The Georgetown football team lost yet another close game this weekend in its Homecoming game against Bucknell University with a final score of 22-17. The Hoyas (2-6, 0-3 Patriot League) traded leads with the Bison (6-2, 2-0 Patriot League) all game, but they gave up the lead for good on a 22-yard touchdown pass with 7:03 remaining in the fourth quarter. It was Georgetown’s fourth consecutive loss and the second in a row by a touchdown or less.
Bucknell took an early 6-0 lead in the first quarter on a methodical 17-play scoring drive, but Georgetown responded within seconds. On the second play of the following drive, junior quarterback Kyle Nolan hit sophomore tight end Matthew Buckman on a streak up the middle for a 67-yard touchdown to take a 7-6 lead. Nolan had an up-and-down day, completing several very long passes and running for a touchdown but also only converting just 42.3 percent of his pass attempts, throwing an interception and taking a crucial sack to end the first half.
“What you have to understand is our quarterback position is a difficult spot to play. Kyle did a great job of checking protections today. The first touchdown pass to Buckman was a run-pass option read. He couldn’t have thrown a better ball or read it any better,” Head Coach Rob Sgarlata said. “We definitely have room for improvement but when you look at what we ask Kyle to do, we ask him to do a lot, from protections to our run game to our run-pass option stuff. He’s doing a hell of a job for us this year.”
After his early throwing strike, Nolan was guilty of a mental mistake at the end of the first half that cost the Hoyas dearly. Down 16-10, Georgetown drove down the field and got the ball to Bucknell’s seven-yard line with 11 seconds left and no timeouts remaining.
Sgarlata elected to try one pass toward the end zone before attempting a field goal to end the half. However, on the ensuing pass attempt, Nolan was unable to find an open receiver and was sacked before he was able to throw the ball away. With no timeouts left, Georgetown had to watch the clock run out without getting any points.
“We were on a whip rout, the slot [receiver] goes in and out,” Nolan said. “They were just in the right coverage to cover it up. Dumb mistake on my part — I should have just thrown the ball away, live to play another down, get the field goal.”
On defense, Georgetown had a tough time against a big, physical Bucknell offensive line. This was especially evident in the first half during which the Bison ran for 104 yards and were able to control time of possession. This slow, run-oriented approach helped slow down a very good Hoya pass rush that includes senior defensive lineman Alec May. The Football Championship Series sacks leader was held to only one sack as he was frustrated along with the rest of the Hoya defense.
“Quite naturally, if you play a considerable amount of snaps, no matter what it is, it’s kind of demoralizing if it’s third down and we got to get off the field to get our offense back the ball,” junior cornerback Ettian Scott said. “They pick up the first down and we have to do it over again. But we never pointed fingers at each other. We never held our heads down. They did pick it up because we understand they are a good ballclub and that they have a good running back and a good offense.”
One thing Georgetown’s defense was able to do was force turnovers, something they have done consistently all season. Senior defensive lineman Jordan Richardson recovered a fumble in Georgetown territory and Scott intercepted his fourth pass of the season. Scott has become one of the Hoyas’ biggest playmakers on defense this season, coming up with big plays game after game. He made another big play later in the game, breaking up a third-down pass in the end zone to force a field goal attempt.
“I have a personal goal to not be scored on all year,” Scott said. “I knew that was a critical situation and I knew the quarterback and receiver made eye contact; I knew they were coming my way. So I made an effort to make sure even though he had beat me on a quick out route I could recover so I made a good effort to just throw my hand up, run through the ball. At least make it tough on the receiver.”
Meanwhile, Georgetown is just a couple more of those impact plays away from finally pulling out wins in close games.
“There’s an aspect of being a mature football team, being able to make some of those plays down the stretch,” Sgarlata said. “That’s what we need to get to. We are not far away but it’s hard to win football games and everybody’s a good team.”
Next weekend, the Hoyas will try to notch their first win against the Lehigh Mountain Hawks (1-6, 0-2 Patriot League) since Georgetown joined the Patriot League in 2001. The game will kick off on Saturday, Nov. 1 at 12 p.m. on MultiSport Facility.