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

Only Duquesne Stands Between GU and MAAC

What should not be forgotten is that Georgetown probably has the strongest defense that the Dukes will go up against.

The Hoyas are coming off of a seven-point victory over Fairfield last Saturday, a team that beat Duquesne 34-21 earlier in the season. Meanwhile the Dukes are coming off a dominating victory over Siena, a team that Georgetown also destroyed earlier in the fall.

Tomorrow at noon on Kehoe Field, the two teams will meet in the game that will likely determine the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference championship. Georgetown enters the game undefeated in the MAAC, while Duquesne sports a 4-1 conference record. Its lone loss is a 62-50 defeat at the hands of Iona, a game in which the defense forgot to show up.

In that loss two weeks ago to Iona, the Dukes gave up 281 yards rushing and the 62 points they allowed set a conference record previously held by St. Peter’s, who gave up 61 points to Georgetown in 1996. If the Dukes permit the rapidly improving Hoya running attack to have half the success that Iona had, it is going to be a long day for Duquesne on Kehoe Field.

Senior tailback Rob Belli, who leads Georgetown with 579 yards rushing, will anchor the Hoya rushing attack against Duquesne. Belli has rushed for 230 of his yards in the past two weeks thanks in large part to the work of the all-senior offensive line that has been opening up massive holes (see story, page 12).

Complementing the ground game is the air attack led by senior quarterback J.J. Mont who is in the top 30 in Division I-AA in both passing efficiency and total offense. Mont has been named MAAC Offensive Player of the Week twice this season despite nagging shoulder injuries. Against Fairfield, Mont threw only 19 passes, but he showed he can throw the ball downfield despite an injured shoulder, catching the Stags’ defense off-guard a couple of times.

The Dukes’ pass defense is very capable, giving up only 141.6 yards per game, so it will be up to Georgetown’s rushing attack to take control of the game. Duquesne gives up almost as many yards on the ground as it does through the air, which bodes well for the Hoyas. Georgetown rolled up 128 yards on the ground against Fairfield last week, a team that had been giving up just 46 yards rushing per game prior to its loss to the Hoyas.

Although putting points up on the board is important against the Dukes, the real key to the game is stopping the offense that has scored 49 points or more three times in eight games this season. Combating Duquesne’s offense is a Georgetown defense that is seventh in I-AA in scoring defense, giving up only 15 points per game.

The Hoya defense has been especially impressive in stopping teams through the air, as Georgetown has the third-ranked pass defense in all of I-AA football. Part of the success of the pass defense has been the plus-10 turnover margin that the Hoyas sport, which is sixth in I-AA. Led by senior defensive back Jim Gallagher, who is third in I-AA with five interceptions, the defense has been forcing the ball loose all season long. Senior linebacker Adam Krugman, junior safety Ryan O’Donohue and junior defensive back ike Turnamanian also have multiple interceptions for Georgetown.

The rush defense is no slouch either, led by Krugman, who leads the Hoyas in tackles, and senior end Paul Miller, who was named AAC Defensive Player of the Week last week for his two-sack performance against Fairfield. The front seven will have to hold the line of scrimmage against a strong Dukes offensive line to keep Duquesne from rolling down the field unabated.

No matter who comes out on top tomorrow, the victor will be in the driver’s seat for the MAAC championship. A Georgetown win would put the Hoyas at 5-0 in the conference with games remaining against conference doormats Canisius and LaSalle, whereas a Dukes win would tie them with the Hoyas atop the MAAC with the advantage of having the head-to-head tiebreaker in their favor.

A fired-up Georgetown team is going to show up tomorrow on Kehoe Field, and that should prove to be the difference in the game. Last week, the Hoyas showed they have the killer instinct to finish off a good team, and it is that killer instinct which should down the Dukes and lead the way for Georgetown’s second MAAC championship in three seasons.

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