Saints Drop 2008 Opener 34-3 to Johns Hopkins
Sept. 6: The St. Lawrence University football team dropped its 2008 season opener to Johns Hopkins at Homewood Field in Baltimore, MD on Saturday afternoon by the score of 34-3. The Saints (0-1, 0-0) were unable to overcome seven turnovers, including three that went for Blue Jay touchdowns.
Tropical storm Hanna wreaked havoc with both field conditions and play-calling, with neither team able to get their offense going in the first quarter. It wasn't until sophomore quarterback Michael Baraldi's second interception of the game gave Johns Hopkins possession at the visitor's 19-yard line that the scoreless tie would be broken. Andrew Kase, the Blue Jays top returning tail back, burst through the middle for a 19-yard touchdown run to give the home team a 7-0 advantage.
On the ensuing drive, the Saints faced a 3rd-and-5 at their own 36-yard line when Baraldi was picked off by Chris Baldwin and returned for a 45-yard touchdown with 2:04 remaining in the first quarter. The score built Hopkins' advantage to 14-0 following Alex Lachman's extra point split the uprights.
Baldwin wasn't near done scoring yet, though, as the very St. Lawrence play from scrimmage was fumbled by junior Chris Wagner and returned by Baldwin for a 32-yard touchdown return. The score, followed by Lachman's third extra point, brought the lead to 21-0 with 1:45 to play in the first quarter.
The Saints' defense was very sharp in the first half, allowing only three first downs to Johns Hopkins and -3 yards passing. They created two turnovers including an interception by senior captain Devaun McFarland. They didn't allow Hopkins to score another point in the second or third quarters.
St. Lawrence's offense moved the chains very well throughout the game, racking up 296 yards to their opponents' 113. On the drive following Baldwin's second score, Baraldi threw a stripe to junior wide receiver Anthony Patterson to keep the team's drive in tact midway through the second quarter to get the team into the red zone. However, the drive would stall three plays later and the Saints would settle for a 31-yard field goal by senior Matt Popov to bring the score to 21-3. Though St. Lawrence had a long field goal chance on the final play of the first half, the kick was blocked to keep it a three-score game heading into halftime.
Though Johns Hopkins was slated to get the ball first after halftime, the Saints' special teams unit popped the ball loose and recovered the fumble to start the half in the home team's territory. Though St. Lawrence worked the ball all the way down to the 13-yard line, they were unable to cash in yet again. This time, Popov's 30-yard field goal try sailed wide-left and the Scarlet and Brown came away empty.
Junior defensive tackle Gerard Bryant led the Saints' defensive unit throughout the game, and with outstanding play by seniors Mike Bruno and Andy Welkley, the visitors continued to trail by the same score of 21-3. After the Saints got the football back, the offense worked the ball back inside the Hopkins 20-yard line. On 3rd-and-1, St. Lawrence appeared to have the first down when rookie Ramon Mignott, who saw playing time due to an injury to junior Connor Hackett, burst through the line and into the end zone. However, a penalty would set the visitors back five yards, and after back-to-back incomplete passes, the Saints came away with nothing.
Early in the fourth quarter, St. Lawrence punted the ball away to Tucker Michels, who returned the ball 43 yards to the visitor's 26 yard line. On the very first offensive play, quarterback Michael Murray found Sam Wernick for a 26-yard touchdown completion to put the home team on top, 28-3.
On the ensuing drive, St. Lawrence junior quarterback Mike Wayne, who replaced Baraldi due to injury, looked to complete a short passing-route to Patterson. Instead, Baldwin jumped the rout and intercepted the pass, returning it for his third touchdown of the afternoon. Though the point after was blocked by Bryant, the damage was done, capping the scoring at 34-3.
Bruno led the Saints' defense with 11 total tackles, while Bryant added 10 stops including 3.5 for a loss. Baraldi finished 12-of-31 for 165 yards with three interceptions in his first collegiate start, while Patterson was the game's leading receiver with 65 yards on five receptions. Sophomore Tim Robinson and senior Ryan Cooney each added three catches a piece as well.
The loss by St. Lawrence was the first to open a season since 2002. The Scarlet and Brown will look to rebound a week from today, Saturday, September 13, when they host Norwich University at Leckonby Stadium. Kick-off is set for 1:00pm.