Under crystal clear skies and a packed house full of students and alumni, Georgetown took the field on homecoming Saturday fully rejuvenated and ready to play after the team’s inadvertent bye week due to the norovirus. Ten Hoya players had been infected in the epidemic that swept the campus, and last week’s road game against Colgate was cancelled by Patriot League officials as a precaution.

Still, a determined 1-2 Penn squad arrived on the Hilltop hungry for a win, and the Ivy Leaguers took advantage of a sluggish Georgetown start to seize momentum and spoil the day. The Quakers converted their first three scoring opportunities, and ran away to a 27-7 victory at the Multi-Sport Field. Costly miscues and offensive inefficiency sent the Hoyas (1-4, 0-2 Patriot League) to their second straight homecoming defeat and fourth loss in a row.

Georgetown committed three turnovers and was a paltry 3-of-13 on third down conversions and 2-of-4 on fourth down conversions. On the opening play of the game, Penn junior defensive back Chris Wynn raced 88 yards on the kickoff return for a touchdown.

“We were excited and we were in the game, but little mistakes like the ones that have hurt us before hurt us again,” sophomore quarterback Keerome Lawrence said.

Lawrence had an up and down afternoon; the second year quarterback lost two fumbles and threw one interception, but under his direction, the offense showed marked improvement from past weeks, especially in the ground game. The Hoyas outgained the Quakers in rushing yards, 168 to 112. Lawrence was also the first Hoya to surpass 100 yards in a game this season, logging 23 carries and 111 yards.

“Keerome does some good things, and we need to keep working with him. We have to understand that this is his first year as a starting quarterback at the college level,” Head Coach Kevin Kelly said.

However, the loss of freshman James Brady to a minor injury limited the aerial attack to just 61 yards.

“[James Brady] could have played some today. He got nicked up this week, and we thought it was in his best interest that we be careful with him. He will be ready next week,” Kelly said.

After the opening score by Penn, Georgetown punted after converting one first down, and the Quakers started their drive at their own 20. A 46-yard pass keyed a drive that ended in a 36-yard field goal to give Penn a 10-0 lead.

Georgetown once again showed an ability to move the football, but its next drive stalled at midfield and a punt handed the ball back to the Quakers. Penn took advantage as a methodical 15-play, 84 yard drive resulted in a two-yard touchdown run from freshman halfback Matt Hamscher to seize a 17-0 advantage.

The ensuing possession provided Georgetown with one of its best opportunity to score after a 28-yard return from senior Kenny Mitchell set the Hoyas up at their own 42.

The Blue and Gray advanced to the Penn five-yard line, but on first-and-goal, Lawrence fumbled the ball on a failed pitch attempt and junior linebacker Jake Lewko recovered for Penn.

“That could have given us the momentum and the game was still close. That just turned it around,” Lawrence said.

Penn took a 17-0 lead into halftime, and tacked onto their lead with a 37-yard field goal with 11:21 left in the third quarter. Later in the third, Georgetown forced a three and out to retain the ball, but on a third-and-15, an errant pass from Lawrence was intercepted and returned to the Georgetown 13.

That set up a two-yard run to give the Quakers a comfortable 27-0 lead.

The Hoyas finally scored after a fumble recovery from senior defensive end Ataefiok Etukeren at the Penn 20. Facing a fourth-and-five at the eight-yard line, Lawrence completed a five-yard pass to freshman halfback Chancellor Logan before completing a one-yard scoring pass to senior tight end Collin Meador.

“You need some positive things to come out of it, and I think you saw some enthusiasm with the guys there in the fourth quarter,” Kelly said. “You have to build on those types of things.”

Georgetown hosts Bucknell next weekend. A 20-17 victory over the Bison was the sole Hoya victory from the 2007 campaign. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. on Saturday at the Multi-Sport Field.

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