After five straight weekends away from the Hilltop, the Georgetown football team (6-2, 2-1 Patriot League) made this year’s Homecoming one to remember by easily dispatching Colgate (4-4, 1-2 Patriot League), 40-17 on Saturday.
“It was a great feeling coming back home, playing in front of our fans. Being on the road for five weeks, I actually started to miss MultiSport Facility,” junior linebacker Robert McCabe joked. “I didn’t think I would ever say that.”
Boosted by the energy from a large home crowd, which put the seats on the Georgetown sideline at capacity before the game even began, the Blue and Gray got off to a fast start. On the Hoyas’ very first drive, redshirt sophomore Jamal Davis beat defenders after the catch and went 63 yards for a touchdown on a pass from junior quarterback Isaiah Kempf.
The Hoyas kept their feet on the gas pedal for the entire contest, the point of attack on both sides of the ball. In addition, the Blue and Gray clinched their first winning season under Head Coach Kevin Kelly while also recording their first-ever win over Colgate.
“I am so proud of our players here, especially the guys that have been here through some tough times,” Kelly said. “Our two goals, one was to have a winning season — we got that today — and the second is [to win] the Patriot League.”
While the Blue and Gray made victory seem easy, they had to face off against the eighth-best running attack in the entire Football Championship Subdivsion. Featuring Patriot League preseason offensive player of the year Nate Eachus, the Raiders came into the contest averaging 248 yards per game on the ground.
As the first quarter began, it quickly became evident that the Georgetown defense was keyed in on the Colgate standout, holding him to just 13 yards on eight carries, although he did score a touchdown on the Raiders’ second drive of the game.
In total, the Blue and Gray held Eachus to only 38 net yards on 19 carries, an average of two yards per carry, well below his season average of over five yards per play.
“In years past, we haven’t been able to match up with them,” McCabe said. “So that was our key. We wanted to stop the run — that was our main goal.”
Colgate sophomore quarterback Gavin McCarney was able to rush for 36 yards in the first half while also completing 11 of 12 passes for 90 yards. But without Eachus able to gain solid yardage on every touch, the Colgate offense sputtered to a halt.
“We didn’t give Eachus a chance to get going. At the line of scrimmage, if you don’t get a bunch of maniacs to the ball, gang-tackling him, he can make some plays,” Kelly said. “We didn’t let him get started. Our defensive front seven did a great job.”
The effort on defense was led by McCabe, who had a team-high 15 tackles and returned an interception 50 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter and earned Big East defensive player of the week honors. Also leading the Blue and Gray were sophomore defensive back Dustin Wharton, who added 13 tackles and a sack, and senior defensive end Andrew Schaetzke, who also contributed a sack and spent lots of time harassing the Colgate backfield.
Junior cornerback Jeremy Moore also had a big game after sitting out the previous three contests for what the team described as an unspecified violation of team rules. He grabbed two second-half interceptions, benefiting from Colgate’s need to take to the air to dig out of a large hole.
“Coach made a great call,” Moore said. “[And] they threw it right to me.”
On the offensive side, it was the Hoyas, against all expectations, who had the dominant run attack. Led by senior running back Chance Logan — who rushed for 78 yards on 11 carries — the Blue and Gray racked up 162 yards on the ground.
“I wasn’t touched until I was five yards down the field. I give it up to the front five, the offensive line, the receivers,” Logan said. “The holes were huge.”
The Blue and Gray were also aided by four field goals from senior kicker Brett Weiss, who was later named Big East special teams player of the week.
Georgetown finds itself where few expected it would be after eight games: ensured a winning season and fighting for the Patriot League title. With three more games to go, the Blue and Gray control their destiny. By winning out, they would secure at least a share of the conference championship.
Their next test will come with a date at Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass. at 1 p.m. on Saturday.