By ZACH ROBBINS
No. 8 Johns Hopkins hosted Muhlenberg College in front of a packed house in what turned out to be a tale of two very different tones.
The energy in Homewood Stadium was as high as ever with a large alumni crowd, including many former players, gathering for Young Alumni Weekend.
”It was awesome to have so many alumni back in town. It speaks a lot to what type of program [head coach Jim] Margraff has built over the years,” junior defensive back Jack Toner, who finished with seven tackles to go along with his forced fumble, fumble recovery and interception that he returned for 44 yards, said. “There is nothing like playing on Homewood Field and having a lot of people who have had that opportunity in one place creates a great atmosphere.”
Attendance was estimated to be 2,250 for the game which included three ties and two lead changes.
“The atmosphere was one of the best I’ve ever been a part of since playing at Homewood,” junior quarterback Jonathan Germano, who threw for four touchdowns, said. “It was awesome to get the crowd behind us and get to play in that environment, especially in front of a bunch of alumni as well.”
The Mules (2-2) put up a strong fight against the undefeated Jays for the majority of the game, leading 28-21 midway through the third quarter.
Muhlenberg managed to outscore Hopkins 21-7 in the second quarter, including two long touchdown passes from junior quarterback Nick Palladino. The first went 31 yards to senior Nick Lamb and the second less than two minutes later for 42 yards to junior Ryan Delaney.
Muhlenberg struck early out of the gates to take a 28-21 lead, but that was all they were able to get. The Jays began firing on all cylinders.
The Hopkins defense stepped up to the challenge and forced four turnovers in the Mules following six drives.
The defense gave Germano and his offense great field positions, including three drives that began in Muhlenberg territory and were all capitalized upon with touchdowns.
“We just stuck to the plan and kept working. The defense played lights-out in the second half and got a few turnovers and really just stalled their offense the whole second half,” Germano said, “We had a great game plan and Muhlenberg is a great team and we knew we were going to have to fight for 60 minutes. It was a great team win, and everyone counted on one another.”
“Our coaches just did a great job of having us stay on the course that we practiced all week and made sure that we continued to work hard and focus on what we can do as a team,” senior running back Brandon Cherry said. Cherry finished the day with 99 rushing yards including a 45-yard run.
Junior Stuart “Splash’Gang Stuey” Walters also played a big part in the explosive Blue Jay backfield, finishing with 94 total yards and two touchdown runs.
Junior receivers were on the other end of nearly every Germano pass, as the combination of Brad Munday (8 receptions, 80 yards, 1 touchdown), Quinn Donaldson (4, 27, 2), and Boone Lewis Jr. (3, 30, 1) led the way for the Jays’ passing game.
”It was awesome to have so many alums back. It’s an exhilarating feeling to be able to play ball in front of all the alumni ranging from Coach Margraff’s first team to last year’s graduating class,” Donaldson said, “Having so many alumni come back to support us and the university speaks volumes about the kind of culture that has been established around JHU football. It makes you feel a part of something truly special and, more importantly, makes you want to continue the winning tradition and culture at JHU going.”
Sophomore defensive end Keonte Henson was named the Centennial Conference defensive player of the week after posting three tackles for loss, two sacks and two forced fumbles in the victory. Henson leads the team in tackles for loss (5.0), sacks (2.5), and two forced fumbles.
No. 8 Hopkins will look to continue their undefeated season as they take on Juniata College (1-3, 0-3 CC) on Saturday, Oct. 3.