The positive vibes lingering from last week's dramatic, come-from-behind win for McDaniel College's football team vanished in less than 15 minutes Saturday afternoon.
It didn't take Johns Hopkins very long to establish its presence at Kenneth R. Gill Stadium, and the Blue Jays walloped the Green Terror 52-21 in the regular-season finale.
Hopkins has more football to play this fall, with an undefeated record (10-0, 9-0 Centennial Conference), a conference championship in hand, and an upcoming playoff game. McDaniel is finished at 2-8, 2-7, and the Terror had 19 seniors end their careers on a somewhat sour note.
Hopkins won its 13th straight game in the all-time series and set a record for most points scored. The Blue Jays led 28-0 after the first quarter, outgained the Terror 143-43 in yardage in the frame, and scored on their first five drives.
McDaniel avoided the shutout thanks to a 48-yard touchdown pass from Seth McFall to Nick O'Melia (five catches, 83 yards) with 9:01 to play in the second quarter. But the game was long decided by then, and the Terror were on their way to their fourth consecutive home defeat one week after a thrilling road win at Susquehanna.
"We got down early, but I was really proud of how our team really fought the whole game," said McFall, a junior who made his second start of the year and threw for a career-high 287 yards with three touchdowns. "It was definitely good to see our seniors fighting hard the whole game. We really came together as a team, to do what we can to come back a little bit."
McDaniel's 43-42 victory last week over the Crusaders, thanks to a two-point conversion in the final seconds, ended a 16-game road losing streak. But it didn't carry over to Saturday, not with a much tougher opponent in Johns Hopkins on the Hill.
The Blue Jays, ranked 11th in the country by d3football.com, got a chance to rest the majority of their starters before this one was over. And the Jays spread the ball around the field - four quarterbacks saw action, led by Braden Anderson's 142 passing yards; Matt Berry ran for 54 yards and a touchdown as one of eight ball-carriers for Johns Hopkins; and 12 different Blue Jays had a reception (Daniel Wodicka had six for 45 yards and a score).
Meanwhile, McDaniel couldn't get anything going. The Green Terror's first five drives, compared to the Jays, went as follows: punt, punt, interception, punt, interception.
Hopkins clamped down on running back Joe Rollins, one of McDaniel's more decorated seniors, and held him to 28 yards on 18 carries.
"They have really, really good recruiting," Rollins said about Hopkins. "They have a lot of talent on their team. We have talent as well, of course, but ... they're undefeated for a reason."
Rollins spent some extra time on the field following Saturday's game, along with a host of teammates who played for the final time in a McDaniel uniform. Rollins finished the season with 1,374 yards and ended his career with 4,641, second most in program history.
Players and coaches posed for photos with family members after the game, and head coach Mike Hoyt sought out most of them for extended handshakes and hugs.
Hoyt has credited the Green Terror as a unit for not giving in during a disappointing season, a season that saw McDaniel improve by two wins from the previous year.
"Our theme this week was 'Vision,' and [John Hopkins] is a vision of where ... that's why I came here, to build a program like that," Hoyt said. "There's only two ways to do it, and it's weight room and recruiting. It starts now."
NOTE: Johns Hopkins freshman defensive back Dan Johnson, a Westminster High School graduate, finished second on the team with six tackles Saturday. ... McDaniel receiver Keith Woodrow, a Francis Scott Key grad, had two touchdowns and three catches for 32 yards. ... The teams combined for the most points in a game (73) in their rivalry that dates back to 1894.