With its offensive line leading the way, the Johns Hopkins turned a one-point halftime deficit into a 58-27 victory over host Frostburg State that propels the Blue Jays into the NCAA Division III football quarterfinals for the second time in school history.
The sixth-ranked Bobcats become the highest-ranked team Johns Hopkins has ever beaten and the win earns the 13th-ranked Blue Jays a quarterfinal date with RPI, which upset third-ranked Brockport, 21-13, on Saturday.
Offensive linemen Joe Figueroa, Laurence Okeke, Frank Petracco, Jarrett Smith and Zack Toussaint led the Blue Jays as they piled up 647 yards of total offense and 400 rushing yards.
The Blue Jays (11-1), who tied the school record for wins in a season, led 12-3 early, but the Bobcats used a 17-7 second-quarter spurt to turn the nine-point deficit into the one-point halftime lead. That lead lasted less than four minutes into the third quarter, when senior Tyler Messinger capped a stunning six-play, 95-yard drive with a 52-yard touchdown run that gave the Blue Jays a 27-20 lead.
By the time the Bobcats scored again – four minutes into the fourth quarter – the Blue Jays had scored three more touchdowns in a span of just under four minutes midway through the third period to extend the 27-20 lead to 48-20.
Messinger's touchdown was followed three plays later by an Anthony Davidson fumble recovery that gave the Blue Jays possession at Bobcat 47. Six plays later, junior quarterback David Tammaro scored on a quarterback keeper to push the lead to 34-20.
It took just two plays for the Blue Jay defense to force another turnover, this time it was Macauley Kilbane intercepting a Connor Cox pass at the Johns Hopkins 41. Four plays later, facing second-and-10 at midfield, Tammaro rifled an out to senior Luke McFadden, who spun inside and darted untouched into the end to make it 41-20.
After the Blue Jay defense forced a three-and-out, the quick-strike Blue Jays needed just two plays to go 46 yards to cap their 29-point run. A 27-yard Messinger run and a perfect back-shoulder 19-yard Tammaro-to-Dane Rogerson touchdown strike covered the 46 yards in just 44 seconds.
Frostburg (10-1) ended the run when Cox hit Christan Thornton from 18 yards out to polish off a six-play, 69-yard drive early in the third quarter that sliced the Blue Jay lead to 48-27, but that would be as close as the Bobcats would get.
The Johns Hopkins defense set up Hopkins' final touchdown as freshman Robert Fletcher intercepted a Cox pass and returned it to the Frostburg five-yard line to set up Messinger's fourth touchdown of the game and Mike Eberle closed the scoring with a 39-yard field goal.
Hopkins' 12-3 lead at the end of the first quarter came as the result of a 23-yard touchdown run by Messinger on the Blue Jays' first drive of the game and a 37-yard Tammaro-to-McFadden strike that Frostburg answered with just a field goal in between.
Messinger rushed for a career-high 231 yards and tied the school record for touchdowns in a game with his four; he finished with 237 all-purpose yards. Senior Stuart Walters totaled 238 all-purpose yards as he rushed 87 yards, added 17 receiving yards and 134 yards on five kickoff returns.
Tammaro extended his school record for consecutive 200-yard passing games to 22 as he was 17-of-24 for 247 yards and three touchdowns. McFadden was his favorite target as he had five receptions for 164 yards and the two scores.
Fletcher led the Blue Jay defense with 12 tackles, including one sack, added the one interception and one pass breakup. Sophomore Ryan Weed, senior Addison Quinones and junior James Closser all added eight tackles for the Blue Jays.
Cox was 24-of-44 for 355 yards and two touchdowns against two interceptions and Sergio Andino was on the back end of seven of those completions for 124 yards. Morant rushed for a team-high 92 yards and the one score.
Johns Hopkins advances to the quarterfinals for the second time in school history (2009). The location of next week's quarterfinal game against RPI will be announced later tonight or on Sunday..
Valdosta State 66, Bowie State 16: The Blazers (11-0) went on a 45-0 run in the second half to rout the Bulldogs (10-3) in an NCAA Division II second round game. Amir Hall threw for a game-high 287 yards on 20 of 36 passes, including two touchdown passes, and Montez Clay (Dunbar) had 92 receiving yards for Bowie State. Derrick Tate (Edmondson) had 12 tackles for the Bulldogs, in their deepest post-season run.
Bowie State took a 10-0 lead with 13:36 left in the first half before Valdosta State scored the next three touchdowns and never trailed again.