Down seven, the Hoyas needed to get the ball into the end zone to keep the game alive. A daunting 4th-and-13 from the Leopards’ 36-yard line with just over two minutes left in the game stood in the way. Sophomore quarterback Gunther Johnson received the snap, rolled out and threw a bullet to sophomore wide receiver Michael Dereus for a gain of 15 and a first down.
The game was finally within reach. As the field judge threw a flag and announced a chop block against the Hoyas, negating the fourth down conversion, the sideline went silent.
An incomplete pass on the next play hammered the last nail into the Hoyas’ coffin.
The sequence of plays represented the overarching story of Saturday’s 7-0 Homecoming game loss against the Lafayette Leopards (3-6, 3-1 Patriot League): Georgetown (1-8, 0-4 Patriot League), no matter what it did, could never seem to get back in the game.
The first quarter was relatively dull; the two teams combined for only 90 yards, 15 of which belonged to the Hoyas, in the game’s first 15 minutes. It was clear from the beginning of the game that it would be a defensive showdown, in which field position served as the deciding factor of the game.
“The field position battle and going back and forth was critical. The penalties factor into that, and 81 yards in penalties is just negative yards. Both those things — the kicking game in combination with the penalties — really hurt you in the field position battle, especially in a game like that,” Head Coach Rob Sgarlata said.
The only points in the game came midway through the second quarter when Lafayette freshman quarterback Sean O’Malley connected with sophomore wide receiver Nick Pearson, who bobbed and weaved his way to an 11-yard touchdown.
The Hoyas’ next four drives — two three-and-outs and two interceptions — were hardly a positive response to the deficit. After Johnson threw his second interceptionthe Leopards took over on the Hoyas’ 31-yard line and drove 18 yards before .
Even with the nine points the Leopards left in the air on the missed kicks, the Hoyas simply could not take advantage of the Leopards’ mistakes.
As the third quarter came to a close, the statistics showed just how much Georgetown’s offense struggled. With only 102 yards of offense and zero third down conversions, the chances of breaking down Lafayette’s defense were slim to none.
Johnson and the offense took over at their own 48-yard line with 14:05 left in the game and began to drive into the Leopards’ territory. After an offside penalty on 3rd-and-5 gifted the Hoyas a first down, Johnson threw his third interception of the day as senior defensive back Philip Parham brought in his sixth pick of the season.
The Hoyas had another chance with 9:52 remaining, but the drive ended exactly the same as the previous one. Johnson drove down to the Leopards’ 29-yard line, even converting a 3rd-and-11, but threw a f
ourth interception, this one coming in the end zone. As the Hoyas inched closer to the end zone, they were denied time and time again.
Georgetown’s defense stood strong throughout the entire game, especially in the fourth quarter, where the Lafayette offense lost two yards on 13 offensive plays. After forcing a 4th-and-14, the Leopards punted away to the Hoyas, and Dereus returned the kick to their 40-yard line. With a short field to go, the Hoyas had some life in them and one last chance to tie the game.
Johnson accounted for 27 yards on three plays before Dereus dropped a pass on 1st-and-10, killing any momentum that the Hoyas had accumulated. After losses on second and third down, the Hoyas faced a formidable 4th-and-13. Their own personal foul cost them 15 yards, a first down and a chance at the game.
Johnson looked to freshman wide receiver Max Edwards on the sideline, but the pass fell incomplete. The Leopards set up in victory formation, and the clock ticked down to zero as the Hoyas lost their eighth consecutive game.
Though the offense failed to put any points on the board, the defense was crucial in keeping the game competitive, allowing only 166 yards and keeping Lafayette to a 2-of-14 conversion rate on third down.
Sophomore defensive lineman Khristian Tate, who logged 11 tackles, 2.5 of which were for a loss, mentioned how the team’s mindset helped the players register such a strong performance and will remain important for the last two games of the season.
“Before the game, Coach [Maurice] Banks was really telling us, ‘Keep going. Keep going. Don’t stop. You have to keep going.’ If we can carry that out for the rest of the season, just everyone trying to make every play, we really will do well,” Tate said.
Georgetown will square off against Bucknell (4-7, 3-3 Patriot League) in its penultimate game of the year this Saturday at Bucknell’s Christy Mathewson–Memorial Stadium.
Kickoff is set for 12 p.m.