Don Shula Stadium hosted a capacity crowd for a nationally ranked matchup on a Saturday afternoon. No.16 Heidelberg University traveled to University Heights for an early season marquee game with No. 10 John Carroll University, for the first Ohio Athletic Conference game on the schedule.
JCU secured a spot as a national powerhouse in convincing fashion, with a 43-16 win over the Student Princes.
The highly anticipated contest marked the return of JCU senior quarterback Mark Myers. Myers was added to the starting line-up just before game time. His return was a pleasant surprise for the Blue Streak offense.
The Blue Streaks produced 572 yards of total offense, with 420 of the yards coming through the air. Myers was 28-for-41 with four touchdowns to four different receivers.
With just three minutes gone in the fourth quarter, Myers threw for his fourth touchdown on a 73-yard pass to senior wide out Aramis Greenwood, who finished with six receptions for 134 yards and one touchdown. Myers ended with a 175.9 efficiency rating and a 68.3 completion percentage.
JCU showed versatility producing 152 rushing yards. Senior running back Tommy Michals added two scores for the Blue Streaks, carrying the ball 24 times for 100 yards.
“I think its great for our team to have such a balanced attack this season,” said Michals. “The offensive line is really doing a great job and I think having a balanced attack will help make it hard for are opponents to game plan for us.”
The JCU defense was second to none, stopping an impressive running game from Heidelberg. The Blue and Gold let up 157 yards on 30 attempts from the three-back rotation showcased by the Student Princes.
Senior defensive lineman Nick Lasko led the way for JCU with seven tackles. Senior safety Marty Gibbons had an interception that set the Blue Streak offense up with a short field, which led to the third score for the team.
Pressuring the QB was also a point of emphasis for the defense. The JCU squad grabbed four sacks and produced 24 tackles for loss on the afternoon.
The JCU defense only allowed one touchdown, which happened in the fourth quarter after Heidelberg running back Cartel Brooks broke a run open for 94 yards and a score.
A pick-six thrown by Myers in the second quarter was the only reason the Blue Streak defense wasn’t awarded a shutout in the first half;.Heidelberg added a score in the second quarter after Clay Staib returned a Myers interception 100 yards.
The game showcased the national talent and depth JCU has on the roster. JCU’s win over a top-20 team, 43-16, has secured a 2-0 record early in the season and might have playoff implications further down the road.
The return of Myers kick-started an offense that had some minor question marks without him at the helm. With a dominant performance through the air and a strong run game, accompanied by the show-stopping defense, JCU has started the season off in impressive fashion for the second straight year.
With a showdown against Baldwin Wallace University looming next week, the Blue Streaks have a long week of preparation ahead. If JCU can win against the Yellow Jackets, they may be staring down another chance to run the table until they travel to Alliance, Ohio to play the University of Mount Union at the end of the season.