As time expired, Georgetown was somewhat relieved at losing to its fierce rival Holy Cross by only eight points, 42-34. But the final score Saturday at Fitton Field in Worcester, Mass. really said nothing about the match, which was marred by difficulties for the Hoyas both on offense and defense.

“We didn’t play real well in the secondary or at wide receiver,” head coach Bob Benson said. “There were significant breakdowns in the coverage on both sides of the ball.”

The Hoyas gave up three touchdowns and were stymied by a potent Crusader defense in the third quarter. Holy Cross held Georgetown to just 25 yards of total offense while gaining 211 yards of its own, leaving the Hoyas in a 42-14 hole with just 15 minutes left in the ballgame.

An improbable comeback by Georgetown was stifled late in the fourth quarter when, after the Hoyas had racked up 20 points to narrow the gap to 42-34, the Crusaders stopped them on fourth-and-11 with 2:08 to play in the contest.

“We’re not making enough plays right now,” Benson said. “Until we get consistency, we’re still going to struggle.”

The Hoyas and the Crusaders put up comparable numbers for the entire game, tallying 421 and 446 net yards, respectively. Georgetown’s strong fourth-quarter effort matched the dominance Holy Cross showed in the third period.

Despite the disappointing result, both sophomore running back arcus Slayton and senior wide receiver Luke McArdle had career performances. Slayton tallied 106 yards on 15 carries, becoming the first Hoya to break the century mark in a single game since Jamarr Staples ran for 113 yards against Iona on Nov. 4, 2000.

McArdle, who had only two catches for 65 yards in week one against Colgate, lit up the scoreboard with five catches, 190 yards and four touchdowns, including two in the fourth quarter.

The Georgetown defense opened the game against Holy Cross just as it had against Colgate a week earlier – on its heels. The Hoyas surrendered seven points on the Crusaders’ first drive of the game, a six play, 66-yard march highlighted by a 35-yard run by senior wide receiver Nick Larsen.

Georgetown nearly struck back on the following drive, but senior fullback Walter Bowser could not hold onto a long pass at the Holy Cross 10-yard line. The Hoyas stalled at the Crusaders’ 39-yard line but sophomore punter Rob Smith succeeded in pinning the opposition at its own three-yard line.

On the ensuing drive, O’Neill completed one pass for a first down. Holy Cross was unable to overcome a five-yard false start penalty on first-and-10, kicking the ball back to Georgetown with 5:06 to go in the first quarter.

With the ball on their own 32-yard line, the Hoyas took a shot deep and succeeded as senior wide receiver Luke McArdle caught a 68-yard touchdown pass. A successful conversion tied the match at 7-7.

The teams traded possessions until midway through the second quarter, when Holy Cross sophomore quarterback John O’Neill – who threw 14-of-21 for 270 yards and four touchdowns – got the ball to Larsen deep in Georgetown territory. The Crusaders took advantage of the excellent field position three plays later, when O’Neill found senior wide receiver Ari Confesor for a 10-yard score to expand his team’s lead to 14-7.

Three drives later, the Hoyas marched 70 yards to tie the contest at 14 with 48 seconds to play in the first half. But Georgetown, who expected to carry this momentum into the break, was surprised when Holy Cross answered back on two plays for 66 yards, regaining its earlier seven-point edge.

“The score right before the half killed us,” Benson said.

The Hoyas had no answer for the Crusaders in the third quarter, as Holy Cross scored touchdowns on each of two one-play drives – one for 72 yards and the other for 46 yards. The Crusaders gained a four-touchdown edge with 3:07 to go in the third quarter.

Freshman quarterback Alondzo Turner came in for the team’s first drive of the fourth period, leading the Hoyas 66 yards on seven plays and running the ball into the end zone from one yard out for his first collegiate touchdown.

Junior quarterback Andrew Crawford led Georgetown on two more scoring drives to make the score 42-34, but that was all his team could muster. The Hoyas failed to convert a fourth down that would have kept their hopes of tying the game alive.

With their victory, the Crusaders improved their all-time record against the Hoyas to 9-7-0.

Despite the pervading negativity, Benson did commend his quarterbacks. Crawford completed 17-of-29 for 298 yards and four touchdowns, while Turner completed his first intercollegiate pass attempt – a 10-yard toss to Bowser in the second quarter.

“We’ll continue to use him as a changeup,” Benson said of Turner. “[As for Crawford], he’s raised his level of play to a high level. Some other players are also at that level . [but] we need the rest of the team to rise up to that level.”

The Hoyas return home to Harbin Field Saturday, when they play host to the Hawks of Monmouth University. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m.

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