Football loses heartbreaker at home 9
It?s not often in the game of football that a player gets a second chance, and yet that?s exactly what junior kicker Nathaniel Greenstein had. Minutes after hitting the left upright on a failed 47-yard field goal attempt, Greenstein hit a 39-yard field goal with less than two minutes left to play.
That field goal, his second of the day, tied the game 6?6. However, it would not be enough as the Tartans fell 6?9 to Johns Hopkins University.
Saturday?s match was a hard-fought game played between two evenly matched and determined teams. Saturday?s game pitted the Carnegie Mellon Tartans
(2?1) against the Johns Hopkins University Blue Jays (3?0).
Both teams entered the contest with lengthy winning streaks, the Tartans having won four straight dating back to last season, and the Blue Jays having won their last six, including the last four games of a 9?2 season. Yet for the majority of the game it seemed as if the Blue Jays? winning streak was going to end at Gesling Stadium.
Before the game, Tartans head coach Rich Lackner noted that the keys to victory would be winning the kicking game and the turnover margin, and in fact the game did rest upon those two factors.
Ultimately, the final decision was made by a field goal. Blue Jays junior kicker Ben Scott converted all three of his field goal attempts: one for 45 yards, as well as one for a career-long
46 yards. His final kick was for 24 yards as time expired. That,
it turned out, was all it took to give the Blue Jays a 9?6 victory.
While the game ended in a loss for the Tartans, the team played extremely well ? especially defensively. Much like last week, the Tartans? offense produced little in the first half. However, this is not to disparage the offense; rather, it speaks to the strength of the Blue Jays? defense.
The Tartan defense played equally as strong, allowing only three first-half points on a 45-yard field goal. Twice in the first quarter the Tartan defense made big plays on third-and-one and fourth-and-inches situations. Those two plays epitomize the caliber of the game?s defensive play.
Also similarly to last week, the Tartans? offense played substantially better in the second half. The bulk of their 195 yards rushing and 81 yards passing came after halftime. Sophomore fullback Travis Sivek rushed for over 100 yards for the second
time in three games, and sophomore halfbacks Colby Whitman and Robert Gimson, as well as junior quarterback Kevin Mulkern, all had over 20 yards on the ground. Mulkern also passed for 81 yards, including a key 36-yard pass to junior wide receiver Jon Kline in the fourth quarter that helped to set up Greenstein?s tying field goal.
On the flip side, Mulkern threw a decisive interception late in the third quarter that abruptly ended the Tartan drive that had covered over 60 yards in 12 plays on Johns Hopkins?
The Tartan defense posted another strong game, keeping the Blue Jays out of the endzone and limiting them to nine points. The defensive line and linebackers shut down the Blue Jays running game all day, forcing them to pass.
While not poor, the pass defense yielded a total of
166 yards through the air, and seemed a bit susceptible to any short pass. The secondary also let up a key 25-yard reception in the closing minutes that set up Johns Hopkins? winning 24-yard field goal. The defense was led by junior safety Aaron Lewis, who had 13 tackles, as well as junior defensive back Nat Scarmazzi and junior linebacker James Rogers, who had nine and eight tackles, respectively.
?We played well all around,? said senior linebacker and team captain Jamie Ploetzner, who contributed with seven tackles. ?This was a tough loss, but we still have high expectations.
It?s a wake-up call for us; we need to play better next week.?
The Tartans will get a chance for their third win of the season next Saturday when they travel to Franklin & Marshall College.