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

FOOTBALL | Hopeful for Next Season, Hoyas Embrace the Positives

FOOTBALL+%7C+Hopeful+for+Next+Season%2C+Hoyas+Embrace+the+Positives

Georgetown University’s football team surpassed expectations this season, finishing with its best record since 2019 despite clear room for growth. 

Eight Hoyas were honored to be selected to all-Patriot League teams. Sophomore defensive lineman Mateen Ibirogba was placed on the first team defense, with junior defensive lineman Ibri Harrell, junior cornerback Rashon Adams Jr., sophomore safety Jaden Dugger and senior linebacker Will Kessler all named to the second team defense. Graduate running back Joshua Stakely and sophomore wide receivers Jimmy Kibble and Nicholas Dunneman were members of the second team offense.

In addition, sophomore defensive tackle and team captain VeRon Garrison was selected to the Academic All-Patriot League team.

To begin the year, the Hoyas (5-6, 3-3 Patriot League) rode their promising defense for a couple of home wins against Marist College on Sept. 2 and Sacred Heart University on Sept. 9 by the scores of 49-7 and 27-10, respectively.

Led by veteran fifth-year quarterback Tyler Knoop, who finished the season with 2,310 passing yards, 20 touchdown passes and 10 interceptions, the Hoyas illustrated that they had the pieces for team success this year.

However, the program’s growing pains were still evident, with a 23-20 home loss to Stonehill College on Sep. 16 and a 30-0 away defeat to Columbia University on Sep. 23 in their third and fourth games.

Although not happy with the result versus the Lions, Head Coach Rob Sgarlata was already looking toward the team’s next battle.

“We are going to regroup when we get back to D.C. and start preparing for a great homecoming weekend game with Fordham coming to the Hilltop,” Sgarlata told Georgetown Athletics.

Prepare they did, as the game against Fordham University, then ranked No. 15 in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), produced fireworks and a newfound confidence the team had seemingly been missing.

An instant classic, the Hoyas scored the game-winning touchdown on a pass from Knoop to junior wide receiver Brock Biestek with 1:02 remaining in the fourth quarter. The over-capacity crowd of more than 4,000 fans erupted, as the team celebrated the eventual 28-24 win.

The victory against Fordham was Georgetown’s first against a ranked opponent since joining the Patriot League in 2001.

A major highlight of the season, Knoop acknowledged his team’s adversity and grit, especially moving into the second half of the season.

“I want our team to take away that we’re tough. We are built for the moment,” Knoop said in an interview with The Hoya. “We play four quarters, and it’s not just a fluke.”

Kate Love/The Hoya | Equaling their best record since 2011, Georgetown’s football program exceeded expectations this season, including several big wins versus Fordham and Bucknell.

The following weekend on Oct. 7, the Hoyas lost a tough overtime shoot-out to the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) by a score of 42-39.

Nevertheless, Stakely shone in the game with 82 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns. He finished the season with 1,002 yards from scrimmage and 12 total touchdowns.

On Oct. 14, the Hoyas rebounded with a 17-7 road win against conference foe Lehigh University.

Prior to the victory, Georgetown had never beaten the Mountain Hawks in Bethlehem, Pa., and Head Coach Sgarlata admired the team’s response to the devastating loss at UPenn.

“I am very proud of our team and how they came back from that tough loss last week against Penn and earned another Patriot League victory at Lehigh, which is a first in program history,” Sgarlata told Georgetown Athletics.

Despite a tough battle, the Hoyas fell 28-18 to Colgate University at home Oct. 21. Georgetown actually outgained Colgate offensively by 208 yards, but a series of interceptions and penalties doomed the team.

Nevertheless, sophomore wide receiver Nicholas Dunneman exploded for 15 receptions, 205 receiving yards and a touchdown. He finished the season with 749 receiving yards and 4 touchdowns.

To complete its second two-game losing streak of the season, Georgetown lost to No. 19/21 Lafayette College 35-25 on Oct. 28. 

Again, the Hoyas offensively outgained their opponent — this time by 151 yards — behind sophomore quarterback Danny Lauter, who provided a potential glimpse into the future of Georgetown football. Lauter, in his first career start, threw for a program record 428 yards, along with 3 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. An immediate connection with sophomore wide receiver Jimmy Kibble was clear, as he tallied 6 receptions for 201 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Kibble again shined in the Hoyas’ 50-47 overtime road victory over Bucknell University on Nov. 11. He finished with 8 receptions for 179 yards and 2 touchdowns on his way to season totals of 753 receiving yards and 8 touchdowns. 

Knoop returned as the starter and shined with a career-high 361 passing yards, including the game-tying 25-yard touchdown pass to Kibble which sent the game to overtime.

Georgetown concluded their season in a somewhat unsavory manner — a 31-10 defeat to Holy Cross University on Nov. 18.

Nevertheless, Sgarlata was happy with the direction of his football program.

“This group has laid the foundation for what is a very bright future for the Hoya football program,” Sgarlata told Georgetown Athletics. “Now we are looking forward to the Spring 2024 season and getting this team to take the next step.” 

With a vacancy at quarterback and a slew of new recruits, next season on the Hilltop should prove interesting.

With Georgetown football finally moving in a positive direction, fans should look forward to the up-and-downs next season will surely hold.

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Hoya

Your donation will support the student journalists of Georgetown University. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Hoya

Comments (0)

All The Hoya Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *