For the second straight year, the Hoyas face the Holy Cross Crusaders in week two of the season. But this time, the matchup could not possibly be any more different than last season’s – besides the obvious fact that the contest will be played Saturday at Fitton Field in Worcester, Mass., as opposed to the familiar territory of Harbin Field.

This time, after a hard-fought battle against Colgate, the 2002 Patriot League co-champions, Georgetown has confidence – a confidence it lacked a year ago coming home with its thoughts on a 69-0 rout at Lehigh. The result of last season’s match – a 41-13 Crusader romp – is the distant past in comparison to where the team is today.

“Last year, it was just damage control,” head coach Bob Benson said. “Now, we’re talking about being in the race.”

In week one, the Hoyas had a better distribution of offensive yards than the Crusaders, tallying 136 yards on the ground and an equal number in the air. Holy Cross – who lost to Lehigh, 38-20, last Saturday – mustered just 47 yards rushing but mounted 216 yards passing.On the whole, Georgetown’s defense held Colgate to 321 yards while Holy Cross allowed 437 yards. Though the Crusaders held the Mountain Hawks to just four yards and no first downs in the third quarter, they were unable to mount a comeback as they failed to get any points on the board during that span.

Sophomore John O’Neill played well in his debut at starting quarterback last weekend, completing 15 of 23 for 143 yards, with one touchdown and one interception. He sat out with leg cramps, though, late in the game against the Mountain Hawks.

The Crusaders’ ground game may prove troublesome, too, as Georgetown’s defensive front will have to combat sophomore tailback Gideon Akande, the 2002 Patriot League Rookie of the Year.

But senior wide receiver Ari Confesor will be the biggest threat to the Hoya defense. He was a Preseason All-America Second Team selection by The Sports Network. Against Lehigh, he notched 194 all-purpose yards, though 126 of those came on kickoff and punt returns.

“I think offensively, [the Crusaders] present more of a challenge than Colgate did,” Benson said. “Last year, [Confesor] beat us probably personally.”

The wild card of the match is Crusaders’ head coach Dan Allen. Allen suffers from multiple chemical sensitivity, a condition that has attacked his neuromuscular system and has rendered him unable to walk without assistance. Though he is still unsure whether he will command his team from the booth or from the sideline, it is certain that his determination will be respected by his team.

“He’s a motivation for us,” Confesor told USA Today. “Whatever we do, we don’t want to disappoint Coach Allen.”

Georgetown will still be without sophomore kicker Michael Gillman, who is expected to be out a few more weeks with a hip injury. But senior strong safety Matt Fronczke (shoulder) and sophomore running back Marcus Slayton, who sat out the latter portion of the Raiders’ game, will be in the starting lineup against Holy Cross.

A win this weekend would give the Hoyas their first .500 record since joining the Patriot League. The last time Georgetown was at .500 was in 2000 when it was still the Mid-Atlantic Conference, just before it dropped the last game of that season to Davidson by a margin of 41-17.

Kickoff is slated for 1 p.m.

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