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Georgetown Football: 2000 Season In Review
Complied from HoyaSaxa.com previews and recaps
Game #1: Holy Cross (September 9)“The misnomer around here is that people think we should beat Georgetown. Early on, we didn't respect Georgetown as much as we should have, for whatever reason. You have to respect a program that's beaten you two years in a row. We're at that point right now. Georgetown is as good as any team we play this year. It will be a dog fight.” --Holy Cross coach Dan Allen, in the Worcester Telegram and Gazette.
Over the last four seasons, Georgetown got just what it wanted in its series with Holy Cross--a rivalry between kindred schools and a yardstick in its progress towards the Patriot League. Saturday's game marks a change in the rivalry, as Georgetown is no longer the hunter, but the hunted.
Once among the the most powerful programs in Division I-AA, the Crusaders (3-8 in 1999) have suffered through seven consecutive losing seasons, and have been prone to slow starts that set the tone for the season. All eyes in Worcester are on this game as a test of the ability for the Crusaders to begin their climb back.
Their expectations were met. A 24 point outburst in the second half powered Holy Cross to a 38-22 win over the Georgetown Hoyas at a standing-room-only crowd at Kehoe Field. The loss was the first in an opener for Georgetown since 1994.
The game had some noticeable parallels with last season's opener. In Worcester, Holy Cross was strong at first in the warm weather, but fell victim to an early interception that kept the Hoyas around in the early goings. Tied 16-all at halftime, the 1999 'Saders withered in the heat as Georgetown pulled ahead, 34-16. This time, it was Holy Cross that stood strong at game's end.
Georgetown struck first, capturing a Holy Cross fumble at the 28 and scoring on a three yard run by sophomore Jamarr Staples. The Hoyas held off Holy Cross late in the quarter, but an ill advised pass by QB Sean Peterson led to an interception and an 9 yard return for the TD. Georgetown roared right back, with a 40 yard pass to Gharun Hester setting up Staples for a one yard TD and a 14-7 lead. A long drive from Holy Cross evened the score at 14 with under three minutes left in the half, and GU held off a late Holy Cross drive with a Mike Turnamian interception with :14 left to play.
Special teams buried the Hoyas in this game. On the opening kick of the second half, the ball bounced off GU's Robert Wingate Robinson at the three. Off the fumble recovery, Holy Cross scored on the next play to lead 21-14.
Midway through the quarter, while containing the Crusaders, the Hoya special teams committed another fateful play when it roughed the punter on fourth down, allowing HC to take immediate advantage with a 43 yard TD to blow the game open.
The Hoyas managed just one first down in the entire third quarter, and Holy Cross added to its lead with a 39 yard field goal at the end of the quarter. After the Hoyas stalled on their first possession of the fourth, HC went on a grueling five minute drive, capped by a pair of option runs by Hall to extend the lead to 38-14. Peterson was able to lead the Hoyas to a score midway in the period, where a one yard run by Staples and a two point conversion narrowed the count to 38-22.
Game #2: Wagner (September 16)
"They say your biggest improvement is between game one and game two. Well, that's what we plan to do."--Bob Benson, speaking after the game to the Washington Post.
When LaSalle, Canisius, and Siena unexpectedly dropped the Hoyas from their schedules this spring, Wagner College was added to the schedule. The Seahawks (5-5 in 1999, 1-0 in 2000) posed an interesting test for the Hoyas--a team with a improving offense but a very capable defense.
Wagner opened its season with a 14-7 win over Monmouth last Saturday. QB Aaron Smith should lead the Seahawks, who will look to junior RB John Campbell to rebuild its running game. Georgetown should be able to keep the Wagner offense in check, but on defense, Wagner held the Hawks to just 73 yards rushing and is among the better defensive units in the Northeast Conference.
Wagner, however, is not Holy Cross. Other than Albany and Robert Morris, the Hoyas would be the toughest test the Seahawks will see across the ball this year.
Wagner started off strong, leading 14-0 early in the second quarter. Sophomore David Paulus, replacing junior Sean Peterson, made his first collegiate start. Paulus finished the day 14-27 for 176 yards, with 3 TD passes and an interception. Paulus led the Hoyas to three touchdowns in the second quarter: a 26 yard TD pass to George Sumner, a 26 yard pass to Gharun Hester, and a drive capped by a 2 yard run by freshman Dawon Dicks to lead 21-14 at the half.
