The Georgetown University football team (1-0) made the late-summer scorch seem tepid through a blaze of rushing offense and a flurry of turnovers en route to a 49-7 stomping of the Marist Red Foxes (0-1) on Sept. 2, securing their first home win since 2019.
Fifth-year quarterback Tyler Knoop threw 12-16 for 107 yards and two touchdowns, and he added a rushing touchdown in the final minutes of the game. His creativity in the pocket, especially on run-pass-option plays, paved the way for an offensive barrage.
“I was really impressed with Tyler’s poise, especially in the first half,” Head Coach Rob Sgarlata told Georgetown Athletics.
But the Hoyas found even more success in the running game. Behind the dual threats of graduate student Joshua Stakely and junior Naieem Kearney, the Hoyas averaged an impressive 6.1 yards per rush attempt for a cumulative four rushing touchdowns and 294 yards, more than in any game last season. Individually, Kearney rushed for two touchdowns and 78 yards while Stakely poured on 121 yards and another touchdown.
Georgetown struck first when Stakely found open field on the left side and ran 42 yards for a touchdown. Officials reviewed the play for an alleged holding penalty, but the moment of precarity subsided and the touchdown stood.
“All 11 guys were all working together,” senior offensive lineman Richie Pinomi told The Hoya. “That’s something special that coaches have been building in the preseason and with our first game it was evident today.”
On Marist’s next drive, the offense found success in the middle of the field with short passes, runs up the middle and quarterback draws. When the Red Foxes had only a few yards until the end zone, the Hoya defense came up with two clutch stops including a near interception. But on third down, the echoes of “Hell’s Bells” and the Georgetown pep band did not rattle Marist, as running back Tristan Shannon scored on a jet sweep to the left side to make it 7-7.
Initially a close game, turnovers catapulted the match from a solid win to a blowout. Georgetown made the first blunder at the start of the second quarter, as junior cornerback Kamren Watkins-Hunter signaled for a fair catch, but then allowed Marist’s Carter James to recover the football at the opposite 34-yard line. Early in the third quarter, first-year safety Zeraun Daniel intercepted a Marist pass and ran it down to the opposite 17-yard line to set up a Georgetown redzone possession.
On the subsequent kickoff, Marist returned the kick, but sophomore safety Jaden Dugger poked the ball out, and several more Hoyas pounced on it. As the game was nearly complete, senior safety Sherman Steptoe II intercepted the ball and returned it 51 yards to the house for a pick-six, sealing a Georgetown victory in poetic fashion.
The penalty differential, often seen as a good indicator of a team’s coaching and discipline, favored the Hoyas as holding calls plagued Marist all day. Georgetown was called for 5 penalties for 35 yards, whereas Marist sacrificed 57 yards to penalties, including one on a crucial 4th-and-1 opportunity near the endzone. The call sent them back 10 yards, where they subsequently missed the harder field goal attempt.
As for the atmosphere, the stands of Cooper Field were mostly packed despite the scalding weather. Fans stomped on the bleachers to create a rumble on big plays, but others thought the energy could be better going forward in the season.
“Where I come from, students don’t sit during games. Students chant,” Luke Martinez (CAS ’25), a junior attending the game, told The Hoya. “We got to get on our feet and get more students here.”
For first-years, this was one of the first opportunities to see a Georgetown athletics game live.
“I heard we were like really bad, but I guess we’re better than Marist. I was very surprised when I came in and we were winning already,” first-year Laura Taylor (CAS ’27) told The Hoya.
Speaking about home games, Taylor added: “If we keep winning, and it seems like a community event, we’ll be back for more. But I think we might try to find some shade.”
Though moving to 19-5 in the all-time series against the Red Foxes is something for Georgetown fans to celebrate, similar dominations against Marist early in 2022 and 2018 still preceded losing seasons. However, the team is still optimistic.
“It’s a new season, and we’re gonna be great,” Martinez said. “You got to believe.”
On Saturday, Sept. 16, Marist will host Davidson University in their home opener, while Georgetown will square off against Sacred Heart University Sept. 9 at 12:30 p.m on Cooper Field.