After their first week at home, the Hoyas (3-1, 2-0 Patriot League) will continue their tough early season road schedule in New York on Saturday when they visit Colgate.
The Raiders, the preseason Patriot League favorites, have started the season 1-2. Their record, however, is more indicative of their strength of schedule than their own ability, as their two losses have come against Big East power Syracuse and FCS No. 18 Furman.
The Blue and Gray, meanwhile, are coming off last week’s thrilling 17-7 homecoming comeback win against Holy Cross.
Typically, teams pick easier opponents to face during such a big weekend, but the Hoyas scheduled the defending Patriot League champions. Colgate, on the other hand, chose a more traditional path, electing to face what was sure to be a beleaguered Georgetown squad that went winless last year. But after the Hoyas’ 2-0 league start, the Raiders have cause to be wary of Head Coach Kevin Kelly’s upstart squad.
“We control our own destiny,” Kelly commented. “Colgate is one of the power teams in our league and we’ve never beaten them. That’s just one hurdle we have to get over, our ultimate goal is to win the Patriot League.”
The Hoyas’ first-half performance last Saturday was all too familiar for the Hoya faithful, as the offense struggled and the two teams finished the first half deadlocked at 0-0.
“I told the guys coming out, we obviously have to win the second half,” Kelly said.
It quickly went from bad to worse for the Georgetown offense as a fumble from junior quarterback Scott Darby on their first possession of the half gave Holy Cross great field position, which resulted in a 7-0 lead for the Crusaders.
That fumble, however, proved to be Darby’s lone hiccup of the day, as the quarterback led the Hoyas back with 17 unanswered points to shock the Crusaders.
Darby finished the day with 191 passing yards and a key touchdown pass to junior wide receiver John O’Leary. In addition, Darby rushed for 98 yards on 24 carries, putting the Hoyas in numerous short-yard situations throughout the game. For his efforts, the junior was named the Patriot League offensive player of the week.
“He’s a dual threat,” Kelly said. “He’s been throwing the ball well, running our offense and doing a good job of managing the game. Going into the game, part of our game plan was to have him run the football, and he did a nice job with that. When you have good balance like that, it makes it very difficult to call the defense on the opponent’s side.”
Despite Darby and the Hoya offense’s stirring comeback, the game was still up for grabs in the last minutes. An interception by senior linebacker Paul Sant’Ambrogio put the finishing touch on a stellar defensive performance by the team and sealed the deal for the Hoyas, setting off a homecoming celebration that the Hilltop had not experienced since 2006.
“We did a real nice job all day, except for that one lapse where [Darby] fumbled the ball and we did a poor job on defense [on the ensuing series],” Kelly said. “Hold someone to seven points nowadays, you’ve had a good day.”
Georgetown will find such a shutdown effort a bit more difficult on Saturday, as they will be facing the Patriot League offensive preseason player of the year in Colgate’s senior quarterback Greg Sullivan. In addition, they will be up against junior tailback Nate Eachus, who leads the Patriot league in rushing with a lofty 142 yard-per-game average.
After an exhilarating win a week ago, Kelly knows that the Hoyas must find a way to refocus against an arguably tougher opponent this weekend.
“We’ve been staring right down that barrel so far, but that’s fine,” Kelly reflected. “Keep winning, I don’t mind.”
Kickoff is set for Saturday at 1 p.m. in Andy Kerr Stadium in Hamilton, N.Y.”