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Johns Hopkins to Host Wesley in 1st Round of NCAA Football Playoffs

Updated: Sunday, November 17 2013, 07:37 PM EST

BALTIMORE, MD -- The eighth-ranked and undefeated Johns Hopkins football team will host Wesley (DE) in the first round of the 2013 NCAA Division III Football Playoffs it was announced Sunday evening. The game is scheduled for Saturday, November 23 at noon at Homewood Field and ticket information will be announced on Monday, November 18. This will be the second all-time meeting between the two teams.

Johns Hopkins earned the Centennial Conference's automatic bid to the playoffs, while Wesley (8-2) earned an at-large bid. The winner of the Johns Hopkins-Wesley game will play the winner of the Ithaca-Framingham St. game in the second round on Saturday, November 30. The location of that game will be announced on Sunday, November 24.

Johns Hopkins (10-0) is making its fifth appearance in the NCAA Playoffs, including its third straight and fourth in the last five years. The Blue Jays capped the best season in school history in 2009 with a run to the NCAA Quarterfinals and advanced to the second round of the NCAAs last season before falling to eventual national champion Mount Union. Wesley is making its 10th playoff appearance, including its ninth straight.

In the only other meeting between the two teams, Wesley knocked off Johns Hopkin, 12-0, in the 2009 NCAA Quarterfinals. The Blue Jays had topped previously unbeaten Hampden-Sydney and Thomas More on the road in the first two rounds that year, but the undefeated Wolverines came out with a 12-0 victory in the South Region Championship game to advance to the NCAA Semifinals.

Johns Hopkins won its fifth straight and ninth overall Centennial Conference championship this season. The outright title this season is the third straight and fourth in five years (JHU shared the 2010 title).

The Blue Jays enter the playoffs with a balanced team that has been effective on both sides of the ball. Johns Hopkins is currently averaging 42.1 points and 512.5 yards per game, while the Blue Jay defense has been equally effective as they have allowed just 16.0 points and 301.9 yards per game.

Sophomore running back Brandon Cherry leads a deep crop of running backs as he counts a team-high 962 yards rushing and eight touchdowns to his credit. Freshman Stuart Walters (566 yards • 4 TDs), senior JD Abbott (466 • 11) and senior quarterback Robbie Matey(278 • 5) are also key contributors to a rushing attack that is averaging 268.2 yards per game; 35 of JHU's 56 touchdowns on the year have come on the ground.

Matey has been efficient through the air as he has thrown for 2,145 yards and 16 touchdowns against just four interceptions. He is completing 73.3% of his attempts and does a great job of spreading the ball around as eight different players count 10 or more receptions to their credit.

The Johns Hopkins defense has accumulated 35 sacks and returned three interceptions for touchdowns and is led by linebackers Hani Annabi (50 tackles, 4.0 TFLs) and John Arena(41 tackles, 7.5 TFLs, 5.0 sacks). The Blue Jays use a deep rotation that provides quality depth. Annabi's 50 tackles lead the team, but he is one 16 players with 20 or more tackles on the year. In addition, 17 different players have been in on at least one sack and 24 different players have been in on at least one tackle for loss.

Wesley will come to Johns Hopkins with three straight wins and victories in six of its last seven games. The Wolverines are averaging 31.3 points and 408.4 yards per game, while allowing just 18.8 points and 300.5 yards on defense.

The Wolverines do a lot of their damage offensively through the air as quarterback Joe Callahan has thrown fro 2,523 yards and 17 touchdowns. Eight of his scoring tosses have gone to Steve Koudossou, who counts 53 receptions for 676 yards and the eight scores to his credit.

Defensively, head coach Mike Drass has a unit that specializes in making big plays. The Wolverines have 90 tackles for losses, 33 sacks, 20 interceptions and nine fumble recoveries to their credit.

Johns Hopkins to Host Wesley in 1st Round of NCAA Football Playoffs

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