1,414 days. That’s how long it had been since the Georgetown Hoyas football team won a home game. But thanks to a 49-7 blowout victory against the Marist Foxes on Saturday, Sept. 2, that streak is over.
No play exemplified the attitude and energy of the game more than one at the beginning of the fourth quarter, when graduate quarterback Tyler Knoop took a late hit after a scramble in the red zone. Usually, when players get hit like that, they stay down, gather themselves, and then get up and go back to the huddle. But not Knoop. He instead popped up from the turf immediately, unfazed by the shot he had just taken, and got up in the face of the defender that had hit him. Coming into his fifth year of college football, Knoop would not be denied his chance to be the season-long starting quarterback for this team, and he seemed intent on letting the Georgetown faithful know that with his play.
Two plays later, the Hoyas would not be denied either, as junior running back Naieem Kearney rushed the ball into the end zone to put Georgetown up 42-7.
Even though Georgetown won the game by 35 points, it wasn’t a blowout from start to finish. Early in the first quarter, the game had the feeling of a shootout, with both offenses utilizing their rushing game to march down the field. There wasn’t much resistance from either defense, and the game was soon knotted at 7-7.
Quickly after that, Knoop led the Hoyas to their second touchdown in as many possessions to put Georgetown up 14-7. Then, with the defense facing a critical drive, the Hoyas came up big. After spending much of their first defensive drive sitting back with two high safeties– leaving Marist with room to operate on the first and second levels of the defense– a disguised safety blitz to open the second series clearly caught the Foxes by surprise, forcing an incompletion that made Marist play outside of their comfort zone. The Foxes would ultimately punt two plays later.
On the ensuing punt, however, a muff recovered by Marist set the Foxes up well inside Georgetown territory. Once again, Georgetown’s defense came up big, getting a stop, and Marist missed the ensuing 42 yard field goal.
From then on, Georgetown controlled both lines of scrimmage and the game. The Hoyas found the end zone time and time again by way of the ground and air, ultimately racking up 294 yards in the ground behind 118 yards and a touchdown from senior running back Josh Stakely.
At halftime, the Hoyas led 21-7.
The second half was more of the same for Georgetown. The offense continued to grind out successful drives, and the defense and special teams stepped up. The Hoya secondary in particular gave Marist quarterback Brock Gagozzi fits, holding him to 89 passing yards on 25 attempts. The defense even forced a third quarter interception, setting up a Knoop touchdown pass to put the Hoyas up 35-7. On special teams, Georgetown was able to force and recover a fumble on a kick return, stymying the once effective Marist return game.
In the fourth, there was the aforementioned play by Knoop and the resulting touchdown run by Kearney. The defense even got themselves on the board via a pick-six by senior safety Sherman Steptoe II to go up 49-7 and put an exclamation mark on the Georgetown win.
Knoop in particular played an excellent game in his first start as the “the guy” for Georgetown after seeing action in eight games a season ago. Known mostly for his rushing before this season, Knoop performed well in all facets of the game–showing poise in the pocket, making accurate throws with his feet set and on the run, and of course chipping in 48 yards on the ground to go along with a touchdown. While not called on often to throw the ball given Georgetown’s run-first game plan, he completed 75% of his passes with two touchdowns through the air and no turnovers.
While the Hoyas lost some key players from last year’s team, this more inexperienced group certainly made a statement today, dominating Marist in every phase of the game.
The now 1-0 Hoyas football team will look to continue their winning streak at home next week on Saturday, Sept. 9 at 12:30 pm against Sacred Heart. The game will also be broadcast on ESPN+. For continued coverage and updates on Georgetown sports, follow @GUVoiceSports on Twitter.