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Juniata football's early lead doesn't hold as Johns Hopkins downs Eagles on Homecoming

(Posted October 31, 2009)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Juniata College jumped out to an early lead by scoring on its first play of the game, but committed six turnovers over the remainder of the contest and dropped a 58-7 decision to Centennial Conference rival Johns Hopkins University, Saturday afternoon at Knox Stadium.

After forcing Johns Hopkins to go three-and-out off the opening kickoff, Juniata (1-8, 1-6 Centennial) put a touchdown on the scoreboard on its first play from scrimmage of its ensuing possession.

With a first-and-10 at the Juniata 29, senior quarterback Alex Snyder (Boalsburg, Pa./State College Area) hit wideout Matt Dunker (Glenshaw, Pa./Shaler) at the Hopkins 40-yard line, and Dunker outran the defense all the way into the Blue Jay endzone. Freshman Scott Andrews (Hollidaysburg, Pa./Altoona Area) converted the extra-point attempt, giving the Eagles a 7-0 lead.

Johns Hopkins responded on its next possession, with a five-yard Andrew Kase touchdown run capping the Blue Jays' eight-play, 79-yard drive. Hopkins kicker Alex Lachman failed to make the extra-point, leaving Juniata with a one-point lead.

Juniata went three-and-out with its next possession, and Eagle punter Owen Phillips (West Chester, Pa./Downingtown West) failed to get a clean kick on the ball while trying to avoid defensive pressure from the Blue Jays. The result was a -1 yard punt, giving Hopkins possession at the Juniata 26-yard line.

Five plays later, Lachman booted a 23-yard field goal for Hopkins, putting the Blue Jays in front 9-7 with 6:22 remaining in the first quarter.

The Blue Jays tacked on one more touchdown before the end of the first quarter, this time on a seven-yard TD run by Kase. Johns Hopkins scored four touchdowns in the second quarter, including a blocked Phillips punt for a TD, and held a 44-7 lead at halftime.

After a scoreless third quarter, Hopkins scored two more touchdowns in the final stanza.

Juniata turnovers proved to be costly. The Eagles tallied six turnovers, resulting in 35 points for the Blue Jays.

"They (Johns Hopkins) are a good football team, they're well coached, and they're going to do what they do," said Juniata head coach Carmen Felus. "That's part of being a good football team: here's what we do, now try to stop it. That's why they're 6-2 with a chance to win the conference."

Juniata finished the day with 193 yards of total offense. Snyder was 14-of-22 through the air for 183 yards; the 71-yard pass completion to Snyder was Juniata's longest play from scrimmage this season. Snyder also threw three interceptions, and was sacked seven times.

Abram Mellinger (Ronks, Pa./Lampeter Strasburg) was Snyder's top target with seven catches for 68 yards, while Dunker finished with 111 yards on six receptions. Freshman tailback Quadir Christian (Johnstown, Pa./Greater Johnstown) logged 38 yards on 11 rushes, averaging 3.5 yards per carry.

Johns Hopkins (6-2, 5-1 Centennial), who entered the game with Division III's 17th-best rushing attack, was led by senior running back Andrew Kase. Kase finished with 146 yards and four TDs on 14 carries, averaging better than 10 yards per rush. Quarterback Hewitt Tomlin was 10-of-15 passing for 125 yards, and did not throw an interception. Four Blue Jay receivers had better than 20 yards receiving, led by Lyndon O'Connor with 49 yards on two catches.

Defensively, the Eagles were paced by senior linebacker Tyler Hall (Alexandria, Pa./Juniata Valley) with seven tackles, five of which were unassisted, and one interception. Senior safety Brandon Spayd (Huntingdon, Pa./Huntingdon Area) had six total tackles, of which five were solo stops.

Juniata concludes its 2009 season next Friday, Nov. 6, when it travels to Carlisle, Pa., to face Dickinson College. Kick-off is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.

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Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.