With a bye week coming up, the Georgetown football team (4-4, 2-1 Patriot League) looks to go into the break with another win under its belt when it plays Lehigh (3-4, 1-1 Patriot League) Saturday. The Hoyas will try to build on last week’s win against Bucknell (3-4, 0-2 Patriot League) during which they put up 17 points led by both senior quarterback Kyle Nolan and junior quarterback Tim Barnes.
The Blue and Gray were able to hold the high-scoring Bison to just nine points. The defense was led by senior linebacker Matt Satchell, who recorded a career-high 18 tackles. In his first career start, freshman safety Jethro Francois recorded 15 tackles and set a Georgetown freshman record with 11 solo tackles. On top of being named Patriot League Rookie of the Week, Francois was also recognized nationally as the STATS Football Championship Subdivision National Freshman of the Week.
“The key to my success is actually the older guys,” Francois said. “Them helping me and supporting me, having faith in me. They’ve just been very supportive.”
The Hoyas came out strong in the first quarter after freshman defensive back Blaise Brown intercepted a pass from Bison junior quarterback R.J. Nitti in the red zone and returned the ball 51 yards. The result of the drive was a field goal that put Georgetown up 3-0.
After Bucknell scored a touchdown and missed the extra point, Nolan completed a 40-yard touchdown pass to junior wide receiver Justin Hill to take back the lead.
Nolan was 9-of-17 for 94 yards on the day while Barnes went 6-for-12 for 62 yards with one touchdown. Barnes led a 14-play, 94-yard drive for a touchdown that extended the lead and sealed the win for the Hoyas.
Senior running back Jo’el Kimpela rushed for a season-high 142 yards and one touchdown on 18 carries, while his teammate Hill continued his success with seven grabs for 114 yards and one touchdown.
“He’s clutch,” Sgarlata said. “The good thing about [Hill] is that he just comes out and puts the work in every day. What you see in the games, he does in practice as well so he works really hard.”
Hill’s success has been a welcome surprise after an ankle injury sidelined him for most of the preseason. Like Sgarlata, Hill attributes his success to the fundamentals that he practices all week long.
“It’s just a lot of footwork and getting it out on my routes and just trying to get open and make plays when my number is called,” Hill said.
Lehigh’s defense will have to focus on stopping the red-hot Hill and Kimpela. Last time out against Fordham (7-1, 3-0 Big East), the Mountain Hawks gave up 59 points while scoring 42 of their own. Many of the points were the result of turnovers; with a strong defense, the Hoyas will look to capitalize on this weakness and help turn the ball over to their offense.
Georgetown’s defense continued its success last week. The Hoyas have now held all three of their conference opponents scoreless in the second half, a streak that the high-scoring Mountain Hawks will challenge.
“They have shown improvement,” Sgarlata said. “They can put points up on anybody that they’ve played so that’s going to be a huge challenge for our defense.”
Despite a losing record, Lehigh averages 25.7 points per game while allowing its opponents to score 34 points per game. Junior quarterback Nick Shafnisky and freshman quarterback Brad Mayes combined for three touchdowns in the game against Fordham.
After an injury to Shafnisky’s hip in the second quarter, Mayes took the helm in the second half, completing 16-of-38 passes for 205 yards and two touchdowns along with three interceptions.
“They played a great schedule,” Sgarlata said. “Their quarterback Shafnisky is special and their second quarterback, the freshman, came in and had a hell of a game against Fordham.”
Last season, Lehigh defeated the Hoyas 27-19. In fact, the Mountain Hawks have won every meeting between the two teams. Georgetown’s upcoming bye week will give the Blue and Gray an opportunity to rest and prepare for two matchups against Fordham, which is ranked first in the league, and Holy Cross (3-4, 1-2 Big East).
“It’d be great to get a win and then win two big games after the bye week,” Hill said. “Obviously, having never beaten Lehigh before, this would be a great opportunity too.”
The Blue and Gray will travel to Goodman Stadium in Bethlehem, Pa. to take on the Mountain Hawks on Saturday. Kickoff is set for 12:30 p.m.
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