xml:space="preserve">
xml:space="preserve">
Advertisement
Advertisement

Johns Hopkins football passed first big test in convincing fashion

After sandwiching a closer-than-expected 27-20 decision over Centennial Conference rival Susquehanna on Sept. 13 with fairly dominant wins against Randolph-Macon and Moravian, Johns Hopkins encountered its first important test of the season Saturday with a road trip to Muhlenberg, which had captured seven league titles in the last 13 years.

The Blue Jays left with more than a passing grade as they scored the game's first 21 points en route to a 42-26 victory. They improved to 4-0 overall and 3-0 in the conference and gave coach Jim Margraff a measure of comfort about his team's potential.

Advertisement

"I feel good that when our guys prepare well and are focused, we're capable of beating good teams," he said Wednesday morning. "We had a great week of practice last week, and our guys were locked in the entire game. We faced some adversity. They had a blocked punt and a tipped ball that got intercepted for a touchdown and got them right back in the game when we had been playing so well. So it was really encouraging. I think it's great that our guys have seen that hard work and focus is going to put them in a good position."

The Mules (3-1, 2-1) had beaten their three previous opponents by a combined score of 135-17, but Margraff said that dominance may have actually been favorable for Johns Hopkins, which moved from No. 12 to No. 10 in the most recent American Football Coaches Association poll.

Advertisement
Advertisement

"Quite honestly, they hadn't been tested yet, and I was hoping that would play to our advantage," Margraff said. "Not that they weren't playing good teams, but they were just playing so well that they got up early and never really faced some of the things we faced in the first several games. I just think the fact that we were able to get up early caught them off guard a little bit, and gave our guys a lot of confidence."

After the Blue Jays sprinted to a 21-0 lead, then-No. 23 Muhlenberg tried to mount a comeback and eventually narrowed the score to 28-20 by the end of the third quarter. But Johns Hopkins posted a 14-6 fourth period, and Margraff said he never worried about the players slowing down after the early advantage.

"I think our guys were fully invested in that game," he said. "We know how good they are. We've been going back and forth with those guys for a decade now, and I think on paper, they were looking at this as their year to make a strong move on us because they have a ton of seniors back on defense and they have a very good team. But we never lost a moment's focus. We were up 21-0, and our guys were totally locked in."

Recommended on Baltimore Sun

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement