School spirit was at an all-time high.

Emotion was swelling, the Southwest Quad loomed gloriously over the field and students wearing tube tops and popped collars clapped their hands with joy.

There was less than 2:50 left in the game and the Georgetown football team had just pulled ahead. The sun was shining and we, the Hoyas, were winning.

Kim Sarin, the tiny running back who surprised fans all afternoon, squeezed in that extra yard for a touchdown. No one seemed to care that the two-point conversion attempt failed miserably.

We were winning. We felt like champions, because champions have winning football teams.

Georgetown pride spilled off the stands and onto the grass and parking lot. Even the sundress-clad freshmen knew that Colgate only had one possession left. A few drives by the Red Raiders left them floating around the 50-yard line.

With 1:32 to go, no surprise at all to the fans, Georgetown got the ball back. Sophomore defensive back Maurice Banks intercepted the football.

We were going to win! Students left the game to join tailgating friends in the parking lot. Others chanted “Overrated!” in the stands. We were listed as 37-point underdogs, some men were saying. Parents cheered and smiles spread across faces in victory. The players bumped chests in confidence. All the hard work of the summer was paying off, they yelled among other phrases of excitement and motivation.

All we needed to do was run out the clock. It was now a race with time, a race that every Georgetown fan was confident we would win.

But, alas, the mighty Hoyas were stopped. The fans were confused, but still certain that their Hoyas were destined to win the game. Colgate could not stop us. Not with just 29.7 seconds left on the clock.

Now on their feet, standing on metallic hot dog wrappers and empty pop cans, the Hoya fans united in cheer. A few hands were held, not in fear, of course, but in confidence. We could stop the Raiders, the fans knew. We would be the winners.

The Colgate quarterback completed one 11-yard pass, and the clock stopped at 24 seconds as the chains were moved.

Tension built, but the Hoya fans weren’t scared, and the few students still sitting finally stood up. They were not nervous, they just couldn’t see, they told themselves.

The next play found the football falling miraculously into the hands of a Georgetown linebacker. A split second later, the Hoyas saw the football fall sadly onto the grass. We will grab it next time, the fans in the stands believed.

Just 18.7 seconds to go.

The next play was a completion by Colgate, but that was O.K. It was only a 21-yard throw. They were only at our two-yard line. The fans were still confident that the team would be fine. School spirit was a little shaken, but still there.

Their quarterback spiked the ball, 11.1 seconds to go. A few anxious glances by the defense were passed off as checking the line of scrimmage.

Two-yard pass completed, 5.6 seconds on the clock, touchdown `Gate.

The Hoyas were losing, 20-19.

The fans deflated. Some sat in shock, some offered chuckles and comments about last year.

The clock ran out and the Hoyas lost by one.

While the spirit was temporarily shaken, it was not destroyed. The loss did not kill the atmosphere, the camaraderie that emanated from Saturday’s game. It felt like college is supposed to feel. All the trimmings were there. Hot dogs, announcers, scoreboards and coolers. Parents, faculty and students. Georgetown united to support a Georgetown team.

A win on the road at Holy Cross this coming weekend will be enough to keep the fans excited at least until the next home game. To keep the fans coming out to watch and tailgate, to move this growing Hoya tradition forward, will require a home victory as soon as possible.

We are winners, the fans kept saying over and over again.

They want to see it just as much as they want to believe it.

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