Early in the third, Wagner tied the score on a 4 yard run by Seahawks QB Aaron Smith. The Hoyas were not able to regain the lead until the fourth, where Paulus found RB Aaron Brown in the end zone with 9:18 to play. The Seahawks took the final drive of the game down the field, where the Hoya defense stopped Wagner at the two yard line with 2:09 to play, and subsequently running out the clock for the Hoyas' first win of the 2000 season.
Game #3: Butler (September 23)
Butler University made its first appearance at Kehoe Field in the third week of the season.
The Bulldogs (1-2) disposed of St. Francis (PA) 41-7, carrying a 38-0 lead at the half and resting its starters in the second. Here's a link to the game report from the Indianapolis Star-News.
Butler QB DeWayne Ewing has dominated his opponents this season, throwing 75 for 106 for 909 yards already this season. Butler is averaging 40 points a game, although prior to the St. Francis game it had given up over 100 points in its first two games. Ewing completed 11 straight passes in the St. Francis game, tying a school record.
If the passing games stalls, the Bulldogs may also look to sophomore running back Roman Speron--brother of Georgetown defensive end Eric Speron. Roman rushed for 86 yards in the St. Francis game.
Georgetown, however, is not St. Francis. This is an important test for Butler, and for Georgetown as well. Do not expect a defensive struggle.
We weren't kidding!
Unless you were a defensive coordinator, Georgetown's 57-56 overtime win over Butler was a sight to behold, as much for the score as for an offensive effort with few peers in the 113 year saga of Georgetown varsity football.
At the forefront was senior wide receiver Gharun Hester, who shattered three school records with 271 receiving yards and 5 touchdowns, in a game that saw the teams combine for 113 points before a near capacity crowd at Georgetown's 62nd Homecoming Game.
In the first quarter, the Bulldogs (1-3) wasted little time on their first possession, sending running back Ryan Zimpleman loose with 80 yard touchdown and an early lead. Georgetown answered with a four yard pass from David Paulus to george Sumner to tie the score, but it soon became apparent that the GU pass defense could not contain Butler QB DeWayne Ewing. Ewing drove the length of the field on its next possession, scoring on a fourth and goal from the one--the first of three Butler scores from a fourth and goal at the one. After a GU turnover deep in Butler territory, Ewing repeated the feat with a long drive and a one yard sneak for a 21-7 lead.
The two teams then traded TD's in the quarter--Paulus found Gharun hester with a 24 yard pass with 5:10 to play in the half, while Butler running back Roman Speron split the defense with a 47 yard pass with 1:55 to play. Georgetown drover right back down the field, but the drive stalled inside the 10 and Marc Samuel kicked a 28 yard field goal to close the count to 28-17.
The Hoyas opened the third with a bang, sparked by a long kick return by Robert Wingate Robinson. 21 seconds into the quarter, Paulus found Hester alone for the TD. The Hoyas pulled off the onside kick, but an alert Butler receiver waived for a fair catch and the kick was disallowed. Still, Georgetown held the 'Dogs at bay and on its next possession, a pair of passes to Hester brought the Hoyas its first lead at 31-28.
Still, the Hoya defense had no answer for Ewing. Butler scored on its next two possessions to lead 42-31. After a stalled drive, Butler appeared ready for another score late in the third period when the Georgetown defense held and the Bulldogs missed on a field goal try. It was to be a turning point.
With time running down in the third, Coach Bob Benson pulled out the stops on getting Hester the ball, and QB David Paulus found the All-America candidate open on a 69 yard strike with :13 left in the quarter. An early two point conversion failed, but the teams had exchanged five TD's in 15 minutes, with a wild finish to come.
After three quarters of futility against the Butler offense, Georgetown's defense began to make its mark against Ewing. The Bulldogs were kept in check early in the quarter, and allowed Paulus to build a drive which led to a 1 yard run by Alex Fonti to take the lead, 43-42. Another two point conversion drive failed.
