Sunday, September 15, 2013

Week 3 Thoughts

Some brief thoughts following Georgetown’s 43-23 loss to Marist this past Saturday night:

1. Every play counts. It’s not often…ok, never, that the New York Giants and the Georgetown Hoyas are used in a comparison. But if the Hoyas can’t learn from their film following the Marist game, take a look at the Giants. The other G-men were within a point of the Denver Broncos in that game, 10-9. They let up before the half and Peyton Manning went through them like a well-worn scalpel in the second half.

Offense, defense and special teams—the Giants were a step slow and the Broncos took advantage.

Yes, that’s where the comparisons end. Isaiah Kempf is not Eli Manning, and the closest Chucky Looney gets to Met Life Stadium could be his dorm in Poughkeepsie. The truism remains: players can’t let up, whether it’s the first series or the last play of the game. Any play, and series, if given enough time, can turn around a game, and Georgetown’s slow response to Marist’s drive at the end of the first half set in motion a deflating second half and a stinging loss for the Hoyas.

It was 9-9 at that point—of Georgetown can hold Marist into halftime, those two early turnovers and assorted problems are put on the shelf—it’s a new ballgame. Instead, the Red Foxes drive the field in 1:43, and take a 16-9 lead into halftime. GU carries that hangover into the third, surrendering three touchdowns in seven minutes. Marist, a team which had never defeated a Patriot League opponent on the road, never looked back.

Good teams don’t lose like that—not at home, and not to Marist. Two years ago, in sunnier times, Georgetown hung 52 on Marist with a strong mix of running and passing. This week, the running game was lost and the defense was never found.

Yes, the Hoyas were missing Duston Wharton, but there was a lot more missing in this loss than Wharton. Put it aside, and get to work.

2. Number One, But Not The Only One. Congratulations to senior Isaiah Kempf on his 398 yard effort. It’s games like that that made the year-long comeback all the more rewarding. But Georgetown has to be careful not to make Kempf its version of El Cid. The offense works well when he is passing, but it can’t be the only thing.

Last year’s game at Brown provides a peek at what the Hoyas have waiting for it in Providence. Like this past week, Brown scored late to end the half 17-10 and promptly stuffed the Hoyas on its horse thereafter—GU managed 18 yards over its next eight plays. How? In large part because the bears stopped the run in the first half and was able to stop the pass in the second. From the recap: [Stephen] Skon finished the game 17-31 for 147 yards. Of that total, he was 12-20 for 126 yards in the first, just 5-11 for 21 in the second. Skon was sacked five times and was intercepted three times. The rushing game fared little better. With no consistency out of a rotation of Dalen Claytor, Nick Campanella, and Wilburn Logan, Georgetown managed just 12 yards in 33 attempts, its fewest rushing yards in a home game since a Nov. 2001 game against Lafayette in its opening season in the Patriot League.”

Kempf remains a most formidable weapon, but if the running game continues to be diminished in the playbook and Georgetown focuses almost exclusively on the pass, Kempf is in for a rough day and the offense then has few good options against Brown. Somewhere, somehow, Nick Campanella and Joel Kimpela need more than six carries a game to drive this offense. If Brown shuts off the run, they will sit back to pick off Kempf early and often.

3. We Like Ivy: OK, the record isn’t encouraging: 1-11 under Kevin Kelly, a grimacing 3-23-1 all time. But as the story goes, this is the aspirational pool for Georgetown football: the Ivy League.

The school on the Hilltop does not seek to play Temple or Syracuse, as Fordham and Wagner did this past weekend, with decidedly mixed results. It does not seek guarantee games or games in unfamiliar states. If Georgetown could get a deal as this column suggested earlier, an innovative eight game slate with the Ivy every season, the program would prosper in ways unseen today. But absent that, Georgetown is starting to pick up the games that used to belong to the Scholarship Six of the PL.

Next season: Harvard, yes, Hahh-vahd, travels to Washington. (Shhh, don’t tell them about the MSF.) Please, please get someone to make this the Homecoming Game, number 75 in all, so that some well sticked Crimson fans don’t decide to turn the former Harbin Field into the H-Club of Washington's general meeting.

And following Harvard, more from the Ancient Eight: Dartmouth in 2015, Columbia and Princeton in 2016, and presumably more to come. With the rising fortunes of the Patriot League causing a mix of disinterest and dread among fans, these games should carry added significance going forward.

4. Back Channels: A rough go for fans trying to follow Saturday’s game: the GU All-Access firewall kept fans out, WGTB pulled a no-show on the web, and the Marist radio station wasn’t broadcasting. It’s fair to say that no Division I school does less with its media production than Georgetown.

Things figure to improve with the new video plans from Synthesis Multimedia, but why the paywall continues to be up is frustrating. For the number of fans who jut want an audio feed for a few minutes to get a score, is $9.95 really worth it? Pay for the video, get the audio for free. That’s just good business.

5.Meanwhile, at Howard: Last week, I was commenting on the difficulty in getting Howard University to take a city series seriously. The Bison are much more content with HBCU classic games (despite meager attendance) and I-A guarantee games to fill the schedule than develop local interest in Georgetown. This weekend, Howard traveled to Foreman field to meet Old Dominion. Final: Monarchs 76, Mecca 19.

Howard gave up 733 yards in the game, coughed up five turnovers, and gave up the most points in a game since dropping 76 to North Carolina A&T in 2001.

“I really thought we could score 40 points on them,” said Howard coach Rayford Petty.

Read that quote again, and remind yourself, “And that’s why Howard won’t play Georgetown.”