Monday, September 26, 2011

Week 4 Thoughts

Some thoughts following Saturday’s 52-28 win over Marist:

1. Remember, It Was Marist. Not Bucknell, not Wagner, not even Howard. It was Marist.

If Georgetown is going to continue its move up the ladder of I-AA football, it has to dominate teams like Davidson and Marist and the Hoyas met the challenge this season. The Pioneer League is a lot like the old MAAC Fotball league in philosophy and talent, and if you’re in the Patriot League, you absolutely need to win these games. In recent years, that was not always a sure thing.

The Red Foxes entered the game with a good passing game, a poor running game, and a defense that could absolutely not afford turnovers. All three factors came to fruition in Saturday’s game. Marist's passing game was strong (300+ yards), its rushing game was poor (49 yards) and turnovers buried them Any team, whether it’s Marist or LSU, can’t give up three INTs that convert to short-drive touchdowns. That Marist is now a -7 in turnover margin after four games and is 1-3 makes sense. That Georgetown is now a +7 in turnover margin after four games and is 3-1 makes sense, too

And for those wondering, Bucknell’s turnover margin is +11, among the best in the nation.

2. Another Name In The Backfield. Brandon Durham’s strong effort in the Marist game adds another option to a need for the Hoyas entering October: depth in the backfield.

After four games, its smaller backs (Logan and Claytor) have not been able to make much headway with the offensive line. Nick Campanella had a big opening game but is now a marked man in opponents’ film preparation. A fifth option in the backfield opens opportunities to build a better running game and force the defense to pay more attention up front, opening up the secondary for a number of improved receivers.

For his part, QB Scott Darby had eight carries for 50 yards—good numbers for a quarterback, and reflective of the fact that a QB can’t (or shouldn’t) lead his team in rushing. While Georgetown has options in the air, it will win or lose in 2011 based on its ability to establish a running game. Saturday's game was another step in that direction

3. Best Number After Week 4: Sacks allowed: 2. In 2009, the Hoyas allowed 37 sacks, in 2010, 25.

4. Second Best Number After Week 4: Red zone conversions for touchdown: 13-16 (81%). In 2009, that number was 32%, in 2010, 60%.

5. The Week 5 Crossroads: Yes, few expected Georgetown and Bucknell to be at the top of the standings on October 1, but both will take it. As to week five, it can be a turning point for both teams

Georgetown has not won in week five since the 2003 season, while Bucknell has split its last six in the first week of October; surprisingly, the Bison have played at home on the first week of October six straight years while Georgetown hasn’t played the same week at home since 2006. (Two years ago, a winless Georgetown team lost at Bucknell 14-6 on Oct. 3, 2009.)

Georgetown could see its first 4-1 season in 12 years with a win, and despite two more road games ahead, could really build some momentum for a program unaccustomed to it. For its part, a Bucknell team which has only enjoyed one winning season since 2005 could make its own statement to go to 4-1 with three of its next four at home. Only one can do so, of course, and in a series where close finishes are a matter of course, it’ll be a busy week for both teams.

For once, there’s a lot on the line for the presumed second tier of PL football.