In a packed MultiSport Facility on Homecoming weekend, the Hoya faithful were hoping to see the Georgetown football team (3-2) blow out its opponent, Brown (2-1).
At least they saw a blowout.
Coming off a nationally televised 21-20 win over Princeton, the Blue and Gray struggled against the Bears, who scored the final 27 points in a lopsided 37-10 affair. Georgetown’s offense was beyond lackluster, gaining only 18 total yards in the second half and failing to pick up a single first down after the break.
“[The Bears] physically took it to us in the second half. Their defense did a great job,” Head Coach Kevin Kelly said. “They kicked our tails, plain and simple.”
Sophomore quarterback Stephen Skon, the Hoyas’ third-stringer, showed signs of inexperience in his first collegiate start. The New York native threw three interceptions and was sacked five times by a relentless Brown defense.
“They had the right game plan,” Kelly said. “They packed the box and brought a lot of pressure and played man coverage. That’s what you expect when you see a young quarterback.”
Brown jumped out to a lead right away, pouncing on good field position off of a short punt from junior Matt MacZura. The Bears drove 41 yards down the field from there, eventually reaching the end zone on a 7-yard play-action touchdown pass to take a 7-0 lead just over four minutes in.
More of the same was to follow as Brown drove back inside the red zone following another short Blue and Gray offensive series. This time, the Georgetown defense was able to force a field goal, but the team still trailed 10-0.
Saturday was not the first instance of the Hoyas getting off to a slow start; they trailed 14-3 against the Tigers last week before bouncing back, and Kelly explained that the problem is one that must be addressed going forward.
“That’s something I talked to the team about before the ballgame,” he said. “We’ve got to start fast and finish strong, and we didn’t do that.”
Nonetheless, Georgetown has repeatedly shown the ability to come back from early deficits, and Saturday was no different.
On its next possession, the Blue and Gray used a 24-yard completion to senior receiver Max Waizenegger and a 10-yard run by junior running back Nick Campanella to set up first and goal at Brown’s 1-yard line. The home side could not capitalize on three straight rushes, however, and had to settle for an 18-yard MacZura field goal, cutting the lead to 10-3.
The Hoyas’ failure to break the plane was largely reflective of the performance of the offensive line, which had trouble creating lanes for tailbacks and giving Skon enough time to find receivers downfield.
“We obviously didn’t get the push at the line of scrimmage. We didn’t cross the goal line,” Kelly said. “That’s frustrating when you’re on the 1-yard line and you can’t score.”
Georgetown got the ball back, though, after forcing a quick three-and-out, and this time it would find the end zone. In what would prove to be a rare highlight of the day, Skon escaped pressure and rolled to his right, finding junior wide receiver Zack Wilke for a 23-yard touchdown pass that tied the game at 10-10.
While the Blue and Gray appeared to have the momentum, both sides faltered on the following possessions. It was Brown, then, that marched downfield and regained the lead, as senior tailback Spiro Theodhosi waltzed untouched into the end zone on an 18-yard run with six minutes left in the opening half.
The touchdown run was not the only time that Theodhosi found open space against the Hoya defense. Although its unit is usually strong against the run, Georgetown gave up 173 yards on the ground against the Bears.
“We have done a good job against the run, [but Brown] did an excellent job,” Kelly said. “When they rush for 173 yards, that’s not good.”
At the end of the half, the Bears were able to turn Skon’s second interception into a 35-yard field goal, putting the Hoyas in a 20-10 hole.
Coming out of halftime, Georgetown knew that it had to change the complexion of the game but could not find any rhythm on either side of the ball. A second play-action touchdown pass gave Brown a 27-10 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
From then on, things only got worse for the hosts. Skon continued to take hits, and, with 12:42 remaining in the game, MacZura botched the snap on a punt. As a result, his late kick was blocked and recovered by the Bears for the game’s final touchdown.
“They didn’t block the punt. [MacZura] dropped it,” Kelly said. “He bobbled a couple balls, and obviously he dropped this one — good things don’t happen when that occurs.”
A garbage time field goal brought the game to its final score, a 37-10 Bears victory.
The Hoyas now have a lot to improve upon as they get set to take on Fordham (3-2) for their first Patriot League game of the season.
Kickoff for their matchup with the Rams is scheduled for next Saturday at 1 p.m. in Brooklyn, N.Y.