Passing touchdowns and big defensive plays keep JCU Football undefeated in Marietta series 


JCU Sports Information

On the opening kick-off, the John Carroll special teams unit forced a fumble against Marietta at Don Shula Stadium on March 26, 2021.

Ashley McCall, Staff Reporter

A dominant first half propelled the John Carroll University Football Team over the Marietta Pioneers by a score of 34-10 on March 26, in University Heights. 

With the victory on Saturday, John Carroll remains undefeated in the series against Marietta, beginning with the first matchup between these two teams in 1929. 

The Blue Streaks were looking for revenge after a devastating loss against the University of Mount Union the previous weekend. 

The contest started with John Carroll kicker Robert Rippole driving the ball to the Marietta five-yard line. On the return, JCU defensive back Michael Palmer forced a fumble, which was recovered by linebacker Brian Robinson at the 24-yard line. 

The Blue and Gold offense took the field and four plays later, senior quarterback Jake Floriea found wide receiver Kenny Cross in the end zone for the first touchdown of the game. Kicker Andy Han finished the extra point attempt, giving John Carroll a seven-point lead. 

Rippole kicked off, and Marietta started its first drive of the game. 

Making it to John Carroll’s 17-yard line, Blue Streak defensive back Nate Leopold finally put an end to the Pioneers’ drive when he broke up Ethan Brown’s pass attempt to Nate Hinckley. 

Marietta kicker Logan Alward completed the field goal attempt to put three points on the scoreboard for the Pioneers

The Blue and Gold returned to the field on offense, coasting to the end zone in just 10 plays. Junior wide receiver Keyshawn Colman was the recipient of another Floriea touchdown throw to close this possession. 

Han’s extra point attempt was blocked by Marietta defensive back Malik Grier, making the score 13-3 in favor of John Carroll

The Blue and Gold held the Pioneers to three and out on Marietta’s next drive, ending the first quarter as the Blue Streaks retook the field on offense. 

The second quarter started with another John Carroll score as Floriea found junior running back Devin Limerick in the end zone for a 17-yard passing touchdown. Han’s PAT was good, and the Blue and Gold increased its lead 20-3. 

The Blue Streak defense forced another three and out for Marietta, giving the John Carroll offense another opportunity to score. 

The first play of the possession, Floriea’s pass was intercepted by the Pioneers, extinguishing the Blue and Gold momentum. 

The Blue Streaks stayed ahead 20-3, as neither team scored during the rest of the first half. John Carroll left for the locker room to prepare to receive the ball at the beginning of the second half. 

There were no scores in the third quarter, as the squads traded punts going all the way into the fourth quarter. 

The Blue and Gold added seven more points during their first drive of the fourth quarter, this time with running back Demerius Goodwin rushing 27 yards to cross the goal line and Han completing the extra point. 

John Carroll penalties aided Marietta on its next drive down the field as Brown found Dre Baldwin in the endzone and Alward added the PAT, making the score 27-10. 

With 10:52 left in the game, the Blue Streaks ran almost every possession, giving Marietta the ball back with only 3:57 left in the game. 

The Pioneers had possession of the football with under a minute left when defensive back Nick Urbanowicz forced a fumble, which was recovered by Alec Wallace, who ran into the end zone for a scoop and score. 

Han finalized the Blue and Gold victory with a completed extra point, making the final score 34-10. 

John Carroll was led by an outstanding performance from Floriea, who completed 17 of his 19 attempted passes, three of which were touchdowns, and throwing for 142 yards

Matt Buser and Goodwin both totaled over 100 rushing yards, while Colman and Brennan Fugh received for 47 and 44 yards, respectively

On the defensive end, Harrison Richardson, Tyler Thimons, Palmer and Leopold held the line for the Blue Streaks as each recorded tackles for loss against Marietta. 

“They just went to work,” said John Carroll Football Head Coach Rick Finotti. “I think that’s the best thing I can say. The entire team had the mindset to go to work. Take it day by day and get after it.”