An undefeated season may have been more of a dream than a realistic goal, but the Georgetown football team will nonetheless be disappointed knowing they were just seconds away from a perfect 3-0 start. The Hoyas surrendered a touchdown as time expired and were defeated by Yale University 40-35.
The Hoyas (2-1, 1-0 Patriot League) allowed the Bulldogs to take a 27-14 lead before halftime and had to come up from behind once again. But like their triumphant performance against Lafayette last week, Georgetown came out of the break quickly, with a phenomenal opening kickoff return for a touchdown by sophomore defensive back Jeremy Moore. Moore’s blistering return, which was the Hoyas first since 2004, earned him Patriot League Special Teams Player of the Week honors, and praise from head coach Kevin Kelly for revitalizing the team.
“When you come out of halftime and you run a kickoff back like Jeremy did, it just puts life into us,” Kelly said. “I told them at halftime, ‘execution fuels emotion’, and that’s what happened. We executed a big time play and the emotion came back in again.”
Freshman Dalen Claytor also returned a kickoff for 54 yards to set up a touchdown in the first half, demonstrating the Hoyas’ considerable improvement on special teams.
Moore and the Georgetown special teams unit were not alone in earning honors. Senior wide receiver Keerome Lawrence, who caught eight passes for 129 yards and rushed for a touchdown, was named Patriot League Offensive Player of the Week. Although he’s pleased with the rush of awards the Hoyas have received, Lawrence said he is staying focused on the team’s record.
“At the end of the day, it’s all about the wins, and if you don’t get the win it doesn’t mean that much to me,” he said.
Junior cornerback Jayah Kaisamba intercepted a pass on Yale’s first possession of the second half, giving the Hoyas great field position, which Lawrence converted to a six-yard touchdown run and a 28-27 lead.
The Hoyas added to their advantage when junior quarterback Scott Darby found junior wideout John O’Leary for his first touchdown catch, Georgetown’s third of the quarter.
Darby had another standout performance. He moved the chains, limited turnovers and finished with 340 passing yards and two touchdowns, but he was unable to add to the Hoyas’ late lead to seal the victory.
The Hoyas’ offense didn’t score in the fourth quarter and the defense faltered against the aerial assault led by Yale’s quarterback, Patrick Witt, who finished with 407 passing yards.
The Hoyas will have no shortage of motivation to improve for this weekend’s matchup against Holy Cross.
“We’ve got a Patriot League game. It’s Holy Cross and we haven’t beat them since ’99 so it’s been a long drought and our guys are hungry to get another win,” Kelly said. “This our first home game, it’s homecoming, so there’s a lot of reasons why they’re excited to put the other game behind us.”
However devastating this loss might be, Yale’s Ivy League affiliation means it will not impact Georgetown’s place in the Patriot League standings. But they don’t have that as a consolation this weekend, as the Hoyas look to prove that their unexpected start was no fluke. They will certainly put that to the test as they welcome the defending league champions to campus this Saturday. It could make for a classic homecoming game, something the Hilltop hasn’t seen in a while.