A year after relying on the greatest passing attack in school history, the Johns Hopkins football team went to the ground game and got 344 rushing yards and four touchdowns in a 36-13 season-opening victory over Randolph-Macon on Saturday at Homewood Field.
The Blue Jays defense had six sacks and held the Yellow Jackets (0-1) to 32 rushing yards in Hopkins' 15th consecutive regular-season victory.
On the first possession, Jonathan Rigaud ran 62 yards to set the Blue Jays (1-0) up at the Randolph-Macon 13-yard line. Rigaud capped the drive with a 2-yard scoring run four plays later for a 7-0 lead.
While the Blue Jays started quickly, the Yellow Jackets struggled to generate 48 yards of total offense in the first half with five of their six first-half possessions generating 10 yards or less.
With the Blue Jays defense doing its part, the Hopkins offense got rolling in the second quarter with touchdowns on three straight possessions that turned the 7-0 lead at the end of the first quarter into a 27-0 lead at the half.
Scott Barletta capped a 13-play, 80-yard drive with a 1-yard scoring run that pushed the lead to 13-0 midway through the quarter. The Blue Jays were forced to convert just once on third down on the drive, as Robbie Matey completed all four of his passes for 44 yards while also rushing 14 yards.
After a three-and-out by the Yellow Jackets, which featured two sacks of Zac Naccarato by Andy Laychur and Michael Rocca, the Blue Jays turned to freshman Brandon Cherry and JD Abbott to fuel a seven-play, 54-yard drive. Abbott gained 22 yards on three carries to set the Blue Jays up at the Randolph-Macon 21, where Cherry took a handoff, bounced off a would-be tackler at the 15 yard-line and raced into the end zone to make it 20-0.
Randolph-Macon gained just one first down on its ensuing possession and was forced to punt the ball back to the Blue Jays with just over 90 seconds remaining in the half.
A 29-yard pass from Matey to junior Daniel Wodicka opened the drive, which later included a 10-yard run by Matey and a 9-yard scoring run by Rigaud that pushed the lead to 27-0 at the half. Hopkins outgained the Randolph-Macon 342-48 in the first half alone.
Frostburg State 56, Geneva 53: Kenny Emmons and Anthony Young connected on a touchdown with 10 seconds left in the fourth quarter to lift the host Bobcats (1-0) over the Golden Tornadoes (0-1).
The victory is the second straight in the series. The two squads have opened their respective seasons against each other for the past four years.
The two teams combined for 109 points, 73 first downs and 1,215 yards in total offense. The two combined for 33 points in the fourth quarter alone, all within the last 7:46.
Frostburg, which held a 34:58-25:02 lead in time of possession, scored three touchdowns in the final quarter for the victory. The Bobcats appeared to take the lead for good at 3:13 when tailback Chuky Iweh scored from 3 yards out for a 49-47 edge.
Geneva marched 75 yards in nine plays in 1:59 for the go-ahead score, making it 53-49. On second down, Zack Hayward tossed his sixth score of the game, this time a 7-yarder that put the visitors ahead with 1:14 left on the clock.
Frostburg went 70 yards on six plays for the game-winning drive.
Salisbury 49, Christopher Newport 16: The visiting Sea Gulls (1-0) outscored the Captains (0-1) 27-9 in the second half to lead to the win.
Joe Beneditti led Salisbury with 24 carries for 216 yards and four touchdowns, including both first-half scores — one 35 yards, the other 2 yards.
Shenandoah 26, Stevenson 16: The host Mustangs (0-1) led early before the Hornets (1-0) took the lead for good with 27 seconds left in the first half.
Anthony Smith had three receptions for 71 yards and a touchdown for Stevenson. In the first half, Charlie Cornell made a 27-yard field goal and Marcus Holley added an 8-yard touchdown run for 3-0 and 9-6 Stevenson leads, respectively.
Bowie State 24, Assumption 20: After Assumption edged ahead by a 20-17 margin with 33.8 seconds remaining, the host Bulldogs (1-0) scored on a 16-yard touchdown pass to Douglas McNeil III with 5.7 seconds left to beat the Hounds (0-1).
On the first Bowie State possession of the game, Assumption's Sonny Dillinger recovered a fumble at the 17-yard line. The Hounds scored on a 17-yard touchdown play. Bobby Jordan found Sean Daigle for a 7-0 lead with 11:57 left in the first.
The Hounds added to that lead almost eight minutes later as Nick Bolio capped off an 11-play, 64-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown dive and the 14-0 advantage.
The Bulldogs cut that advantage in half with 1:59 left in the second quarter.