The Hoyas fell in an intense Patriot League battle against Lehigh in Bethlehem, Pa., when a 27-yard kick from Lehigh senior kicker Austin Henning sealed the 27-24 victory for the Mountain Hawks as time expired.
The Hoyas trailed by as many as 10 points early in the game before scoring 16 unanswered to put serious pressure on Lehigh. However, the Hoyas left too much time on the clock after scoring with 1:23 to play in the fourth, letting the Mountain Hawks avenge their 22-16 double overtime loss on the Hilltop last season.
The Mountain Hawks (4-3, 3-0 Patriot League) came out of the gates in full throttle, scoring on each of their first two drives of the afternoon with a combined 118 yards on 16 plays. The first drive ended in a made 36-yard field goal and the second drive culminated in a 32-yard touchdown for true freshman running back Zaythan Hill.
The Georgetown offense sputtered throughout the first quarter, unable to move the ball more than 20 yards in a given drive until the second quarter. With just over 10 minutes remaining in the second quarter, Georgetown finally got good starting field position at the Lehigh 44 yard line after a fumble recovery by sophomore defensive back Delano Salgado. While this forced turnover did not lead directly to any scoring by the offense, it completely flipped the field position battle as the next drive saw the Hoyas start at their own 46-yard line and drive down to the 6-yard line where senior kicker Brad Hurst hit a 23-yard field goal to cut the deficit to seven.
After a short drive for Lehigh that ended in a punt of just 30 yards, Georgetown ran out the clock to end the first half as Lehigh led 10-3 on the scoreboard.
Still facing a seven point deficit, Georgetown opened the second half by forcing a three and out. On the ensuing drive, senior quarterback Gunther Johnson completed all four of his passes as junior running back Jackson Saffold rushed five times for 27 yards on a drive that culminated in a 3-yard pass from Johnson to sophomore wide receiver Joshua Tomas. Hurst missed the extra point, though, so Georgetown remained trailing 10-9.
The next three overall possessions were all three and outs, before Georgetown strung together a five-play, 53-yard drive that ended as Johnson floated a beautiful pass to sophomore wide receiver Cameron Crayton in stride.
Lehigh’s ensuing possession carried it into the fourth quarter as its 11-play touchdown drive took more than five minutes off of the clock. After Georgetown was forced to punt on its next drive, trailing 17-16, the Mountain Hawks executed a masterful 15-play drive behind the arm of senior quarterback Tyler Monaco and the churning legs of Hill. Freshman running back Nate Hope ended up punching it in from the 1-yard line, with the extra point extending the Lehigh lead to 24-16 after the drive killed more than nine minutes of the clock.
Georgetown faced a tall task from its own 10-yard line, with fewer than three minutes to play. After gaining only 18 yards through their first seven plays, however, Johnson unleashed a bomb to senior wide receiver Michael Dereus who hauled it in on his way to the house for a 72-yard touchdown, cutting the deficit to 24-22. With over 7,000 fans in attendance attentively watching the two-point conversion attempt by the Hoyas, Johnson found freshman running back Joshua Stakely in the end zone to tie the game with 76 seconds to play.
Despite the Hoyas forcing incompletions on the next two plays for the Mountain Hawks, a third down conversion followed by a 48-yard completion set Lehigh up nicely to win at the Georgetown 9-yard line with well under a minute to play. The Mountain Hawks ran out the clock and converted the 27-yard field goal as time expired, defeating the Hoyas by a final score of 27-24.
Johnson stood out for the Hoyas throughout, completing 20 of 30 passes for 267 yards with three touchdowns and zero turnovers. The Hoyas’ leading receiver was Dereus, who had 155 yards and a touchdown on the back of his 72-yard touchdown late in the game.
Next for Georgetown is Colgate (1-8, 0-3 Patriot League) on Saturday, Nov. 2, as the regular Patriot League contenders face continued struggles throughout the season. The Hoyas look to right their ship, as a potential Football Championship Subdivision playoff bid representing the Patriot League remains well within reach.