The Georgetown football team struggled to find its offensive rhythm in the opening game of the season as it fell to the Wagner Seahawks (1-0) at home on Saturday, Aug. 30. The 21-3 defeat was the second time that the Hoyas (0-1) dropped their season opener to the Seahawks in the last two seasons, with last year’s game ending in a 28-21 defeat in Staten Island, N.Y.

A crowd clad mostly in Georgetown blue and gray saw Wagner take the ball on its own 20-yard line early in the first quarter following a Georgetown opening drive that stalled after a late hit out-of-bounds on sophomore wide receiver Tommy Jesson went uncalled. The Seahawks then marched 80 yards down the field to score the game’s opening touchdown, taking over seven minutes off of the clock in the process. The touchdown came on a 20-yard pass to wide-open senior wide receiver Anthony Carrington. The blown coverage in the middle of the field was the first in a series of mental and physical miscues that would plague the Hoyas.

“The best thing about it is that they are fixable problems,” Head Coach Rob Sgarlata said after the game. “Week one to week two is where you improve the most, but they are all things we can improve upon and get squared away for week two.”

Blown coverages in the secondary hurt the Hoyas throughout the game and allowed Wagner several long passes that led to touchdowns. Sgarlata, however, pointed to miscues made by the offense as something the team needed to fix.

“The big thing on offense is that you cannot start negative [on] drives. I would say that half the drives there was a negative balance play in there that puts you in a bad spot where you are working off of down and distances that aren’t realistic for success,” Sgarlata said.

Wagner also was not immune to early-season errors, and two costly plays in the red zone kept the Hoyas in the game at halftime. First, a bad snap on a 33-yard field goal attempt near the start of the second quarter caused the kick to go low and wide right. Then, just minutes later, the Seahawks squandered great field position after a fumble recovery on Georgetown’s three-yard-line when junior defensive back Garret Powers intercepted a pass in the endzone for the Hoyas.

Georgetown’s last drive before the half was arguably its best of the day and marked the first time the Hoyas took the ball past the 50-yard line. Junior running back Jo’el Kimpela broke free for a 14-yard run, and junior quarterback Kyle Nolan completed passes of 16 and 20 yards. Sophomore kicker Henry Darmstadter initially missed a 40-yard field-goal attempt as time expired, but an offside penalty on Wagner gave the kicker a second chance which he converted for the home team’s only points of the day.

The second half featured more of the same for both teams. Wagner junior running back Otis Wright rushed for two touchdowns, and the Seahawks controlled the ball for over 21 of the 30 minutes. Georgetown, meanwhile, gained just 92 yards in the second half, 50 of which came on the final drive of the game. Nolan left the game with an ankle injury in the third quarter but reentered for the next possession and seemed unaffected.

Georgetown managed just 204 yards of offense against the Wagner defense, and 185 of those yards came through the passing attack. The Hoyas’ 20 rushing attempts netted just 19 yards as Wagner senior linebacker Max Wassel and junior linebacker Greg Hilliard led a Seahawk front seven that gave up very little on the ground. Kimpela gained just 10 yards in seven attempts, and Nolan rushed six times for a total of negative three yards gained. The inability to run the ball forced Georgetown to rely on Nolan’s arm, as the junior attempted 41 passes. Sgarlata knows that a balanced offense will be needed to achieve success.

“The big thing for us is we need to figure out how to run the football,” Sgarlata said. “[Senior running back] Danny Wright and Kimpela are talented backs, so for us we need to find a way to get some rushing yards so we are not so one dimensional.”

Despite the poor score-line and offensive performance, Sgarlata saw a number of positives that he will look to build on. Hoyas senior defensive linemen Alec May and Jordan Richardson, specifically, garnered praise for their intensity, especially late in the game.

“After watching the tape you are never as good as you think and you’re never as bad as you think in a win and a loss,” Sgarlata said. “They fought their tails off for four quarters.”

Georgetown next plays Sept. 6 against Dayton in Dayton, Ohio. Kick-off is at 1 p.m.

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