After a victory in its season opener, the Georgetown football team prepares for a home matchup Saturday against Marist College, which is coming off its first win of the season.
Georgetown (1-0, Patriot League) grabbed a nail-biting win over Campbell University (1-1, Pioneer) this past weekend, a game which ended 16-10 after Georgetown senior defensive back Jelani Williamson returned a late fumble recovery for a touchdown to seal the game.
Head Coach Rob Sgarlata was pleased with the weekend win over Campbell but is taking some early offensive struggles as an opportunity for the team to grow and come out strong against a Marist (1-1, 1-0 Pioneer) team with a potent offense, averaging 301 yards per game.
“We don’t really talk about offense and defense,” Sgarlata said. “So if one of the groups isn’t having a great day the other group’s got to step up. It was good to see the kids fight through some adversity and not crumble when it got tough. We’re looking forward to building on that this week.”
Georgetown enters the contest with a three-game winning streak against Marist, including a 20-17 win last season in which the Hoyas blocked two field goals.
The Hoyas look to generate more offense with their rushing game, which averaged 4.3 yards a carry a week ago. Running backs senior Alex Valles and junior Carl Thomas complement sophomore wide receiver Michael Dereus, who hauled in six receptions for 114 yards and one touchdown against Campbell.
The Georgetown offense faces a Marist defense that has allowed nearly 200 yards a game through the air but which has held firm against the run, keeping teams to a clip of only 62 yards per game.
“We just need to eliminate some of our mistakes, as far as fundamentals and hanging on to the ball. We can’t turn the ball over and expect to win football games,” Sgarlata said. “Every day is about us looking to get better and that’s what we’re looking to do every time we step out on the field.”
Defensively, the Blue and Gray seek to continue their dominating performance from last week when the Hoyas forced four turnovers and recorded seven sacks against the Camels.
“If we want to continue to win games, we’re going to have to make plays on both sides of the ball, but especially on defense,” Williamson said. “We take pride as a defensive unit and believe we can be the best defensive unit in the country. So, when our front seven plays like the best defensive unit in the country, that’s the standard.”
However, the Red Foxes present a different challenge for the Hoyas, as they attempted 47 passes in their last contest and amassed almost 340 yards in the air against Stetson (0-2, 0-1 Patriot).
Senior defensive back and team captain David Akere believes the Hoyas are prepared for the challenge.
“[Marist] throws the ball a lot, and we love that. We believe that we’re the best DBs in the league if not in the nation,” Akere said. “So, we think that any opponent is going to have to deal with us, and we’re going to do exactly what we do and exactly what we can every single play in every single game.”
Saturday’s game against Marist marks Georgetown’s first game played at Cooper Field this season. Sgarlata stated that his message for the home opener is to bring a more polished product to the Hoyas’ home crowd this week.
“I don’t care who we line up against because every team can beat us, and we can beat every team on our schedule. It’s more us against ourselves. From a coaching standpoint, we look at it as this: on offense, defense and special teams, can we make improvement from week one to week two?” Sgarlata said.
The game will kick off on Saturday at 1 p.m. at Cooper Field.