Georgetown’s Saturday visit to Colgate had all the makings of a classic, the surprising league leader taking on the preseason favorite in its conference opener. In the end the matchup turned out to be a dud, as the Raiders (2-3, 1-0 Patriot League) ran the ball up and down the field all afternoon against the Hoyas (3-2, 2-1) in a 34-3 rout.
“We were in the game at halftime 13-3 and we just couldn’t get on track offensively,” Georgetown Head Coach Kevin Kelly said.
“They’re a run control type offense, and to beat a team like Colgate you need all phases to be in sync, and we weren’t in sync Saturday.”
Running back Nate Eachus carried the ball 44 times and gained 216 of Colgate’s 308 rushing yards, the highest yardage Georgetown has surrendered on the ground this season. As a result Colgate dominated the time of possession, holding the ball for 40:39 to Georgetown’s 19:21, and by the second half the Raiders took advantage on the scoreboard as the Hoya defense wore down.
After Colgate took a 13-3 lead into halftime, Eachus scored three of his four rushing touchdowns in the second half against the exhausted Blue and Gray defense.
“We were on the field [for 85] plays,” Kelly said. “It’s going to take its toll after a while.”
On the other side of the ball the Hoyas did not fare much better, compiling only 113 yards of offense. Georgetown’s offensive struggles prompted Kelly to insert sophomore Isaiah Kempf at quarterback late in the second quarter in place of junior Scott Darby, but the Hoyas couldn’t find any answer for the Raiders’ suffocating defense.
Darby completed seven of 11 passes for 21 yards, while Kempf gained 55 yards in the air on 8-for-13 passing, and the Colgate pass rush notched five sacks. The Hoya running attack could only put up 37 yards, with Kempf the leading rusher at 14 yards on seven carries.
After Colgate moved the ball to the Georgetown three-yard line only to settle for a field goal on the game’s opening possession, the Hoyas embarked on what would be their longest drive of the game. Sophomore Jeremy Moore returned the kickoff to the 50, and the Georgetown offense moved the ball 28 yards to set up junior Brett Weiss’ 38-yard field goal.
Georgetown picked up only one more first down before half time – the Hoyas earned only six first downs all game – and a couple of long Colgate drives in the second quarter began to open the game up.
A Georgetown punt gave Colgate the ball on its own 10-yard line with 10:59 remaining in the second quarter. The Raiders then put together an 18-play, 90-yard drive that lasted more than nine minutes and ended with Eachus’ first touchdown of the day to give Colgate a 10-3 lead. A subsequent Georgetown three-and-out on Kempf’s first drive under center gave Colgate the ball back with 1:02 to go, and a 34-yard field goal as time expired extended the Raider’s advantage to 10 points.
The Blue and Gray needed another big play at the start of the second half, and when the Hoyas returned from the locker room Darby was back under center. But the spark never came, and on Georgetown’s second drive of the quarter Darby was sacked and lost a fumble at the Hoyas’ 29.
Colgate’s touchdown on the ensuing possession extended their lead to 20-3 and led to the reinsertion of Kempf, a more skilled passer and thus better suited for a comeback effort.
“Isaiah’s strength is throwing the football and we were behind so we felt we needed a spark, so we inserted Isaiah in,” Kelly said. “He deserves to play, he was neck and neck with Scott in preseason, and we wanted to see what he could do.”
But none of Kelly’s moves paid off. The Blue and Gray offense remained stuck in neutral and Eachus tallied two more rushing scores in the fourth quarter, to make the score 34-3.
The loss deals a crushing blow to the Hoyas’ Patriot League title hopes, which after a couple of surprise early season victories could have been boosted to stratospheric heights with a win over the Raiders. A pair of winnable home dates against Bucknell (0-4) and Lehigh (2-2) remains for Georgetown, but the team will need help in the form of at least one Colgate loss.
“The thing that we can control now is we have two Patriot League games left,” Kelly said. “Obviously our goal is to win those two games and be 4-1 in the Patriot League, and now we need some help. Colgate’s got to lose a couple games so we can get back into it again. The only thing we can control now is our next Patriot League game.”
The Hoyas return back to the Hilltop next Saturday for a non-conference game against Wagner.