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FCS East Wrapup: Hoyas Party Like It's 1999

(Photo Credit: Jane Therese/The Morning Call)

With apologies to Prince, you have to believe that Georgetown, fresh off their 28-24 upset over Lafayette, have at least thought about putting that classic song in their iPods.

The upset victory gave them only the second time the Hoyas sat atop the Patriot League standings - something they did for only one week in 2005, when they beat Bucknell 16-13 to start the year.  Their reign only lasted one week, however, when they were spanked 48-6 by Holy Cross the following week - and never sat atop the Patriot League standings until this week.

How did they pull off their first 2-0 start since Prince's favorite year, 1999, when they were a part of the non-scholarship MAAC?  (more)




Lafayette head football coach Frank Tavani had a succinct summary of the game: Georgetown "got opportunistic and did what it had to do to win the game," he said in the post game press conference.

Looking at the statistics of the game, you wonder exactly how the Hoyas managed to get their historic win.  Georgetown was outgained 509-265, echoing the constant concern about Georgetown's offense.  Lafayette led most of the way - after leading 21-7 midway through the second quarter, it seemed like the Leopards were going to do what they had generally always done against the Hoyas - cruise to a double-digit victory.

It would be the Hoya defense, led by senior LB Nick Parrish, that really earned the victory this weekend.  Patriot League player of the week junior DE Andrew Schaetzke (4 tackles for loss including 2 sacks, 1 forced fumble) would also allow the Hoya offense to climb back in it, thanks largely to forcing four turnovers and ultimately getting the game-sealing interception by junior CB Jayah Kasimba to get the huge victory.  Aside from the game-clincher, two of the other forced turnovers led directly to scores.  Those scores for the Hoyas included two touchdown passes from Patriot League offensive player of the week junior QB Scott Darby (18-30, 172 yards passing, 22 yards rushing, 2 TDs).

Aiding the Hoyas, too, were a huge injury to junior QB Ryan O'Neill - forcing senior QB Marc Quilling to pitch in relief in the second half -  and big knocks to senior LB Nate Dixon, senior S Donald Ellis, and junior LB LeRoy Butler. Don't tell that to the Hoyas, though, who are throughly enjoying this win.

“It was a true team win for us and I can’t tell you how big this is for our program at this point in time,” head Coach Kevin Kelly said. “I’m so happy for our players, especially our seniors who have gone through some real tough times. This is what coaching is all about. It’s rewarding to see some of the hard work pay off.”

Kelly also pointed out one turning point: a 51 yard bomb to sophomore WR Max Waizenegger to pull within a field goal of Lafayette, "silencing the crowd in the process and making it clear that Blue and Gray weren’t going to go down easy.", The Hoya reported.

“I think that was the turning point in the game,” Kelly said. “I think at that point Lafayette was like, ‘What the heck is going on here?’ You could hear a pin drop after that touchdown, and I think at that point our kids believed they could win the game.”

Georgetown will get another test this weekend - at the Yale Bowl, playing against a team they've never beaten before in their history in Yale.  Lafayette has to take their M*A*S*H unit on the road to Penn for a 6PM start at historic Franklin Field.  It's only Week Three, but both Ivy League games feel like true barometer games for both the Hoyas and Leopards.

*****

Elsewhere around the world of Eastern FCS football:

