Georgetown Football: 1997 Season In Review Excerpted from the February 1998 Gridiron Club newsletter.
The football team had a spectacular 1997 season, finishing with a perfect 7-0 mark in the MAAC Football League and an 8-3 overall record. The Hoyas won the 1997 MAAC title with a convincing 24-0 win over the two-time defending champion Duquesne in the Homecoming Game October 25. Georgetown went on to play Robert Morris in the ECAC Intercollegiate Football Conference Bowl Game, its first post-season appearance since the 1950 Sun Bowl played at the conclusion of the 1949 season. The eight wins established the school's modern day record for victories in a season. The last time a Georgetown football team won eight games in a season was back in 1940, when the team went 8-2 and played Mississippi State in the 1941 orange Bowl. In addition to setting the modern day record for wins in a season, the Hoyas tied the school record for consecutive wins with seven. The last time Georgetown won seven-consecutive games in the same year was back in 1940, when it won the first seven games of the season. In 1938, the Hoyas won all eight games for a perfect 8-0 mark.
Head coach Bob Benson was recognized by his peers as the 1997 Spalding/MAAC Football LeagueCoach of the year. Benson coached a fine group of players as evidenced by 18 Hoyas being named to the 1997 All-MAAC First and Second teams. Ten Georgetown players earned First Team honors, while eight others were named to the Second Team.
The Hoyas had eight different players earn Player of the Week honors during the season. Leading the way was Senior Captain Bill Ward, who was honored on three different occasions during the season.
Georgetown also excelled in the classroom as numerous players earned academic awards. Steve Iorio, Joe Todsico, Reid Ruberti, Jim Gallagher, and Bill Rutkoske were all named to the 1997 GTE District II Academic All-America Football Team. Iorio was also the recipient of an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship. Mike Lynn was honored at halftime of the St. John's game as a Burger King College Football Scholar-Athlete of the Week. With the award, Burger King donated $10,000 to Georgetown's general scholarship fund in Lynn's name. In addition, ten players were named to the MAAC Football LeagueAll-Academic Team.
Georgetown set numerous records during the season. Ward became the school's all-time career leader in touchdown passes (44), passing yardage (4,555), completions (353), total offense (4,199), total offensive plays (773), passing attempts (663) and completion percentage (53.2%). Also in 1997, Ward set single season marks for touchdown passes (19), passing yards (2,081), pass completions (161), passing attempts (309) and total offensive yards (1,880). ward and Rob Rosenthal tied the school record for the longest pass completion as the two connected for an 88 yard completion in the Hoyas' win over Siena on October 4.
Iorio had an outstanding year in his own right. He became the Hoyas' all-time leading rusher with 3,243 yards on a school record 704 attempts. Iorio is also the school's all time leading scorer with 186 points, a record he shares with Dean Lowry (1986-89). They also share the school record for career touchdowns (31) and rushing touchdowns (26). With 901 yards rushing in 1997 , Iorio broke Lowry's single season rushing record.
Todisco had an outstanding career on the Hilltop as well. He finished third on Georgetown's all-time rushing list with 2,340 yards. Todisco rushed for 646 yards in 1997 and set a single game record by averaging 15.9 yards per carryon just nine carries to break John Burke's school mark of 13.2 yards per carry (13 carries, 171 yards) against Hofstra in 1974.
Several other players also set records during the season. Ruberti, who finished the year ranked eighth among all Division I-AA players in interceptions per game (.67-7 INT's in 9 games) set a single season record for total interception return yards with 150. The old mark was 122 yards by Jim Corcoran in 1980. Peter Carbonara established a single season school record for successful PAT's with 27, breaking the former mark of 26 by Anthony DeGeorgetownzman in 1991. Carbonara tied for 22nd among I-AA kickers with an average of 1.00 field goal per game.
As a team, the Hoyas set a school record by forcing eight turnovers against Duquesne in a game that clinched the MAAC Football Leaguetitle for the Hoyas. Georgetown's set one school record and tied another against Iona. On offense, Georgetown established a school record with 28 first downs. Defensively, the Hoyas limited Iona to five first downs to tie the school record for fewest first downs allowed in a game.
The Hoyas defense turned in one stellar performance after another in 1997. On the year, Georgetown finished third among all Division I-AA teams in turnover margin with a ratio of +1.70 per game. The team was also seventh in pass efficiency defense with a rating of 88.94. The Hoyas were also 10th in scoring defense, allowing 14.3 points per game and 14th in total defense, holding opponents to 266 yards per contest.
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