Georgetown will be facing the second-best scoring offense in the Patriot League this Saturday in Lehigh. The key cogs of this offense are junior quarterback Chris Lum and sophomore wide receiver Ryan Spadola. On defense, Lehigh has the Patriot League leader in interceptions in the form of senior defensive back Jarard Cribbs.
Against the top pass-rushing team in the Patriot League, Georgetown will also need to focus on protecting its own quarterbacks.
In his first year as a starter, Lum has developed into arguably the top quarterback in the Patriot League.
“Typically in our league, the [team with the] best quarterback play is usually the team that wins the league. Right now he is playing probably the best at that position in the league at this point,” Georgetown Head Coach Kevin Kelly said.
It has not been this way for Lum all year, though. The junior quarterback stumbled out of the gates at the season’s start, throwing three interceptions in Lehigh’s second game of the season against nationally ranked Villanova. He was benched for the following two games but reclaimed the starting job when he threw two touchdown passes in a victory over Fordham on Oct. 9. Ever since then, Lum has been on a roll. He has thrown at least two touchdowns in each of Lehigh’s past five games and only two interceptions over the same span. In Lehigh’s last game against Colgate, Lum threw for a career-high 310 yards. On the season, he has compiled 13 touchdown passes and only five interceptions. Averaging 194.2 passing yards per game and 202.8 total yards per game, Lum is third in the Patriot League in both categories.
“[Lum] does a real good job of managing their football team,” Kelly said.
Judging by Lum’s growing curve this season, the Hoyas must be wary of his passing capabilities on Saturday.
One player who is pleased about Lum’s rapid progress is Spadola. Like Lum, Spadola is another player who can single-handedly change a game. On Oct. 16, Spadola tied a school record with 14 catches against Harvard on the way to 206 receiving yards and two touchdowns in that game. With 765 receiving yards on the season, Spadola has double the amount of receiving yards of any other Mountain Hawk.
“He is a good athlete. He is a guy who we have obviously got to be aware of where he is in passing situations, and we have to do some things to take him away,” Kelly said.
Spadola’s six receptions per game and 85 receiving yards per game are both second in the Patriot League.
Although not called upon to run often, Spadola has also proven to be dangerous out of the backfield on reverses, averaging 14 yards per carry.
The only player in the Patriot League who has outdone Georgetown’s Jayah Kaisamba’s interception count this year is Lehigh’s Cribbs. Cribbs has intercepted the football six times this year, once more than Kaisamba. He also leads Lehigh with nine pass deflections and three breakups. Cribbs is more than just a cover corner as he has 36 total tackles on the season, including three for a loss. Georgetown will not change its attack based on Cribbs, but it will certainly be wary of him.
“We are going to run our scheme. We don’t worry about one guy,” Kelly said. “He is a big playmaker for them on their defense. He is a leader on their defense.”
Cribbs’ ball skills have been a major reason why Lehigh possesses a plus-two turnover ratio this season.
Rob Bates, Dan Semler, Erik Antico
In their loss to Fordham two weeks ago, the Hoyas conceded six sacks. Kelly showed concern about the statistic but did not want to pin the problem solely on the offensive line.
“It is always a concern when you give up sacks. People don’t realize that it sometimes isn’t just the offensive line,” Kelly said. “Sometimes it is the running backs, the quarterback . there are a lot of things that come into play.”
The Mountain Hawks have sacked opposing quarterbacks an incredible 28 times this year. The Hoyas will need a stronger performance than last week from their offensive line leaders, Rob Bates, Dan Semler and Erik Antico, in order to prevail on Saturday.
Kelly remains confident that they can get the job done.
“Those three seniors have done a terrific job this year. They play hard, play hurt and do everything that a coach asks for,” Kelly said.”