On Saturday, 16 senior players will wear the Georgetown uniform for the final time. Following a tight loss on Senior Day last week, the Georgetown football team will travel to Hamilton, N.Y., for its season finale against the Colgate Raiders.
After a pair of second-half turnovers and a series of missed opportunities against Bucknell (4-6, 3-2 Patriot League) resulted in the Hoyas’ (3-7, 0-5 Patriot League) seventh straight loss, the Blue and Gray seek to cap their tumultuous season with a victory against the defending conference champions.
Colgate (4-5, 3-2 Patriot League) has decisively won three of its last four games, most recently racking up 437 total yards in a 38-17 drubbing of Lafayette. Heading the Raiders’ offense is dual-threat senior quarterback Jake Melville, the team’s captain. The New Jersey native boasts 31 career starts and 56 total touchdowns, including 21 in this season alone.
“We’ve played him for three years now and he’s a hell of a player — he’s a great playmaker. He knows how to run the ball well, he knows how to throw the ball up as well,” junior defensive back David Akere said of Melville.
Melville’s wide receivers on the edge include junior Alex Greenawalt and senior John Maddaluna. Both receivers stand more than 6 feet tall and weigh more than 200 pounds, and they have combined for over 1,100 receiving yards this year.
The Hoya defense has conceded less than 22 points per game this season, placing it at the top of the conference. It also ranks fifth in the nation in red-zone defense, allowing opponents to score just 52 percent of the time from inside the 20-yard line.
Sophomore linebacker J’V’on Butler, who earned a Patriot League Honorable Mention last week, leads the team in tackles on the season with 84, while junior defensive back Jelani Williamson has grabbed four interceptions.
Georgetown looks to improve on both sides of the ball after losing the time of possession battle last week. The Hoya offense continues to be led by sophomore quarterback Clay Norris, who has filled in for senior Tim Barnes after his season-ending shoulder injury. Norris threw for 157 yards against Bucknell, including a 23-yard touchdown strike to junior wide receiver Jim McLaughlin, who finished with a career-high six receptions.
“It’s been a season-long thing. As Clay has been getting more comfortable, he and I have been clicking pretty well,” McLaughlin said.
On the ground, junior running back Alex Valles has averaged 4.6 yards per carry and tallied 476 rushing yards for the season. Other backs junior Isaac Ellsworth and sophomore Christian Bermudez have added 212 and 108, respectively.
The offense faces the test of a Raider defense that has held opponents to under 100 rushing yards in its last five games. Junior defensive lineman Pat Afriyie, an All-Patriot League First Team selection, currently leads the conference in sacks and tackles for loss.
“They’re really talented up front,” Georgetown Head Coach Rob Sgarlata said. “They’re well-coached. They run to the ball. They have seven or eight returning starters, so it’s a veteran group. They’ve been holding people to 70 yards a game rushing, so that’ll be a challenge for us.”
“We think we are a tough group of receivers, and the Colgate guys are also a pretty tough group,” McLaughlin said. “So we think it’s going to be a smash-mouth kind of game with them.”
Although this season has seen a seven-game skid after a 3-0 start, an upset on the road would be a powerful farewell for the graduating class.
“As the last game, we really want to win this, because our seniors deserve it. They’ve really worked their hardest for it,” Akere said.
Kickoff is slated for 1 p.m. on Saturday at Andy Kerr Stadium.
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