Ewing drove the Bulldogs on a six minute drive that drove to the two with 2:09 to play. Another Hoya goal line stand fell short as the Bulldogs jumped ahead, 48-43, then connected on a two point play for a seven point lead.
With one time out, the Hoyas went into the two minute offense and marched down the field. Georgetown closed to the one yard line with :24 to play when Paulus, showing the inexperience of a quarterback with one previous start, tried to throw a screen pass at the one that resulted in a 15 yard loss. With time running out, Paulus regained his composure and threaded a pass to Hester with :06 left. Wow!
That was only the half of it. Coach Benson shocked the capacity crowd by opting to go for two, but the team was slow in responding and the Hoyas were assessed a five yard delay of game penalty. Georgetown was closing in on a second penalty when grad student Marc Samuel ran out late and calmly nailed the point after to send the game into overtime.
In the first possession of OT, Paulus showed much of the same form that helped tie the score, driving the Hoyas on a six play drive. A two yard run by Alex Fonti took the lead. Butler answered with a drive of their own nearly losing the game with a fumble at the eight that the Bulldogs recovered. After the touchdown, BU coach Ken LaRose decided to go for the win instead of a tying kick. On the play, Ewing was looking for wide receiver Kyle Conner in the right corner of the south end zone, but he was contained at the line and Ewing's timing pass sailed away for Georgetown's improbable comeback win.
A number of fans lined the walk down Kehoe Field to congratulate players of both teams. Among those waiting at the gate were three generations of the Speron family, who traveled from Illinois to see Georgetown's Eric Speron and his brother Roman, who played for Butler. After the game, the brothers posed for photos with the family and met with their grandmother, who traveled to the game in a wheelchair wearing a Butler t-shirt and a Georgetown cap.
If it wasn't the most important game in GU grid history, it may count among the most exciting. Among the two games generally acknowledged as the greatest finishes at Kehoe Field (the 1981 win over St. John's with no time remaining and the 1998 Homecoming upset over Holy Cross), this was right up there. And for those young alumni who were too busy drinking beer in the parking lot then to attend this game...it was your loss!
Game #4: Fordham (September 30)"We want to play good people every week here. I'm much more enthusiastic about playing Patriot League teams, having big games week in and week out, than playing the Sienas and Canisiuses and no one cares."--Bob Benson, in the Washington Post, discussing Georgetown's 0-2 record this year against Patriot League teams.
Next, Georgetown renewed its oldest ongoing rivalry versus Fordham (1-3) after a one year break. The Rams own five straight wins in this series which dates back to 1890. After renewing the rivalry in 1996, Fordham outscored the Hoyas 88-6 in the 1996 and 1997 games before the Hoyas battled to a 49-40 decision in 1998.
Here is an excerpt from The HOYA's preview of the game:"Fordham will be the second team from the Patriot League that Georgetown has faced this season. The first was Holy Cross, which defeated Georgetown, 38-22, in the Hoyas’ season opener. Head Coach Bob Benson feels that Fordham could be the strongest opponent that Georgetown will face thus far. “I feel they are a better team than Holy Cross,” coach Benson said. “They’re going to be a very tough opponent.”
Fairfield, a team that has been a point of comparative reference this season, Georgetown narrowly defeated, 21-14, last season. Fordham crushed Fairfield, 34-7, earlier this season.
Last year was a bit deceiving for the Rams, who finished the season with a record of 0-11, 0-6 in the Patriot League. The Rams sported a relatively young team last year, including 15 freshmen on their two-deep roster.
This year Fordham broke its winless streak with a 34-7 victory over Fairfield on Sept. 9, but have struggled aside from that, losing its other three games to Towson, Columbia and Colgate."
But a third quarter kickoff return provided Fordham the margin of victory in a 17-10 final at Kehoe Field. The Hoyas fell to 2-2 on the season and 0-2 against Patriot League opponents this year.
Fordham opened the game with a 22 yard field goal midway through the first quarter and added a touchdown for a 10-0 lead. Both teams then settled into defense , and neither offense could maintain momentum. Georgetown's best moment came early in the second quarter when QB David Paulus found WR Gharun Hester for a 45 yard TD pass; however, it was Hester's only catch of the game. With Fordham's defense keying on Hester and putting pressure on the line, Georgetown managed only 13 rushing yards and Paulus was sacked eight times.
