The annual homecoming game for John Carroll University was a memorable one as the Blue Streaks were able to knock off Marietta College in a dominating 22-0 performance. Coming off of their most deflating loss of the season, JCU was able to regain their focus and put away an opponent in what was a must-win game for the team.
The Blue Streaks were able to take control from the opening kickoff and proceeded to prove to not only themselves, but also the fans in attendance, that this team is one of the better ones in the Ohio Athletic Conference.
JCU’s defense easily made its best effort of the season. For a unit which had been giving up an average of over 325 yards per game, they were able to completely shut down the offense of the Pioneers. “We had the utmost sense of urgency to be perfect on every play of the game,” said senior defensive back Marty Glose, who had six tackles in the game. “We have to focus on ourselves, in order to keep our playoff hopes alive.”
The defense was led by seniors Jim Gilchrist and Joe Cigas who contributed 10 and eight tackles, respectively. In a game where the defense was in top form, freshman kicker Brad Marchese stole the show. He converted all five of his field goal attempts during the game, setting a new single-game record for field goals made.
“The feeling is kind of unreal,” Marchese said of setting the record. “I don’t really know how to describe it, but it feels good.” In a position where the mental aspect plays such a big part, Marchese seems to have a solid grip on his role. “Most kickers are head cases,” he said. “But every time you make one it builds your confidence for the next one.”
Marchese was the benefactor of an offense that was unable to finish off drives and get the ball in the endzone once they were deep into Pioneer territory. Miscommunication and missed opportunities prevented the Blue Streaks from making the score even uglier than it was. It is difficult to envision this team beating the top teams in the OAC if they are forced to settle for field goal after field goal.
“We did struggle scoring touchdowns, but we did come away with points and that’s a good thing,” said JCU head coach Regis Scafe. “We will continue to work hard to improve on our scoring opportunities.”
All red-zone scoring issues aside, JCU was able to outgain Marietta by 130 yards on Saturday. The turnover battle, which has been a deciding factor in many of the Blue Streaks’ games this season, again went in favor of the Blue Streaks as they were able to force four Pioneer turnovers.
Fans may not have been extremely excited by the way in which the Blue Streaks won the game, but Scafe will take wins whatever way he can get them.
“We are excited about our performance on Saturday,” Scafe said. “We rebounded from a tough week and it was Homecoming. I know we played in front of a lot of alumni, as well as a good and excited crowd.”
With the win, John Carroll improves to 3-2 overall and 3-1 in conference play. Currently tied for second place in the OAC, the Blue Streaks are still thinking about what could have been. Both their losses easily could have gone the other way. “We are a lot better team than what our record says,” said senior wide receiver Scottie Williams.
The Blue Streaks will be able to show the rest of the conference just how good they truly are on Saturday as they head to Columbus for a showdown with the Capital Crusaders, ranked 16th in the country by d3football.com. Capital will be looking for revenge from last year’s game when they were ranked eighth in the country and fell to JCU.