Charles Nailen/The Hoya Hoyas look on in anguish as the clock runs out on what would have been a memorable if improbable upset. The Raiders took the lead back at 0:06.

Victory slipped through the Hoyas’ fingers Saturday afternoon after Colgate stole the lead and the win with just six seconds remaining in the game in front of 2,406 spectators at Harbin Field. The Red Raiders (1-0) went 34 yards in 24 seconds to score the go-ahead touchdown, putting them up 20-19.

The Hoyas (0-1) had many fourth-quarter opportunities to put away nationally-ranked Colgate that stretched across all parts of the game. On special teams, a missed extra point by sophomore Rob Smith prevented the Hoyas from tying the game at 14 apiece. Later, with Georgetown leading 19-14, junior quarterback Drew Crawford bobbled a snap, thwarting the team’s ability to run out the clock with 40 seconds left. Three plays later, senior linebacker William Skultety dropped a would-be interception. Another three plays saw the Hoyas’ lead disappear completely.

“We’re at the point where if we make the plays we’re supposed to make, we’ll win the game,” head coach Bob Benson said.

Crawford likened the game to a chess match.

“It was good and bad,” he said. “We had them exactly where we wanted them.”

The warm temperature also played a factor, as did the slippery turf. Colgate junior quarterback Chris Brown sat out a series early in the fourth quarter with a towel over his head, apparently recovering from heat exhaustion. Many receivers early in the game lost their footing on the sod, which had been off-limits earlier this week due to wet field conditions.

The Hoyas were without senior strong safety Matt Fronczke, who did not practice last week due to a separated shoulder. Sophomore running back Marcus Slayton, who started the match, sustained an injury on a 13-yard run near the end of the third quarter. He made an appearance later in the game, losing two yards on one rush, and Benson said he was still expected to play this weekend against Holy Cross. Sophomore Rob Smith also made his first start, performing all placekicking and punting duties.

Last year’s Patriot League champions put up even numbers with the Hoyas. Georgetown had 136 yards receiving compared to 111 for Colgate, but the Raiders outpaced the home team 233-168 in rushing yards. The Hoyas also had a plus-2 turnover margin, thanks to two fumbles by the Raiders.

Colgate sophomore tailback Joe Pinion broke the century mark in rushing yards, thanks mostly to a 58-yard run that took the Raiders to the Hoya two-yard line. Brown mustered just 93 yards on 10-of-23 passing, including one touchdown and one interception.

Crawford threw 11-of-22 with two touchdowns and one interception. His usual favorite target, senior wide receiver Luke cArdle, only caught two passes, but they were key: one for 30 yards and another for a 35-yard score. Senior linebacker Andrew Clarke, who led the Patriot League in tackles in 2002, was second to Skultety. Clarke had eight tackles and the Hoyas’ only two sacks of the day while Skultety notched a game-high 13 tackles.

The game was reminiscent of other recent season openers early on, as the Hoyas allowed the Raiders to go 62 yards on 11 plays to take a 7-0 lead.

“I wasn’t even awake,” Clarke said. “But we just said, `It’s not going to happen again.'”

The defense tightened, holding Colgate scoreless for the remainder of the first half. Both defensive units were resilient, as the closest advance toward either goal line before the halftime buzzer took the Hoyas to the Raider 23-yard line. That was immediately negated by Crawford’s sack by junior defensive end Adam Leeman.

Georgetown failed to convert on the opening drive of the second half, but Colgate immediately took advantage as Pinion broke free for a 58-yard run. Brown took the ball into the end zone two plays later, creating a two-touchdown margin.

The Hoyas answered back on the next drive as freshman passer Alondzo Turner was brought into the game to invigorate the sputtering offense. To onlookers, it looked like the start of another quarterback controversy.

“We wanted to get him in the second quarter,” Benson said, “but we didn’t get the chance. We decided he’d play the second drive of the third quarter.”

Turner, hailed as a mobile passer, rushed for 35 yards on seven plays but did not get any throwing attempts. On third-and-two on the seven-yard line, Crawford was sent back into the game so the team could try a passing play. His throw was incomplete, but a defensive holding penalty gave the Hoyas four more chances. It was not until the fourth chance, from two yards out, that senior fullback William Huisking dashed past the pylons to close the gap to 14-7.

Colgate managed to get just one first down on the next series, and the Hoyas were again in an advantageous situation. A four-play, 80-yard drive, fueled by McArdle’s only two catches of the contest, brought Georgetown to within one.

The two clubs traded possession until the Hoyas sprang back to life on the third drive of the fourth quarter. A 29-yard pass from Crawford to junior tight end Jordan Jarry kept the drive alive on third-and-11 and sophomore running back Kim Sarin escorted the ball across the goal line on the following play to give the Hoyas their first lead of the match with 2:50 to go.

It was after this that Georgetown’s luck ran out, giving Colgate the opportunity to steal the win from the Hoyas’ grasp.

“We have to close it out next time,” Clarke said. “We need to know we can shut the door.”

Georgetown faces Holy Cross (0-1) at Worcester, Mass. this Saturday. Holy Cross fell to Lehigh in its season opener Saturday, 38-20.

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