FOOTBALL | Against Colgate, GU Has Hope
Published: Friday, October 25, 2013
Updated: Friday, October 25, 2013 01:10
Despite a five-game losing streak featuring an average loss margin of 25.8 points, quarterback changes and an inconsistent defense, the Hoyas (1-6, 0-1 Patriot League) still have a chance at Patriot League relevance in a faceoff with Colgate (2-5, 1-0 Patriot League) this Saturday.
After a 45-24 loss at Lehigh Oct. 19 in their first week of conference play, the Hoyas will look to rebound against the Raiders. Colgate, the Patriot League regular season defending champions, will aim to continue a successful road trip after defeating Holy Cross in its first conference matchup.
For the Hoyas, the game represents a definitive test for a defense that has been strained by opponents and injuries throughout the season. Totals for points allowed during the losing streak have ranged from 34 to 50 points, while the offense has not scored more than 24. Head Coach Kevin Kelly believes the defense will be bolstered by returns from injuries this weekend.
“We get a couple defensive backs back,” Kelly said. “We get the linebackers back. We’re a little bit nicked up up front, but overall, … we’re pretty good.”
The Hoya defense will be facing an offense that has seen significant struggles of its own. A number of injuries have forced the Raiders to start three different quarterbacks and four tailbacks over the course of the season, leading to a 2-5 record. But Colgate’s strong non-conference schedule, highlighted by a season opener at Air Force, has challenged a team that is the defending champion of the Patriot League and is led by the reigning Patriot League offensive player of the year, quarterback Gavin McCarney. Colgate’s mobile style of play will be Georgetown’s focus.
“Colgate is a run type football team,” Kelly said, “so obviously, we’ve got to try to stop the run and force them to throw the football — get them off schedule.”
On offense, Georgetown will again be snapping the ball to sophomore Kyle Nolan, who made his first start against Lehigh last week. In that game, Nolan went 19-of-30 passing for 140 yards and a touchdown. Kelly expects to see improved numbers this week.
“Kyle had been coming off an injury,” Kelly said. “He started a bit slow, but he got into a little bit of the groove as the game went on.”
Nolan is replacing redshirt senior Isaiah Kempf, whose playing time has decreased as the season has progressed, including lost time due to injury.
Georgetown’s offensive success will also depend on the performance of senior running back Nick Campanella, who is coming off a career game with 129 yards rushing and three touchdowns, both personal records. Campanella has consistently increased his numbers as the season has progressed, a product of an increased workload and recovery from injury.
“Nick is running extremely hard, and he had a bad shoulder there for a couple weeks,” Kelly said. “I don’t think he was the Nick everyone expected him to be, but Saturday he had a great ball game … and I expect him to do the same here again against Colgate.”
Saturday’s game represents the team’s last chance at an October win. But a win over Colgate would also put Georgetown back at .500 in Patriot League play and no more than one game back in division play, with the Oct. 12 loss to Fordham not counting against its conference record due to Fordham’s ineligibility. While a playoff run is all but impossible, the Hoyas are still at a point where wins can give the season meaning.
“These young men work very hard 12 months out of the year,” Kelly said. “The reward is to win a ball game, and they deserve to win. They’ve worked very hard.”
Georgetown is currently 1-9 in the overall series between the two teams, winning its first game two seasons ago. After the matchup, the team will have three games left in the regular season, against Lafayette, at Bucknell and at Holy Cross. Kickoff is at 1 p.m. at Multi-Sport Facility.