As was the case against Holy Cross, the turning point of the game came on special teams. Following a 48 yard field goal by Marc Samuel with 10:57 to play in the third period, Fordham's Javarus Dudley took the kickoff 97 yards back for the touchdown and the lead. Defense and turnovers dominated the game, with Fordham picking off four Georgetown passes. Outside of Hester's 45 yard catch, QB David Paulus had only 103 yards passing on 13 of 30, plus the aforementioned 4 INT's.
Game #5: Bucknell (October 7)
If Georgetown garnered any respect by holding Fordham to a close, well-fought game, it is tempered by the fact that Fordham is, by some accounts, the weakest Patriot League team this year. That cannot be said for Bucknell (3-1), coming off a dominant 35-14 win over Duquesne where it rushed 57 times for 259 yards and held the ball for nearly 40 minutes. The Bison are a heavy favorite in this week's game, and for good reason.On offense, the Bison have been consistent throughout the year. Junior running back Jabu Powell blew past the Duquesne defense, with four touchdowns on a 40 carry, 215 yard effort. Powell is third in Division I-AA in all purpose yards (205 per game), but he also is surrounded by a veteran crew. QB Lucas Phillips (47-98, 467 yards, 2 TD's) hasn't put up a lot of yards in the air, but with Phillips, he doesn't need to.
Bucknell's major strength is defense. It has not surrendered more than two touchdowns in any single game, and held Richmond's offense to only 10 points in the season opener. Senior Kevin Eiben leads his team with five tackles, pulled down four INT's, and averaged 32 yards per punt reception last week against Duquesne.
And when you're 27 point underdogs at home, you need an inspired defense, big plays, and no turnovers to turn the upset. Georgetown's defense did its part, but three key turnovers spelled defeat in a 24-10 decision to Bucknell at wind-swept Kehoe Field.
Despite 156 yards by BU running back Jabu Powell, the Hoyas kept Bucknell (4-1) and its offense in check. With no running game of their own (30 carries, 45 yards), Georgetown QB David Paulus put the ball in the air with positive results. Paulus put the Hoyas on the board with a 31 yard TD pass to Gharun Hester, made possible by a fake punt to keep the drive alive (with Paulus as the punter).
Bucknell tied the score midway through the second, but as time was about to expire, the first of three Georgetown turnovers allowed Bucknell to take the lead on a field goal, 10-7.
The Hoyas tied the count early in the third on a 30 yard Marc Samuel field goal, but the killer turnovers continued. An third quarter interception led to a Bucknell TD and a 17-10 lead, followed by a second fumble early in the 4th to lead to the final Bison final TD.
Statistically, Georgetown led in first downs, passing, return yards, and time of possession. Turnovers, just as they did against Holy Cross and Fordham, proved lethal against another Patriot team.
Georgetown's 0-3 run against PL teams, confirms that while the Hoyas can compete, they must improve further for next year. In these three games, five opponent touchdowns and a field goal were the indirect result of either turnovers or special teams mistakes. Now, with five MAAC opponents ahead and a season finale versus Davidson, the improvement continues.
Game #6: Duquesne (October 14)
Despite the fact that the Georgetown completed the Patriot League portion of the the schedule, this week's matchup with Duquesne is no less a test for these Hoyas.
Duquesne (4-1) is now the preeminent MAAC program, but its surprising success has come out of conference--competitive games versus the Patriot League and a blowout win over VMI in the season opener.
The Dukes' strength is on offense, where Tony Zimmerman (1200 yards, 12 TD's) is among the most potent passers in I-AA. Reggie Harris (517 yards, 6 TD's) is averaging nearly 20 yards per catch, while three running backs each average greater than 4 yards per carry. Duquesne's defense has improved after surrendering 31 points to VMI, with no opponent scoring more than two touchdowns since.
A quick look at the final--a 24 point loss and a record setting day by a Duquesne running back--might lead many to assume that Duquesne's 44-20 win over Georgetown was a rout. Not so.
In fact, with under four minutes to play, Georgetown was down by a field goal. But four minutes and two big turnovers later, Duquesne collected the win.
