On a sunny Saturday afternoon, the Georgetown football team (3-3, 1-0 Patriot League) came out ready to win after a blowout loss to Harvard (4-0, 2-0 Ivy League) Oct. 2. The Hoyas played in front of an excited crowd on Homecoming Day in the first game on the newly renamed Cooper Field, taking on the Lafayette Leopards (1-5, 0-2 Patriot League) in their first Patriot League game of the season.
From the opening kickoff, the Hoyas were in complete control on offense, defense and special teams. In the first quarter, the defense consistently forced Lafayette’s offense to punt the football, and Georgetown capitalized on its possessions on offense. Senior wide receiver Jake DeCicco made an impact, moving the chains with key third-down receptions and drawing an important defensive pass interference call on Georgetown’s first scoring drive.
“Today we were able to put together a complete game. Besides the dropped snap on the punt, the kicking game was strong, we did a good job of covering kicks and Jake had a great return,” Head Coach Rob Sgarlata said.
DeCicco and senior quarterback Kyle Nolan seemed to have a strong connection throughout the game.
“I always know where he’s going be. I know what he sees, and we see the same thing out there; it’s nice to be able to have that and be able to connect off of that,” Nolan said.
Later on in the Hoyas’ first drive, Nolan found junior tight end Matthew Buckman in the flat, and Buckman barreled the ball into the end zone for a 19-yard touchdown, giving Georgetown a lead it would never relinquish.
The Hoyas continued to play well on both sides of the ball, going into the end of the quarter with a 10-0 lead. However, the Leopards received a huge break when Hoya junior punter Ben Priddy fumbled the snap, which gave Lafayette excellent field position at Georgetown’s 27-yard line. At the end of the quarter on the same possession, the Leopards had to settle for a field goal. However, Georgetown’s special teams unit did not allow Lafayette to gain any momentum, blocking the kick to keep its 10-point lead.
Later on in the quarter, Georgetown’s offense moved the ball down the field by establishing the running game. The offensive line succeeded in creating holes up the middle, and senior running back Jo’el Kimpela took advantage with many large gains on the ground, which opened up passing lanes for Nolan. Nolan took advantage of the situation by consistently moving the chains with his arm. He completed the drive with another touchdown pass to Buckman to put Georgetown up 17-0. Nolan finished with 28 of 36 completions for 311 passing yards.
“It starts up front with the offensive line. They played great, and that allowed me to have some time back there. It’s easy when you can just sit back there and pick and choose,” Nolan said.
Nolan also overtook his former teammate Isaiah Kempf for the most completions in Georgetown history with 457, breaking Kempf’s record of 433.
On the other side of the ball, the defensive line played well throughout, recording five sacks. Junior defensive lineman Phil Novacki’s play particularly stood out, as he displayed both pass-rush ability and coverage skills.
“He’s an absolute freak; he’s an athlete,” senior defensive lineman Hunter Kiselick said of Novacki. “He’s been right there all year. The more experiences he’s been having, the better he’s been playing.”
However, penalties hindered Georgetown’s defense; the Hoyas committed a total of 11 penalties for 130 yards, which allowed Lafayette to drive down the field for a touchdown to sophomore wide receiver Matt Mrazek, who was a bright spot for Lafayette.
Georgetown entered the second half with a 24-7 lead and did not allow Lafayette any room to breathe. The Hoyas continued to put the Leopards’ defense on its heels with their versatile play. DeCicco found ways to get first downs with his precise route running, and Nolan had a 42-yard run early on in the third quarter. Nolan would later connect with DeCicco again up the middle to give Georgetown a 31-7 lead. DeCicco finished the game with seven receptions for 124 yards, including two touchdown receptions.
On defense, senior defensive back Ettian Scott guarded Mzarek with tight coverage, and Lafayette could not find any way to lessen the deficit. The third quarter ended with Georgetown leading 38-7, and the fourth quarter was a chance for the Hoyas to rest their starters. Georgetown finished its first Patriot League game with a 38-7 victory and will look to carry the momentum into their next Patriot League game.
“It’s great to have success. We want to compete and go after the league title. For us, it was a good Lafayette team and we played well today. We belong in this conference. Hopefully we continue to play consistently and play well as we get ramped up in the conference schedule,” Sgarlata said.
Georgetown’s next game is next Saturday, Oct. 17, at home against Colgate at 1 p.m.