Football | Senior Day Ends in Defeat

Commemorating Senior Day on Saturday evening at Cooper Field, the Georgetown football team dropped its seventh consecutive loss, falling 21-7 to the Bucknell Bison. 

Both offenses struggled early in the game, with neither team scoring in the first quarter. Making his second straight start for the Hoyas under center, sophomore quarterback Clay Norris threw an interception on the team’s second drive on a high pass looking for senior receiver Justin Hill.  Georgetown (3-7, 0-5 Patriot League) punted on four of its first five possessions, tallying only three first downs in the first half.

Meanwhile, Bucknell’s (4-6, 3-2 Patriot League) large offensive line of seniors paved the way for junior running back Joey DeFloria to pound the ball on the ground. Standout senior wide receiver Will Carter also made several catches on the perimeter, but the Bison’s offense struggled to convert its initial yardage into points, twice stalling deep in Hoya territory.

Just before halftime, the Bison finally broke the ice with a 12-play, 67-yard drive capped by a 14-yard DeFloria touchdown run to make the score 7-0.

Norris made his second mistake of the game early in the second half, attempting to throw the ball away but not lofting it enough to reach the sideline. Bucknell’s Bryan Marine managed to snag the interception while keeping his feet inbounds, giving his team the ball at the Georgetown 32-yard line. The Bison would capitalize with a 1-yard touchdown run to extend their lead to 14-0.

“It’s just tough to put our [defense] in that position, they were playing really well in the first half,” Georgetown Head Coach Rob Sgarlata said. “We do some really good things and we do some stuff that kills us.”

However, the Hoyas’ offense managed to respond quickly. Hill shed his defender, caught a pass near the sideline and turned upfield for a 29-yard reception — the team’s longest pass play in three weeks. On the very next play, Norris found junior wide receiver Jim McLaughlin near the pylon of the end zone for a 23-yard touchdown to suddenly cut the deficit in half, 14-7.

On the ensuing Bucknell drive, junior defensive back Jelani Williamson anticipated his receiver’s route and jumped in front of a pass, but dropped what surely would have been a pick-six, as no Hoyas were in front of him. He ripped his helmet off in frustration, causing a penalty and awarding the Hoyas with an automatic first down.

The defense clamped down on that drive, but the missed opportunity and lost momentum haunted the Hoyas, who were unable to score for the remainder of the game. DeFloria ran for his second touchdown on the day with two minutes left to make it 21-7 and end Georgetown’s comeback hopes.

Bucknell outperformed Georgetown in several statistical categories, most notably time of possession, as the Bison held the ball for over 39 of the game’s 60 minutes.

“Any time you give them 2-to-1 in time of possession, all three sides are involved in that. It’s not just the defense, it’s the offense keeping them off the field as well,” Sgarlata said.

Indeed, the offense continued its season-long third-down struggles, converting just three of 12. Norris finished with 157 yards through the air, while junior running back Alex Valles added 40 on the ground.

“We showed that we can move the ball but at the end of the day, consistency needs to be there,” Valles said. “We just have to be more consistent and finish our drives.”

Sophomore linebacker J’V’on Butler led the way on the defensive end with 11 tackles and a forced fumble. The defense played without freshman defensive lineman Khristian Tate and lost senior linebacker Leo Loughrey midway through the game due to injury. Nonetheless, the defense allowed only 295 total yards, its second-lowest total all season.

“It came down to sometimes [Bucknell having] more people than we had in certain situations, but I feel like we battled pretty well for what we had,” Butler said.

Having honored the team’s 20 seniors with a pre-game ceremony this week, Georgetown seeks to deliver a positive farewell for its graduating class next week in its season finale at Colgate.

“Our job this week is to come back and work twice as hard to get these [seniors] a win and get them to go out with a victory,” Sgarlata said.

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