In their first meeting in history, Harvard University dominated Georgetown’s football team en route to a 34-3 victory Sunday afternoon. The Hoyas (2-4, 0-1 Patriot League) allowed 265 rushing yards and 293 yards passing to the Crimson (3-0, 1-0 Ivy League). After Georgetown kicked a field goal on its opening drive to make the score 7-3, Harvard scored 27 unanswered points to finish the game.
Despite decent offensive performances, the Hoyas were unable to get in the endzone. Multiple times, Georgetown turned the ball over on downs deep into Harvard territory.
However, the defense also struggled against the Crimson. The Harvard offensive line overpowered the Georgetown defensive line, which opened holes for the Harvard running backs. Georgetown was then unable to make tackles in the open field. Midway through the third quarter, the game was all but decided as Harvard held a 20-3 lead.
“I’ll put that team physically up against any team in the Ivy, Patriot League, CAA,” Head Coach Rob Sgarlata said. “You’re not going to see a better-looking team than that from a physical standpoint. We talked to our kids about aim small, shoot small — you know as far as focusing on one play, one technique, one thing we’re doing during the game — and I thought for the most part we did that.”
The Georgetown offense came out aggressively in the first half. Junior quarterback Kyle Nolan was 6-of-9 for 64 yards in the first quarter, threading the ball through tight windows. Although the usual trio of senior Michael Cimilluca, junior Jake DeCicco and sophomore Justin Hill led the team in receiving, Nolan connected with six different wide receivers. Even Nolan’s incomplete passes were well-thrown balls that Harvard answered with good plays. However, the first drive stalled in the red zone, resulting in a field goal, and after that Georgetown was unable to score again.
“We were able to take advantage; we have some great players at the receiver position,” Nolan said of his first-quarter production. “We had some good protection today, it allowed us to get the receivers downfield, and we were able to take some shots.”
The defense, however, was not as successful. From the first drive of the game, Harvard’s offensive line dominated Georgetown’s defensive front. The Crimson consistently double teamed senior Alec May and the other pass rushers, which prevented the Hoyas from pressuring the quarterback. It was the first time this season that Georgetown did not record a sack.
However, Georgetown did manage to force a turnover for the sixth straight game this season. Midway through the third quarter, junior defensive back Garrett Powers forced a fumble in the open field, and junior linebacker Matthew Satchell was able to recover the ball.
“You know, not going to know exactly the specifics where they were hitting us, but Harvard’s a great team like they said,” senior linebacker Nick Alfieri said. “All the credit to Harvard, they’re a great team, great O-line, great back. … We’ll get it fixed, we’ll check the tape and figure out what we can do from there [and] continue to play hard.”
Alfieri personally had a career milestone in this game as he moved into fourth place in Georgetown history with 279 career tackles. Despite the personal accomplishments, Alfieri is currently focused on his team’s success.
“Doesn’t mean as much as a win,” Alfieri said. “It’s just an honor to be up there with some of those guys that mentored me and who I look up to so much, so it’s kind of cool to be around there. But we don’t have a W.”
In order to find more success, Georgetown must play more consistent football. While the offense dominated at times this season — against Brown it ran for 250 yards — it has struggled recently, only scoring three points in each of the last two games. Although the defense has been competitive, they have a small margin of error because of the struggling offense. However, Sgarlata is trying to look at the positives and examine new ways to build upon them.
“You know, we have a theme around here, it’s either win or learn,” Sgarlata said. “We learned lots of things, good play on both sides. We played an excellent opponent, and when you do that, you have to execute a high level. …We always tell the kids it’s not a one-game season. It’s a journey, it’s a process, and we’ll get on tomorrow, flush this out and see what we can learn from it, move on and focus on Lafayette.”