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Johns Hopkins loses 24-21 as Hobart cashes in on Jays' miscues

GENEVA, N.Y. — There was no masking the disappointment on Braden Anderson's face after he played the final game of his college football career.

His coach, however, hopes his quarterback will one day look back on that career and realize what he has accomplished in his time at Johns Hopkins.

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"We've leaned on Braden all season, and it was no different today," coach Jim Margraff said Saturday after the Blue Jays fell to host Hobart, 24-21, in the second round of the NCAA Division III playoffs.

The winning points came on quarterback Patrick Conlan's 12-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver John Fasano.

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Anderson's pass was intercepted at the Statesmen 2-yard line with less than 10 seconds left in the game, ending the Blue Jays' season.

Hobart, ranked ninth by D3football.com, improved to 12-0 and will take on Wesley in the quarterfinal round next weekend.

Johns Hopkins, ranked seventh, turned the ball over four times. The Statesmen, who had turned the ball over 12 times in its previous three games, had no turnovers Saturday.

"Hobart played a very solid game today, and it showed in the turnovers," Margraff said. "I told the guys I was disappointed for them, but not disappointed in them.

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"It certainly wasn't our best game. We turned the ball over four times and could not force any from them."

On the first play from scrimmage, Anderson's pass was tipped and intercepted by Hobart cornerback Todd Collier.

Sophomore kicker Sean Kirshe later kicked a 42-yard field goal to give the Statesmen a 3-0 lead.

Hobart went up 10-0 late in the first quarter on a 10-play, 80-yard drive. After a 38-yard pass from Conlan to tight end Mike Berkowitz and a 17-yard run by running back Brad Burns, Burns scored from 1 yard out.

Hopkins trimmed the lead to 10-7 early in the second quarter. After a 48-yard pass from Anderson to sophomore receiver Bradley Munday that put the ball inside Hobart's 10, sophomore running back Stuart Walters scored from 5 yards out.

Hobart went up 16-7 after a Blue Jays fake punt was stopped at midfield.

A pass-interference penalty and a 19-yard run by Statesmen running back Alex Furtado put the ball deep in Hopkins territory, and Furtado later scored on a 7-yard run, but the extra-point try was blocked.

"I think we played a great first half, and the turnovers really helped us," said Hobart coach Mike Cragg, whose team earned a berth in the quarterfinal round for the second time in three years.

"It's nice to be on the other side of the turnover margin for a change."

The Blue Jays answered after recovering a failed onside kick. Anderson completed two passes that put the ball at Hobart's 20 and later scrambled for a 15-yard gain.

Two plays later, Anderson found sophomore receiver Quinn Donaldson in the back of the end zone, and Hobart led 16-14 at halftime.

After a scoreless and uneventful third quarter, the Blue Jays took their first lead of the game, 21-16, early in the fourth when Anderson hit a wide-open Donaldson on a 28-yard scoring pass.

The drive was aided by a 15-yard personal-foul penalty by Hobart and a 16-yard pass from Anderson to sophomore receiver Boone Lewis Jr.

Hopkins, however, wasted a good scoring opportunity and a chance to increase its lead on its next possession. After getting inside Hobart's 10-yard line, Anderson was forced to scramble, and his errant lateral was recovered by Hobart defensive tackle Jake Russell.

The Statesmen then marched 88 yards in nine plays, capped by Conlan's scoring pass to Fasano.

"In that final drive, I saw some of the best passes and some of the best catches I've seen in my time at Hobart College," said Cragg, who has been with Hobart's football program for nearly 30 years, the last 20 as head coach.

Hopkins drove from its 37-yard line on its final possession, with Anderson completing several passes and running for about 30 yards on a number of quarterback draws before the interception near the goal line.

"It was a tough one to lose and it will be a rough bus ride home, but this is a great group of kids," Margraff said. "It's still been a great season."

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