This weekend was déjà vu all over again for the Hoyas.
A week after a heartbreaking double-overtime loss to Wagner that ended on a pick-six off junior quarterback Scott Darby, Georgetown (3-4, 2-2 Patriot League) fell to Bucknell (1-5, 1-0) 24-21, with the Bison’s winning score coming off another interception, this time thrown by sophomore quarterback Isaiah Kempf.
“It’s hard to recover from that,” Georgetown Head Coach Kevin Kelly said. “It’s seven points you hand to them, and we’ve got to eliminate that, all the turnovers.”
The fourth quarter began promisingly enough for the Hoyas, as Kempf hooked up with receiver and fellow sophomore Max Waizenegger on a 43-yard touchdown strike to take a 21-17 lead in the opening minute of the quarter. The next possession ended considerably worse for Georgetown, as Kempf made a poor throw on a down-and-out to senior wideout Keerome Lawrence. Bison junior linebacker Sean Rafferty jumped the route, intercepting Kempf’s pass and strolling in 12 yards for the score.
A penalty for an illegal man downfield short-circuited Georgetown’s next drive, and the Hoyas’ final chance to erase the deficit came when they received the ball at their own 21 with 6:25 remaining. Kempf moved the Hoyas down the field with first down completions to freshman wide receivers Patrick Ryan and Zach Wilke and junior wideout John O’Leary, before hitting Waizenegger for seven yards to move the ball to the
Bucknell 27. But then a false start – Georgetown’s 10th penalty of the game – moved the Hoyas back five yards and a short gain by Kempf left Georgetown facing a third-and-seven from the 31. Kempf’s next two pass attempts fell incomplete, and the Bison took over on downs with 3:04 to go.
Bucknell ran the ball three times to pick up the game-clinching first down, and then all it took was three kneel-downs for the Bison to notch their first win of the year.
“We didn’t play well today,” Kelly said. “It was a team loss. We didn’t do well on special teams, started slow on defense and sputtered at times on offense.”
An otherwise quiet first quarter ended with the game’s first major miscue. Punting from midfield, a long snap sailed over the head of Georgetown’s sophomore punter Matt Maczura all the way back to the Hoyas’ 10-yard line. Maczura raced back to pick up the loose ball and made a shifty move to avoid the first tackler before getting off a punt that reached the Georgetown 46. Bucknell took advantage and marched down the field for the game’s opening touchdown, a seven-yard run by Tyler Smith.
Kempf saw his first action of the game on the ensuing drive in place of Darby, who, until Saturday, started every game this season for the Hoyas. After a Georgetown punt, Bucknell gave the ball right back with a fumble at its own 16 that senior defensive lineman ShaBazz Kelton recovered. Darby then returned to the game and gave the Blue and Gray their first points of the afternoon with a 10-yard touchdown strike to O’Leary.
The Bison answered with a 73-yard touchdown drive to cap the first half scoring and took a 14-7 lead into halftime.
Darby’s day was over after halftime, though, as he finished with 34 yards through the air on 5-of-8 passing, and Kempf saw all the action as quarterback in the second half.
The quarterback change paid early dividends, as Kempf notched his first touchdown of the day on a 32-yard completion to Ryan just over five minutes into the half, before Bucknell kicked a field goal to take a 17-14 lead. Kempf finished the day 18-of-24 for 252 yards in the air and added 27 on the ground.
However, the running game once again failed to kick into gear for the Hoyas, as the Blue and Gray could only manage 41 yards on the ground on 16 carries. Bucknell remained committed to the ground game, carrying the ball 47 times for 129 yards, allowing the Bison to keep possession for nearly 40 minutes.
A multitude of penalties also came back to haunt the Hoyas. Georgetown was penalized 10 times for 109 yards, with every flag seeming to come at key moments.
“That’s something we’ve got to address,” Kelly said. “It’s 109 yards, that’s a ton.”
The defeat all but kills any chance Georgetown had for the Patriot League title, as the Hoyas sit at .500 in conference play with only one game remaining. More importantly, the Hoyas have to focus on climbing out of a midseason slump that has seen Georgetown drop four of its last five games.
“We’ve got to take a hard look at ourselves,” Kelly said. “We’ve got to rally the troops. We’ve got adversity right now, so we’ve got to shake it off.”