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Georgetown surprises Lafayette, 28-24
Easton, PA - Hoya paranoia! The only reason we pre-bought tickets for
this game is because a three-game Lafayette mini-package guarantees us tickets
in Easton for the first time to attend the 146th edition of the Lehigh-Lafayette rivalry on November 20th. We
took this as one of the three games primarily for convenience to plan our first
Lehigh Valley doubleheader since Lehigh kicked off at 12:30 followed by this
The Hoyas got off to a slow start and trailed 24-14 at halftime to a talented Lafayette team, but in the third period they came up with two big scoring plays to take the lead. The defense then rose to the occasion to shut down Lafayette on their final four possessions to preserve a 28-24 victory. It was the first time we had ever attended a Georgetown football game to make them our 190th seen team among all NCAA divisions. Already, the Hoyas are surprisingly 2-0 this season, off to a 1-0 start in the Patriot League. They competed much better than anticipated, and we came away somewhat impressed. They had some good players. Maybe things are turning around under Kevin Kelly who entered his fifth year at G-town with only six wins. Prior, he had been special teams coach at Navy where he coached on a staff under Paul Johnson that took the Mids to three bowl games.
Trailing 24-14 at the half, on the first possession of the second, QB Scott Darby (18 of 30 for 172 yard and 2 TDs) hooked up with Max Waizenegger for an exciting 51-yard touchdown pass to narrow the score to 24-21 with Brett Weiss's PAT. Lafayette started its next series from their own 20 to drive down to the G'town six. There, SS Wayne Heimuli picked off Ryan O'Neil's pass in the end zone for a touchback. On the following series at the Lafayette 30, Phillip Oladeji broke through the line, across and up field for the long run to put the Hoyas in the lead, 28-24.
To start Q4, Lafayette looked to get right back on the scoreboard. O'Neil's passing ( 33 of 42, 304 yards, 1 INT) and Jerome Rudolph's runs (24 carries for 131 yards) got the Leopards back down to the GU 16 before Davis Rodriguez came on the field to boot a 33-yard FG - and missed! Georgetown punted away on the next series. Lafayette drove to the Hoya six, but DL Andy Schaetzke's hit caused an O'Neil fumble and DT Danny Thompson recovered on the 21 where the Hoyas started again. Matt MacZura would punt again to set Lafayette up with the ball again at their own 15. The Hoya defense was able to hold the 'Pards to a three and out, but their offense had to punt back once again and LC took over with the ball at their own 17 with 1:58 left and no time-outs remaining. O'Neil ran for four yards and then passed for 17. His next pass fell incomplete to stop the clock, but then so did O'Neil. He had to be assisted off the field with a leg injury. Things did not look good now for the Leopards nor for O'Neil. Enter Senior QB Marc Quilling cold off the bench. Quilling connected with Greg Stripe for 11 yards before throwing two incompletions that preserved some time. His next pass went for 28 yards to Kevin Doty to get the 'Pards down to the GU 23! Could Quilling lead Lafayette off the bench for our fourth thrilling last gasp victory of the still young college season? His next attempt went for broke with about a minute to play. However, CB Jayah Kaisamba picked off his pass at the Georgetown three, and the Hoya celebration began on the far sideline and stands. They ran out the clock to take home a well-earned victory. The game was competitive and well-played. For us, it turned out to be the better game of the day. Instead of seeing a hapless Georgetown team play a team shaking the rust off in its season opener, we watched an exciting game played with intensity on both sides of the ball. An improved Georgetown will be a bonus for the Patriot League now that Fordham's on its way out.
Lafayette travels to Penn next week and Georgetown visits Yale. After our Big Tailgate at The Lehigh-Princeton game next week, we may see the 'Pards visit the Tigers the following week. Of course, we look forward to the November 20th meeting at Easton between Lafayette and Lehigh. That's why we were prepared to suffer through a sloppy, useless game on Saturday. To our surprise and delight, that's not how it turned out to be.
Extra Points: This was only the second tine the Hoyas defeated Lafayette in the series since they joined the Patriot League. They last won in 2003. LC now leads the series 8-2 in Patriot play and 10-3 overall. We're convinced the Collegefootballfan.com factor played into Saturday's final result. The Leopards are 2-9 with us in attendance. A win in 1980 over East Stroudsburg and last year over Bucknell are the only two wins. They're 0-2 vs. Lehigh including last year's upset loss.
Last year, Lafayette's success was under the leadership of their record-setting QB Rob Curley. We saw him throttle Bucknell for 333 yards last season. Now graduated, Junior Ryan O'Neil stepped in for him and did a great job moving the team with his 324 passing yards against Georgetown before suffering a leg injury late in the game. We hope that he will recover soon from Saturday's injury. HC Frank Tavani, in his 11th year on College Hill, seems to have added depth to his roster over the years to allow him to replace graduated talent with developing talent. He started at Lafayette as an assistant since 1986 and he's under contract as HC now until 2014.
On several occasions, offensive line coach Stan Clayton, a former Nittany Lion offensive lineman whom we watched play for PSU in the late '80s, chewed out his lineman right below us early in the game. His low gravelly voice bellowed at his players who weren't getting the job done early. He was about to get all over them again at one point, but his lineman quickly jumped off the bench and hustled on to the field to avoid a boiling tirade when Georgetown turned the ball over, luckily for their sake. You could tell the team was relieved to be getting back on the field rather than face his wrath and hard stares. The offense put together a long scoring drive, and we didn't hear too much more from Stan thereafter.
Our season tickets are in row H, section 4. At least for this game, our seats were among many Lafayette College students. The Lehigh game should be fun when our Guest Game Analyst and Lehigh Alum Charlie Roberts will be on hand to sit among his archrivals.
All Patriot receiver Mark Layton of Lafayette led all receivers in the game with 11 catches for 92 yards. He made a great leaping catch in the back corner of the end zone for LC's second score on a four-yard pass. The first came on Jerome Rudolph's seven-yard TD run and the third on a three-yard TD pass to Greg Kessel on a crossing pattern for a 21-7 lead. Georgetown's first score came on a Oladeji's one-yard run to finish a four-yard drive due to the mishandling of a snap by Lafayette P Tom Kondash. The other first half Hoya score came on a six-yard TD pass from Darby to Keerome Lawrence to close the score to 21-1 before Rodriguez booted a 29-yarder.
Settled in at the College Hill Tavern in Easton between the two games to
catch up on scores and highlights. Saw JMU upset Va Tech in the end while
Ohio State played Miami and Notre Dame fought with Michigan. More
importantly, I asked the bartenders about logistics on November 20. They
open at 9 a.m., but be there early to find parking. It's very limited at LC to
begin with. We always park in the local neighborhood. We'll plan to
be there early for Bloody Marys. Parking should be an adventure.
We'll have to get Charlie to stay over with us the night before to get an early
start. Enjoyed talking to an LC alum who played back in the late '60s.
Had a good burger before heading over to Fisher Field.