It was not the prettiest of victories, but the first Ohio Athletic Conference win of 2016 is officially in the books.
The John Carroll University football team, led by head coach Tom Arth, evened its record at 1-1 following a 17-10 victory over Baldwin Wallace in the 28th edition of the Cuyahoga Gold Bowl on Saturday, Sept. 17 night at Don Shula Stadium. JCU has now defeated BW four consecutive years, dating back to Sept. 21, 2013 (W, 27-7).
Fighting off rainy weather conditions in the opening half, sophomore quarterback Anthony Moeglin and the Blue Streak defense took charge and tallied 14 points in the span of nearly two minutes in the latter half of the fourth quarter to tie and win the game in what most would call a Cinderella finish.
After trailing 10-3, Moeglin connected with senior wide out Marshall Howell for a four-yard touchdown, his first of the campaign. Matt Danko’s extra point evened the score at 10 with just over four minutes remaining in regulation. With no time outs handy, it would be up to the defense to halt BW’s offensive unit.
Limiting the Yellow Jackets to just 28 passing yards and 132 total offensive yards, the JCU defensive corps asserted its dominance once more forcing and recovering a fumble for a touchdown, the decisive score of the game. Sophomore Jimmy Thomas pounced on the loose ball after BW quarterback Robbie Plagens fumbled a third down snap near the end zone. It was a nightmarish evening for the opposing field general: 3-15, 28 passing yards.
12 and seven-yard rushes from Ro Golphin sealed the deal in front of a home crowd of 3,164. The game lasted two hours and fifty-two minutes and marks the only evening game on the Blue Streak’s regular season schedule.
Prior to the fourth quarter, the defense accounted for a pair of BW turnovers including a blocked field goal and fumble recovery by senior Clayton Evans. The forced turnover marked the first for Evans as a member of the Blue and Gold. He previously played at Notre Dame College in 2013 and 2014.
The dominant running game held its own in the rivalry affair courtesy of Golphin (16 carries, 114 yards) and sophomore running back Sam Kukura (22 carries, 119 yards). Golphin had only received one carry in the Blue Streak’s first contest against Wisconsin Oshkosh, but a run-heavy offense called for a larger workload to be shouldered by the Gates Mills Gilmour Academy product. Kukura remains to be an integral part of offensive coordinator Tim Zett’s game plan with at least 19 carries in each of the team’s first two games. The second-year running back transferred over from Kent State after earning Academic All-American honors in the Mid-American Conference (MAC). JCU outran its opposition 244 to 104 yards.