Football’s Comeback Bid Falls Short Against Columbia

September 23, 2018

The Georgetown football team (1-3, Patriot League) fell 23-15 to Columbia (2-0, Ivy) on Homecoming. Columbia sophomore quarterback Dillon Davis went 16-30 for 201 yard, 1 TD, and 3 INTs, while senior kicker Chris Alleyne went perfect on his kicks, making 3-3 FGs and 2-2 PATs. Georgetown junior quarterback Gunther Johnson led the comeback bid, going 18-38 for 228 yards, 1 TD, and 1 INT. Junior wide receiver Brandon Williams finished with 7 receptions for a career-high 121 yards and 1 TD. Senior defensive back Blaise Brown also finished with a career-high 14 tackles

A holding penalty on the opening kickoff pinned the Hoyas on their own nine-yard line to open the game, and the offense went three and out. Davis established an early rhythm, but couldn’t lead his team beyond the 15-yard line. Senior kicker Chris Alleyne converted the 33-yarder to open the scoring for the Lions. (Provigil)

The Hoyas went three and out again, and once more, Davis marched his team down the field. This time, Columbia got into the end zone as junior wide receiver Ronald Smith caught a 14-yard strike from Davis for the score early in the first quarter. Alleyne hit the point after to put Columbia up 10-0.

While the Hoyas offense still struggled, the defense woke up and forced Columbia to punt and ended the first quarter with a stand on third and 1. Junior defensive end Khristian Tate gave the Lions a new set of downs with a running into the kicker penalty, but he was bailed out by and interception from junior safety Leon Agee on a wobbly Davis pass.

On the next drive, junior wide receiver Michael Dereus made a leaping catch in double coverage to convert on third and long but sustained a shoulder injury on the play that would force him out of the game. The Hoyas stalled again, and neither team threatened to score for most of the second quarter. As the Lions ran a four-minute drill to get into at least field goal range, the Hoyas got pressure on Davis and sophomore linebacker Wes Bowers made a juggling interception and returned it to the Columbia 34 with 50 seconds left.

The Hoyas lost thirty seconds between first and second down, but junior quarterback Gunther Johnson made a clutch throw to junior wide receiver Brandon Williams, who took over as the primary receiver after Dereus’ injury, on 3rd and 14 to put Georgetown on the 20-yard line. With nine seconds remaining, Johnson took a shot at the end zone, but his pass intended for freshman wide receiver Joshua Tomas was tipped into the air and senior safety Landon Baty made the interception in the end zone.

Much of Georgetown’s offensive struggle came from a failure to establish the run in the first half as they recorded only 15 rushing yards on 12 attempts. In total, the Lions outgained the Hoyas 201-95 in the first half and held the ball for five more minutes. Davis went 11-19 for 136 yards, 1 TD, and 2 INTs, while Johnson went 8-16 for 80 yards and 1 INT. Columbia’s freshman running back Dante Miller and junior running back Lynnard Rose combined for 67 yards on the ground in the first half.

“We’re still trying to find our legs up [on the offensive line],” head coach Rob Sgarlata said. “[Offensive Coordinator Rob Spence] will continue to hammer at it and figure out how to run the football.”

Columbia took the opening kickoff of the second half and worked a methodical, seven-and-a-half minute drive that culminated in a 35-yard field goal to make the score 13-0

The Hoyas began their first drive with a little rhythm, but ultimately stalled and were forced to punt once again after picking up one first down. The Lions then drove down the field, aided by defensive holding and pass interference calls against senior cornerback Ramon Lyons. The pass interference call wiped away an interception, and while the Hoyas kept Columbia from gaining more yards, Alleyne drilled a 46-yarder to make the score 16-0.

Columbia junior defensive end Daniel DeLorenzi drilled Johnson and forced a fumble. Junior linebacker Michael Murphy recovered for the Lions at the Georgetown 29.

A Columbia holding penalty forced them into a 3rd and 18 out of field goal range to start the fourth quarter, but Smith caught a pass underneath and broke a tackle before scampering for the first down. Three plays later, freshman quarterback Ty Lenhart, who had struggled in short distance running situations previously, ran outside and jogged into the end zone untouched for a 1-yard touchdown. Alleyne hit the point after, and the Lions led 23-0 with 13 minutes left.

“I thought we fought well,” Sgarlata said. “I was impressed with how they kept coming out. That fourth quarter that could’ve turned into a 35-0 game.”

The Hoyas finally got on the board with their next drive. Williams made a first down catch to start it off, and a couple good runs from sophomore running back Jay Tolliver kept the chains moving. Georgetown went for it on 4th and 2, and Williams made a diving catch at the Columbia five-yard line to keep the drive alive. The Hoyas went to fourth down again, and Tolliver punched it in from the one, and junior tight end Isaac Schley caught a shovel pass for the two-point conversion to make the score 23-8.

Sophomore linebacker Xavier Reddick made Georgetown’s third interception of the afternoon on the next drive in Columbia territory, and Schley made two straight first down catches in the center of the field to put the Hoyas on the 20. On fourth down, Johnson found Williams on a fade route for a touchdown. Junior punter/kicker Brad Hurst missed the extra point, but was bailed out by a Columbia offsides, and after a false start from Georgetown, Hurst nailed his kick on the second attempt to make it a one possession game with five minutes remaining.

Columbia played it safe and ran three straight times before Sgarlata called his final timeout of the game with 3:13 remaining. After the punt, Johnson hit Williams for a 29-yard play to set up first and goal on the nine-yard line with just over two minutes to go. After three straight incompletions, the Hoyas faced 4th and game, before which Columbia called timeout. It proved successful as the Lions got instant pressure on Johnson and came up with sack. Columbia would kneel the game out to hold on for a 23-15 win.

The Hoyas return to action at Brown (0-2, 0-1 Ivy) on September 29. Kickoff is at 1 p.m. ET. For more updates and breaking news about football or the rest of the fall sports at Georgetown, follow @GUVoiceSports on Twitter.

Jorge DeNeve
Los Angeles native. Still wondering where the Galaxy went wrong and decided buying Jermaine Jones was a good idea.

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