Duquesne opened the game with a 10 yard TD run by junior Donte Small, en route to a school record 290 yard game on 33 carries. It is also believed to be a record for any opponent versus Georgetown, passing Fordham's Chip Kron, who tagged the Hoyas for 272 yards in 1985.
For a third straight week, Georgetown had no answer on the ground (29 carries, 66 yards), but QB Dave Paulus continued to lead the Hoyas in the air. After a Marc Samuel field goal closed the count to 6-3, Paulus found WR Trenton Hillier for a 14 yard pass and a 10-6 lead. Hillier led all receivers with 13 catches for 167 yards, both a career high for the sophomore.
On its next possession, Small blew past the GU defense for a 68 yard TD to take the lead, 13-10. The Hoyas tied the game on a 51 yarder by Samuel with 1:30 to play, but Duquesne drove the length of the field in the final moments. A goal line stand by the Georgetown defense forced the Dukes to connect on a 19 yard field goal as the half expired, 16-13.
The Georgetown pass defense held QB Tony Zimmerman in check. Zimmerman, who had passed for 1200 yards this season, was only 7 for 16 for 72 yards, 31 of which was a touchdown pass to senior Reggie Harris in the third quarter. Georgetown countered with a one yard run with 3:19 in the quarter to trail 23-20.
As mentioned earlier, the wheels came off late in the game. Zimmerman threw an 8 yard pass to Harris with 3:55 to play to lead 30-20, but on the next possession Paulus' pass was intercepted and returned 52 yards for a TD and a 37-20 lead. On the next series, Paulus fumbled the ball, and Duquesne would recover and extend the lead to 44-20 on a 34 yard Donte Small run for the Duquesne record books.
Despite good pass defense and a strong passing effort by Paulus (24-39, 341 yards), Georgetown young offensive line is too porous to help the running game, and four turnovers cost the Hoyas its third straight game. Of GU's four losses, turnovers have proven the difference in each and has led the Hoyas to its first three game losing streak in Bob Benson's seven year tenure on the Hilltop.
Game #7: Marist (October 21)
Another MAAC opponent returned to the schedule in Marist (3-2), a team which always gives the Hoyas a tough game no matter the circumstances.
Marist rolled past an improving Iona team 27-7 lthe previous week, holding MAAC pre-season player of the year Ralph Salvaderi to just 18 yards on the ground. Defense is their specialty, and a favorable early schedule (apart from a 49-7 rout at the hands of Duquesne) has allowed the Red Foxes to the top of the nation's statistical categories in rush defense.
The Marist offense is not as strong. QB Kevin Chartrand (440 yards, 4 TD's, 8 INT's) will look to his ground game in RB's Alfredo Riullano (419 yards, 5.7 per carry) and Christopher Price (405 yards, 4.8 per carry.). The passing game has only contributed for 6 TD's all season and will be tested by the veteran GU defensive backs.
A 187 yard receiving day from senior Gharun Hester powered the Georgetown Hoyas to a second half win over Marist, 41-17. The outcome was the seventh consecutive win in the series and ended a three game Georgetown losing streak.
Marist (3-3) entered the game with one of Division I-AA's top defenses, and it was in evidence early. The teams fought hard through much of the first half, with the Hoyas owning only a 7-3 lead at intermission. In the third quarter, the Hoyas opened up the offense with a screen pass to Hester, who went for 71 yards and the score. On its next possession, QB David Paulus (17-31, 325 yards) found Hester for a 35 yard pass, increasing the score to 20-3. Although the Red Foxes cut into leads at 20-10 and 27-17, Georgetown pulled away in the fourth on a sustained drive which led to an Aaron Brown touchdown for a 34-17 lead, then added a late touchdown when sophomore Robert Wingate-Robinson burst threw the Marist line for a 40 yard run with under a minute to play.
"This was a must-win situation for us," David Paulus told the Washington Post. "We needed something to build ourselves, build our confidence, build our rhythm." The offense certainly did that, with 546 yards total offense, 187 of which went to Hester. The rushing offense pushed Marist back 221 yards, with career performances by Jamarr Staples (8 carries, 73 yards), and Robert Wingate-Robinson (5 carries, 52 yards). The Hoyas led in every statistical category, including penalties--two of which led to a Marist touchdown in the third quarter.
