There was plenty of electricity flowing through the lighting towers surrounding Don Shula Stadium Saturday night, but the real high voltage was on the field as John Carroll University knocked off Baldwin-Wallace College, 43-29.
John Carroll’s offense, the one that was only able to muster seven points in their season opener, erupted for 43 points in their victory and combined with their cross-town foe for the highest scoring contest in the rivalry’s rich history.
“We were excited and ready to play our rivals,” said senior running back Teree’ Harris. “Being under the lights just got us more pumped up to play them.”
Midway through the third quarter though, the outcome of the game was certainly in doubt.
Each team had been trading blows but was unable to deliver the knockout punch.
Tied at 16 with 11 minutes left in the third quarter, JCU’s defense delivered the blow to open up the game.
A fumble recovery and then an interception on consecutive Yellow Jacket possessions gave the Blue Streaks the breaks they needed as the offense converted both turnovers into touchdowns and opened up a 14-point lead that they would not surrender.
The John Carroll defense employed a “bend, but don’t break” philosophy as they gave up 439 yards of total offense to the Yellow Jackets.
They did, however, force six turnovers; four fumbles and two interceptions.
The turnover battle was the tipping point of the game as four of the Baldwin-Wallace giveaways resulted immediately in Blue Streak touchdowns.
The return of senior Jeff Javorek, who sat out against Thomas More with an injury, had an immediate impact on the Blue Streak offense.
Javorek, making his first career varsity start as quarterback, showed Blue Streak fans that he was certainly capable of carrying the offense. He finished the night a solid 30 of 51 for 309 yards and five touchdowns through the air.
Easily Javorek’s favorite target of the night was senior wide receiver Scottie Williams, who had his best game as a Blue Streak catching 11 balls for 129 yards and two touchdowns.
“Having [Javorek] back for this game helped out the mentality of our team,” Williams said. “He knows our offense inside and out, as well as being one of our captains, so knowing he was back was definitely encouraging for us.”
JCU was able to overcome a lackluster run game, as well as a sub-par third down conversion rate, to end what was a beautiful night in University Heights. For their efforts, JCU reclaimed the title of Cuyahoga Gold Bowl winners after a disappointing loss last season.
“We dominated the game last year, but we let it slip away,” said senior wide receiver Chris Esparza. “That was a tough pill to swallow and we weren’t going to let it happen again.”
The Blue Streaks, now 1-1 overall and 1-0 in Ohio Athletic Conference play, turn their attention to their next opponent, Heidelberg College who they will battle on Saturday night in Tiffin, Ohio.
JCU narrowly knocked off the Student Princes last season, 17-15, in a hard fought contest at Don Shula Stadium.