The Georgetown football team (2-2) and the Columbia Lions (0-2) began a 10-year football series on Saturday with the Hoyas claiming the Lou Little Trophy with a 24-16 victory over the Lions. Lou Little is a former head coach of both Georgetown and Columbia and is now honored in the College Football Hall of Fame. Little was also the athletic director during his time at Georgetown from 1924 to 1929. The trophy will stay with Georgetown, the winning team, until next year’s matchup.
“It means a lot. Historically here, football has been a big part of the Hilltop. … Lou Little was a great coach here. For our kids to connect to our alums and be able to connect to the Lou Little Trophy, I think is important,” Head Coach Rob Sgarlata said after the victory.
Columbia entered the game on a 22-game losing streak, and Georgetown kept that streak going thanks to an efficient performance from senior quarterback Kyle Nolan. Nolan threw for 264 yards and two touchdowns, completing 21 of 32 passes. Nolan also ran for 41 yards and scored a touchdown on the ground. Junior wide receiver Justin Hill continued his hot start to the season with another dominant performance, catching four balls for 118 yards, including an 80-yard touchdown catch.
“Making smart decisions on my part [was important],” Nolan said. “Against Dartmouth I made a couple of bad decisions. We executed well and got the ball in the playmakers’ hands.”
For Columbia, junior quarterback Skyler Mornhinweg — son of former NFL Head Coach Marty Mornhinweg — was the team’s leading rusher and passer, completing 23 of 38 passes for 232 yards and racking up 78 yards on 19 rushes, including two touchdown runs. Senior wide receiver Scooter Hollis caught a game-high 10 receptions for 131 yards.
Both teams struggled to get points on the board in the first quarter, with Georgetown’s junior punter Harry McCollum punting twice and Columbia’s junior kicker Cameron Nizialek missing a 40-yard field goal. However, Nizialek made up for his error when he made a 29-yard chip shot to put Columbia ahead 3-0 with 12:43 left in the second quarter.
Georgetown immediately responded on the next drive, with Nolan hitting freshman wide receiver Brandon Williams for a 25-yard catch to Columbia’s 28-yard line. The Hoyas eventually settled for a field goal to tie it up.
After Columbia went ahead 10-3 on senior running back Cameron Molina’s touchdown run, Georgetown marched down the field methodically, capping off the drive with Nolan’s four-yard touchdown run for the equalizer with 29 seconds remaining in the half.
On the ensuing kickoff by junior kicker Ben Priddy, Columbia fumbled the ball and senior fullback Troye Bullock recovered it at Columbia’s 29-yard line. After a 6-yard completion to senior wide receiver Jake DeCicco, Nolan found Justin Hill for a 16-yard touchdown catch to make it 17-10 going into halftime. Sgarlata said he was pleased with how his team capitalized on the opportunity.
“You look at the drive at the end of the first half to make it 10-10 going into halftime. Then Troye Bullock did a great job recovering the squib kick. To be able to turn that into two plays and a touchdown for us to go in 17-10 is a huge step for our team.”
Georgetown never looked back after that. Nolan and Hill delivered the knockout blow on the team’s first possession of the second half, with Nolan finding Hill on the first play of the drive for the 80-yard touchdown catch to make it 24-10.
“Kyle put the ball where I could go get it,” Hill said. “We have other talented receivers that do great and opened up the field for me.”
Columbia would go on to score one more touchdown, but missed the extra point attempt, and the Georgetown defense smothered them for most of the second half.
“They’re a good football team. We knew going into the game they would score some points. It didn’t surprise me that we were in a dogfight during the game,” Sgarlata said.
Georgetown now moves on to face Harvard in Cambridge, Mass. Last season, the Crimson gave the Hoyas a beat down, handing Georgetown an embarrassing 34-3 loss in front of Georgetown’s home fans. Kickoff is slated for Friday night at 7 p.m.