In a heavily anticipated game for the Georgetown football team (1-3, Patriot League), the Hoyas were outclassed by their opponent on all fronts, falling to Harvard (2-1, 1-0 Ivy League), 41-2. Harvard amassed 457 total offensive yards to the Hoyas’ 201, and held Georgetown to no offensive points. Georgetown’s only points on the day came from a Harvard long-snap that went over the punter and out of the end zone for a safety.
“That’s a good football team. They’re well coached,” Georgetown Head Coach Rob Sgarlata said of the Crimson. “But that’s not as good as Georgetown can be. We didn’t play well today against a good football team. I give [Harvard] a lot of credit. They earned that win, but we didn’t put ourselves in a great place, and we gave up some opportunities to make that a football game.”
“Any time you win 41-2 on the road, you have to be pretty happy,” Harvard Head Coach Tim Murphy said. Murphy went on to praise the team’s defense for playmaking, and to say that the Crimson still have work to do on offense.
Harvard started the scoring early with a 91 yard punt return for a touchdown by sophomore Justice Shelton-Mosley. It was the longest punt return in Harvard’s history, and a sign of things to come for the Hoyas. Georgetown suffered with special teams all game, fumbling the return on the free kick following the safety, a turnover that Harvard would convert into a touchdown near the end of the first half.
The fumble was one of two costly turnovers the Hoyas made in the first half, with junior quarterback Clay Norris throwing an interception early in the second quarter which Harvard’s senior cornerback Raishaun McGhee returned for a touchdown.
There were some highlights for the Hoyas, including two interceptions by junior safety Blaise Brown. Brown’s first came in the second quarter when he made a diving catch in the Hoyas’ end zone in what was a huge defensive stop, as Harvard had been marching down the field. His second came in the third quarter.
Both of Brown’s interceptions came off of Harvard freshman quarterback Jake Smith, the first true freshman to start at quarterback for the Crimson since Ryan Fitzpatrick in 2005. Smith threw for a total of 214 yards. Harvard also played senior Joe Viviano at quarterback, who threw for 66 yards and 1 touchdown.
“We’ve got two good quarterbacks,” said Murphy. “At times, they’ve both played very well… One is a freshman who is only going to get better. Another is a guy that we know we can win with. That’s a good combination. It’s not perfect, but we’ll figure it out. We’re getting better everyday at the quarterback position.”
The Hoyas were also aided by the efforts of senior running back Isaac Ellsworth on kick returns. Ellsworth ran for 232 total yards on returns, and 50 yards of offense. Ellsworth’s returns consistently gave the Hoyas strong field positioning, and included a return for 62 yards in the third quarter.
Unfortunately for the Hoyas, Georgetown’s offense was unable to capitalize on any of the field positioning. They failed to score and accumulated very few offensive chances. Norris started for the Hoyas due to the previous starter senior Tim Barnes’ undisclosed injury. In the Hoyas’ final drive, sophomore quarterback Gunther Johnson, a transfer from the University of Arizona, led the Hoyas on a drive to the red zone, where they turned the ball over on a loss of downs.
“He was up and down,” said Sgarlata of Norris. “He did a really great job on a couple of the drives; he threw the ball really well. He has to eliminate some of the self inflicted wounds.”
The Hoyas will face another Ivy League opponent next week, when they battle the Princeton Tigers (2-1, 0-1 Ivy League) in Princeton.
“Every week it’s all about us,” said Sgarlata. “If we can improve every week, we’ll win games. That’s our main focus right now. It’s just on Georgetown.”