On Saturday, the Georgetown Hoyas football team lost a Patriot League heartbreaker for the second time in three weeks, falling to Lehigh 27-24 in Bethlehem, PA. Senior quarterback Gunther Johnson played arguably his best game of the year, putting up 267 yards on 20 for 30 passing and notching three passing touchdowns. Senior receiver Michael Dereus racked up 155 receiving yards, including a 72-yard touchdown to tie the game with 1:23 remaining in regulation, but a clutch field goal by senior kicker Austin Henning gave the Mountain Hawks the win. Dereus’ 155 yards pushed him to 1,696 in his career, the fifth highest total in Georgetown history. Freshman running back Nate Hope provided two rushing touchdowns for Lehigh.
Lehigh (4-3, 3-0 Patriot League) took the reins in the first quarter while the Hoyas (5-3, 1-2 Patriot League) struggled offensively. Henning nailed a 36-yard field goal on the Mountain Hawks’ first drive to take a 3-0 lead early on. Georgetown’s following drive ended disappointingly with a punt, and Lehigh had the ball back just two minutes later. Two big passes by senior quarterback Tyler Monaco got them into Hoya territory before freshman running back Zaythan Hill reeled off a 32-yard touchdown run. After a successful PAT, the Hoyas were staring down a 10 point deficit before the end of the first quarter.
In the second quarter, the Hoya defense stepped up, but the offense was still unable to put anything together. Less than five minutes in, sophomore defensive back Delano Salgado was able to pick up a fumble and give the Georgetown offense the ball in Lehigh territory. That drive would end quickly, however, as an illegal blocking penalty would push the Hoyas back 15 yards and Johnson’s pass attempt on fourth and two would fall incomplete. Georgetown was able to get three points on a 23-yard field goal by senior kicker Brad Hurst, but that was all. On the bright side, the Georgetown defense allowed just 29 yards in the second quarter.
In the third quarter, the Hoyas woke up. After Lehigh punted the ball away on the first drive, Johnson connected on multiple big receptions and orchestrated a clinical 77-yard drive that culminated in a three-yard touchdown pass to sophomore receiver Joshua Tomas. Hurst missed the PAT kick, but the Hoyas were now just down one. Three and a half minutes later, Johnson put together another scoring drive, covering 53 yards on just five plays and hitting sophomore receiver Cameron Crayton on a 25-yard touchdown pass. This time, Hurst would hit the PAT, and the Hoyas held a 16-10 lead and the momentum in the game entering the final quarter.
The Mountain Hawks would regain their grip on the game, however. Just seconds into the fourth, Hope punched in a one-yard touchdown rush and a PAT kick would give the lead back to Lehigh, 17-16. After the Hoyas were unable to respond, the Mountain Hawks kept their foot on the gas, putting together a backbreaking 15-play drive that spanned 73 yards, and Hope would once again score on a short touchdown rush. With less than three minutes remaining, Johnson and the Georgetown offense took the ball with tough field position on their own 10-yard line, facing an eight point deficit. In clutch fashion, junior running back Jackson Saffold notched a first down on fourth and two, and then on the next series, Johnson and Dereus linked up for a massive 72-yard touchdown pass down the right sideline to bring the score to 24-22. On the two-point conversion attempt, Johnson was able to find freshman running back Joshua Stakely for a short pass and tie the game up, and with just 1:16 remaining, it seemed likely that the game was headed for overtime. Monaco had other plans, however, as he connected with senior receiver Devon Bibbens for a 48-yard reception to set up a 27-yard field goal for Henning, who executed perfectly to crush the Hoyas in the game’s dying moments.
Next week, the Hoyas return to Cooper Field to take on Colgate (1-8, 0-3 Patriot League), desperately needing a big win to reboost confidence and remain in the hunt for the Patriot League title. Kickoff is set for 12 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