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Jim Margraff happy with Johns Hopkins football's undefeated record, but wary of upcoming schedule

For the fourth consecutive season, Johns Hopkins has reached its bye week with an untarnished overall record and mark in the Centennial Conference.

Unlike those previous squads, this year's team has a different aura.

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"I'm not sure if you ever anticipate it as much as it's what you hope for," coach Jim Margraff said Thursday morning of the Blue Jays' 5-0 overall record and 4-0 league mark. "What's encouraging is that we're playing fairly well. I think we've been more talented in years past, but this group has been very focused. They're playing well together, and we haven't hurt ourselves – barely at all – in the past couple weeks. They've practiced hard, and they've played well. You couldn't ask for more than that."

After walloping Randolph-Macon, 42-3, in the season opener on Sept. 6, Johns Hopkins had a more-difficult-than-expected outing in a 27-20 win at conference rival Susquehanna.

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Since then, however, the team has defeated league foes Moravian, Muhlenberg and Juniata by 19, 16 and 42 points, respectively. Margraff said the Blue Jays have fortified several areas and continue to improve in others.

"We have a few outstanding players, but we're showing very few weaknesses right now," he said. "Whether we're improving or people haven't exposed them, that's a question we're going to have to figure out. But to this point, our guys have done very solid."

But Margraff pointed out that the remainder of Johns Hopkins' schedule is littered with landmines. The team travels to Dickinson (2-3, 2-2) after returning from the bye, welcomes Gettysburg (3-2, 3-1) to Homewood Field in Baltimore on Oct. 24, and then tangles with Ursinus (5-0, 4-0) on Nov. 1.

"I think our conference probably has more parity than any other conference that you will see," Margraff said. "During the bye week, you can take a minute and be a fan and as we look, Dickinson's won a few games in exciting fashion, coming back late in games and winning and scoring a lot of points. Gettysburg is always one of the top-scoring teams in the country. They're moving the ball very well, and their defense is ranked first in rushing, which is really rare because that's been their Achilles heel over the past several years.

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"Ursinus is undefeated at this point, and we've got [Franklin & Marshall] who was the last team to beat us in our conference, and we've got our archrivals in McDaniel College. So when you put it together, there's a ton of challenges still ahead of us. So we're going to have these two days of bye-week practice where we really focus on fundamentals and then we'll focus on Dickinson and nothing else."

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