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ECAC Southwest Championship Preview:
Trench Battle Could Be Difference in Frostburg State-Johns Hopkins Match-up
11/21/2002

View the Johns Hopkins Game Notes (PDF format)

FROSTBURG, MD — The game of football is often decided in the trenches, and that trend could hold true when Frostburg State and Johns Hopkins face off in the Eastern College Athletic Conference Southwest Championship Game Saturday at Greenway Avenue Stadium in Cumberland. Kickoff is set for noon.

The Bobcats (6-4) and Blue Jays (8-2), who meet for the first time ever, both feature potent rushing attacks and strong offensive and defensive fronts that should make for a hard-fought and exciting contest.

FSU, with three seniors along the offensive line, will look to open holes for the junior running backs Edward Kearney (team-high 844 yards and six touchdowns) and Tim Pearson (507 yards and four touchdowns). The Bobcats have scored 17 rushing touchdowns this season while allowing just nine sacks.

FSU will try to establish the running game to help open things up for a passing attack that has helped the Bobcats average 33.1 points and 441.6 yards per game.

Junior quarterback Grant Burrough, who set school records with 208 completions, 369 attempts, 2,753 passing yards and 23 touchdowns, may be the X-factor. In FSU's six wins, Burrough has tossed 12 touchdowns with just three interceptions; in the four losses, he has thrown 11 touchdowns but has been picked 13 times.

Senior Tim Wilkins leads a deep receiving unit with a team-high 51 catches for 578 yards and seven touchdowns, and junior Roy Olson had added 40 receptions for a team-best 773 yards and seven scores.

Hopkins, with four seniors on the offensive front unit, will look to clear room for junior Adam Cook (523 yards and five touchdowns) and freshman T.J. Lyons (456 yards and three touchdowns).

Cook ran for 174 yards against Dickinson, while Lyons piled up 174 yards and a touchdown versus Gettysburg.

The Blue Jays are averaging 182.9 rushing yards per game and have 20 touchdowns on the ground.

"Hopkins has a very strong running game," said FSU third-year head coach Rubin Stevenson. "They pound the ball and have very good blocking schemes. Cook is an all-around good player who runs hard and has good vision."

The JHU passing attack (143.3 yards per game, 12 scoring passes) has been manned by three different quarterbacks this year.

Junior George Merrell (31-of-69, 332 yards, four touchdowns and one interception) was injured early in the season but has returned to spark the Blue Jays in their last two wins, throwing for 198 yards and three touchdowns while rushing for 83 yards and three more scores.

Both teams boast strong defensive units and play a similar 4-4 front. Hopkins is allowing a paltry 99.9 rushing yards per game and has given up just nine touchdowns on the ground.

Opponents have had a little more success in the air, passing for 196.7 yards per contest and 11 scores.

Meanwhile, Frostburg State is giving up 20.2 points and 328.4 yards per game. The Bobcats have sacked opposing quarterbacks 36 times and have recorded 18 interceptions on the season.

"I'm very happy for our players," said Stevenson about earning the ECAC berth. "We fell short in a few games during the regular season, and it's nice to be noticed as a good team, especially with the strength of our chedule. I'm glad our seniors get the chance to play another game."

For further information on this release, contact:

Office of Sports Information
Frostburg State University
101 Braddock Road
Frostburg, MD  21532-2303

Telephone: 301-687-4371
Fax: 301-687-4780
E-mail: sportsinfo@frostburg.edu