The Georgetown football team’s woes continued on Saturday as the Hoyas dropped their fifth straight game overall after a 3-0 start, losing to the Lafayette Leopards by a score of 17-3.
The game snapped a seven-game losing streak for Lafayette (2-7, 1-3 Patriot League) and dropped Georgetown (3-5, 0-3 Patriot League) to last place in the Patriot League standings.
The game began as a defensive struggle, with neither team finding the end zone in the first half. Freshman quarterback Brock Johnson was given his first career start for the Hoyas after three games with sophomore quarterback Clay Norris under center. In the early going, Johnson completed nine of his first 12 passes, primarily to senior and junior wide receivers Justin Hill and Justin Harrell.
Though the offense has thrown the deep ball in previous games, Johnson stuck to short passes, which combined with a stagnant rushing attack, forced the team to punt on its first four drives.
The Lafayette offense, led by senior quarterback Drew Reed, produced the game’s first major play when sophomore receiver Joey Chenoweth hauled in a 37-yard pass from Reed. The Leopards capped the drive with a field goal to take a 3-0 lead.
After the teams traded stalled drives, the Georgetown special teams crew gave the offense an opportunity. On a Lafayette punt from midfield, freshman defensive lineman Khristian Tate reached the foot of senior punter Ryan Forrester for his third blocked kick of the season. Georgetown converted two first downs in Lafayette territory, and senior kicker Henry Darmstadter tied the game on a 26-yard field goal before halftime.
“Khristian Tate is a heck of a ball player,” Head Coach Rob Sgarlata said. “Any time you can block a kick in a game, you’re usually doing pretty well — the special teams continues to be really strong.”
Early in the third quarter, the Leopard offense strung together a slow, methodical drive. Drew Reed completed five consecutive passes, the longest of which was good for 34 yards, putting Lafayette on the 1-yard line. Reed would finish the drive himself on a quarterback sneak, making the score 10-3.
Just three plays later, Brock Johnson’s pass was tipped and intercepted. Sophomore running back Tyler West punched it in to give the Leopards a 17-3 lead.
“We put the defense in a bad spot with [that] pick on a pretty good throw [from Johnson] that got tipped, but we need to be able to recover from that,” Sgarlata said.
In the fourth quarter, sophomore Clay Norris would replace Johnson at quarterback, leading the offense on a 14-play, 52-yard drive with under five minutes left. However, the team would turn the ball over on downs, allowing Lafayette to take a knee to end the game.
The Hoyas’ offensive struggles persisted, as they were outgained 394 to 173 in total yards and had five three-and-outs. Johnson finished with 12 completions on 23 attempts for 107 yards, while Norris finished 4-of-12 for 26. Junior running back Alex Valles finished the game with 65 rushing yards, getting more touches this week due in part to junior running back Isaac Ellsworth’s ankle injury.
“We just had too many three-and-outs. … To end the game we put together probably our best drive of the day, but we need that more consistently throughout on offense,” Sgarlata said.
Saturday also marked only the second game this season in which Georgetown failed to force a turnover on defense.
“Against any team in the Patriot League, if you don’t execute and you don’t bring your A-game, you’re going to really struggle,” Sgarlata said.
The Blue and Gray now look to end their losing streak when they host the Holy Cross Crusaders (3-6, 1-3 Patriot League) on Saturday. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.