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

Benson, GU Riding High

Benson, GU Riding High

By Dash Robinson Hoya Staff Writer

Relaxing in a chair in his office, dripping wet, Georgetown football Head Coach Bob Benson has a lot to be thankful for.

He’s just led his team through a rain-drenched practice on Kehoe Field, sans injury to any of his players. He has a statement-making, 34-16 victory at Holy Cross last Saturday under his belt. He has a cornerback, senior Jim Gallagher, who shared all-Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference defensive honors last week for his two interceptions, including one returned for 66-yards for a touchdown against the Crusaders.

And you expect a little rain to bring him down?

“To open the season with a win against an opponent like that at their place, that’s really big,” Benson said. “Really big.”

The Hoyas forced six turnovers – among them five interceptions – and held Holy Cross to 63 rushing yards. Gallagher, a co-captain and four-year starter, emerged as the leader of a secondary that has quickly taken a liking to the game-breaking play.

“He is one of the best corners I’ve ever coached,” Benson said. “In practice, he’s not a `rah-rah’ kind of guy, but he says what needs to be said.”

Holy Cross did accumulate 305 yards through the air, highlighted by a 52-yard touchdown pass, and Benson is a bit concerned.

“We still have some stuff to work out defensively,” Benson said. “Particularly our blitzing. We’re a team that likes to attack and have fun out there, and use a lot of disguise. That needs to fall back into place.”

The Hoyas will bring their retooled defense to Kehoe Field this Saturday at noon for the home and MAAC opener against the Siena Saints. Georgetown thrashed Siena last year, 42-14, but the Saints have a new head coach in Chris Phelps and several returning big-play threats.

“They’ve got a spectacular 6-foot-6 tight end [junior William Hisgen], and a 6-foot-5 wide receiver [senior Brian Galvin], so we are going to have our hands full.”

The Hoyas held Siena’s option offense to 252 yards a year ago.

“They won’t be the same,” Benson said. “We’re contemplating an entirely new system.”

The Saints also have a versatile quarterback, sophomore Joe Spagnola, whom Benson recruited two years ago.

“We know a lot about him, about what he can do,” Benson said. “It’s important to just take care of ourselves and communicate well. If we do that, things will turn out fine.”

Georgetown seemed cohesive in its season opener, committing only four penalties in addition to forcing six turnovers. The Hoyas rushed for 100 yards behind an offensive line that Benson said “is the best that we have ever had here. There are eight senior offensive linemen on this team. There’s no replacing experience.”

Senior quarterback J.J. Mont shook off a shaky first half to throw for 302 yards and two touchdowns. Benson attributes the early rust to a shoulder injury Mont suffered in the preseason and is behind his quarterback all the way.

“J.J. is my man,” Benson said. “That needs to be clear.”

Despite the rousing win, Saturday wasn’t all fun and games for Georgetown.

“Those penalties need to stop,” Benson said. “Four is four too many.”

Benson’s countenance improves when he begins contemplating next week. It is the opening salvo in the Hoyas’ quest to reclaim the MAAC title they lost to Fairfield a year ago.

“There’s a lot of excitement, to have the home and conference opener coming up,” Benson said. “Our goal is to win the AAC. While the Holy Cross win was huge, this game is the first step towards winning the conference.”

 

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