Georgetown Football: 1996 Season In Review Excerpted from the January 1997 Gridiron Club newsletter.
The Georgetown football team had an impressive 1996 season as the squad posted a 7-3 overall record and set 25 school records and tied four others. In addition, the Hoyas led all 116 Division I-AA schools in total defense and rushing defense. It marked the second-consecutive season Georgetown led I-AA in total defense.
Under fourth-year Head Coach Bob Benson, the Hoyas tied the modern day (since 1964) record for wins in a season and Georgetown's 7-3 overall record was the team's best since the 1988 squad was 6-2. The last time a Hoya football team won seven games in a season was back in 1978 when it was 7-1. Georgetown was also 7-1 in the Metro Athletic Conference (MAAC), finishing in second place.
The Hoyas began the 1996 campaign with four-consecutive wins, and combining those four victories with three wins at the conclusion of the 1995 season, Georgetown tied the school record for the longest unbeaten and longest winning streak in the modern era.
Georgetown led all of I-AA in total defense and rushing defense, allowing 218.2 and 53.2 yards per game, respectively. The Hoyas led I-AA in total defense in 1995, giving up 216.4 yards per contest. The 53.2 yards allowed per game is a Georgetown record. The Hoyas held their opponents to a total of 532 rushing yards on the season for an average of 1.6 yards per carry, which are both records. Georgetown also posted a pair of shutouts on the season to tie the school mark set in 1987. As a team, the Hoyas registered 40 sacks and made 96 tackles behind the line of scrim-mage for losses totaling 523 yards.
The Hoyas have been known for their defensive prowess over the past several years, but Georgetown's offense was also a major factor in the team's success in 1996. The offense was ranked 15th in I-AA, averaging a school-record 411.1 yards per game, including 222.9 yards rush-ing, good for 18th in the country. Both are new school records in terms of average per game and total yards. Georgetown gained 2,229 yards rush-ing on 484 attempts, a record for rushing attempts. The Hoyas were also 18th in the nation in scoring at 30.3 points per game, establishing a school mark for points scored in a season (303). In addition, Georgetown gained 215 first downs for another record.
Georgetown broke eight single game records during the season as well. In the season-opener against Fairfield and then against St. Peter's later in the year, the Hoyas set a school record with 27 first downs. Georgetown also established school records for total offense (607), rushing yards (430) and rushing touch-downs (8) in a game against St. Peter's. Against St. John's, the Hoyas set a record for most offensive plays in a game with 92. Defensively, Georgetown set a pair of records in their win over Marist. Georgetown held the Red Foxes to 12 yards of total offense and -58 yards rush-ing. The Hoyas established a new record for fewest first downs allowed in a game as well, as they held Siena to just five.
The Hoyas began the season with four-consecutive wins and dating back to the 1995 campaign, Georgetown won seven-straight contests to tie the school record for the longest winning streak. The original record was set back in the 1987 and 1988 seasons. In the season-opening 59-14 win at Fairfield, Georgetown set a school record for first downs and a then school mark for total offense. The Hoyas racked up 568 yards of offense and totaled 27 first downs, while holding the Stags to -16 yards rushing. Georgetown then defeated Siena 43-6, holding the Saints to five first downs. The Hoyas gained 507 yards of total offense with 334 coming on the ground. cluding -7 yards rushing.
Georgetown improved to 3-0 with a 31-14 win over Marist in the home-opener. The Hoya defense was the key as they held Marist to 12 yards of total offense and -58 yards rushing, both of which are school records. The Homecoming game with Iona also added to Georgetown's winning streak, 20-0.
The Hoyas fell to 4-1 on the year with a 15-0 loss at Duquesne on Octo-ber 19 and to Patriot League foe Fordham 46-6; for the first time in 1996 an opponented gain more than 100 yards rushing.
Georgetown snapped its two-game losing streak with a 24-0 win over Canisius. It marked the first time since 1987 that the Hoyas posted two shutouts in a season. The Hoya defense limited Canisius to 86 yards of total offense.
Georgetown defeated St. John's 23- 13 to improve to 6-2. The Hoyas held St. John's to -7 yards rushing and 119 yards of total offense. GU ran 92 plays on offense, including 67 rushing, to set a record for total plays in a game. The Hoyas then recorded a 61-14 win over St. Peter's as the Hoyas racked up school records of 430 yards rushing and 607 yards of total offense. They averaged 8.4 yards per carry and 9.6 yards per play in the game. Georgetown scored eight rushing touchdowns to es-tablish another school record.
In the season finale against Holy Cross, the Hoyas fell 45-36 in a game that featured 1,008 yards of total offense.
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