Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Amid a Winless Season, Parrish Is a Bright Spot

It’s that time of year again. It’s midterm time – and for the Georgetown football team, the first half hasn’t gone well at all.

A slew of injuries, including the loss of the Hoyas’ starting quarterback and a four-year starting offensive lineman, has rendered the running game obsolete. The winless Hoyas have not played well throughout their six-game losing streak, and with reigning Patriot League champion Colgate coming into town, things may only get worse.

It helps to have junior Nick Parrish as your linebacker and co-captain. He is currently is ranked 20th nationally and first in the Patriot League with 65 tackles. Parrish is also tied for the league lead with 31 solo tackles, a total he will likely add to considerably when Colgate’s run-fueled offense arrives on the Hilltop.

“I mean I’d trade it all in a minute for some Ws,” Parrish said. “It’s great to progress like that personally, it’s important but team goals come first.”

Parrish has been a constant, reliable pillar on and off the field for the Hoyas for the last two-and-a-half seasons. This year, he’s one of only two Patriot League players to average more than 10 tackles per game, while leading a defense that has held its own despite an inordinate amount of time spent on the field.

“We just take pride in what we do,” the 6-foot-1 linebacker said. “We control what we control, and so we just [have to] go out there and keep swinging every play; and so if it’s going to fall on our shoulders . we’ll take that role.”

As for his coach, it’s not Parrish’s stats that are admired.

“The biggest thing about Nick is his leadership . something he does a great job with,” Head Coach Kevin Kelly said. “He has a real good sense of when to be serious, but also has a terrific sense of humor. All the players, -coaches included – have a great deal of respect for who he is. The icing on the cake is that he’s a great football player as well.”

Those leadership qualities will become even more important in the second half of the season, when the cold weather starts to bite and a team’s place in the standings become more noticeable.

“We came in with a lot of swagger this season, and we still have that, but also we [have to] learn that the little things can add up – and that’s what we learned out here [during the first half],” Parrish said. “Kind of just to regroup, not panic, kind of pull it all together so that we can round out late and salvage the season”

Colgate may be the most brutal opponent the Hoyas could face as they look for a midseason turnaround.

“I mean it’s a good challenge,” Parrish said. “It’s the No. 1 rushing offense in the country, it’s a Patriot League game, so we’re looking to come out and make a statement. This will be like the point where we turn it around and head on from here.”

Colgate’s No. 17 ranking comes with the statistical hype one would expect. The Tigers’ No. 1 rushing offense has averaged 267.2 yards per game with 17 touchdowns on the ground. They have allowed only 16.1 points per game on defense, and are a perfect 6-0 following a thrilling double-overtime win at Princeton. Colgate also holds a 14-game regular season win streak and is 6-0 all-time against the Hoyas.

“They’re an excellent football team, Coach Biddle’s done a terrific job at Colgate,” Kelly said. “They’ve got an excellent running game and a passing game that complements the run .They’re an excellent football team.”

Then again, Colgate has put up those statistics against a fairly weak schedule. They’ve played against Ivy League cellar-dweller Dartmouth and defensively-deficient Fordham, with other games against average Princeton and Cornell. Fordham has been their only Patriot League game of the season.

Conversely, the Hoyas’ schedule has been a gauntlet. After starting against a ranked Holy Cross team and then a ranked Bucknell team, the Hoyas have also had to play Ivy League title contender Yale and Lafayette.

Georgetown has struggled all year to score inside the opponents’ 20-yard line, but the Hoyas can be optimistic about the 70 percent success rate opponents have posted against the Colgate defense in the red zone. And while Colgate’s rushing attack is monstrous, the Tigers’ passing game is the opposite. Colgate runs the ball three times as often as they throw (343 rushing attempts for 116 passing attempts).

Additionally, they do not defend well against the passing game, which has been Georgetown’s go-to attack this season, with freshman quarterback Isaiah Kempf ranking fourth in the Patriot League in total passing yards through five games. Additionally, Colgate has allowed the most sacks in the league, another bonus for a Georgetown defense that has specialized in getting to the quarterback.

“We’ll definitely just play a lot of physical, down hill type of football, put a lot of pressure on them and make them come out and have to adjust to our kind of play,” Parrish said.

Expect Parrish to be at the front of that charge as Georgetown tries to contain the whirlwind rushing attack that Colgate will surely bring. He will lead a team that, despite their record, still has the drive.

“Right now our record’s not real good, but if you walk by practice you would think that we’re an undefeated football team – and that’s a testament to the kids’ character,” Kelly said.”

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