  • In what most likely will become the quote of the year, James Madison head coach Mickey Matthews stated in the week before his Dukes were set to take on FBS Virginia Tech: "When you get right down to it, they didn't want any of our guys. It's kind of comical to think you're going to go down there and beat them."  Instead, the laugh was on the "Chok-ies", as the Duke's seismic 21-16 win over nationally-ranked Virginia Tech continued to reverberate around the nation - it would only be the second time that an FCS team has beaten a nationally-ranked FBS team.  "I said this about Tech," Matthews added, "I told our guys, 'We can play with these guys. Don't go down there and embarrass yourself because of all the concrete and pretty pressbox. When they get 11 out there and we get 11, we can play with them. I think many teams in our league can compete, as time shows. If you do things right, you give yourself a chance to win in the second half, which we did."  With senior QB Drew Dudzik as the star, with one touchdown pass and two touchdown runs, the game ended up as a lesson to the wider football world that I have learnt some time ago: that FCS players actually can block better than the FBS teams, line up and punch them in the mouth.  James Madison goes into their bye week this week, and will face Liberty the following week, who had a FBS upset of their own as well to brag about: a 27-23 win over Ball State.
  • If you were hoping that one of the CAA teams in the Top 25 might be humbled and looked to nationally ranked South Dakota State of the Missouri Valley Football Conference to deliver that message, well, keep looking.  The Blue Hens' 26-3 drubbing of the Jackrabbits was noticeable for only two reasons: first, the abject domination that senior SS Anthony Bratton and the Delaware defense imposed on the hapless Jack offense, and that senior QB Pat "Don't Call Me JoePat" Devlin's non-throwing hand injury has all of Blue Hen nation biting their fingernails to the rind.  He's announced that he will play next week against 2-0 Duquesne, but it's unclear how much he'll play.
  • The Hens' next opponent, the Dukes (the ones from Pittsburgh, not Harrisonburg), incidentally, beat Dayton 35-31 on a last second TD pass to senior TE Sean Bunevich.
  • Under the heading of "something you never want to see written about your team",  "UMass continued its stellar play to begin the college football season by pulverizing highly touted but flat-looking Holy Cross, 31-7, last night at McGuirk Stadium," noted the Boston Herald.  “I was not surprised at the level of this (UMass) team, and not only their talent level, but the way they play,” Crusader head coach Tom Gilmore said after the game, where the Minutemen would rack up 525 yards of total offense and a dominating 31-0 lead at halftime.  UMass goes to the Big House this weekend to become the second FCS team to ever beat Michigan there, while Holy Cross has another stern test this week in Harvard, arguably a FCS Top 25 team, playing in their home opener.  Ironically, with Holy Cross facing off against Harvard senior QB Andrew Hatch - who once played for LSU - the Crusaders might be facing a better quarterback this weekend than the one UMass will be facing.
  • Bucknell really couldn't get much going offensively in their 14-3 loss to Marist, though a bright spot was the play of freshman DB Derrick Palmer, with nine tackles after stepping in for Bucknell senior DB Akhiel White.  The Bison will be doing their best to right the ship in time for next weekend, where they will face off against Dartmouth in a game broadcast by CBS College Sports.
  • "This was a great win today and something we can definitely build on," said Fordham head coach Tom Masella after the lone Patriot League sort-of out-of-conference win, the 27-25 victory over Rhode Island.   "The seniors came up big today. We had a lot of seniors make big plays for us. That's the type of people they are, a group that never gives up."  Before crowing about the victory for the Patriot League it's worth noting some things: 1) Fordham is ineligible for the Patriot League title, since the Rams' current class with scholarship players makes them so; 2) URI had lost 11 straight games, with their last victory coming against... Fordham last year, and 3) Rhody led most of this game, until sophomore QB Blake Wayne scored the go-ahead touchdown on a 9 yard run.  Still, it's a win over a CAA school - and they'll gladly take the momentum, as the Rams will face off against their local rival, Columbia, in the ninth straight "Liberty Cup" game.
  • "This was one of the most complete performances I've seen from a Furman team in a season opener -- a good win all the way around against a ranked team" said Furman head coach Bobby Lamb after delivering a crushing 45-15 win over Colgate.  Junior RB Nate Eachus would have his typical, 134 yard rushing game and 1 TD, but after Furman would take the opening kickoff of the second half and end it with a 10 yard TD pass to WR Adam Mims, the scoreboard read 24-7 and the rout was on its way.  Colgate goes into their bye week this week.
  • Fun fact to close out this week: Furman has perfect records against every Patriot League team they have faced, winning their 2-game series against Colgate, winning three games against Lehigh (including a 34-17 win over the Mountain Hawks in the 2001 playoffs), and adding a win over Holy Cross in 1975.  Furman also has a perfect record against Georgetown (0-1) and Bucknell (0-4), and has never played Lafayette or Fordham.  The last win by a member of the current Patriot League over the Paladins?  Try Bucknell's 28-6 win... in 1938.

Comments

mtnhawk53 said…
Chuck, I have been reading your column for over 7 years now. I look forward to it, it's extremely well done and informative and you should certainly be proud of what you have accomplished. It's as good or better than any that I have read throughout the college football world and it's a definitive staple for the LU faithful and players. This writing was very, very enjoyable and as usual chock full of interesting and I'm sure not easy to find commentary, little known facts, quotes and it obviously takes you many hours of research to do this and keep this going. Congratulations on a stellar performance week after week, i will probably never stop my daily read. Thank you!

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