Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Bjonerud’s Kick Beats Bucknell in Overtime

Three turnovers and 91 yards were all the Georgetown Hoyas could muster before the third quarter, trailing 16-0 to the Bucknell Bison. The Hoyas seemed doomed to their 10th-straight league defeat.

It was the maligned offense and special teams, however, that helped the Hoyas (1-0, 1-0 Patriot) rally for 19 unanswered points to defeat the Bison (0-1, 0-1) 19-16 in overtime on Saturday. The nail-biter of an ending gave Georgetown its first season-opening win against a Patriot League opponent in five years of conference play.

“That win was huge. On the road, a league game,” Georgetown Head Coach Bob Benson said. “Our guys played their hearts out, and played with confidence.”

Despite the dismal start, Georgetown found its groove in the final quarter and a half of play, putting together a well-rounded effort as the offense gained 242 yards, the defense forced four fumbles and the special teams blocked a field goal and had the decisive kick in overtime en route to victory.

The Bison jumped to their first-half 13-0 lead thanks to Hoya turnovers. On Georgetown’s first drive, junior quarterback Nick Cangelosi’s fumble set up a one-yard touchdown run by Bucknell senior running back Blamah Sarnor. A fumbled snap later in the quarter helped the Bison add another field goal to their lead, and they added another three points just before halftime.

Benson said that he told his team during halftime, “We deserve to be down with all the turnovers.” He added that the defense “kept us in the game.”

After being told that he had to play a mistake-free second half, Cangelosi was picked off early in the third quarter, setting up another field goal to give Bucknell a 16-0 lead.

Georgetown refused to lie down after bad luck. The Hoyas got their own opportunity on the ensuing drive. Following a 22-yard strike from Cangelosi to sophomore wide receiver Kyle Van Fleet, the ball was punched out of his hands but scooped up by freshman wideout Kenny Mitchell, who ran 48 yards for the score. After the missed two-point conversion, the bizarre play put the Hoyas on the board, 16-6.

On the next play, Georgetown senior linebacker Mehdi Hassan forced a Bucknell fumble and the Hoyas recovered at their own 41-yard line. After the game-breaking turnover, it took the Hoyas only one play for Cangelosi to fire a touchdown pass to Van Fleet. Cangelosi’s second touchdown pass in a matter of seconds brought Georgetown to within three with less than 10 minutes remaining in the third quarter.

In the final quarter, Georgetown took advantage of the Bison’s third fumble in the game. With minutes ticking away, sophomore kicker Eric Bjonerud’s 26-yard field goal knotted the game at 16-16.

Through training camp, Benson put the burden on the offense and special teams to step up this season. Though the offense started the Hoyas’ resurgence, it was ultimately the special teams that executed in the game’s waning moments. After Bucknell drove to Georgetown’s 25-yard line with seven seconds remaining in regulation, Bison junior kicker Ryan Korn’s kick was blocked, ensuring overtime.

When Bucknell made its first attempt at the 25-yard line, Georgetown forced its fourth fumble since halftime. Since the Bison failed to score, the Hoyas’ hopes of an upset rested entirely on the untested right leg of Bjonerud. Benson’s trust in the special teams paid off as the sophomore pounded the game-winner through the uprights, prompting joyous on-field celebrations from the Blue and Gray.

Aside from the overtime jubilation, Cangelosi’s effort seemingly quieted his critics following a preseason quarterback controversy, as he threw for 168 yards and ran for 91 more. Freshman running back Emir Davis helped fill the void at tailback, piling up 77 yards on 21 carries. Van Fleet, a former linebacker who was virtually anonymous on the depth chart coming into the season, spurred the comeback with four catches for 74 yards.

“I told our guys, `We need to earn respect in this league,'” Benson said. “Going into October undefeated in a league like this would definitely go a long way.”

The Hoyas will attempt to earn consecutive Patriot League victories for the first time in their history when Georgetown rides into Worcester, Mass., to face Holy Cross on Saturday at 1 p.m.

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