Following a loss to Davidson to open the season, the Georgetown football team sought to score their first win of the season against Marist last Saturday. The Hoyas bounced back from last week’s loss in a major way with a 43-3 blowout win.
The Hoyas made notable improvement in the time of possession. In week one, Davidson was able to control the clock, possessing the ball twice as long as Georgetown. Last week, however, the Hoyas managed to possess the ball for over 36 of the game’s 60 minutes.
Georgetown Head Coach Rob Sgarlata, however, refrains from putting too much stock in comparisons between the two games.
“I think they’re two totally separate games. Davidson was an option attack so it’s a little bit different,” Sgarlata said.
Nevertheless, Sgarlata acknowledged the importance of winning the possession battle as the team was able to do against Marist.
“Every week you go into it, you want to have the ball longer and defend shorter,” Sgarlata said. “That’s probably the lowest number of plays we’ve defended in a while.”
Sgarlata then analyzed some other areas of success for the team, such as the ground game offensively and the turnover battle on both sides of the ball.
“I thought our offensive line did a great job of running the ball in the fourth quarter and allowing us to dominate the time of possession in the fourth. It is definitely something that we talk about every week,” Sgarlata said. “I think the turnover battle really played into our time of possession as well. We were good with our ball security and didn’t give up any turnovers and we forced four, one on special teams and three on defense, so that definitely helped us.”
Saturday’s scoring began with senior quarterback Gunther Johnson scoring on a 17-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. Marist would go on to respond with their own 36-yard field goal in the second quarter, but the Hoyas dominated the scoring from then on with 36 unanswered points.
Georgetown’s coaches became aggressive and it paid off, with the Hoyas completing a two-point conversion and going one-for-two on fourth downs.
“For us, we’re going to be aggressive when we have to be and we’re going to be smart when we have to be,” Sgarlata said. “All three of those situations are ones that we practiced throughout the week.”
The team went on to put up a total of 424 yards of offense while only giving up 244 yards and three points. Sgarlata credits a lot of Saturday’s success to the competitive culture the team managed to foster between its players. This culture was especially evident in the team’s decision to play junior quarterback Joseph Brunell in the second quarter, which was not a game day decision, according to Sgarlata.
“Joe has done a great job throughout camp and showed that he can do some things for us on
offense. We look at every position the same way. There’s competition at every spot. We knew we were going to do that going into the football game and they both performed at a very high level. Hopefully, they will keep competing,” he said.
Sgarlata denied any claims that the competitive nature between players at the same positions as one another has led or could lead to legitimate conflict.
“It’s going to be contentious on Saturdays,” Sgarlata said. “Our job is to set it up so we get the best 23 kids between the kicker and the two sides of the ball.”
Sgarlata also clarified some of the benefits of the internal competition.
“We want to get a lot of people in the games because I know this is the deepest roster we’ve had since I’ve been here,” Sgarlata said.
The Hoyas showed promise for an eventful season during Saturday’s game. The 43 points were the most points scored by the team since a 52-point game in September of 2011. Additionally, the team’s 272 rushing yards were notable for the history books, with this total being the most since Sept. 1, 2012. Johnson’s three touchdowns, two rushes and one pass, in addition to finishing 9-of-14 passing for 77 yards and 68 rushing yards, earned his first career Patriot League Offensive Player of the Week honor, the first by a Hoya since Kyle Nolan in 2015.
Going forward, Sgarlata hopes to build on the success of Saturday’s victory by continuing with an effective running attack while stopping the run on the other side of the ball.
“If you look at teams that win championships, they can do two things,” he said. “They can run the football and they can stop the run. That is always a point of emphasis for us. Coach Spence, as the coordinator, and Coach Kolt, as the offensive line coach, have done a great job of developing [the offensive line] and we’re looking for them to continue to perform the way they did this past weekend.”
Looking ahead, the Hoyas return to action at home this weekend, facing off on Saturday against Catholic University on Cooper Field.