UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS, Ohio -- The John Carroll University football coaches turned the offense over to redshirt freshman Anthony Moeglin after watching him work his way back from an injury during the 2015 season, and that decision has proven fruitful for the Blue Streaks.
After some early-season struggles, Moeglin led the Blue Streaks to nine straight wins, including an upset of the No. 1 team in the country, the Mount Union Purple Raiders, on the road last Saturday, a victory that secured John Carroll’s first outright Ohio Athletic Conference title since 1989 and an automatic bid in the NCAA Division III football playoffs.
“Last year was a blessing in disguise for me,” said Moeglin, a native of Canton and graduate of Louisville St. Thomas Aquinas. “I was able to learn how things operate. I was able to learn the ins and outs of college football. I was able to learn the ins and outs of our offense, and I was able to learn how to be a college student without the pressure of performing.
“Coming into this year, I wanted it bad. I committed a lot of time, a lot of energy, a lot of effort into this, and it’s kind of been paying off for me. I’m not done. I’m not complacent. I haven’t accepted what’s been done to this point. I’m looking forward to the challenges ahead of me.”
Through 10 starts for the Blue Streaks, Moeglin completed 186 of his 288 pass attempts for 1,967 yards and 21 touchdowns against eight interceptions, five of which were thrown in the first two games of the regular season.
With Moeglin at the helm, John Carroll’s offense averaged 36.9 points, 409.6 yards of total offense and 208.2 passing yards per game in leading the Blue Streaks back to the postseason for the third time in four years.
“The best thing about Anthony is just his leadership,” JCU coach Tom Arth said. “As a young guy, a redshirt freshman, he received 60 votes as captain. He was like the next guy after the four that were chosen, the four seniors that were chosen.
“Anthony was the next guy, and it tells you the type of person he is, the type of character, the type of leadership that he brings to our program and our guys love him. They fight for him. They compete for him. They believe in him, and at the end of the day, our guys know that nobody’s going to work harder and it’s not going to mean anymore to anybody than Anthony.”
And leadership is exactly what the Blue Streaks will need against the Olivet Comets in the first round of the postseason, which gets underway at John Carroll’s Don Shula Stadium today.
In Olivet, the Blue Streaks take on a team that averaged 32.6 points and 381.0 total yards per game on its way to a 9-1 record and first outright Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association title since 1974.
“We’re excited about the opportunity and are looking forward to taking advantage of it,” Moeglin said.
“They’re an incredibly talented opponent. They have some incredible athletes on their team, and they’ve won their conference for the second year in a row now. That’s something that hasn’t been done at that school in over 100 years. They’re going to come in excited. They’re going to come in with energy and we’re looking forward to the challenge.”