Game #8: Fairfield (October 28)
Every few years, there are games that define a program. Two years ago, Fairfield's 24-17 win over Georgetown before a Homecoming crowd at Fairfield propelled the Stags, in only their third year of I-AA football, towards the MAAC crown. Two years later, the two teams return to Alumni Field, and while no title is on the line, both teams have a lot to play for.
Georgetown will be an interesting test for Fairfield (3-2). Its three wins have come over Iona, Siena, and St. Peter's, while it lost to Duquesne and Fordham. Sophomore QB Mike Cerchio is two weeks removed from a career high 410 yards in the Stags' win over St. Peter's. He is called "perhaps the MAAC's top all-around signal caller" by MAAC Sports.com, quite a compliment given the passing prowess of Duquesne's Tony Zimmerman. Cerchio's offense is second only to Duquesne in total offense, but a disappointing sixth in total defense. A pair of Stag defenders, Steve Norcini (47 tackles, 32 of which were solo) and Steve Dogmanits (7 INT's) lead Fairfield's forces.
For the Hoyas, a road win is critical to maintaining their hopes of a winning season and momentum heading into the off season work towards the Patriot League. If the Hoyas stay clear of turnovers (having lost 18 so far this season), they can be expected to move the ball against Fairfield.
But the Hoyas took a decided step backward in the 2000 season in week eight, falling to a 3-5 record in a 38-14 loss at Fairfield University.
As has been the case often this season, the Hoyas played tough in the opening half. Georgetown marched swiftly down the field and scored on its opening possession, with a 36 yard pass to Gharun Hester and a 7-0 lead. Fairfield (4-2) answered with a TD and two point conversion, then was held for a late field goal at the end of the half for an 11-7 lead.
The game was close in the third, but two key plays turned the tide. Matt Costanzo broke free for a 47 yard run from scrimmage with 3:42 in the third to open the lead to 17-7. The Hoyas went three and out on its next possession, whereupon Fairfield's Steve Hadley returned the punt 85 yards for a TD. With less than 90 seconds, the Hoyas were down 24-7. GU narrowed the count to 24-14 early in the fourth, but Fairfield opened the lead to 31-14 with 7:43 to play and added a late TD with under two minutes to play.
Once again, the Hoyas' own mistakes did them in again. The rushing game (90 yards, 31 carries) was nonexistent, putting more pressure on the passing game. Outside of the pass to Hester, GU managed only 134 yards in the air and Hester was held to a single pass reception for 4 yards thereafter. Struggling to get things going through the air, QB David Paulus was tagged with three INT's (a total of 14 in the last five games) and was followed by Sean Peterson, who also threw an INT. GU was outscored 27-7 in the second half, allowing Fairfield 402 yards of total offense to GU's 224. The 85 yard punt return keyed 142 return yards for the Stags, compared with only 35 for the Hoyas.
Game #9: Iona (November 4)
The following week's game against Iona was not only a "must-win" for the 3-5 Hoyas to aim for a winning season, but also a "should-win".
The Gaels (3-5) played a soft early schedule, and it shows. Big wins over Canisius and St. Peter's have been tempered by consecutive losses to Marist, Duquesne, and Sacred Heart. All-MAAC player of the year candidate Ralph Salvaderi (1,214 yards, 6.9 yards per carry) accounts for 84% of the Gaels' running game and a third of the team's scoring. When he's on the move, the Gaels are dangerous, as was the case last year when the Gaels scored 62 on Duquesne. If not, the Gaels will struggle.
Iona was held to 196 rushing yards in the previous week's loss to Sacred Heart, while its passing game was horrible--1 of 6 for 4 yards, with 2 INT's. In fact, Iona is the only team on the Hoyas' schedule which has given up more turnovers (29) than the Hoyas have so far this season (28). Defensively, Iona is last in the MAAC in total defense, which may give the beleaguered GU running game an opportunity to improve.
Well, one down, two to go.
Senior Gharun Hester became Georgetown's all-time leader in receiving yards today as the Hoyas (4-5) dominated Iona 43-14 at Kehoe Field. Hester's 104 yards in receiving eclipsed the mark of consensus All-America Chris Murphy, who collected 2,817 yards from 1989 through 1992.
