After losing its first conference game last week against Lehigh in its fifth consecutive loss, the Georgetown football team looks to rebound against Fordham at home on Saturday.
The Hoyas (1-5, 0-1 Patriot League) lost 54-35 to the Mountain Hawks (2-5, 2-0 Patriot League), which amassed more than 625 total yards on offense. The team allowed 50 points or more for the second week in a row.
Fordham (1-6, 0-2 Patriot League) has struggled on offense compared to Lehigh, having only scored a total of 32 points over its last three games. With an average of only 19.6 points per game, the Rams have the lowest-scoring offense of any team the Hoyas have played thus far this season.
Georgetown Head Coach Rob Sgarlata said that, in spite of Fordham’s weak statistics, it will be a tough task to keep the Rams’ offense in check.
“Offensively, I know their stats, but they’re explosive. They have really good kids on the edge, and [senior running back] Chase Edmonds makes it go, so it’ll be interesting to see if we can make him one-dimensional and really put the weight on the quarterback’s shoulders,” Sgarlata said.
Last year, the Consensus First Team All-American Edmonds led the Football Championship Subdivision in rushing yards per game with 163.5 and finished fourth in voting for the Walter Payton Award, which is presented to the most outstanding player in the FCS.
Edmonds has fared worse on the ground this year, racking up only 65.8 yards per game and one touchdown this season, but he still presents a threat.
Senior cornerback Jelani Williamson, who helped lead the Hoyas’ defense last week with seven tackles and an interception, recognized Edmonds’ playmaking ability and agreed with Sgarlata that cutting off Fordham’s running game is critical.
“If a team can’t run on you, then you make their offense one-dimensional, so it’s always easier to play defense. Fordham has a great running back, a great running game, so we have our work cut out for us. But I think we will be alright,” Williamson said.
On the other side of the ball, Georgetown’s offense has recovered since its performance against Harvard in which it put up zero points (the team’s two points came on a safety). Against Lehigh, Georgetown did not turn the ball over for the first time this season and scored more than 30 points for the second week in a row, the first such occurrence since 2003.
Sophomore quarterback Gunther Johnson, a transfer from the University of Arizona, saw the majority of snaps behind center last week and finished with 290 passing yards and two touchdowns. He added 71 yards on the ground and three rushing touchdowns, and his performance earned him an Honorable Mention as Patriot League Player of the Week.
“I feel like we were a lot more comfortable than we had been in the past. The line blocked better than they had the entire year,” Johnson said. “The receivers made plays for us, made my job easy. We took advantage of what they were giving us, and it worked out.”
Lehigh held the ball for almost 15 minutes longer than Georgetown did last weekend, and that gap in time of possession was one of the major factors that contributed to Lehigh’s offense exploding for 27 points in the second quarter. Williamson said that playing a strong defense and giving the offense as much time as it needs is key to a win this weekend.
“It’s always easy to play offense when you’re on offense. As much as [defensive players] love to score and as much as I love to score, it’s easier for [the offense] to score than for us to score. We definitely have to get off the field by any means necessary,” Williamson said.
Sgarlata and Williamson said the team is focusing on getting out of the slump and winning in the Patriot League.
“Every week, you have a chance to change that dynamic [of the Patriot League]. All we can do is worry about what we’re doing and hopefully win out in the Patriot League and see how the thing falls out at the end,” Sgarlata said.
Williamson emphasized the importance of the team’s attitude going into this conference showdown.
“If you go into football hesitant, then you’re going to struggle. The mentality going into this game for our defense and our team is reckless abandon — leave it all on the field and do everything we can to come out with a win,” Williamson said.
Kickoff is scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday at Cooper Field. The stream for the game and the game cast will be available at guhoyas.com.