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 Look To Drown Seawolves in Their First Visit to the Hilltop

Charles Nailen/The Hoya Freshman quarterback Alondzo Turner has jump-started the Hoya offense in each of the team’s first five battles of the season. So far, Turner has two touchdowns – both rushing – in the 2003 campaign.

“I may not know a lot, but I know this,” head coach Bob Benson told his team after practice Thursday. “I know the feeling I felt up at Lafayette. And I know the feeling I felt here after Monmouth.”

The Hoyas seek their second victory of 2003 Saturday against Stony Brook. Last weekend, the team ended a four-game skid with a solid, turnover-free performance, earning a 17-10 victory over the Leopards and jumping from last to sixth-place, ahead of Lafayette and Fordham, in conference standings.

Two weeks earlier, Georgetown let Monmouth pound away for a last-second score. The Hoya defense allowed the Hawks to convert an unlikely fourth-and-long and Monmouth scored with 18 seconds to play, stealing a 12-10 win from Georgetown’s clutches.

Such was the trend for the team early in the season. The Hoyas lost their first three games by a combined total of just 10 points. After falling 20-19 to Colgate, last year’s Patriot League co-champion, with six seconds left on the clock, Georgetown failed in a comeback against Holy Cross. Then came the loss to Monmouth. And Virginia Military Institute stymied the Hoya offense in week four, taking a four-touchdown victory on its Homecoming.

Following last Saturday’s win, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Junior Andrew Crawford, who owns the third-best passing average among Patriot League quarterbacks, led a 95-yard fourth-quarter drive against Lafayette. Junior running back John Sims capped off the march with a one-yard score to put Georgetown up for good, 17-10. Sims helped to pound away at the Leopards’ front four to secure the Hoyas’ first win of the season by running out the clock.

But Sims’ fellow sophomore in the backfield, Marcus Slayton, has formed the heart of the Georgetown ground game. Slayton has tallied 346 yards in five matches, with his best effort coming against Monmouth – 15 carries for 106 yards. No Hoya had broken the century mark since November 2000.

Georgetown also packs the quick-strike capabilities of senior wide receiver Luke McArdle, who earned 147 yards against the Leopards last Saturday, recording eight receptions, three punt returns and one kickoff return. With those numbers, McArdle maintained his lead in all-purpose yards among all Division I-AA players for a second-straight week.

But the hottest name on the field at present is that of freshman quarterback Alondzo Turner. Turner has brought Georgetown to life in each of the team’s games this season. Though he has thrown just four passes for 48 yards, he has run 32 times for 100 yards and two touchdowns.

Despite the offensive firepower, the Hoyas have struggled in the red zone all season, garnering the worst conversion rate in the conference. Georgetown has been inside the 20 on 17 occasions, but has come away with points just nine times. Largely to blame is the Hoyas’ kicking game, as the team has succeeded just twice out of seven field goal attempts. Sophomore placekicker Michael Gillman, who sustained a hip injury in the preseason, has improved over the past week. “He kicked off a lot better this week,” Benson said of his starting kicker’s performance in practice.

Stony Brook packs a powerful defensive punch. The Seawolves rank second in the Northeastern Conference in sacks per game. Despite last week’s 23-20 loss to Robert Morris, junior linebacker Eddie Cobbinah recorded 16 tackles and 3.5 sacks. He was named conference Defensive Player of the Week for his efforts.

Cobbinah became the third Stony Brook player to receive such accolades during the 2003 campaign. Sophomore linebacker Krimzon arrero was honored as Defensive Player of the Week for his efforts against Wagner. He recovered a fumble inside the opponents’ five-yard line to set up the Seawolves’ first touchdown of the afternoon and preserved the 28-21 victory by forcing a fumble by junior quarterback Dave Bateman with 21 seconds to play.

Junior quarterback T.J. Moriarty, who leads the league with 245 yards per game, earned Offensive Player of the Week following a 22-of-36, 212-yard performance in the same contest. Moriarty also put up the best run numbers of his team, carrying 15 times for 62 yards.

The Georgetown defense may take some time to adjust to Stony Brook’s fast-paced no-huddle offense. Junior running back Clinton Graham has benefited from the non-orthodox playing style, passing the century mark in each of his team’s last two outings. He rushed for 107 yards last week and 119 yards seven days earlier against Monmouth. Yet Graham’s success has translated into neither wins nor increased time of possession, as the Seawolves have held the ball for just 28:36 per game. The Hoyas average 29:16.

“If we play with the focus we had last weekend, we’ll be fine,” Benson said of his defensive unit, which allowed just 88 yards on the ground against Lafayette.

Like Monmouth, Stony Brook is an NEC member. The Seawolves and the Hoyas have never faced off on the gridiron, though Georgetown is 9-4 all time against current NEC member schools. This is the Seawolves’ first-ever meeting with a Patriot League opponent.

Stony Brook ended a program-record seven-game winning streak against Monmouth two weeks ago and followed that loss up with another to league rival Robert Morris last Saturday. In both matches, the Seawolves allowed their opponents to take big leads in the second half. Each contest came down to a Stony Brook onside kick attempt, costing the game and reducing the Seawolves to 2-2, 1-2 in the NEC.

After a second-place finish in the NEC last year, the Seawolves were picked to finish second in a preseason coaches’ poll. But last year’s record (8-2) – the best in head coach Sam Kornheuser’s 20 seasons at the helm – has proven hard to live up to, as Stony Brook has dropped to sixth in the conference.

The Hoyas look to drop the Seawolves even further in the 65th Homecoming game.

“The sign of a good team is winning in October,” Benson said. “We need a home win. We need a back-to-back.”

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