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Pioneers lose close one to JCU

Devin Limerick returned a kickoff 86 yards for a touchdown and Tyshawn Jones had a 75-yard pick six to lead No. 24 John Carroll University to a 19-10 win over Marietta College Saturday in Ohio Athletic Conference football action.

The Pioneers fall to 3-4 overall and 3-3 in the OAC. John Carroll improves to 5-2 on the season and 5-1 in OAC games.

Matthew Haus kicked a 36-yard field goal as time expired in the first half giving Marietta a slim 3-0 lead at the break. The Pioneers drove to the Blue Streak 11-yard line before a sack on third down forced Marietta to settle for the field goal.

John Carroll missed on two scoring opportunities in the first half. Grant Gonya missed a 46-yard field goal attempt in the first quarter and then had a second attempt blocked by Drake Neuberger in the second period.

The Blue Streaks got the ball to start the second half and a pair of Pioneer penalties on the kickoff gave JCU the ball on Marietta’s 30-yard line. The MC defense held and John Carroll settled for a 33-yard field goal from Gonya to tie the game, 3-3, with 12:32 left in the this quarter.

Marietta regained the lead when Malik Grier intercepted a JCU pass and returned it to the Blue Streak 10-yard line. A pass interference call on John Carroll moved the ball to the two. Bryce Agnew needed two attempts to get the ball in the end zone carrying it in from the one. Haus added the extra point for a 10-3 Pioneer lead with 56 seconds remaining in the third period.

The Pioneer lead was short lived as Limerick took the ensuing kickoff and returned it to the house. Gonya’s kick evened the score at 10-10 heading into the fourth quarter.

John Carroll forced a three-and-out on Marietta’s next possession. The Blue Steaks took over at their own 28-yard line and marched into Pioneer territory. The drive stalled at the 30-yard line and Gonya converted a 47-yard field goal to put JCU on top, 13-10, with 9:43 remaining.

Marietta responded with its best drive of the afternoon moving the ball to the Blue Streak 6-yard line on a 28-yard pass from Connor Vierstra to Logan Ranft. Two Agnew runs left the Pioneers with third and goal from the two.

A bad snap on third down resulted in a 6-yard loss and Pioneer head coach Andy Waddle elected to kick the 34-yard field goal. Haus’s attempt was just wide of the left upright giving the ball back to John Carroll with three minutes left on the clock.

Vic Giovengo gave the Pioneers new life with an interception at the Blue Streak 44-yard line. Two completions moved the ball to the 34-yard line. Following an incompletion, Jones stepped in front of a Viertra pass and returned it a touchdown to clinch the victory for John Carroll.

Vierstra completed 21-of-35 passes for 225 yards. He was picked off twice. Tight end Bobby Cashaw had three catches for 79 yards. Agnew finished with 91 yards rushing on 24 carries.

Jake Floriea was 29-of-34 for 214 yards. He was also picked off twice. Brennan Fugh had eight catches for 90 yards. Demerius Goodwin led the Blue Streak ground attack with 25 yards on 13 carries.

Marietta plays at No. 25 Baldwin Wallace University next Saturday. Kickoff is set for 1:30 p.m.

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