The Georgetown football team faced Lafayette College on Cooper Field to collect its first conference win of the season. The game happened during Parent Weekend in front of a sold-out crowd Saturday, Oct. 19. This game was a strong bounceback for the Hoyas following a loss to Fordham University on homecoming weekend.
In the first quarter, sophomore defensive back Delano Salgado collected his second interception of the season, allowing senior quarterback Gunther Johnson to take over for the Hoyas (5-2, 1-1 Patriot League). He passed off to freshman running back Joshua Stakely, who failed to advance the ball forward, and after an incomplete pass to sophomore wide receiver Joshua Tomas, he was sacked while trying to make a decision against the 0-7 Lafayette Leopards.
On fourth down, Johnson was able to advance the ball for a first down and ultimately completed an eight-yard pass to senior wide receiver Michael Dereus for a touchdown. This game marked 1,500 receiving yards for Dereus during his Georgetown career.
Johnson continues to have a passing percentage above 50% in every game this season. This game featured more of a downfield passing offense than previous home games this season. Johnson’s scrambles proved largely ineffective, but he completed successful passes throughout the game, also running screen passes at a less frequent rate than in previous matchups.
On defense, the Hoyas were more successful in defending the run, although running the ball proved largely unsuccessful on both sides of the ball. Toward the end of the quarter, Lafayette’s freshman running back Jaden Sutton broke away with an 86-yard touchdown run that could not be stopped by the Hoyas’ senior defensive back Leon Agee. The play tied the game 7-7 at the end of the first quarter.
In the second quarter, the first drive began with Johnson attempting to complete a pass while falling down, which did not land successfully. The Hoyas managed to punt to the 45-yard line, which allowed the Leopards to make a drive. Lafayette found few ways to advance the ball, as Georgetown’s defense dominated on the ground against the run.
However, the Hoyas also found little luck in running the ball and ultimately turned over the ball. On its next drive, Lafayette attempted a field goal but picked up a holding penalty. It was able to complete a 44-yard field goal to bring its lead to 10-7 with seven minutes and six seconds left in the second. Toward the end of the second quarter, sophomore running back Herman Moultrie III, who had run 33 yards in the game up to this point, was injured with what appeared to be an ankle issue. As one of the team’s bigger presences on rushing, his absence was felt on the field afterward.
Following this injury timeout, Johnson managed to complete a touchdown pass from fourth and goal to Stakely, making the score 14-10 Hoyas. The goal was the freshman’s first receiving touchdown at Georgetown, though he had one rushing touchdown against Catholic University earlier in the season.
Head Coach Rob Sgarlata expressed admiration for Johnson’s ability to show leadership and drive the ball to finish out a strong offensive first half.
“Gunther does a great job managing the game especially down the stretch,” Sgarlata said. “We had a 13-play, 7-yard drive to end the first half, and any time you can score going into halftime [with] the engineered drive like that, it takes a lot from the quarterback.
The second half was dominated by defensive plays and found little offense on either side of the ball. A last minute decision by Johnson to throw the ball led to a lofty interception by Lafayette’s junior linebacker Major Jordan. However, Lafayette’s freshman quarterback Keegan Shoemaker could not complete passes against the secondary, as Georgetown’s defense proved strong against the running and passing game in this quarter.
Johnson’s decision-making in this quarter proved slow, but with limited receiving options, it was difficult for him to make plays. Lafayette’s last drive of the quarter proved successful for the Hoyas as junior defensive back Cameron Deen was able to deflect a pass from Shoemaker, followed by an interception by junior defensive back Ahmad Wilson to give the Hoyas possession going into the fourth quarter.
The Hoyas allowed their second sack of Johnson in the fourth quarter, as well as a missed field goal by Lafayette that could have produced a 1-point deficit for the Leopards. Lafayette finished with possession of the ball, arguing that two seconds were left off the clock as it had the ball on the opposing 42-yard line. However, the players stormed the field and the game ended with a Georgetown victory by a final score of 14-10.
Sgarlata seemed optimistic looking toward the future for the Hoyas, particularly on defense.
“We had some guys step up who haven’t played a lot throughout, and [I am] really looking forward to what Coach Gordon continues to do with his defense,” Sgarlata said.
“The biggest thing moving forward for us next week will be finishing,” Johnson said. “There were times when we were third and two, fourth and two, and we didn’t finish. But we got the win, and at the end of the day, that’s all that matters.”
The Hoyas will be on the road next week in Bethlehem, Pa., to face Lehigh University (3-3, 2-0 Patriot League). They will return to Cooper Field on Nov. 2 for Senior Day against Colgate University (1-7, 0-2 Patriot League).