Also prominent in the game was the return of the Georgetown running game. The Hoyas picked up 196 yards in the first half, led by sophomore Jamarr Staples. Staples scored two rushing TD's and was joined by an 18 yard run by Aaron Brown to give the Hoyas a 20-0 run. By game's end the Hoyas totaled 353 yards on the ground.
Iona opened the third period with a long drive, and a one yard TD by Rob Terry narrowed the count to 20-7. (It was the first TD scored by the Gaels on a Georgetown defense in five years.) The Hoyas answered the score with a five yard TD by Anthony Tuozzo to increase the lead to 27-7, then added a score late in the third to lead 34-7.
In the fourth, Brown added a second touchdown run, then picked up a safety as the Iona punter saw the ball sail past him, where the ball was kicked out of the end zone. With under a minute to go, Iona took advantage of a secondary miscue and scored on an 81 yard passing TD.
Game #10: St. Peter's (November 11)
How would the Hoyas fare against St. Peter's? Well, The HOYA minced few words with its headline: "GU Prepares To Pummel St. Peter's".
Despite a 3-6 record, things are actually looking up for the Peacocks, which went 2-29 in their last three seasons and whose all-time record in football is 57-174 (.241). Coach Rob Stern is putting together a team that is reaching for modest goals: competing in the middle tier of the MAAC. First though, they will have to visit Kehoe Field, where they have been outscored 41-7, 61-14, and 54-7 in their last three visits.
For Georgetown, the Hoyas will need to continue the progress in rushing offense made in the Iona game. No one is looking past St. Peter's towards the season finale with undefeated Davidson, for without a win Saturday there will be no opportunity at a seventh consecutive winning season.
Saturday will be Senior Day for 21 lettermen, and the last opportunity to see All-America candidate Gharun Hester on the Kehoe Field turf. It would be fitting for Hester to have a big day on the field where so many great plays took place in his college career.
Defensively, the Hoyas should be able to control the game. St. Peter's is ranked 119th of 122 schools on total offense, as is expected for a team that averages less than nine points per game.
But the Hoyas did not pummel the Peacocks; in fact, it called upon its All-America candidate to save the game once more.
"Gharun Hester may be the best player ever to put on a Georgetown football uniform."--Seth Emerson in the Washington Post
Seth Emerson may not know of Al Blozis, Jack Hagerty, or Johnny Gilroy when making that comment, but in the modern era of Georgetown football, Gharun Hester stands alone.
The 6-4 sophomore caught two critical TD passes, the last coming with 2:25 to play, in allowing the Hoyas to escape with a 20-16 win over St. Peter's at Kehoe Field. The Hoyas, favored by as many as five TD's over the Peacocks in the Sagarin ratings, needed every bit of Hester and some expert defensive plays to avoid the upset.
The Peacocks (3-7) used their ground game to plow through the Hoyas early in the game. SPC opened the scoring with a 19 play, ten minute drive to lead 7-0 in the first quarter. Georgetown answered back with a quick scoring drive, punctuated by a 23 yard pass to Hester that set up a two yard pass to senior co-captain Reid Wakefield.
Georgetown was unable to roar past the SPC defense due to turnovers and the conditions on windy Kehoe Field. The GU defense kept the team in contention in the first half, keyed by a big play by senior Brett Crowder. When Peacock RB Daniel Spain took off through the secondary en route to an apparent 30 yard TD, Crowder punched the ball out of his hands before the end zone, leading to a touch back.
The Peacocks took the lead on a 53 yard run, but missed the extra point. In the fourth quarter, GU took the lead 14-13 on a pass from David Paulus to Hester with 11:12 to play, but the Hoyas could not build the lead. The Peacocks drove to the Georgetown 16 late in the game, settling for a field goal to give the Peacocks a shocking 16-14 lead with under three minutes to play.
Georgetown took the ensuing kickoff to the 40 with time running out. Paulus found Wakefield with a 16 yard pass, then found Hester over the middle. Hester had thought about heading out of bounds, but caught a block and sprinted down the sideline. While not as momentous as his catch over Holy Cross in 1998 or his three TD's in the Butler game, it was a huge turnaround for a team needing momentum at season's end. Hester's 14th TD in a season breaks the receiving record held by Hester in 1999 and Chris Murphy in 1992, and his third straight 1,000 yard season.
