Charles Nailen/The Hoya Freshman linebacker Matt Cooper gets in position during a game earlier this season. He and the team will face Towson on Harbin Field this Saturday.

The last time Georgetown and Towson met on the gridiron, the Hoya defense ended its 2002 campaign with a four-down goal-line stand. In the final seconds, Georgetown preserved its 24-16 lead over the Tigers to win its second-ever Patriot League game and finish the season one game below .500.

In 2003, the Hoyas are again looking for their second conference win of the year against the Tigers. The team sits at seventh in the league above Lafayette, but a win will vault Georgetown into a fifth-place tie with Towson – provided that Holy Cross loses to Fordham.

The Hoyas will not be able to rely on their defense like last weekend. The defensive unit stayed on the field for a long time and the offense failed to put any points on the board in the second half.

The Tigers are second in the Patriot League in pass defense, allowing 177.2 yards a

game. Senior defensive tackle Rich Stallone and senior nose guard Mike Collier anchor the Towson front four, and junior strong safety P.D. Moore leads the secondary. Moore was honored as conference Defensive Player of the Week for his seven tackles and two picks – including one returned for a score – against Elon on opening day.

The Hoyas, however, will have an answer with starting senior wide receivers Luke McArdle and Walter Bowser. McArdle had a touchdown grab nullified by penalty, but leads Division I-AA for the seventh-straight week in all-purpose yards. Bowser caught his longest pass of the season last week, a 64-yard bomb from freshman Alondzo Turner.

Though Turner showed some poise early against the Rams, the Fordham defensive front sacked him four times, preventing him from getting into a rhythm.

Georgetown head coach Bob Benson said yesterday that junior Drew Crawford will resume the starting role Saturday. “We’re going back to what we’ve been doing all season. We’re going to blend [Turner] in. He will be a part of the game,” Benson added.

Crawford relieved Turner late in the third quarter last weekend but did not start the contest because of a shoulder injury.

The Towson offensive backfield has changed dramatically over the course of the season. Since senior quarterback Jay Amer left the team after a 62-28 loss to Yale in week four, sophomore Anthony elzi has taken over. He has thrown 77-of-151 for 983 yards, four touchdowns and six interceptions. The Georgetown defense hopes to capitalize on Melzi’s relative inexperience.

“We’re going to mix things up,” Benson said. “We’ve got to keep him on his toes and off-balance.”

The Tigers, on the other hand, hope to give Melzi the chance to build up his confidence.

“We have to establish the run to take the pressure off our young quarterback,” Towson head coach Gordy Combs said.

Similar to the Hoyas, the Tigers employ a second quarterback, freshman Andrae Brown, as a change-of-pace passer. Brown has taken a handful of snaps, starting in a week six win over Holy Cross.

Towson’s ground game almost mirrors that of Georgetown, though the Tigers have a bit more experience. Junior Mikal Lundy, senior Matt Romeo and senior Ray Harris all split playing time. Lundy has 717 rushing yards in nine contests, while Romeo ran for over 300 yards and three touchdowns in two previous matches against the Hoyas.

A weakness Georgetown may look to exploit is the Towson offensive line. “We’ve got two sophomores, a redshirt freshman and two seniors. With those young guys, we kind of make mistakes,” Combs said.

The two seniors, though, are team captains – tackle Jason Gunning and center Kevin Mager. Gunning is a first team All-Patriot League selection, and Mager is an academic All-American.

Towson senior Steve Bulcavage leads the league in punts with 51 on the year for a 43.7 average, the only punter with an average above 40. Ranked seventh nationally, one more punt will tie Bulcavage with Sean Landeta, an NFL punter of 19 years.

The Tigers suffered a humiliating 35-3 defeat to Lehigh last weekend. They have not lost two straight league matches since dropping back-to-back games to Fordham and Georgetown in the final two weeks of 2002. Towson (4-5, 2-3 Patriot) has not, however, won an away game since a shutout of Monmouth on Nov. 2, 2002.

Only by winning its last three games can Georgetown (3-6, 1-4 Patriot) celebrate its first winning season since leaving the etro-Atlantic Athletic Conference after the 1999 season.

As Towson is moving from the Patriot League to the Atlantic-10 Conference following this season, this may be the final meeting between these two teams for some time. Towson has not been announced as an opponent in recent schedule planning. The Hoyas look to end this series – at least for the time being – on a winning note

“It’s November. You’ve got to finish strong,” Benson said. “Last year, we came out ready to play. We’ve got to try and do it again.”

Have a reaction to this article? Write a letter to the editor.

Comments are closed.