Senior Nick Crusco connected with fellow senior Diamente Holloway for a 44-yard touchdown with just 1:24 left in the game to give the Susquehanna University Football team a 34-31 lead but No. 16 Johns Hopkins answered with a scoring drive in the closing minute to survive for a 38-34 victory in the Centennial Conference opener Saturday afternoon on Homewood Field in Baltimore.
The win for Hopkins (2-0 Overall, 1-0 Centennial) was its second consecutive come-from-behind victory of the season after defeating Washington and Lee in overtime in the season opener.
Susquehanna (1-1, 0-1) scored first when Crusco found tight end Anthony McCoy in the end zone for a 17-yard score and then took a 14-3 lead when Crusco ran it in from seven yards out. The second scoring drive, that started at the end of the first quarter and extended into the second quarter was extended by a fake punt as Jude Di Giacomo took the short snap and ran 29 yards on the fourth-and-six situation.
Johns Hopkins added a pair of scoring drives in the second quarter to take a 17-14 lead but had a chance to extend the lead before the half ended but a pass into the end zone fell incomplete.
In the second half, the River Hawks regained the lead with their first drive of the third quarter as Crusco capped a 78-yard scoring drive with a two-yard run into the end zone. The big play in the drive was a 27-yard screen pass to Cameron Ott on the third play of the possession.
The Susquehanna lead was bumped to 10 points on the very next River Hawks drive as Crusco again cappped the scoring drive with a 14-yard run. Ott had the big play in the drive again with a 35-yard run up the middle.
Johns Hopkins responded with a long 15-play drive that carried over to the fourth quarter that was finished with a short pass from the back-up quarterback to his tight end on what looked like a broken play.
The Blue Jays regained the lead taking advantage of a short Susquehanna punt and drove 41 yards in eight plays scoring on a two-yard run to take a 31-27 lead with 10:45 left to play.
The turning point came on the following Susquehanna drive. After recording a pair of first downs and facing a fourth-and-two situation, Ott was called on for the run and looked to reach past the first down marker but the ball was spotted by the linesman near his feet and the measurement came up just inches shy of the first down marker giving the ball back to the Blue Jays.
After the Susquehanna defense forced a three-and-out, Crusco engineered a drive that was capped by the 44-yard pass and catch to Holloway for the late lead.
Crusco finished 22-for-27 passing for 287 yards and two TDs and also collected 44 yards rushing for another three scores. Ott was the top Susquehanna rusher with 67 yards. Tommy Bluj and McCoy each had five catches as Bluj led the River Hawks with 75 yards.
The River Hawks return to action Saturday with a second consecutive road game traveling to Muhlenberg for a 1 p.m. Centennial Conference game.