Some brief thoughts following Fordham's 38-31 win over Georgetown:
1. Halftime: At the midpoint of the 2012 season, where is Georgetown right now?
Maybe it's easy to say that the season changed with Isaiah Kempf's injury versus Davidson, but it's a larger issue than that. Offensively, the team averages 21.8 points per game versus 30.2 at this point a year ago, with the defensive numbers within the margin of error (23.8 in 2012 vs. 25.8 in 2011). This year's team is 3-3 after six games, last year was 4-2... and with a little better luck, this could have been a 5-1 team going into Saturday's Lehigh game.
It's about conversions.
The 2011 team took a drive and converted in the red zone: 92% of conversions involved points, of these, two-thirds were touchdowns. In 2012, just 68% of red zone drives are converted into points, and just over half are touchdowns. If Georgetown was converting at 2011's rate, a 5-1 mark is certainly not out of the question.
It's about scoring.
The Hoyas are falling behind early and late in games--a net -25 in the first quarter, -23 in the fourth quarter. last season, the Hoyas finished a net +1 in the first and a net +35 in the fourth.
It's about momentum.
Last year's team was ready to go on an impressive four game run in mid-October and early November, holding opponents under 10 points a game and winning the four games by an average margin of 17.9 points. In 2012, Georgetown faces the toughest portion of its schedule and has two of its next three on the road. The Lehigh game isn't make or break--it's the first game of the PL season, after all--but the second half of a season can be every bit more productive than the first, if all the phases of the game are on the same page. it was in 2011. It can be in 2012.
2. Goal Line Groaner: A lot of fans who saw the late game defensive stand by Fordham had to wonder what OC Vinny Marino was thinking with four running plays from inside the two. More than the run, which had worked fairly well for the game, my question: why up the middle? Georgetown had done very well on option plays, something Stephen Skon has improved on each week. We'll never know if Dalen Claytor or Brandon Durham or Wilburn Logan could have picked up the yard, but it's conventional wisdom that option plays don't work well on goal line stands. Unfortunately, neither do three plays going to the same back.
3. Short Hand-ed: Georgetown has allowed 37.5 points per game in each of the last two games and it's a result of two factors, one not preventable, one preventable.
First and foremost, Brown and Fordham were vastly better offenses than those which preceded it on the schedule. Princeton is the #92 ranked offense, Davidson #93, Wagner #105. Brown is #65, Fordham #22.
The preventable issue is field position. In 14 opponent scoring possessions over these last two weeks, ten of them--ten--were scoring drives of less than 50 yards. The Georgetown defense works best when it is in a "bend, but don't break" mode, where an opposing team can drive 70 yards but settles for a field goal. But when the roll call of touchdown drives over the past two weeks shows drives of 41, 49, 0 (the blocked/bobbled punt vs. Brown), 53, and 47 yards, the defense is being dealt a short hand and it's a lot to ask them to fight through--to its credit, it held on half of the 14 drives for field goals, but it's not going to be enough.
4. Number One: LB Robert McCabe enters Saturday's game ranked #1 nationally in tackles (13.83 per game) and tackles for loss (1.75 per game). McCabe had 14 tackles in last season's game at Lehigh, and will again be called upon to help stop the Engineers where they are strongest: passing offense--25th nationally.
5. NextStep Fundraiser: For those who didn't see the note on the front page, it's worth repeating:
"A fundraising effort is underway with former Georgetown football captain Janne Kouri (B'97) to open a Washington location for NextStep, the fitness and rehabilitation center founded by Kouri following the spinal accident he suffered in 2006. Per its web site:
"Thursday, October 11th, NextStep presents its 4th Annual “Help Make a Difference” Benefit, in Washington, DC. NextStep is on a mission to open a NextStep Fitness facility in the DC community by December 31, 2013. The benefit is intended to help NextStep raise funds to complete this expansion project. The evening will host 300 professionals with cocktails, delicious food, and a silent auction. This year the benefit will take place at the beautiful House of Sweden at the Georgetown Waterfront."
Tickets and donation information can be found at http://www.fanfueled.com/Event/Details/3085-nextsteps-4th-annual-help-make-a-difference-benefit-washington-dc