The terrible feeling of defeat is never easy to deal with, especially after victory is within sight. On Saturday, the Georgetown football team fell victim to a fourth-quarter comeback for the second time this season, when they were outplayed by Wagner University and lost 22-16 in a thrilling double overtime classic at Multi-Sport Field.
Wagner is a non-conference opponent, and the loss will not impact the Hoyas’ Patriot League title chances. But that distinction will provide little consolation to the Hoyas, who lost out on a chance to celebrate a winning game on their home field.
Despite taking a 10-point lead into the fourth quarter, the Hoyas failed to put the game away, leaving the door open for Wagner’s kicker David Lopez to drill a monstrous 54-yard field goal with six seconds left in regulation to tie the game. The kick was set up by an interception that prevented the Hoyas from potentially running more time off the clock.
After trading field goals in the first overtime period, Wagner’s Keith Davis intercepted an errant pass from junior quarterback Scott Darby. He took it 80 yards to the opposing end zone to seal the win for the Seahawks. It was the second time this season that the Hoyas lost on the final play, having lost to Yale in the third week of the season on a quarterback run as time expired.
“It was a crazy field goal, but they should have never have been in position to get that,” offensive captain and senior left tackle Dan Semler said. “We had a lot of opportunities to finish and that’s what we’re focusing on this week. Just finishing the game.”
It was a frustrating day for Darby. Despite his impressive ball management skills this season, he had three interceptions on Saturday, including the game-ending play. Darby finished with just 68 passing yards on 10 of 24 completions with no passing touchdowns.
But head coach Kevin Kelly said that a variety of things allowed Wagner to steal the game.
“It’s more than just Scott throwing interceptions,” Kelly said. “It was protection issues … he got hit and the ball pops up. So it’s not always the quarterback.”
In fact, Darby’s legs accounted for the Hoyas’ only touchdown of the game when he scored from 12 yards out to give Georgetown a 7-0 lead in the first quarter. Junior kicker Brett Weiss added a 29-yard field goal as time expired in the second quarter to give the Hoyas a 10-0 lead going into the half. The lead was held after a commanding performance by the Georgetown defense, which has still not allowed a score in the first half at home this season.
The defense stifled Wagner quarterback Nick Doscher, who was intercepted four times on the afternoon. This provided the Georgetown offense with some precious assistance as they struggled to move the ball against the speedy Wagner defense.
“Coach told us about making the team one-dimensional and we were able to do that,” said junior cornerback Jayah Kaisamba, who had a standout performance with two interceptions and a fumble recovery. “Once the ball is in the air, as defense, we got to act like we’re the receivers and we just go up there and get it.”
As for the offense, which was held to just 2.8 yards per pass and 3.4 yards per rush, the players remain confident from their early season successes, despite their struggles in recent weeks to convert crucial opportunities.
“The scheme ain’t broke,” Semler said. “There’s not going to be any major changes. If we do the little things we’ll be an explosive offense any day.”
The Hoyas will look to redeem themselves next week against a team that may be their weakest opponent in the Patriot League this season, Bucknell University. Bucknell will enter the contest having won only one game since beating the Hoyas 14-6 last year. Nevertheless, Kelly is not underestimating his conference opponent.
“They’re 0-5, but those were non-league games for them,” he said. “They have the same goal that we do and right now they’re undefeated in the Patriot League.”
The game is a must-win if the Hoyas hope to keep within sight of Colgate at the top of the Patriot League standings. Anything but a win would likely spell the end of the Hoyas’ exciting chase for the Patriot League title and give them their first losing record of the 2010 campaign. It’s familiar territory that Georgetown wants to avoid.
“It’s a Patriot League game and home game,” Semler said. “We’ve got to win it, and we’re going to win it.”