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

Even Blessing Can’t Save Hoyas

“Special teams will be the key to winning ballgames all year,” Georgetown Head Coach Bob Benson said. On Saturday, his special teams committed a game-changing fumble, missed a field goal and botched numerous punts to doom a sliding Georgetown team.

Outdone on the offensive end, outmuscled on the defensive end and outplayed on special teams, the Hoyas (1-2, 1-1 Patriot) were outscored by the Brown Bears 34-3 Saturday. On a day when students and alumni gathered to celebrate the inaugural game at the new ulti-Sport Facility, it was the visitors’ end that did the cheering as Brown went on a 24-0 run to end the game.

The matchup was billed as a game of firsts. It was Brown, however, that drew the day’s first blood. As the Hoyas stumbled out of the gate and turned the ball over, Brown’s all-American senior running back Nick Hartigan ensured the Bears some quick points early in the game.

The Bears made their game plan clear, as they wore the defense down with a steady ground attack. Hartigan converted a fourth-and-4 opportunity, eventually scoring to cap a 13-play, 70-yard drive to put Brown up 10-0.

The Hoyas quickly responded with their own offensive success. After stonewalling a fake punt attempt, junior quarterback Nick Cangelosi broke a third-down option play for 33 yards to the goal line. In what became a defining moment in the game, Georgetown was stuffed on four straight attempts at the end zone, and possession was surrendered to Brown.

“You’ve got to come away with points,” Benson said. “That hurt us to not come out of there with seven.”

The red-zone futility would continue for Georgetown’s frustrated attack. After stopping Brown, the Hoyas marched down to the 13-yard line. But senior kicker Brad Scoffern’s 30-yard field goal attempt fell well short. Again, Georgetown failed to score in the red zone.

Scoffern found redemption with one second remaining in the first half. The starting kicker split the uprights from 39 yards out to close the halftime deficit to 10-3.

At the break, Georgetown could think only of what could have been. Outgaining the Bears 203-165 with more time of possession, the decisive statistic was the Hoyas’ three points in three trips to the red zone.

“We drove [the ball] well. I was encouraged with our first half performance,” Benson said of his halftime assessment. “Obviously we needed points out of our chances.”

One of the bright spots in the Georgetown attack was quarterback Nick Cangelosi. Throwing for 60 yards and running for 85 more, the junior transfer anchored Georgetown’s option.

Just before halftime, Cangelosi suffered a blow to his sternum. Trainers refused to clear the quarterback to play the second half.

“[My ribs] just feel bruised, nothing too serious,” said Cangelosi, who is awaiting the results of a chest x-ray.

The Hoyas entered the second half with freshman quarterback Ben Hostetler.

Georgetown’s hopes of quickly evening the tally were dashed on Brown’s opening second-half possession. Bears junior quarterback Joe DiGiacomo found senior wide receiver Jarret Schreck rolling left in the end zone from 39 yards for six points. Faced with a 14-point deficit, the ineptitude of Hoya special teams reared its ugly head again. Sophomore running back John Lancaster fumbled the kickoff, giving Brown the ball back at Georgetown’s 27 yard line.

“It is a game of momentum,” Benson said. “With that fumble, the momentum went their way.”

From that point on, just minutes into the third quarter, Georgetown could muster only three second-half passing yards and a meager 28 yards on the ground.

Brown capitalized on mistakes to blow the game open. Hartigan converted another fourth-down situation as the Bears took only five plays to extend the lead to 24-3. Ten points later, Brown capped its decisive second half over a debilitated Hoya attack.

All-American Nick Hartigan led the winning offense with 92 yards rushing on 21 attempts. Quarterback Joe DiGiacomo led drives of 70, 65 and 59 yards, throwing for over 200 yards and a touchdown. The Bears wore Georgetown down with a ground attack that used 10 different rushers.

The score told most of the story in the second half. Despite statistically defeating Brown’s first-half numbers, fatigue played a major factor as the undersized offense compiled an anemic 31 total yards in a disastrous second half.

The game had its bright spots for the Hoyas. On defense, senior defensive end Michael Ononibaku led the team with 10 tackles, while senior linebacker Jason Carter chipped in nine more. Sophomore wide receiver Kyle Van Fleet asserted himself as Cangelosi’s top target, grabbing two first-down catches for 39 yards.

Next weekend, Georgetown will be on the road seeking to end its two-game skid against a capable Stony Brook team that recently defeated Bucknell.

“It’s an 11-game season,” said Benson. “We’ll go up to Stony Brook and even this thing out. But we have got to do our part. There’s still a lot of fight left in these kids.”

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