Whether it’s home or away, the ability to pull out a win on the football field against the University of Mount Union, ranked second in the nation by d3football.com, has been a challenge for all programs over the past two decades.
It’s no different for the John Carroll Blue Streaks, as Saturday’s 51-7 victory gave Mount Union a win over JCU for the 21st consecutive season.
After their most recent meeting, head coach Regis Scafe is looking for ways his team and coaching staff can improve their record which currently sits at 0-2, 0-1 in the Ohio Athletic Conference.
The offense is first on the list.
By turning over the ball six times last week, including three fumbles and three interceptions, JCU’s offense is going to be focusing hard on decreasing self-inflicted mistakes.
With Mount Union up 14-0 after one quarter, the Blue Streaks had a chance to cut the deficit in half but fumbled at the three-yard line.
Mount Union gained control in the end zone for a touchback, but more importantly took the momentum right from a Blue Streak offense that needed to capitalize on every opportunity afforded to them.
JCU has been employing a two-quarterback system featuring sophomore Michael Locke and junior Devin O’Brien so far this season.
Both quarterbacks are going to continue to be utilized because of the different talents they bring to the team. Locke is more of a conventional drop-back passer, while O’Brien runs more.
In the loss to Mount Union, Locke threw 20 times while O’Brien, typically operating from under center, threw just three passes but ran 10 times for 17 yards and the team’s only touchdown.
“The NFL uses the Wildcat, and O’Brien is that guy,” Scafe said of his quarterback rotation.
The defense isn’t completely off the hook, either.
Stopping the opponent on third down conversions is a concern.
The Purple Raiders were able to complete 11 of their 14 attempts on third down. The Blue Streaks were just three of 13 on their tries.
The defense was on the field for 77 plays on Saturday, but they did feature a bright spot.
Reaching double figures in only the third game of his career was sophomore Dominique Hopkins with 15 tackles.
Regardless of the high-caliber athletes Mount Union has, Hopkins prepared himself by studying film and showing no intimidation.
“The best tool for success for me on the field is the hard work the team puts into practice every single day,” said Hopkins. “The first thing I’ll take is a grain of salt because of the loss, but the game also showed me that despite my 15 tackles, there is always room to get better individually and as a team.”
Win or lose, there is always room for improvement, and the Blue Streaks are ready for the next challenge as they take on the Pioneers of Marietta College (1-1, 0-1 OAC) for the Homecoming game on Saturday at Don Shula Stadium.
JCU defeated Marietta 22-0 last year as the defense forced five turnovers and then-freshman Brad Marchese kicked five field goals.