On a chilly October day in front of a sold-out crowd at Cooper Field, the Georgetown football team (3-4, 1-1 Patriot League) could not muster a fourth-quarter comeback, falling to the Colgate Raiders (3-4, 2-0 Patriot League) by a final score of 17-13. The Hoyas scored 13 unanswered points in the fourth quarter but could not ultimately cap off what would have been an impressive comeback effort.
“I think what you saw in the second half from our entire ball club was, it’s a pretty resilient group,” Head Coach Rob Sgarlata said. “In years past here, that game at a 17-point deficit would turn into 24 in the third quarter, and then we’re chasing it the entire game. … I thought defensively we came out and played well in the third and I thought offensively we finally did start to relax and play our game.”
Out of their seven possessions in the first half, the Hoyas had four three-and-outs and one turnover on downs, even though Colgate gave Georgetown chances to get into the game by fumbling four times and losing three of those fumbles. The Georgetown defense, led by junior linebacker Leo Loughrey — who racked up a career-high 14 total tackles — did its best to limit Colgate’s read option and keep the game competitive.
Colgate rushed 42 times for 184 yards, in large part thanks to junior quarterback Jake Melville, who had 14 carries for 80 yards, and sophomore running back James Holland, who had 14 carries for 75 yards and two touchdowns. The Raiders gashed the Hoyas’ defense with the read-option play for most of the game until the final quarter when Georgetown put the clamps on the running game.
“That was on the defensive line. I think they just really toughened up as the game went on and that’s all we needed,” Loughrey said in regard to the adjustments made against the run.
Melville also threw for 190 yards on 11-of-23 passing, with sophomore wide receiver Alex Greenawalt hauling in three passes for 88 yards.
For Georgetown, senior quarterback Kyle Nolan was 21-of-38 for 194 yards with one rushing touchdown along with two lost fumbles. Senior running back Jo’el Kimpela rushed for 104 yards on 22 carries, and junior wide receiver Justin Hill caught eight balls for 98 yards. On defense, freshman defensive tackle Brennen Sawicki had an oustanding game, notching 12 tackles, including a tackle for a loss and a forced fumble.
Colgate scored first in the first quarter with an 8-yard touchdown run by Holland. The Hoyas then failed to score points off a Holland fumble in the second quarter and a Melville fumble on their next possession. Holland would go on to atone for his mistake by scoring another touchdown in the second quarter, and the Raiders tacked on a 39-yard field goal as time expired to make it 17-0 at halftime.
The Georgetown offense finally woke up in the fourth quarter.
“Just getting everybody to calm down, just take it easy, one play at a time,” Kimpela said. “That’s what we talked about at halftime and that’s what we did. We just got to execute better in the first half.”
The Hoyas got on the board early in the quarter thanks to a Henry Darmstadter 37-yard field goal. On the ensuing kickoff, Sgarlata called for a surprise onside kickoff that was executed perfectly by junior kicker Ben Priddy and recovered by freshman wide receiver Brandon Williams. Georgetown took over at the Raiders’ 49-yard line and quickly scored in a minute and 32 seconds, with Nolan rushing it in from 10 yards out to make it 17-10.
“In a game like that that’s tight, you need a momentum-changer and you need to get it from somewhere. Defensively, we did a great job taking the ball away in the first half, and we needed to capitalize on that. In that moment I thought that was the way to spark us and get us going,” Sgarlata said.
After forcing a quick Colgate three-and-out, Georgetown got the ball at its own 23 and drove all the way down the field to the Colgate 11-yard line, threatening to tie the game at 17. Facing a 2nd and 9, Georgetown attempted a reverse end-around play, but Colgate anticipated the play and brought down senior wide receiver Jake DeCicco in the backfield for a loss of nine yards. The Hoyas had to settle for a field goal to make it 17-13 and would not score again, as Colgate got the ball back and ran out the clock.
“It was a tough loss. We just have to find a way to bounce back.” Kimpela said.
“It’s a shame that we didn’t play all four quarters but there’s no negatives coming out of the game,” Sgarlata said. “We’ll learn from what we did and get ready to go out and play a good Bucknell team.”
Georgetown travels to play at Bucknell this coming Saturday with kickoff set for 1 p.m.