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

Big Red Threaten Homecoming Streak

After suffering through the school’s worst defeat in a half-decade, members of the Georgetown football team have done their best to remain positive. Senior quarterback Matt Bassuener – a Wisconsin native and loyal Packer Backer – eased the pain of Saturday’s 55-0 debacle by watching boyhood idol Brett Favre tie Dan Marino’s career touchdown record Sunday afternoon.

Senior linebacker Mike Greene, who watched helplessly from the sidelines with a sprained knee – looked forward to the possibility of taking out his frustrations this weekend against Cornell. Cornerback Kevin Cherepski – whose defense was picked apart by Holy Cross quarterback Dominic Randolph – managed to find a silver lining in the stat column.

“We did lose 55-0, and teams may be putting up 600 yards on us, but we’re producing two or three turnovers a game,” said Cherepski, who recovered a fumble against Holy Cross. “We’ve shown we can play with the best of them. You just put it behind you and move on.”

The sunny outlook radiated from Head Coach Kevin Kelly, who wasn’t about to go Donald Trump on anyone – especially not his players.

“The game Saturday was a bad day at the office. I can’t come in after one bad day and fire everyone,” said Kelly, who claimed to have not shuffled last week’s starting lineup. “We play well at times and at times we play poorly. I didn’t coach well, they didn’t play well. We just work and move forward.”

Instead of looking back in anger over the past five days, the Hoyas have been seeing Red – as in Big Red. Cornell, the Hoyas’ second Ivy League opponent in three weeks, comes into Saturday afternoon’s 2 p.m. kickoff reeling from a 51-12 loss to Yale and none too happy about being scheduled for homecoming.

Head Coach Tom Knowles’ club has shown a little Jekyll and tad of Hyde in its first two games of 2007. In the season opener against Bucknell, senior running back Luke Siwula looked like the second coming of Ed Marinaro, chugging along for three touchdowns and eclipsing the 2,000-yard mark for his career. The defense stymied the Bison to the tune of 152 yards of total offense, and Cornell marched away with a 38-14 victory. But last week in New Haven, Conn., Yale tailback Mike McLeod went Calvin Hill on the Big Red, scoring three touchdowns, and Siwula was limited to a meager 43 yards. Junior quarterback Nathan Ford hobbled off the field with a leg injury after tossing two interceptions.

Whether it’s Ford or sophomore Ben Ganter, who relieved Ford at the Yale Bowl last week, someone will be chucking the pigskin early and often. Target number one is sophomore Bryan Walters, who has two touchdown catches on the season. Juniors Jesse Baker and Zac Canty, each with 11 catches, will also find their way into Ford or Ganter’s crosshairs.

After surrendering 13.7 yards per completion to Holy Cross, Kelly and his staff have switched junior Ataefiok Etukeren from defensive end to a hybrid linebacker-rover position in hopes of maximizing the 6-foot-3 235-pound Arizona native’s game-breaking potential. Cherepski added that the defense have dedicated themselves to stopping the Big Red’s first drive, something they have failed to do so far this season.

“We feel like we’re tired going into some games,” said Cherepski, who listed last week’s loss as his worst day of football. “So we have pulled back so we have fresher legs in the first quarter.”

To keep the defense breathing easy, Bassuener and the offense must avoid the three-and-out. The Hoyas have had trouble keeping the ball in their possession all year, and last weekend’s four-turnover calamity was the worst yet.

“The great thing about football is that every week you have a chance to move forward,” said Bassuener, who has 560 yards passing on the season. “There are always good things.”

Cornell’s defense has a rock-solid foundation in its stingy secondary. Junior safeties Tim Bax and Anthony Sabo have 37 tackles between them, and freshman phenom Emani Fenton has two interceptions in as many games. Fenton, who hails from Ashburn, Va., will look to ruin homecoming on the Hilltop in his first return visit from upstate New York.

Not one player on the Georgetown roster has ever lost a homecoming game as a Hoya -and they don’t plan on it.

“Every year we win on homecoming. I’m not letting my senior year be any different,” Cherepski said following a morning practice this week. “I’ll make sure we come out fired up and ready. There’s no way we lose to Cornell on homecoming.”

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