This Saturday, the Georgetown football team (1-2) will travel to New York City to clash with Columbia (0-1). The Hoyas are looking to improve on their 1-2 record when they take on the winless Lions.
Last week, Columbia fell to Fordham 44-24 under new Head Coach Al Bagnoli. Columbia is currently in the process of reconstructing its program. Georgetown Head Coach Rob Sgarlata had high praise for Bagnoli.
“I’ve known Coach Bagnoli for a long time,” he said. “He did a legendary job at the University of Pennsylvania, and he’s always had good, tough teams. He’s got a good program and great assistants — Paul Ferrara was at Maine and then in the NFL for a long time as a defensive coordinator.”
“They teach a good, tough, hard-nose brand of football, and their kids are well-coached,” Sgarlata added. “You watch the film and they know what they’re doing, so that’s an excellent staff.”
One primary focus of the Hoyas heading into the game will be countering the Lions’ unique quarterback situation. While Georgetown senior Kyle Nolan mainly occupies the quarterback position for the Hoyas, the Lions used two quarterbacks for significant chunks of their game against Fordham.
Junior quarterback Skyler Mornhinweg, a transfer from Florida and the son of former NFL head coach and offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, started against the Rams. After Fordham scored its second passing touchdown of the game in the second quarter, sophomore Anders Hill took over for Mornhinweg. The two rotated for the rest of the game. This quarterback rotation may make preparing for the contest against the Lions difficult for the Hoyas.
“[Columbia’s two quarterbacks] are similar but not the same,” Sgarlata said. “Mornhinweg threw the ball a little bit better in the game — he just had better statistics.”
“They have some designed quarterback runs for both kids, which presents some problems from a numbers standpoint in the box,” he said. “But they both played well. They put up a good amount of yards and points against a good Fordham defense. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see them both.”
Making things even more difficult for the Hoyas is the string of injuries the team has suffered recently. In addition to junior linebacker Ty Williams’ severe neck injury, the team’s offensive line has been plagued with injuries.
Having a healthy team will be critical to limit mistakes against Columbia. Despite posting 331 yards of total offense in its last game against Dartmouth — 33 more yards than it opponent — Georgetown still lost by 21 points. This was due in large part to three fumbles and two interceptions.
“We need to make less mistakes,” Sgarlata said. “Against Dartmouth, we had a good offensive game, we moved the ball, but we just made too many mistakes to put points on the board.”
“We’re just worried about the first series of the game,” he said. “We’re not dwelling on our past mistakes. We’re going to learn from them and come out and try to build a win from the ground up. … The six penalties against Dartmouth and the turnovers, if we can eliminate those, we’ll have a good shot.”
In addition, the Hoyas will try to improve their running game. While the team posted an impressive 308 yards through the air, it managed just 23 on the ground — 120 fewer than Dartmouth. Even worse, it gained those yards on 32 attempts for an average of just 0.7 yards per carry. Senior running back Jo’el Kimpela, the team’s starter, gained just 29 yards on 14 attempts.
“Our run stats weren’t great,” Sgarlata said. “We need to get Jo’el Kimpela the ball and get him running.”
Kimpela, a team captain, will try to regain the momentum of his successful 2014 campaign, in which he posted 833 rushing yards and 73 receiving yards and scored three touchdowns. In addition, the team will look to captains Hunter Kiselick, Kevin Liddy and Matthew Satchell for leadership against Columbia.
Kickoff will be at 1 p.m. on Robert K. Kraft Field at Lawrence A. Wien Stadium in Manhattan, N.Y.
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