Headed into halftime in Saturday’s Senior Day game, the Georgetown football team (1-7, 0-3 Patriot League) had every reason to be hopeful. The scoreboard showed 14-7, with the Hoyas trailing by only one possession. The Georgetown defense had held Lafayette (3-5, 3-0 Patriot League) to seven points through 29 minutes of play, and the Hoyas had already rushed for 104 yards — a marked improvement after being stifled at the line of scrimmage a week earlier.
But a 159-yard third-quarter rally spearheaded by the Leopards’ freshman quarterback Drew Reed quickly shelved any hopes of a Georgetown victory. Three unanswered touchdowns in the first 10 minutes of the second half put the Leopards on their way to a 45-27 victory over the Hoyas in Georgetown’s last home game of the year, finalizing a 1-6 record for the Hoyas at home and extending their losing streak to seven games.
“They ran the ball some, and we couldn’t get them off on third down,” Head Coach Kevin Kelly said. “They did a good job, just wore us down.”
After a promising start, the Georgetown defense again displayed the problems that have plagued it throughout the season. The unit could not put enough pressure on Reed or match up with the agility of 6-foot-7 senior tight end Brandon Hall, whose 101 receiving yards were a major contribution to Lafayette’s 15.3 yards-per-reception average.
“[Hall] is probably the best receiver in the league, so he goes up and he makes some big catches,” Kelly said. “He made plays and we didn’t.”
The defense showed several signs of improvement, though, holding Lafayette to just three third down conversions, limiting the Leopards rush to 88 yards and earning four sacks after a total of five through the first five games of the season. But the Hoyas again struggled in the red zone and allowed three fourth-down conversions on three attempts. Senior defensive end Alec May, who, with three sacks, was a large part of the defense’s success, acknowledged these problems.
“It’s really frustrating,” May said. “We just got to step up and play better on fourth down.
The Georgetown offense was able to revive its run game due to the combined efforts of senior running backs Nick Campanella and Dalen Claytor, sophomore running back Jo’el Kimpela and sophomore quarterback Kyle Nolan. Campanella, Clayton and Nolan all had at least 40 yards, and Campanella led the team with 58; he and Nolan also added touchdowns on the ground. But the Hoya pass struggled to generate momentum. Nolan threw three picks, including two in the third quarter that led to Lafayette touchdowns.
“[Nolan’s performance] wasn’t good enough to win,” Kelly said. “He had three picks and we had some yards, but that was at the end of the game, so I wouldn’t say it was a winning performance.”
Georgetown did have some success throwing the ball, largely thanks to a big day from senior tight end Daniel Sprotte. With 102 yards and two touchdowns, Sprotte was the highlight of the Hoyas’ receiving core, and was named the College Football Performance Awards national tight end of the week. May also recieved CFPA honors for his efforts on defense. But ultimately, the Hoyas were not able to keep pace with a Lafayette team that relentlessly marched down the field throughout the second half.
Penalties and special teams errors were also a disappointing storyline for the Blue and Gray. Penalties repeatedly called back major gains and forced the defense to make extra stops. Georgetown racked up 91 yards of penalties on 11 calls, while Lafayette only committed seven penalties for 48 yards.
“Some … are inadvertent,” Kelly said. “You just got to keep plugging away. We’ll talk about it tomorrow and hopefully, next game, we don’t have 11 penalties like we had.”
An early fourth-quarter punt return for a touchdown by Lafayette put any small hope of a comeback permanently out of reach.
“In the kickoff, we had five guys there and we couldn’t make the play,” Kelly said.
While the result was not an optimal outcome for the 24 seniors playing their last game at MultiSport Facility, Kelly had nothing but positive things to say about the impact that the graduating group has had on the team.
“Twenty-four guys worked their tails off 12 months out of the year and you want to send them off on a positive note. [It’s] very difficult,” Kelly said. “I love all those guys. [I] respect them all — they’re going to be very successful men one day in spite of the loss.”
The Hoyas will play their remaining two games on the road, travelling first to Holy Cross Nov. 16.