JCU Football dominates for first home win of the season


John Carroll Sports Information Department

Junior running back Matthew Buser rushing in Saturday’s game against Muskingum University. Buser led the team in rushing with 111 yards and two touchdowns in the 29-7 victory.

Ashley McCall, Staff Reporter

Courtesy of a defensive lockdown performance by the Blue Streaks, John Carroll University earned their first home win of the season in a 29-7 victory over Muskingum University on Saturday, Oct. 2.  

Holding the Muskies to just 57 rushing yards and 137 receiving yards, the Blue and Gold claimed the victory during their Homecoming Weekend game, while numerous members of the John Carroll community filled the stands of Don Shula Stadium. 

“It was definitely nice to get the win on Homecoming Weekend for the University and our team,” said running back Matt Buser ‘23. “We appreciate the support from our family, friends and members of the JCU community.”

The Blue Streaks received the kickoff and made their way into Muskingum’s territory via five rushing attempts from Demerius Goodwin ‘23 during the opening possession. 

As John Carroll headed to the red zone, fifth-year quarterback Jake Floriea’s pass was intercepted by Muskingum defender Cortez McGinnis, who returned it for a 86 yard touchdown, putting the Fighting Muskies ahead 7-0 after a successful extra point attempt. 

Despite the rough start to the game, Floriea was not deterred and again drove down the field, going five for six passing attempts and moving the chains on offense.

In a redemption throw, Floriea found Kenny Cross ‘22 in the endzone for an eight-yard reception, tying the game up with under four minutes left to play in the first quarter. 


Kenny Cross Jr. after scoring a touchdown for the Blue Streaks. His touchdown tied the game 7-7 in the first quarter against Muskingum University on Saturday, Oct. 2. (John Carroll Sports Information Department)

Muskingum took over on offense and came out for their first possession of the game. 

Seven plays later, the first quarter ended with the Muskies at their own 47 yard line. 

As the second quarter started, the John Carroll defense made a big stop early on. 

Muskies’ quarterback Jordan Garrett moved the offense to the JCU 23-yard line and found himself in a 4th and 7 situation. 

The Blue Streaks regained possession as Garrett’s 4th down pass was incomplete due to an excellent hustle play from Ross Valenti ‘23, who hurried Garrett and forced a turnover on downs. 

Floriea and the offense came out with the momentum in their favor after the previous stop by the John Carroll defense, giving the offense a significant advantage in field position. 

Quarterback Jake Floriea on Saturday, Oct. 2 throwing for John Carroll University. Floriea finished the game 16-23 with 196 passing yards. (John Carroll Sports Information Department)

On his first play back on the field, Floriea threw a 45-yard deep ball to Brennan Fugh ‘23, taking the Blue Streaks into enemy territory. 

With the ball now on the Muskingum 26-yard line, Floriea spotted Devin Limerick ‘22 running down the sideline but overthrew the ball into Muskingum’s Quentel Bryant Jr.’s hands for the second interception of the half. 

After that turnover, Muskingum and John Carroll traded possession back and forth until the very end of the second quarter when the Blue Streaks added another score to cap off the first half. 

The potent rushing attack provided by Buser gave the Blue Streaks major gains of 18, 20 and seven yards on three consecutive plays. 

With the offense at the doorstep of the opponent’s end zone, Goodwin crossed the goal line with a three yard rushing touchdown to put John Carroll ahead 14-7 as the buzzer sounded for halftime.

The third quarter was a scoreless affair, as both offenses struggled to overcome the stout defensive efforts shown by both teams. 

The Fighting Muskies had an opportunity to score a field goal in the middle of the third but missed the kick, keeping the score at 14-7 in favor of John Carroll. 

While the Blue Streaks held the lead, the start of the fourth quarter proved to be an uphill battle for the offense. 

In the quarter’s first possession, the Muskies’ defense recovered a fumble at the JCU 30-yard line. 

The Blue Streak defense held strong as they stopped Garrett and the Muskingum offense at the nine-yard line on a 4th down score attempt. 

The Muskies’ defense forced a three and out on the next John Carroll possession, but as Andy Han ‘22 punted, Muskingum’s Jaivonn Randolph fumbled the ball, which Luke Brown ‘22 recovered at the offensive 44-yard line, bringing Floriea and the offense back out on the field. 




Matthew Buser celebrating after rushing in a touchdown for the Blue Streaks on Saturday, Oct. 2. (John Carroll Sports Information Department)

It was Buser’s time to shine as he ran for five of the six plays this possession, finishing the drive with a three-yard rushing touchdown, increasing the Blue and Gold lead to 21-7. 

Forcing a punt on defense, the Blue Streaks offense returned to the field with under eight minutes left in the game. 

Five minutes and 11 plays later, Buser once again crossed the goal line after a 16 yard run through the Muskingum defense. The snap was fumbled during the extra point attempt, but was recovered by kicker Clayton Anderson ‘22 who threw to Tadas Tatarunas ‘24 in the endzone for an impromptu two point conversion. 

This was the final scoring drive of the game as the clock ran out with the Fighting Muskies on offense.

The scoreboard illuminated a victorious 29-7 score in favor of the Blue and Gold during this Homecoming Weekend celebration. 

“The key to our success was just doing our jobs on the field consistently to put us in a position to win,” said Buser. “It’s good to come back strong after a tough home loss last week.”

The John Carroll offense heavily utilized their running game, which quadrupled the output of Muskingum’s rushing attack, with a comparison of 239 yards to 57 yards. 

Buser ran for 111 yards and racked up two rushing touchdowns, while Goodwin added 78 yards to the Blue and Gold total. 

Keyshawn Colmon, Fugh, and Tatarunas led the team in receiving yards with 61, 58 and 45 yards, respectively. 

Fifth-year Brian Robinson (7), graduate student Tyshawn Jones  (7) and Hunter Orlando ‘22 (6) provided leadership on the defensive end of the field as they totaled 20 tackles as a unit. Robinson added 1.5 tackles for a loss of four yards. For his efforts in Saturday’s game, Robinson was named OAC Defensive Player of the Week. 

“We knew going into the game this was going to be a hard-nosed battle,” said Robinson. “We went into this game the same as every game, with belief that we are the tougher team on that field any time we are out there, and the scoreboard showed that level of play.”

With this win, the Blue and Gold improved to 2-2 on the season and 2-1 in the Ohio Athletic Conference. 

John Carroll will look to carry this momentum into their OAC match up against Capital University on Saturday, October 9 at 1:30 p.m. in Columbus at Bernlohr Stadium.