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

Hoyas Defeat Dukes on Scoffern’s Overtime Field Goal

Who said there was no joy in Mudville?

One week after a heartbreaking defeat at the hands of a late Lafayette defensive stand, Georgetown came up with its own late-game defensive heroics to break the hearts of the Duquesne Dukes in a 10-7 victory on a rainy Saturday afternoon.

The battle-tested Georgetown team (3-3, 1-2 Patriot) won its second overtime contest this season. It was the fourth time the Hoya defense held its opponent to under 14 points. Duquesne (2-3, 0-0 MAAC), meanwhile, dropped its third consecutive contest on the year.

“This was our type of game,” Georgetown Head Coach Bob Benson said. “You look at our games this season, and with the exception of Holy Cross, we are tight in every game.”

Knotted at seven heading into overtime, Georgetown played defense first, forcing a missed 40-yard field-goal attempt by freshman kicker Mark Troyan.

Needing only three points to send the Hoya faithful back to their dorms with the gleeful fight song in their heads, senior kicker Brad Scoffern nailed the winning 25-yard field goal to the delight of the vocal though waterlogged 1,432 fans at the ulti-Sport Facility.

“Everyone was confident in me,” Scoffern said about his first career game-winning kick. “I was confident going into the final kick, and all my teammates were behind me. I zoned everything else out.”

The game began in a stalemate with teams exchanging punts throughout most of the first half. The first and only threat by either team in the half was set up by a 36-yard punt return by Georgetown junior defensive back Brian Tandy, who returned Duquesne’s kick to the 21-yard line. From there, it took only three plays for senior running back Marcus Slayton to cap the opportunity and put the Hoyas on top 7-0 going into halftime.

Played in flood-like conditions, the game became increasingly one-dimensional as Duquesne had one first-half completion, and the Hoyas had zero second-half yards in the air. At the break, the teams had accumulated more combined punts than completions.

The Hoyas had another chance to score in the third quarter with first-and-goal at the three-yard line, but junior quarterback Nick Cangelosi fumbled the snap, failing to put the nail in the coffin of the resilient Dukes.

Duquesne’s frantic late-game attempts at the end zone finally achieved fruition as Knapp hit junior wide receiver Dan Spriggs in stride on a nine-yard quick slant to tie the game.

Georgetown staved off a defeat in the final minute of regulation thanks to a situational coffin corner kick by Scoffern, followed by senior linebacker Mehdi Hassan’s interception, foiling a game-winning field-goal attempt with 19.8 seconds remaining.

Fortunate throughout the game, Georgetown seemed destined to prevail in overtime when they stonewalled Duquesne’s overtime possession.

“Once we stopped them in overtime, I think we felt pretty confident we could finish it,” Benson said.

With Georgetown’s offensive attack reeling the entire afternoon, the Hoya defense resumed its role of keeping the team in the game. Benson said he had demanded that his defense force better starting field position and more offensive opportunities. The veteran unit responded by forcing 10 punts while allowing only 11 first downs and an average starting field position at the 39-yard line. Surrendering a mere 169 yards of total offense, Benson’s scheme to pass-rush freshman quarterback Scott Knapp helped Georgetown stay afloat throughout the game.

“We had a great game plan to bring the blitz, and great players to make it happen,” Benson said. “We made it tough for the young guy.”

On defense, Georgetown senior defensive end Michael Ononibaku continued his recent torrid stretch, picking up 13 tackles and two sacks. Hassan added his game-breaking interception return to his eight tackles for another impressive individual performance.

Special teams came to the forefront as the teams, who were equally tenacious on defense, both suffered from offensive woes. Against the Dukes, the Hoyas’ special team unit blocked a punt and averaged 16.2 yards per punt return.

Scoffern’s impact was felt throughout the contest as he punted 11 times, pinning Duquesne inside the 20-yard line four times and averaging nearly 40 yards per punt.

One of the few bright spots for the Hoya attack came in the reemergence of senior running back Marcus Slayton. Stamping his “between the tackles” label on a soggy game, Slayton had his second-straight 100-yard performance as he accumulated 115 yards and a touchdown on the day.

“I couldn’t do it myself,” Slayton said. “The front five helped me do what I do best. Today, they were the man.”

With the win, the Hoyas successfully avenged a 45-7 loss to the Dukes last season. Duquesne fell to 8-10-1 in the all-time series against Georgetown.

Georgetown will travel to Ithaca, N.Y., on Saturday to face Cornell (2-2, 1-1 Ivy) in the Big Red’s homecoming game. Kickoff is at 1 p.m.

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