St. Peter's mounted one more challenge, but was stopped on an interception by Brett Crowder. The names of Saturday's heroes--Hester, Wakefield, Turnamian, Crowder--speaks well about this senior class.
"The senior class has done everything over the past four years to take us to the Patriot League," coach Benson told the Post. "We owe a lot to them and Gharun. He's been as good as any athlete we've had here. And he's certainly ready to take it to the next level."
Game #11: Davidson (November 18)
One way or another, some history would be made in the finale versus Davidson.
For Georgetown, it was the opportunity to capture a seventh consecutive winning season, something accomplished only once in the program's history from 1916 through 1922. For Davidson, it was the opportunity to undefeated and untied for the first time in school history, carrying a 17 game win streak from last season.
Davidson's undefeated streak gets mixed results in some I-AA circles. The Wildcats are 9-0, but five of those wins came over Division III opponents. Which team will the Hoyas see--the team that dominated its four I-AA opponents, or the team that needed a field goal to get past Emory & Henry and Centre College? The Hoyas should expect the former, not the latter.
Davidson's offense is led by Bryan Fish, a former defensive back who has rushed for 952 yards and seven TD's this season. DC's passing attack is also solid, with 6-2 senior WR Corey Crawford (36 receptions, 679 yards) a favored receiver. Crawford is equally adept at kick returns (8 returns, 125 yards). Quarterback Paul Nichols (139-260, 14 TD's) is 52 yards away from 2,000 passing yards in a season, which no Davidson QB has managed in 30 seasons.
Across the line, Corey Crawford's brother Ryan Crawford anchors a steady defense that has given up more than 17 points only once all season. Ryan was named All-America last season, the first Wildcat selected for the first team since 1934. Davidson's run defense has not allowed more than 101 yards on the ground in five straight weeks, its passing defense has picked off interceptions in seven straight games.
The HOYA's game day report summed it up as follows:
"The Georgetown football team scored a touchdown on its first possession of the game, but failed to hold onto the lead, losing to Davidson by a score of 41-17 last Saturday in Davidson, N.C. The loss ended the Hoyas' season and dropped their final record to 5-6.
"Georgetown capped a four-play first quarter drive with a rushing touchdown by sophomore running back Jamarr Staples to go up 7-0 after the extra point, but the Wildcats promptly stormed back for 17 points of their own in the second quarter. Davidson went on to score 24 unanswered points before Georgetown law student Marc Samuel split the uprights for the Hoyas, making good on a 33-yard field goal attempt to draw the Hoyas to within 14. Davidson quelled hope of a Georgetown rally, capitalizing on the lone Hoya turnover for seven more points and a 31-10 lead. A 19-yard field goal and a 36-yard punt return capped the scoring for the Wildcats, while a four-yard run by sophomore quarterback Sean Peterson, who came on to relieve his starting counterpart Dave Paulus, marked the final tally for the Hoyas.
"The Georgetown offense struggled to get in gear after the initial scoring drive. The game saw the Hoyas go six consecutive drives without a first down. Davidson's defensive success could largely be attributed to its strong pass coverage, limiting Georgetown to 156 yards and only 13 completions on 37 attempts. In comparison, Davidson's quarterback Paul Nichols and the Wildcat air attack exploded, completing 22 of 34 passes for 368 yards against the Hoya secondary.
"The Hoya ground game was successful when compared to most games this season. Georgetown accumulated 171 yards rushing, 40 yards more than their season average, which had dipped as low as 86 yards per game during the course of the season. But the Hoyas could not get the ball in the endzone, and fell short of a winning record for the first time since 1993. Davidson increased their winning streak to 17 straight games and concluded their undefeated season with a record of 10-0."
If the 2000 season seemed disappointing for a team accustomed to winning in the MAAC, it serves as a transition to a higher level of play and a higher standard of achievement that awaits the Hoyas of the 21st century. The senior class of 2000 has much to be proud of in their efforts to bring to pass what was unthinkable less than a decade ago: "Georgetown Football: Member Of The Patriot League."
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