A different home streak: Hoyas make it two in a row with win over Sacred Heart

September 14, 2023

On a rainy Saturday afternoon after a Week One blowout win over Marist, the Hoyas opened this week’s 27-10 win over the Sacred Heart Pioneers with an auspicious start. On the first play of the game, sophomore safety Jayden Dugger intercepted Sacred Heart graduate quarterback Cade Pribula, setting the tone for the rest of the afternoon.

While the defense picked up right where it left off, the offense took a different approach to start this week’s contest. Georgetown opened their first series through the air, with graduate quarterback Tyler Knoop completing five passes for 47 yards, as opposed to the ground-based approach they used in Week 1. Although the Hoyas missed a 41-yard field goal to end the drive, they effectively opened up the field so they could get to what they do best: pounding the rock.

After opening their second defensive possession with a big sack by sophomore defensive tackle John Caramanico, the Georgetown defense was able to get another quick stop, returning the ball to Knoop’s offense after the Sacred Heart punt.

Similarly to their first drive, the offense was able to find success through the air. That drive was methodical, lasting ten plays. This possession needed only one. The result? A 45-yard touchdown reception by sophomore wide receiver Jimmy Kibble, putting the Hoyas up 7-0. 

It was not all positive for the Hoyas early, though; similarly to last week, they struggled to stop their opponents on kickoff returns. On the kickoff following their touchdown, Georgetown allowed Sacred Heart to reach all the way out to their 35 yardline on the return, setting the Pioneers up with good enough field position that they only needed 41 yards on their ensuing drive to chip in a field goal. 

After a nice kickoff return of their own, the Hoya offense set up shop with good field position at the Pioneers’ 47 yard line. On this drive, their third, Georgetown would really start to establish the run game, through both traditional handoffs and sweeps. Sophomore wide receiver and Union College transfer Nicholas Dunneman in particular was having a nice game to this point, catching passes and taking sweeps to aid the offense.  As the game clock crept to under a minute to play in the first quarter, Georgetown scored again via a rushing touchdown by graduate running back Joshua Stakely. 

Keeping with the theme of the game, the Pioneers took the ensuing kickoff all the way out to their 40-yard line, but failed to make much headway and quickly punted the ball back to the Hoyas. However, for the first time all afternoon, the Hoyas were forced to punt on their next possession, pinning the Pioneers deep in their own territory. The offensive struggles by both sides continued, as after earning some breathing room on the ground, the Pioneers threw their second pick of the day, this time to junior cornerback Rashon Adams. The Hoyas were not able to capitalize, though, because Knoop fumbled the ball away while taking a sack, handing the ball right back to the Pioneers. Another Sacred Heart punt later, disaster would strike again for the Hoyas as they lost another fumble, this time deep in their own end of the field. The Pioneers would make good on their fortune this time, scoring quickly after the turnover to bring the score to 14-10 Georgetown. 

Looking to respond, Stakely and fellow runningback junior Naieem Kearney imposed their will on the game as Georgetown marched the ball down the field. Kearney would eventually punch in a touchdown to re-extend the Hoya lead. With time running out in the half, the Hoyas would force a third Pioneer turnover, this time a fumble on the kickoff. As the seconds ticked away, the Hoyas kicked a field goal and went into the half up 24-10.

Halftime would prove to be a pivotal moment, as it was when this game had its first weather delay due to lightning in the area. 

At around 5 p.m., the game that originally started some four-and-a-half hours earlier resumed.

Coming out of the break, both offenses struggled to find their footing during a stretch that featured six consecutive punts. This lasted until the Georgetown running game once again came to life, with Kearney getting Georgetown in range for a short field goal to send the Hoyas up 27-10. The game would go into the fourth quarter with Georgetown running effectively–that is, until the second and final stoppage midway through the final quarter. The game would be declared over, with 27-10 as the final score.

After going years between home wins, the Hoyas have now won two in a row thanks to strong defense, a potent running game, and good game management at quarterback. Both Kearney and Stakely ran for over 100 yards in this win, demonstrating the power of the run game this season.

The 2-0 Hoyas will look to continue their winning streak on Saturday, Sept. 16 at 12:30 pm against Stonehill. The game will again be broadcast on ESPN+. For continued coverage and updates on Georgetown sports, follow @GUVoiceSports on Twitter. 

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