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Despite struggling to run vs. Rowan, Johns Hopkins sticking to plan

Johns Hopkins' 24-16 win against Rowan in Saturday's first round of the NCAA Division III playoffs was notable for two offensive developments: the promising play of senior quarterback Braden Anderson and the lack of success in the run game.

While Anderson completed 27 of 36 passes for 286 yards and three touchdowns, the tailback trio of junior Brandon Cherry and sophomores Stuart Walters and Dionisio Roman was limited to a combined 76 yards and no touchdowns on 24 carries by a Profs defense that entered the matchup ranked seventh in the country against the run (77.5 yards per game).

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The task doesn't figure to become any easier for the No. 6 Blue Jays (11-0) this Saturday against No. 7 Hobart (11-0). The Statesmen are ranked eighth against the run, surrendering an average of 80.4 yards and just six touchdowns.

But Johns Hopkins coach Jim Margraff said running the ball will continue to be a staple of the offensive game plan.

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"We're not going to suddenly abandon our run game," he said. "We're going to make some minor adjustments. They're a very talented defense. They kind of look like us when we watched them on film. As a team, they've got some very good athletes, and they run to the ball well. They've got some terrific big-play kids. Hopefully, it's a great game, but we're not going to change what we do."

Margraff said Rowan tended to bring a safety down into the box to contain the Blue Jays. But that created opportunities in the passing game for Anderson, sophomore wide receiver Quinn Donaldson (seven catches for 105 yards and two touchdowns) and sophomore wide receiver Bradley Munday (11 catches for 77 yards).

"A lot of times, if you're not successful on the ground, it's because they're bringing safeties down, and there's more guys in the box. But you find you're pretty successful in the pass game because they can't cover as well as they would like," Margraff said. "… I think some of our guys up front could have played better. I think some of our fullbacks and tight ends, too. It's a unit. We're looking at the entire unit right now. We can play better, and I think we will play better."

Offensive coordinator Greg Chimera said the key is to give Hobart different looks from what the defense may have seen on film.

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"With defenses like this, if you run the same formations with the same personnel, they kind of get into the flow of the game and lock into what they do best," Chimera said. "What we're trying to do is do what we do well, but maybe dress it up a little bit and try to attack them in ways they haven't been attacked yet. That's our job as coaches."

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