After sending off its seniors with a win against Fordham (1-8) last Saturday, the Georgetown football team (8-2, 3-1 Patriot League) travels to Bethlehem, Pa. this Saturday to take on No. 6 Lehigh (8-1, 3-0 Patriot League) in a David-and-Goliath battle with a championship on the line.
The Mountain Hawks have won nine league championships, the most of any school in the Patriot League’s 25-year history. The Hoyas, who joined in 2001, had only won eight league games in the last 10 years and remain the only conference member without a league championship.
Saturday’s game means a lot for both teams. Before the season, Head Coach Kevin Kelly had two goals for the Blue and Gray: a winning season and a Patriot League title. The squad has clinched the winning season, but the championship hinges on defeating the Mountain Hawks.
“This week we will play Lehigh for a chance to achieve our ultimate goal of winning the Patriot League Championship and earn a berth in the playoffs,” Kelly said in a statement. “For all of the players, especially our seniors who have been here, coaches and administrators, this is a dream come true.”
A strong showing from senior quarterback Scott Darby solidified the Blue and Gray’s Senior Day win over Fordham, but Kelly has indicated that junior Isaiah Kempf, the regular starter, is rested and will likely helm the Hoyas on Saturday.
While Georgetown needs a good showing from their offense, the game will hinge on how the Hoyas’vaunted defense stacks up against Lehigh’s powerful offense. Led by senior quarterback Chris Lum, Lehigh has averaged 491 yards per game, the best total offense in the Football Championship Subdivision.
“Lehigh has a very productive offense and an excellent scheme. They are very well coached in every facet of the game,” Kelly said. “Their senior quarterback, Chris Lum, manages the game very well for them. They have a strong running game and two excellent wide receivers.”
Georgetown will need their defense, including senior defensive end and Patriot League sack leader Andrew Schaetzke, to step up against Lehigh. Junior defensive back Jeremy Moore has also sparked the Blue and Gray’s defense since returning from a suspension earlier in the season.
Specifically, the secondary will be crucial in slowing down Lehigh, because, despite dominating teams on the ground, the Hoyas have let their opponents to earn some big numbers through the air.
The Hoyas will again count on special teams to step up this week. Senior kicker Brett Weiss has performed superbly this season and was named Patriot League special teams player of the week for the third time this year.
Georgetown’s last win against Lehigh came in 1925, and with the power of the Mountain Hawks’ offense, the Hoyas are up against more than just history. But Georgetown has spent an entire season proving its doubters wrong, and the team knows that the success or failure of its ultimate goal will be determined in 60 minutes this Saturday.
“Their head coach, Andy Coen, might have struggled at the beginning of his tenure, but over the last two years they have had the most consistent team in the Patriot League,” Kelly said. “We know we are in for a battle on Saturday.”
Kickoff is at 12:30 p.m. at Goodman Stadium in Bethlehem, Pa.