The Georgetown University football team will open its season against Davidson College today at Cooper Field. Kickoff is slated for 1:05 p.m.
The Hoyas are entering their third year under Head Coach Rob Sgarlata, after seeing a one-win improvement in each of his first two seasons. Despite this gradual improvement, however, the team’s 4-7 record for the 2015 regular season did not satisfy this Blue and Gray squad.
“Our expectation is to win every game we play [this season],” Sgarlata emphasized. “It’s a super competitive group. It’s probably the most competitive group and most depth we’ve had in a long time, so I’m interested to see how that translates onto the field on Saturday.”
Depth will certainly be a key factor this season for the Hoyas, who lost a core group of 16 seniors last year including quarterback Kyle Nolan, wide receiver Jake Decicco, and defensive tackle Dezmond Richardson. Senior quarterback Tim Barnes and junior safety David Akere, who were both recently named captains for the 2016 season, will serve as respective anchors for the offensive and defensive units. Although Nolan started every game last season, Barnes did see action in five games, going 10-for-22 on pass attempts for 79 yards, along with 11 rushes for 41 yards. Akere has played in all 22 games since arriving here at the Hilltop, including 17 starts. He finished his sophomore campaign with 78 tackles, two interceptions for 57 yards, one fumble forced, and one fumble recovered.
“On defense, we want to stifle them,” Akere said of the season opener against Davidson. “We want them to have nothing. As a defense, I think we have the mentality to play fierce and schematically sound in everything that we do.”
Davidson struggled last season, going 2-9 overall and allowing opponents to outscore them 389 to 138 over the course of the year. However, the Wildcats have a returning junior quarterback in Taylor Mitchell, who threw for 1,506 yards, 11 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions in ten games last season.
“One of the toughest things for our offense to do is to play against our defense,” Sgarlata said. “They baited Barnes into some stuff in camp, but we continually preach about us. As far as specific quarterbacks, we’re going to run our scheme and rely on what we’ve taught them.”
In addition to the importance of this game against Davidson as the season opener, the Hoyas will also be playing for something more than just a desire to start the season off with a win. Monday will mark the one year of senior linebacker Ty William’s severe neck injury against St. Francis (Pa.) on September 5, 2016. Williams, who has held his roster spot while recovering this past year, will be an honorary captain against Davidson and will participate in the coin-flip before the game.
“It’s going to be a huge lift welcoming him back to Cooper Field,” Sgarlata said. “One of the best things has been to see him back on the sidelines kidding around with teammates. The energy he brings to the team is amazing.”
Live stats for today’s game against Davidson will be available at www.guhoyas.com. The game will be broadcast live on the Patriot League Network.