On Saturday, the Georgetown Hoyas football team (5-2, 1-1 Patriot League) defeated Lafayette (0-7, 0-1 Patriot League) in a defensive battle that ended 14-10. It was a much-needed bounce-back win for the Hoyas, who lost a tightly contested battle in their Patriot League opener last week against Fordham (3-5,1-1 Patriot League)
“Getting our first conference win is big, especially for momentum going forward,” senior quarterback Gunther Johnson said.
Johnson threw two passing touchdowns, his sixth and seventh of the year, and totaled 160 passing yards in the winning effort. Those two touchdowns went to freshman running back Joshua Stakely and senior receiver Michael Dereus, who also surpassed 1,500 career receiving yards in this game. The Hoya defense was once again spectacular, coming up with two interceptions and several crucial stops deep in their own territory. Freshman running back Jaden Sutton provided the lone touchdown for the Leopards.
The game began slowly for both offenses, who notched just two first downs through the first four drives. With 10:29 remaining in the first quarter, the turnover machine that is the Hoyas defense made its presence felt, as sophomore defensive back Delano Salgado picked off freshman quarterback Keegan Shoemaker for his second interception of the year. The pick set up the offense with great field position at Lafayette’s 21-yard line. Still, Georgetown found themselves at fourth and 19 three plays later, but head coach Rob Sgarlata’s aggressive decision to go for it proved brilliant as Johnson kept the chains moving with a 21-yard rush. Three plays later, Johnson connected with Dereus for an eight-yard touchdown pass on the left side, and senior kicker Brad Hurst’s successful PAT kick made it 7-0. Each team would punt on their following drive, but Lafayette found their response with just over a minute remaining in the first quarter when freshman running back Jaden Sutton reeled off an 86-yard touchdown run. A perfect PAT kick knotted the game at 7-7 and kept the Leopards right in it.
Both offenses struggled for a bit after LU pulled even, with the next three drives resulting in punts. Eventually, Lafayette had the next explosive play, as a 33-yard Shoemaker pass to senior receiver Nick Pearson got the Leopards to the Hoyas’ 33-yard line. In clutch fashion, however, the Blue & Gray defense stood tall, holding Lafayette to a 44-yard field goal to make it 10-7. The Hoyas would then respond, marching down the field into Lafayette’s endzone on a drive that spanned 70 yards and included just one play of 10 or more yards. The concluding snap was a touchdown pass by Johnson, who found Stakely in traffic on the right side, and Hurst’s PAT made it 14-10. Stakely came up aces after sophomore running back Herman Moultrie III had gotten injured two plays earlier and didn’t return to the game.
“We’re definitely deep. It says a lot about the culture that Coach Sgarlata has here in regards to ‘next man up’ and the competition we have,” Johnson said of the team’s ability to sustain a key loss to their offense. “Everybody gets reps and everybody is fighting for spots.”
Defense dominated the third quarter, as the first three drives resulted in punts. On the fourth drive, Johnson tried to throw the ball away on third and seven, but left up a floater that was easily intercepted by junior linebacker Major Jordan to give Lafayette an opportunity to score and the ball on Georgetown’s 43-yard line. The Hoya defense, however, was once again triumphant, stopping the Leopard offense until they went for it on fourth and 11, when junior defensive back Ahmad Wilson intercepted Shoemaker. This left the Hoyas in great position to get an insurance score entering the fourth quarter, but the offense was unable to come up with anything.
The offenses continued to scuffle into the final quarter. Georgetown was able to get down to Lafayette’s 24-yard line, but Johnson’s fourth-and-one attempt fell incomplete. Then, after two punts, Lafayette was able to get within striking distance as a 47-yard pass from Shoemaker to Pearson brought them to the 33-yard line, and a crucial defensive pass interference penalty allowed the Leopards to advance even farther into Georgetown territory.. The Hoyas came up with a few massive stops, and eventually, the Leopards went for a 25-yard field goal, but junior kicker Jeffrey Kordenbrock’s effort tailed wide left to maintain Georgetown’s four-point lead. On the following drive, the Hoyas made it down to Lafayette’s 25-yard line, but they were once again stuffed on fourth and short. They did, however, whittle down the clock, leaving Lafayette just 32 seconds to make up 75 yards. They were unable to do so, sealing Georgetown’s first Patriot League win in 2019.
The Hoyas look forward to next Saturday, when they will travel to Bethlehem, PA for a matchup against the Lehigh Mountain Hawks (3-3, 2-0 Patriot League). Lehigh defeated Fordham, who Georgetown was narrowly beaten by last week, on Saturday.
[Lehigh head coach Tom Gilmore] is a really good coach and his teams always play very well on defense. For us, it’s about just continuing to get better,” Sgarlata said. “We have to take care of the football and consistently run the ball on offense. For defense, we need to work on eliminating big plays.”
Kickoff is set for 12:30 p.m. ET with a stream available on Stadium. Live stats are available at guhoyas.com. Follow @GUVoiceSports on Twitter for coverage and continuing coverage of fall sports at Georgetown.
Image Credits: John Picker/The Georgetown Voice