The Hoyas got an unexpected bye week when Athletic Director Bernard Muir announced that because of the outbreak of norovirus on campus, the football game Saturday at Colgate University would not be played.

Georgetown has an open date on Nov. 22, but the Red Raiders take on Holy Cross that weekend, and because locked-in dates exist for the start of the Division I-AA playoffs, it was impossible for the two teams to reach a resolution on when to make up the game.

“We lost an opportunity to play a game, and the problem is that football is unlike some other sports where you can play two or three games a week, and because of some scheduling conflicts, we could not make the game up,” Head Coach Kevin Kelly said.

Ten Hoya football players contracted the virus late last week, and as a result, practice was canceled Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

“The problem would have been that when you get guys moving on a bus, it’s like a moving incubator, and if guys start getting sick, what happens if you get depleted in one position?” Kelly said.

A similar situation occurred in 1998 when Duke played Florida State. The Blue Devils lost the game 62-13, but Duke players passed the norovirus to Florida State via contact on the field. The Duke football team had eaten turkey sandwiches prepared by an ill food worker, and 11 Seminoles were infected.

“The prudent thing to do was to cancel the game,” Kelly said. “The silver lining to this whole thing is that we did get a week of rest, and as coaches the thing that we did was start preparing for Penn on Friday.”

Georgetown (1-3, 0-1 Patriot League) will now play four of its final six games at home, and this weekend the Hoyas welcome the University of Pennsylvania for Homecoming.

Georgetown had won its past seven Homecoming contests before last season when Cornell posted a 45-7 win over the Hoyas at the Multi-Sport Facility.

The Quakers (1-2) scored four times in the first quarter as they cruised to a 42-13 victory last season at Franklin Field in Philadelphia. If Georgetown expects to win this year’s contest, the team will look to jump-start a stagnant offense that has logged only three touchdowns all season.

“What we do every week is we grade the film,” Kelly said. “We grade each player and we make an evaluation on all phases, and if we have to make adjustments, we do that.”

Freshman quarterback James Brady will start, but Kelly acknowledged that the team would continue to feature dual threats at quarterback, with sophomore Keerome Lawrence taking some snaps in running situations. Brady has two of the Hoyas’ three offensive touchdowns, both on passes to senior wide receiver Kenny Mitchell; Lawrence rushed for the third.

With the knowledge that the game against Colgate was cancelled on Friday, the coaches have had a couple of extra days to scout Penn, and the extra rest should give Georgetown some extra fuel for this contest. Georgetown will be plotting how to stop bruising sophomore running back Mike DiMaggio, who has averaged five yards a carry while gaining 223 total yards on the season thus far.

Penn is also led by senior quarterback Robert Irvin, who in the team’s previous game against Dartmouth became just the 10th player in Penn history to surpass 3,000 career passing yards. With victories in seven out of the last eight Homecoming games, Georgetown has history on its side and will look to exact some revenge on the Quakers at 2 p.m. Saturday.

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