For the Georgetown offense on Saturday, it was too little, too late as fifth-year quarterback Tim Barnes and his teammates ran out of time to engineer a comeback, falling 14-12 to the Marist Red Foxes.
With 1:06 remaining on the clock after a Marist (2-1, Pioneer League) punt and no timeouts, Barnes and the Georgetown (1-1, Patriot League) offense took over at their own 26-yard line. Barnes quickly hit senior running back Alex Valles in the flat for an eight-yard gain to the 34 before failing to find senior wide receiver Justin Harrell in the middle of the field for another completion.
After narrowly missing junior wide receiver Brandon Williams along the right sideline down the field, the Hoyas tried a hook-and-ladder play with sophomore wide receiver Michael Dereus on their last play of the game. Dereus scampered across the field but was eventually tackled by a Marist defender to end the game and Georgetown’s comeback bid.
“We just need to execute better,” Barnes said. “It starts with me. Plays were there, we were in the right play calls for the whole game. We just have to execute a little better.”
The Hoyas got off to a sluggish start on offense, due in large part to the poor field position they began with in their first few drives. The Hoyas did not start a drive past their own 30-yard line for their first four possessions. In two of those four possessions, Georgetown started inside its own five-yard line.
“Yeah, field position hurt us,” Georgetown Head Coach Rob Sgarlata said. “You got to be able to start a game out and get some first downs to start out with…We got to string some first downs together and get some positive plays.”
Georgetown’s offense was completely inept in the first half, gaining only three first downs total. The Blue and Gray could not move the ball on the ground, and through the air, Barnes could not find a rhythm targeting the short and intermediate areas of the field.
Marist struck first midway through the first quarter, capping off an eight-play, 40-yard drive with a five-yard strike from redshirt junior quarterback Mike White to freshman wide receiver David Shannon III.
Barnes gave the ball right back to the Red Foxes when he sailed a throw intended for Dereus that landed in the arms of Marist redshirt sophomore cornerback Drew Daniel.
Marist got the ball back on the Georgetown 20-yard line and promptly scored five plays later when redshirt senior running back Marcellus Calhoun plowed through for a six-yard touchdown to make it 14-0 Marist early in the second quarter.
That would be the only damage that Calhoun and the rest of the Marist offense would do for the rest of the day, however, as the stingy Georgetown defense took over. Calhoun’s day, aside from the touchdown rush, was very quiet, as he gained only 44 yards on 18 carries.
“I think they watched film just like us and had a good read on what our defense was,” junior cornerback Ramon Lyons, who stood out on the defensive side of the ball with 10 total tackles, said. “So we saw in the first quarter and after that we made adjustments going into the half and after that we buckled down and played our game.”
The two teams traded punts for the rest of the second quarter, and Georgetown ran the clock out at the end of the half.
The Hoyas started the second half poorly, as their offense committed another three-and-out on their first possession of the third quarter.
However, there was a noticeable shift in the Hoyas’ game plan when they got the ball back on offense. With the defense doing its part, the offense found a spark when Barnes hit Harrell for a 22-yard catch to the Georgetown 49-yard line.
“We’re really talented on the edges right now,” Sgarlata said. “Marist did a really good job against the run today, they stacked the box and held us to under two yards per carry. So with them loading so many people in there we had to try and get the ball out on the edges and try and go over the top.”
One play later, Barnes found Williams for a 26-yard shot with a defender draped over Williams’ back. Junior running back Christian Bermudez then punched it in from the two-yard line to make it 14-6, after sophomore kicker Brad Hurst’s point-after-touchdown kick was blocked.
Punts marked the status quo for most of the game, and the trend continued after Georgetown scored. Both teams struggled to create anything against the opposing team’s defense, until Barnes and Dereus broke things open offensively with a 44-yard completion against tight coverage downfield.
“Mike ran a great route, and the offensive line gave me plenty of time. Just tried to give him a chance to go make a play and he did,” Barnes said.
Georgetown decided to attempt the two-point conversion with 4:48 left in the game. Barnes took the snap and rolled right, looking for Dereus running across the field parallel to him. However, the Red Foxes defended the play perfectly and Barnes was forced to throw the ball away out of bounds, making the score 14-12 Marist.
The Georgetown defense, which had been dominant for the second and third quarters, could not make a quick stop when it needed to at the end. The Red Foxes returned the ensuing kickoff to their own 27-yard line, and killed 3:42 off the game clock.
The Hoyas got the ball back for their last possession, but not with enough time to score.
Next, the Hoyas travel to New York to play at Columbia University on Saturday at 1 p.m.