BALTIMORE, Md. – Sophomore quarterback Michael Ruisch (Fogelsville, Pa./Parkland) ran a two-minute drill Saturday afternoon, driving the Susquehanna University football team 75 yards in 11 plays with junior tight end Frank DePaola's (Flemington, N.J./Hunterdon Central) end zone catch capping off the 28-27 upset of No. 7 Johns Hopkins University in the Centennial Conference opener Saturday afternoon.
This is the first time in the series history between Susquehanna and Johns Hopkins that the River Hawks have won two straight. Last season, SU rallied from a 28-21 deficit and then held on for the 37-35 victory in Selinsgrove. Today's victory also marks the River Hawks' second-ever triumph over the Blue Jays in Baltimore. The first win in Baltimore was an 8-7 decision in 1941 in the two teams' first-ever meeting.
Susquehanna 28, No. 7 Johns Hopkins 27
How It Happened
- The River Hawks found themselves down 24-7 with 12:19 left in the fourth quarter following a 27-yard field goal by JHU's Mike Eberle. Ruisch remained poised and went to work as he engineered three scoring drives in the final 12 minutes of the game. Less than a minute after Hopkins went up by 17, Ruisch completed a three-play, 77-yard drive as he hit senior wide receiver Mikah Christian (Bowie, Md./Bowie) for the 45-yard touchdown, pulling Susquehanna within 10 with 11:21 on the clock.
- The River Hawk defense held Johns Hopkins to three-and-out but Kyle Battles' 37-yard punt pinned SU on its own one-yard line. Five throws of 10 yards or more by Ruisch, including two for over 25 yards, had Susquehanna move the ball 99 yards in 4:37 and sophomore running back Xavier Briggs-DeVore (Paterson, N.J./Paramus Catholic) cap the drive with a two-yard run into the end zone to make it 24-21 at 5:33.
- On the Blue Jays' ensuing drive, an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and a pass interference call allowed Hopkins to reach Susquehanna's 21-yard line. Senior defensive end Kashief Hyatt (Upper Marlboro, Md./Wise) sacked the reigning Centennial Player of the Year, David Tammaro, on second and goal, pushing JHU back seven yards. After an incomplete pass, Eberle gave Hopkins a seven-point lead with a 30-yard field goal.
- Starting on their own 20, Ruisch completed the first three passes of the game-winning drive before a pass interference on third and 10 gave the River Hawks a first down on Hopkins' 48. Runs by Briggs-DeVore and junior running back Da'Avian Ellington (Carteret, N.J./Woodbridge) of seven and 12 yards, respectively, drove the River Hawks to the JHU 29. Ruisch then connected with DePaola in two straight plays – first for 18 yards and then for the game-winning 11-yard strike. Sophomore kicker Elijah Hoffman (Elysburg, Pa./Southern Columbia Area) was good on the point after and SU led by one with eight seconds on the clock.
- Tammaro began Johns Hopkins' last possession with an 11-yard completion to Emmett Turner at the JHU 34 but Turner fumbled and senior captain Cole Dixon (Dallas, Pa./Dallas) recovered to seal the win for the River Hawks.
- Susquehanna drew first blood as Ellington ran it in for 11 yards and his third touchdown of the season on the River Hawks' first drive of the game. The Blue Jays answered right back with a nine-yard run by Tammaro to know it up 7-7 in the first quarter.
- Hopkins scored on its first drive of the second frame to go up 14-7 before Ryan Weed picked off Ruisch and ran it back 45 yards to give the Blue Jays a two-possession lead at halftime as Susquehanna punted and turned the ball over on downs on its final two possessions of the half.
- It was a fruitless third quarter for both sides as neither team put any points on the board and the Blue Jays carried their 21-point lead into the fourth.
Inside the Box Score
- Susquehanna notched a season-high 27 first downs as the River Hawks put up 444 yards of offense, including 287 through the air as Ruisch completed 26 of 45 passes with two touchdowns and two picks. His longest completion was a 45-yard pass to Christian.
- Johns Hopkins could not get its run game going as the River Hawks held them to just 39 yards on the ground.
- Ellington and Briggs-DeVore both finished with 62 rushing yards and one touchdown.
- DePaola caught eight passes for 95 yards and the game-winning touchdown while Christian finished with 88 yards on four catches and one touchdown.
- Senior outside linebacker Craig Roumes (Succasunna, N.J./Roxbury) came up big for the River Hawks on defense with a career-high 11 tackles, including three tackles for loss.
- Junior Nick Sottile (Taylor, Pa./Riverside) and sophomore L'Trell Bradley (West Orange, N.J./West Orange) each contributed eight tackles while Bradley added a pass breakup in his first game of the season.
- Tammaro went 32 of 53 for 370 yards with one touchdown, including a long of 48 yards, while Ryan Hubley had 12 catches for 161 yards. Weed finished with seven tackles and a pass breakup and ran back a pick-six for 45 yards.
Up Next for the River Hawks
- September 21 at No. 8 Muhlenberg (2-0) – Allentown, Pa. / Scotty Wood Stadium – 1:00 p.m.
Facebook: susquehanna.riverhawks | Instagram: @gosusqu, @susquehannafootball
Twitter: @GOsusqU, @SURiverHawksFB | Hashtags: #AllIn, #GOSU, #RiverHawkPride