The Georgetown Hoyas football team (1-0, Patriot League) opened up their season on Saturday with a resounding 39-14 victory over the Marist Red Foxes (0-1, Pioneer League) at Tenney Stadium in Poughkeepsie, New York. The Hoyas played a very convincing, all-around game, receiving significant contributions from both the offensive and defensive sides.
The Hoyas received the opening kick off and punted after three plays, but the defense showed up to pick up their offensive counterparts. On 3rd & 8 at the Marist 18-yard line, senior defensive back Blaise Brown intercepted a deep attempt by redshirt sophomore quarterback Jacob Hallenback. Junior quarterback Gunther Johnson, who started four games for the Hoyas last year, took the ball at the Marist 49-yard line and led the offense on a 13-play march down to the Red Foxes’ 6-yard line. Georgetown head coach Rob Sgarlata settled for a field goal attempt from junior kicker Brad Hurst, who nailed the kick with conviction. Though the Hoyas would have liked a touchdown, it was a solid start, and they did not give up the lead for the rest of the game.
After Hurst kicked off for a touchback, Hallenback took the ball on his own 25, and it was deja vu for the Marist quarterback. Once again, Brown picked off a long pass, this time getting tackled at the Marist 46-yard line. After the two squads punted on consecutive drives, the Hoya offense picked things up on their own 46-yard line. On the first play, Johnson connected with junior wide-out Michael Dereus for a 21-yard pass, and two plays later, with sophomore receiver Max Edwards for a 27-yard touchdown pass. On the PAT, freshman receiver Joshua Thomas connected on a pass to Hurst on a fake kick, resulting in an 11-0 lead for the Blue & Gray.
“I was really impressed with how we came out in the first quarter, both on offense and defense,” said Sgarlata.
In the second quarter, both offenses were quiet. Hurst had a 22-yard field goal attempt blocked by redshirt senior defensive lineman Eric Taylor, but otherwise neither team came close to scoring.
Early in the third quarter, Hurst missed a 33-yard field goal attempt on his own fault, but two plays into Marist’s next drive, the Georgetown defense stepped up yet again. On his own 21-yard line, Hallenback was sacked by sophomore linebacker George Ikott, resulting in a fumble. Sophomore Hoya lineman Duval Paul recovered the fumble and made it to the endzone for a touchdown. Hurst converted the PAT kick for a commanding 18-0 lead.
On the next drive for the Red Foxes, redshirt freshman Mike Husni took over at quarterback. On the fourth play of his game, sophomore linebacker Wes Bowers made sure to welcome Husni, picking him off and returning it 12 yards. Johnson made quick work of the Marist defense again, slinging a 35-yard touchdown pass to Dereus on the fourth play, resulting in a 25-0 score after Hurst’s successful kick. Marist finally got on the board a few drives later after Georgetown sophomore running back Jay Tolliver fumbled, and it was recovered by the Red Foxes. Husni connected on a 7-yard completion to redshirt junior tight end Jon Kanda to make the score 25-7, but game was out of reach at this point. Johnson went on to throw two more touchdowns, one a 35-yard pass to senior wide receiver Winston Jackson, Jr., and the other a 4-yard toss to freshman receiver Joshua Tomas. Junior running back Areg Nazarion also ran in a 5-yard touchdown for Marist.
Gunther Johnson had easily his best day in a Hoya uniform. The Arizona native finished with 369 total passing yards, four passing touchdowns, and completed 26 of his 37 attempts. The Hoya defense proved equal to the offense, though, allowing just 117 aerial yards and 61 rushing yards to the Red Foxes.
Despite the big numbers, Johnson wasn’t completely satisfied. “Even with all the success today,” he said, “we all believe we could have put up at least 60, maybe 70 on them, but we’re excited to get a win.”
The Hoyas will look to continue this positive momentum on Saturday, September 8, when they play their home opener against Campbell (1-0, Big South) on Cooper Field. The Camels won their home opener with a 49-26 win over Chowan (0-1, CIAA). The game will kick off at 12:30 p.m. ET. Marist will look for their first win against Bryant (1-0, Northeast).