Oof. The Jays were up 24-7 with just over 12 minutes left in the game. They lost 28-27. Hopkins now stands at 1-1 with an 0-1 conference record.
The first half of football was almost entirely Hopkins. Save for Susquehanna University’s one touchdown that started the game by, all other scoring plays were by Hopkins. The defense was the biggest story of the half.
The Jays buckled down after giving up the first score and refused to allow a drive of more than 40 yards the entire half. On top of that, the defense scored on junior linebacker Ryan Weed’s pick-six.
The offense managed to contribute two touchdowns as well, one from senior quarterback David Tammaro running it in and the other caught by sophomore wide receiver Harrison Wellmann. But the offense left a few plays on the field during the half, going scoreless on five drives.
The third quarter was an incredible defensive showdown. There were no points scored and the average drive length was only 28 yards. Hopkins continued its defensive stride through this quarter, but Susquehanna stepped up defensively as well. The little bit of spark from the Hopkins offense was gone by the second half and the quarter played out similarly to the Bears and Packers game that started the NFL season.
The fourth quarter started with a Hopkins field goal and at this point it felt like the game was basically over. Hopkins had a 24-7 lead with less than a full quarter to play. But things flipped very quickly.
Susquehanna had a three-play 77-yard drive, with the help of a pass-interference call, and went the length of the field, cutting the lead to 10.
On the next possession, Hopkins mounted what looked like a scoring drive until they failed to convert on third-down. Tammaro slipped out of what looked like three different tackles and heaved the ball into the arms of Wellmann, who was sat in the end zone. However, Susquehanna made an amazing pass breakup.
The incompletion was followed by a stellar punt, pinning Susquehanna at the one-yard line. But of course, Susquehanna drove 99 yards down the field. Hopkins managed to get some good field position on the next drive with a 37-yard Wellmann return. They then capitalized on the opportunity and put up a field goal making it a six-point game, 27-21. Then, heartbreak.
Susquehanna marched down the field in short order, scoring the game-winning touchdown at the last minute.
28-27 with seven seconds left. The kickoff was a squib kick, and for the next play, Hopkins tried for a lateral miracle that ended in a fumble. An exciting but disappointing end to a game between two great Centennial Conference rivals.
Sophomore defensive back Nick Seidel commented on the game.
“Obviously it’s a tough loss and no one wants to have their backs up against a wall but here we are. We faced this situation last year and we were able to make it to the final four,” he said. “The way we practice, prepare, watch film etc. doesn’t change. All that means is that every game is a playoff game here on out. Our goal is still the same as before the loss, so nothing changes.”
Hopkins will host Moravian College on Friday night in their next Centennial Conference matchup.
The team has a 10-game win streak against the Moravian Greyhounds, and the last meeting between the two teams ended in a lopsided victory for the Blue Jays, 47-3.
Seidel is focused on that game.
“All we can do now is focus on this week and beating Moravian,“ he said.