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Hoyas begin Ivy League stretch with Bulldogs
The Georgetown football team (2-0, 0-0 Patriot League) continued its strong start to the season in its home opener on Saturday, when the Hoyas rallied late to defeat the Wagner Seahawks (0-2, 0-0 NEC) 13-10. Junior kicker/punter Matt MacZura’s 35-yard field goal with 1:42 remaining in the fourth quarter proved the decider in a closely contested matchup.
With senior starting quarterback Isaiah Kempf sidelined due to a concussion, junior quarterback Aaron Aiken made his first career start for the Hoyas and played well. Aiken completed 18 of 38 passes for 146 yards with one interception, and rushed for the Hoyas’ lone touchdown of the game, a 12-yarder with 2:26 left in the third quarter.
“I couldn’t have asked for a more exhilarating win,” Aiken said after the game. “For me, it was a great experience. It’s everything I’ve worked for.”
Head Coach Kevin Kelly was pleased with Aiken, as well as with the team’s overall performance. “I told Aaron that [he didn’t] have to win the game. We’ve got a lot of good players. This was a team win. I said the best team was going to win on Saturday, and that’s what happened. It was a full team effort.”
On the defensive side of the ball, the Hoyas were able to hold a strong Wagner offense to just seven points, allowing the Seahawks’ star running back Dominique Williams just 66 yards on 22 carries. Senior linebacker Robert McCabe, who had 13 tackles, one sack, and one tackle for a loss, led the effort. After the game, McCabe was named Patriot League Defensive Player of the Week for the second consecutive week.
“We knew this game was going to be won on defense,” McCabe said after the win. “We had a good game plan. We knew what they liked to do. We wanted to stop the run.”
The Hoyas look to continue this strong momentum into this Saturday’s home game against Yale (0-0) at 1 p.m. at Multi-Sport Field, the first of a three-game stretch in which Georgetown takes on Ivy League opponents. After Yale, the Hoyas visit Princeton next Friday to play their first ever nationally-televised game, which will be broadcast on ESPNU. They conclude the test the following week on the 29th, when they host Brown over Homecoming Weekend.
But before thinking about the other teams, Georgetown looks to seek revenge against the Bulldogs, to whom they have lost in each of the last three seasons by scores of 10-31, 35-40, and 27-37, respectively. In last year’s defeat, the Hoyas moved the ball effectively on offense but struggled to stop Yale’s passing attack.
This year, though, the focus for the Hoya defense will be Yale’s three-headed running attack, comprised of senior Mordecai Cargill, sophomore Kahlil Keys, and freshman Tyler Varga. This trifecta may need to make up for freshman quarterback Eric Williams, who will be making his first career start for the Bulldogs. With an inexperienced quarterback under center, the Hoya defense will need to stop the run consistently if the team wants a chance at a win.
Yale’s defense, meanwhile, was ranked fifth in the Ivy League last season. It is led by senior linebacker Will McHale, a second-team All-Ivy League selection last year.
A major question mark for the Hoyas heading into the game will be who starts at quarterback, as it is unknown if Kempf will return from his concussion injury.
“Isaiah is day-to-day,” Coach Kelly said after the game against Wagner. “We are not sure yet. Everyday he’s getting better. We are going to do the right things to make sure he’s healthy long-term. The first priority is Isaiah’s health.”
This is the first time the Hoyas have gotten off to a 2-0 record in three consecutive seasons since 1978-1980. Against Yale this Saturday, Georgetown will look to win its first three games for the first time since 1999. A win would further the positive transformation and change of culture that the program has undergone over the past few years.
“We got the confidence that we are going to win now. In the past that wasn’t the case,” Kelly said following the game. “Now, when we get into these games, we know that we have the confidence. We know we can win.”