The Johns Hopkins football team built a 17-point fourth-quarter lead in its home-opener, but visiting Susquehanna rallied with three touchdowns in the final 12 minutes to pull off an improbable 28-27 victory at Homewood Field.
The River Hawks (2-0) put together scoring drives of 77, 99, and 75 yards in the final quarter, the last one culminating in a decisive 11-yard touchdown pass from Michael Ruisch to Frank Depaola with eight seconds to play. The Blue Jays (1-1), who entered the game ranked seventh in the nation by D3football.com, lost a regular-season game at home for the first time since falling to Muhlenberg on Oct. 2, 2010.
Hopkins led 21-7 at the half and, after a scoreless third quarter, pushed the lead to 24-7 on Mike Eberle's 27-yard field goal with 12:19 to play. The River Hawks jump-started their comeback with a three-play, 77-yard drive that Ruisch capped off with a 45-yard touchdown pass to Mikah Christian to cut the deficit to 24-14.
JHU punter Kyle Battles pinned Susquehanna at its own 1-yard line with a 37-yard punt on Hopkins' next drive, but Ruisch and the River Hawks went 99 yards on 10 plays and pulled within three points on a 2-yard run by Xavier Briggs-De Vore.
Johns Hopkins pushed the lead back to six at 27-21 on the ensuing possession. A 37-yard kickoff return by Harrison Wellmann set the Blue Jays up at their own 42, and Hopkins moved 46 yards in nine plays before the drive stalled at the Susquehanna 12, setting up a 30-yard field goal by Eberle. That set the stage for Susquehanna's game-winning drive, during which they converted three third-down chances and connected on six of eight pass attempts.
JHU senior quarterback David Tammaro was completed 32 of 53 passes for 370 yards and a touchdown, and he added the rushing touchdown as well. Ryan Hubley matched his career highs with 12 receptions for 161 yards, and he totaled 202 all-purpose yards for the Blue Jays.
Nick Seidel posted nine tackles to lead the way defensively for Johns Hopkins, which also got seven tackles and a 45-yard interception return for a touchdown from Ryan Weed. Complete box score
Ruisch finished 25-of-42 for 287 yards and two scores for Suquehanna.
Johns Hopkins will return to action on Friday, September 20 when the Blue Jays host Moravian (6:30 pm) in another Centennial Conference game at Homewood Field.
Notes: Hopkins had topped Susquehanna on a touchdown with 24 seconds left in 2017 (38-34) and missed a field goal with 24 seconds left in the fourth quarter of last season's game at SU (37-35) • The 300-yard passing game is the ninth of Tammaro's career, which ties him with Jonathan Germano for second on JHU's career list • The Blue Jay defense had two interceptions and now has six in two games •