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Best meets worst as football tries for first win
If Georgetown football somehow manages to upset the Richmond Spiders this weekend, it will be the biggest upset in the history of college football. You can forget Appalachian State’s upset of Michigan in 2007, or Temple beating Virginia Tech in 1998. Yes, those games were spectacular, but neither of those teams was as bad as the Hoyas have been this season.
Georgetown, off to a dismal 0-9 start, is facing the fourth-ranked team in the country this Saturday. Richmond—coming off a one-point loss against then No. 4 Villanova—is not just a good team, it’s perennially one of the nation’s best. The defending Football Championship Subdivision champions only had their 17-game win streak end last week when kicker Andrew Howard missed a 35-yard field goal as time expired.
The Hoyas’ third starting quarterback of the season, sophomore Scott Darby, knows that Georgetown is preparing for a tough opponent.
“We just know they’re a great team,” Darby said. “We have a great opportunity to shock some people. We just have to do what we know how to do, execute, and see what happens. That’s all we can do.”
Richmond is a well-oiled, top-of-the-line machine. They have five different running backs with at least three touchdowns this year. In comparison, the Hoyas have scored a total of nine touchdowns this entire season. Richmond has scored 280 points this season, the Hoyas just 82. Richmond is an overpacked semi-truck, and the Hoyas are a small European compact waiting in its way. It seems as if only a miracle can protect the Hoyas from utter disaster.
Darby and the rest of the Hoyas wouldn’t tell you that was the case.
“I’d think you’d be surprised,” Darby said. “There’s a positive attitude.”
But still, Darby knows how hard it’s been for the Hoyas this season.
“I mean, being 0-9 now, it’s tough,” he said. “No one likes to lose. But, you just got to go into every week and just try to win, I guess.”
Darby is the latest experiment in what seems to be a round-robin style quarterback competition that began after incumbent starter sophomore James Brady struggled with his play and injuries at the beginning of the season.
Freshman Isaiah Kempf took over after Brady and seemed to bring a newfound excitement to the team. The team’s yardage numbers increased when he took over, but the Hoyas continued to lose and failed to put a significant number of points on the board. Kempf started struggling, however, and when his difficulties reached their pinnacle against Colgate and Old Dominion, head coach Kevin Kelly replaced him with Darby.
Although he saw a little action in the season opener against Holy Cross, Darby is relatively inexperienced to be facing the fourth-best team in the country this weekend. Still, he has been impressive in his limited time on the field.
Last week, he passed for 289 yards and three touchdowns, including a final minute, go-ahead 68-yard strike to freshman Brandon Floyd. A Marist field goal as time expired dashed the Hoyas’ hopes of winning their first game of the season, but it was the closest they have been yet.
“It was pretty tough to come all that way to come back and take the lead,” Darby said.
Being the third quarterback in a short, eleven-game season has not been as hard as one would anticipate.
“You’re still getting reps at practice,” Darby said. “It’s not like you’re sitting around, doing nothing. So, I mean, it’s not too bad.”
This week, the Hoyas will have to hope that those reps in practice were as good as game action for Darby. The inexperienced signal-caller will be facing a tough, fast Richmond defense that gives up, on average, 16 points a game.
The Hoyas are going into the game as if they are facing any normal opponent.
“It’s business as usual,” Darby said. “Same scouting reports, same tempo at practice. We know we have a great team coming in here, but it doesn’t change anything … They’re like any other team. They got 11 guys on defense that we need to try and score on.”
Darby and the Hoyas might believe that Richmond is just like any other team on their schedule. But when it comes down to it, the Hoyas are facing one of the best teams in the country. In all likelihood, the Hoyas will be on the short end of the stick again, facing the prospect of a winless season.
If that is the case, the Richmond program might be squeezing the final blow out of the Hoya season, a season that is probably best not remembered.
Kickoff is at 1 p.m. on Harbin Field on Saturday.