Hoping its ninth meeting with Colgate (4-3, 0-1 Patriot League) will break a winless streak dating back to 2002, the Georgetown football team (5-2, 1-1 Patriot League) prepares to host their Patriot League rival for the homecoming game this Saturday.
Georgetown heads into the game fresh off a win over Howard (3-4, 2-2 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference) last weekend to reclaim the Mayor’s Cup. The Blue and Gray allowed only a third-quarter field goal and dominated the Bison at the point of attack. They hope their defense continues to dominate in this season’s biggest contest to date.
The Hoyas are 1-1 in conference and the Raiders are 0-1. However, the Blue and Gray must win the game or risk elimination from contention for the league title — and, consequently, postseason football.
“Any time it’s a league game there is always a lot of pressure. We obviously want to win the league,” junior quarterback Isaiah Kempf said. “That is still our goal and we can still do that. It will be big game.”
After winning only five games over the past three seasons combined, this year’s team has already matched that number through seven games, and this year’s seniors know that this game will play a significant role in defining their legacy.
As with most Patriot League contests, the team will need to fight hard through all four quarters. To make things even tougher, Colgate is playing good football and is in the midst of a three-game winning streak.
“They are pretty solid up front. They are just a big team,” Kempf said. “That is pretty much how Patriot League teams are.”
The matchup that will likely captivate the crowd is the Raiders’ dangerous rushing attack against the Hoyas’ vaunted run defense.
Colgate averages 248 yards per game on the ground, a staggering number by any standard and good enough for seventh in the Football Championship Subdivison. Contributing to this potent attack are senior running back Nate Eachus, junior runningback Zauhn Lewis and sophomore quarterback Gavin McCarney.
Eachus, who was named the Patriot League preseason offensive player of the year and has played in four of the Raiders’ seven games, has gained 628 yards on the ground for an average of 157 yards per game and four touchdowns. Lewis, who has sometimes started in Eauchus’ place and has appeared in all seven games, has 289 yards and 2 touchdowns.
“He is a great running back. The thing about Eachus is that he always falls forward for an extra three or four yards,” senior defensive end Andrew Schaetzke said. “We are going to have to hit him in the backfield and hit him head-on to make sure he is not getting those extra yards.”
Perhaps the most dangerous runner for Colgate is McCarney, who takes advantage of the unpredictability of his position. The signal-caller has the ability to run or pass on any play and is adept at making something out of nothing. In addition to passing for 1025 yards and seven touchdowns and only three interceptions, the sophomore has run for 553 yards and eight touchdowns. Still, he can be shut down.
“If we all read our keys, physically, we should win this game,” Schaetzke said. “We have prepared well all week and we know what we have to do to win. We just have to come out and execute.”
But as much as Colgate is known for their ground attack, the Georgetown front seven are known for shutting down their opponents’ rushers. The Blue and Gray run defense ranks 10th in the country, allowing their opponents to gain only 90 yards on the ground per game.
The Hoyas’ defense is lead by Schaetzke and junior linebacker Robert McCabe. Schaetzke is near the top of the FCS leaderboard with 13 tackles for a loss and six and a half sacks, while McCabe leads the squad with 79 total tackles.
To come away with a win this weekend, the Blue and Gray must keep the ball out of the hands of the Raiders’ offense, which has the ability to wear down defenses due to their run-focused attack.
Keys to accomplishing this on offense include Kempf, sophomore running backs Nick Campanella, Dalen Claytor and Brandon Durham and receivers sophomore Jamal Davis and junior Max Waizenegger, who has been the Hoyas’ primary big play threat all season.
“We need to sustain drives so our defense can get a rest, because Colgate is a ball-heavy team,” Campanella said. “They want the ball and they hold it for a long time.”
Colgate comes to the District winless on the road this season. Georgetown has never won a game against them. On Saturday, one of those streaks will have to end.
Kickoff is set for 2 p.m. at Multisport Field.