Monday, October 26, 2015

Week 8 Thoughts

Some thoughts following Georgetown's 17-9 win over Bucknell last Saturday:

1. A Defensive Gem: For better or worse, I've probably seen (or followed on some scratchy Internet radio theme) nearly every Georgetown game in the Patriot League era, not all of them enjoyable. That having been said, Saturday's defensive performance against Bucknell may have been one of the best efforts in all those 15 years as it related to key plays at key times of the game.

Remember, Bucknell led the Hoyas in total yards, in rushing yards, passing yards, and in time of possession. I cannot recall a single game where a Georgetown team had the ball for just over 23 minutes and still managed to win the game. Five defensive plays were the difference:

  • 11:14, 1st quarter: Bucknell is moving towards its first score of the afternoon--not an inconsequential number when you've got the top defense in the league and can shut an opponent down. On a third and 6 at the Georgetown 22, R.J. Nitti's pass is picked off by freshman Blaise Brown, who returns it 51 yards and helps set up a field goal to give Georgetown the early lead.
  • 0:07, 2nd quarter: Trailing 10-9, Bucknell is at the Georgetown 20 to take the lead. DB Jethro Francois breaks up a a pass and forces a field goal attempt which veers wide right. Georgetown, not Bucknell, holds the lead at halftime.
  • 9:00, 3rd quarter: Bucknell's first drive of the second half moves to the Georgetown 30. Leo Loughery forces a four yard loss and two incompletions follow. Rather than take the field goal, the Bison, Ettian Scott breaks up a pass that might have led to a Bucknell tocuhdown. The Hoyas' lead holds again.
  • 6:36, 4th quarter: A critical interception at midfield gives the Bison its best chance yet at closing a 17-9 score late in the game. Driving to the Georgetown 12, the defense forces a fourth and five and answers with Matthew Satchell's 19 yard sack,
  • 0:42, 4th quarter: back come the Bison, successfully completing a fourth down and 18 for 59 ayrds and advancing to the GU 12 with seconds remaining. First down, incomplete pass. Second down, sack. Third down, incomplete. Fourth down, a pass in the back of the end zone broken up.
Five series, each of which drive inside the GU 30. No points. That's how it's done.

2. Defensive Standouts: A big game for LB Matthew Satchell. His 18 tackles tied for third all-time in a single game, a number that has been reached only once in the I-AA era. And  a big game for freshman Jethro Francois, with 15 tackles, up from nine in the first six games of the season.

3. On Offense, Well...: The Georgetown offense remains a srep behind anyone in the patriot league not named Lafayette. The Hoyas are sixth in rushing offense (Jo'el Kimpela was the only RB with any carries versus Bucknell) and sixth in passing efficiency at just 116 yards per game.  The Hoyas are last in time of possession which makes it doubly difficult to come back from deficits, which rendered it all but hopeless once Harvard got up on the scoreboard earlier this year, and why the defensive stands cited above were so, so, important.

4. Fourteen and Counting: Saturday's game at Lehigh offers Georgetown its best chance in many, many years of overcoming a losing streak that is among the longest in the nation.,

The Hoyas have lost 14 straight games to the Engineers since 2001. Among active annual series, only two in Division I are longer: Florida's 27 straight wins over Kentucky and Pennsylvania's 18 straight over Columbia. While some streaks were not in consecutive years (such as the recent snap of a 61 year streak by Penn State over Temple, a loss Saturday would match the longest losing streak in PL history, currently the 15 straight wins by Lehigh over Bucknell form 1998 through 2012.

Unfortunately for Georgetown, its games at Murray Goodman Stadium haven't been close. In six games in Allentown, the Hoyas have not been within 21 points at the finish, having been outscored by a combined total of 266-50, with three shutouts.

In the last trip to Goodman Stadium, also on a Family Weekend, the Engineers roared to a 38-3 lead at the half en route to a 45-24 win.

In case you are wondering, the longest consecutive game streaks in Division I-AA history (Division I opponents only):

32—Grambling State over Prairie View, 1977-2008
23—William & Mary over VMI, 1986-2008
22—Eastern Kentucky over Tennessee Tech, 1976-97
20—Eastern Kentucky over Austin Peay St., 1978-97
18—Western Illinois over Southern Illinois, 1984-2001
18—Eastern Kentucky over Morehead St., 1972-89
18—Penn over Columbia, 1997-current
17—Princeton over Columbia, 1954-70
16—Montana over Montana St., 1986-2001
16—Harvard over Columbia, 1979-94
16—Middle Tennessee over Morehead St., 1951-66
15—Dartmouth over Brown, 1960-74
15—Lehigh over Bucknell, 1998-2012
14—Dartmouth over Columbia, 1984-97
14—Marshall over VMI, 1983-96
14—Appalachian St. over East Tennessee, 1982-95
14—Yale over Princeton, 1967-80
14—Lehigh over Georgetown, 2001-current

5. The Last Halloween: When was the last time Georgetown played a game on Halloween? It was Oct. 31, 2009, bnefore 19,782 at Old Dominion, then in their first season of college football since the school was a branch of William & Mary in the 1930's. The Hoyas were in the midst of an 0-11 season and weren't much for the up and coming Monarchs, who held a 350-39 lead in total yards and a 31-3 lead at the half en route to a 31-10 finish. The school cancelled the next three scheduled games in the series against the Hoyas, and Kevin Kelly gladly obliged.

Where are the Monarchs today? In Conference USA, currently at 3-4, with opponents such as Charlotte, Florida Atlantic, and Appalachian State. One thing that hasn't changed: sellouts at every game.