Johns Hopkins football coach Jim Margraff is aging rapidly this fall.
On Sept. 25, the Blue Jays turned back two drives in the final minutes and held on to beat Fairleigh Dickinson-Madison, 7-0. On Oct. 2, they got nothing out of a fourth-quarter drive and lost to Gettysburg, 13-10. Notebook
Last Saturday, Hopkins beat Ursinus, 35-34, when the Bears' attempt at a winning conversion pass with time elapsed was intercepted by Chad Van Den Berg.
"A lot of people are saying we could be 4-1, but I know we could also be 1-4," said Margraff, whose team is 3-2. "Three games in a row like that will put some years on you."
Ursinus gained 492 yards to Hopkins' 330, but the Blue Jays took advantage of their opportunities inside the 20-yard line after failing to do so against Gettysburg.
The Hopkins defense is battered -- Van Den Berg was making his first start in place of the injured Tommy Spain -- and it will play the entire season without Stu Markley, a two-time Centennial Football Conference all-star linebacker.
He injured a knee in the preseason and recently decided to sit out this year and return in 1993.
"Stu's knee is in good shape," Margraff said, "but the season's halfway over and he prefers to come back for a full year. He would have been here an extra semester anyway, so he'll play next year."
Among the state's nine NCAA football teams, Hopkins was the only winner last week.
The Blue Jays play their final night game at Homewood Field on Friday (7:30) against Muhlenberg.
Showdown in Westminster
Margraff said Johns Hopkins is among "a bunch of .500 teams trying to get above .500" in the CFC, and the two that he says stand ahead of the pack will meet Saturday when Dickinson plays at Western Maryland.
The Green Terrors suffered their first loss last week, falling, 48-30, at Randolph-Macon, but they still lead the CFC with a 3-0 record.
Dickinson (5-0) is the only other team with a perfect CFC record, and the Pennsylvania power will be looking for revenge Saturday.
In Dickinson's last visit to Westminster, in 1990, Western Maryland upset the Red Devils, 14-7.
That was Dickinson's only CFC loss since 1988, and it kept the Red Devils out of the NCAA playoffs.
They were selected to the Division III tournament last season and in 1989, and they're ranked No. 3 in the South Region.
Uphill fight for Tigers
Towson State is in the midst of a brutal stretch.
The Tigers lost at Delaware State last Saturday, and the Hornets' only defeat was at Youngstown State, the defending NCAA Division I-AA champion. This week, Towson State plays at unbeaten William & Mary, and then comes homecoming Oct. 24 against James Madison, a 1991 NCAA participant that dropped to 3-3 Saturday with a last-second loss to Appalachian State.
On Oct. 31, the Tigers drop down to play a Division II opponent. The catch is that they're at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, unbeaten and again on track to appear in the NCAA playoffs.
Northeastern, its Nov. 14 opponent, is 3-2, and Towson State finishes Nov. 21 at Delaware, which is 4-1 and ranked in I-AA.
Fly with the Gulls
Salisbury State was without its top two rushers last week, as sophomore Ron Stump (Bel Air) is out for the season with a knee injury and freshman Damon Fayall (Poly) was resting a sore shoulder, so the Sea Gulls revved up their passing game against Rowan.
Junior quarterback Len Annetta went 30-for-56 for 274 yards in the 43-18 loss, the second time this season he has set school records for completions and attempts.
For the season, he is 87-for-182 for 942 yards, and in position to eclipse records set by Kevin White in 1986, when the Sea Gulls went to the Division III title game.
Both junior Charlie Whalen and freshman Shawn Powell bettered the school record for catches in a game, with 11 and 10, respectively.