On a day when Georgetown’s offense found its rushing attack, the defense stole the show. The Hoyas used a combination of big plays and tough defense to shut out Canisius, 28-0 on Saturday, [improving to 4-1](http://www.thehoya.com/sports/football-saintly-vs-siena/) and moving into first place atop the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference in the process. GU has now won 13 of its past 14 conference games. The Golden Griffins, who led the league going into the game, fell to 3-2, 2-1 in the MAAC. “It’s a big win for us,” Head Coach Bob Benson said. “But [leading the MAAC] doesn’t matter to me on Oct. 10. Not until Nov. 21 [the last day of the season].” The Hoyas earned their first shutout of the season behind a strong pass defense that forced two interceptions and a sack. Georgetown held Canisius running back Nick Adinolfi, who was averaging 86 yards per game, to 28 yards on 11 carries. For the game, the Golden Griffins could manage just 38 yards. Offensively, junior running back Rob Belli rushed for 126 yards on 25 carries, including a 32-yard touchdown. His performance was the first 100-yard rushing game by a Georgetown back since Belli rushed for 187 yards against Marist in the season opener. The Hoyas also received a lift from junior quarterback J.J. Mont, who passed for 201 yards and three touchdowns without an interception. “We executed today. We stayed intense,” said Benson of his team’s effort. “We showed improvement and that’s what’s important.” Canisius won the toss and deferred, forcing GU to start the game playing into a strong 15-mile-an-hour wind. Both teams came out flat offensively, going three plays and out on its first possession. The Hoyas were particularly sloppy in the first quarter, with Belli and sophomore running back Anthony Tuozzo each turning over the ball on fumbles to end drives. Canisius also had its share of difficulties, giving the ball up on downs and missing a 43-yard field goal attempt. After a scoreless first quarter, GU’s second possession of the quarter started from the Canisius 40-yard line. On first down, Mont hit sophomore wide receiver Mike Mattia for a 15-yard gain. Two plays later, Mont found sophomore wideout Gharun Hester from 12 yards out in the back of the end zone. Freshman kicker George Gummere, playing for injured starter junior Paul Wiorowski, added the extra point to Georgetown a 7-0 lead. After the ensuing kickoff, Canisius took over at its own 28-yard line and marched to its 44 on three plays. On first and 10, Canisius came out in shotgun formation and the ball was snapped over quarterback Bryan Roland’s head. When Roland chased down the loose ball, he threw it towards the sideline to avoid a sack. Senior safety Anthony Bartolomeo broke for the ball and made an amazing interception while falling backwards. “I saw the guy in the flat and I thought I was just going to tip it away,” said Bartolomeo, who leads Division I-AA in interceptions with five. “The ball fell right into my hands.” The Hoyas took over at Canisius’ 44-yard line. Facing fourth down and six, Georgetown lined up to punt. But rather than kicking the ball away, freshman quarterback Sean Peterson took the snap and threw deep to sprinting sophomore wide receiver Rob Riedel, who was bumped by a Golden Griffin defensive back. The referees called Canisius for pass interference, and Georgetown had a fresh set of downs at Canisius’ 31-yard line. “It was definitely the right position,” Benson said of his fake punt. “Like the saying goes, you believe in taking chances, but you’re leaving everything to chance.” On the next play, Mont threw underneath to senior fullback Charlie Turner, who broke through two tackles and rumbled into the endzone for his first touchdown of the season. The Hoyas converted the point after attempt and opened its lead to 14-0 with three minutes remaining in the half. The Griffins would threaten again, this time marching to the Hoyas’ 27-yard line behind the passing of Roland. After a Canisius timeout on first down with 2:16 left, Roland was picked off by sophomore corner back Dan Noone just in front of the endzone. The Hoyas would run out the clock and head into halftime with a 14-0 advantage. The Hoyas began driving from its own 37-yard line with 10:42 left in the third quarter. After marching to Canisius’ 36 on five plays, the Hoyas faced fourth down and one. Benson elected to go for the first down rather than kick, sending Belli over the right side of the line, where the junior running back picked up four yards and a first down. On the next play, Mont handed off to Belli, who ran around the right end and through the heart of the defense and into the endzone. The 32-yard touchdown run capped a seven-play, 63-yard drive and gave the Hoyas a commanding 21-0 lead. Canisius would turn the ball over on downs, and on the 10th play of the ensuing drive by the Hoyas and facing third and goal from Canisius’ seven-yard line, Mont lofted a pass for Hester, who laid out horizontally to make a brilliant diving catch for his second touchdown of the game. The score came with 57 seconds remaining and put Georgetown up 28-0. “They were playing me close on a fade route,” Hester said. “I tried to get a hand on the ball.” Hester, who finished with 62 yards on four catches despite being covered by two defensive backs for most of the game, leads the team in scoring and receiving. Hester has been especially productive since junior wide receiver Matt Mattimore has been injured, becoming the team’s clutch player and go-to-guy in the red zone. “I had to mature a little more. I enjoyed the challenge,” Hester said. “[All the receivers] are just trying to keep each other on the same page and try to make something happen.” Despite Hester’s heroics and Belli’s performance, the real story was the defense, which knocked out an opposing quarterback for the second straight week. The Hoyas held Canisius to 38 rushing yards and made two interceptions, giving the team six in its past two games. Georgetown also stopped the Griffins 12 of 15 third down attempts and all three fourth down attempts. Individually, linebacker Mike Melchionda starred with several bone-crunching hits. The 6-foot, 220-pound senior finished with three pass deflections, a sack and three tackles. “We`re progressing,” Melchionda said. “They knew we were blitzing and it was in the back of their head. We really got to them today.

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