Udinski was sacked for a loss of eight yards on a 3rd-and-4 at the Juniata 42.
The Blue Jays responded with a nine-play, 65-yard drive capped with a Scott Barletta 12-yard rushing TD, extending the Hopkins lead to 34-0.
Juniata's best scoring opportunity came on its final drive of the game. The Eagles took over on downs at their own 35 and picked up first downs on a 12-yard rush by Pugh and face mask penalty by the Blue Jays. The drive eventually stalled on the Hopkins 33-yard line, ending on Pugh's incomplete pass attempt to Isaiah Slutter (Hawley, Pa./Wallenpaupack Area) on 4th-and-10 with 55 seconds remaining in the game.
Sophomore linebacker Kevin Gorman (Waverly, N.Y./Waverly Central) led Juniata defensively with eight total tackles, a sack, and 1.5 tackles-for-loss, while freshman linebacker Ethan Wilt (Altoona, Pa./Altoona Area) also logged eight tackles with a half-tackle-for-loss. Lineman Jason Marquis (Jeannette, Pa./Jeannette) and cornerback Andrew Masullo (Bellefonte, Pa./Bellefonte) each had seven tackles.
For Johns Hopkins, Matey was 17-of-31 through the air for 161 yards, with Wernick hauling in seven receptions for 52 yards. Bob D'Orazio tallied 73 yards receiving on five catches. Rigaud paced the ground game with 44 yards on 10 carries.
Juniata's defense held Johns Hopkins to a season-low 381 yards, well below the 477.2 yards averaged by the Blue Jays and their 14th-in-Division III offense.
Juniata enjoys a bye week next weekend, before returning to Centennial Conference play on October 15 against Ursinus College. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:00 p.m.