FOOTBALL | Georgetown Ends Drought With Lafayette Win
Published: Monday, October 29, 2012
Updated: Monday, October 29, 2012 22:10
In what seems like a weekly occurrence, the Georgetown football team (4-5, 1-2 Patriot League) found itself on Saturday in another back-and-forth, down-to-the-wire battle with it opponent, in this case, Lafayette (5-3, 2-1 Patriot League).
However, for the first time since their nationally televised win over Princeton, the Hoyas were finally able to emerge victorious against the Leopards and snap a four-game losing streak with a 20-17 win.
In just his second collegiate start, fourth-string freshman quarterback Kyle Nolan finished 15-for-32 for 193 yards with a touchdown and an interception. The rookie gunslinger was solid, if not spectacular, and did just enough throughout the game for Georgetown to eke out a win.
One positive for Nolan is his budding rapport with sophomore wide receiver Kevin Macari, who had over 100 yards receiving on Saturday for the second straight week and seems to be Nolan’s favorite target.
The real stars of the game for the Blue and Gray, though, came on the defensive side of the ball. After surrendering 57 points last week to Colgate, Georgetown’s defense responded in a big way by forcing seven turnovers, including the game-clinching interception by freshman cornerback Cameron Gamble with 32 seconds remaining.
Junior safety Stephen Atwater had a career day, contributing one interception, one fumble recovery, one tackle for a loss and three pass breakups, while senior linebacker Robert McCabe's 16 tackles led to another impressive performance.
Early in the first quarter, Atwater picked off Lafayette senior quarterback Andrew Shoop’s pass and returned it to the Leopards’ 18-yard line. Shoop had been enjoying a strong campaign heading into Saturday’s contest, and his three interceptions against Georgetown more than doubled his season total.
While Nolan and the offense could not find the end zone off of the turnover, they did settle for junior Matt MacZura’s 26-yard field goal and took a quick 3-0 lead.
The score stayed that way until the beginning of the second quarter, when Nolan led the offense on a 13-play, 70-yard drive that ended in another 37-yard field goal by MacZura. At that point, however, it remained to be seen whether the Hoyas’ inability to take full advantage of the opportunities that had been handed to them would haunt them later on.
Later in the second quarter, it looked like that just might be the case, with Lafayette first kicking a field goal on its next drive to close the margin to 6-3. MacZura then flubbed a 13-yard punt, and the Leopards drove 62 yards down the field to take a 10-6 lead on a six-yard touchdown toss. That score held going into halftime, and Lafayette appeared to have seized the momentum.
Out of the locker room, though, it was a different story, with both sides struggling offensively for much of the third quarter.
Nolan broke through near the end of the quarter, however, leading the Hoyas on a long drive that culminated in a five-yard touchdown toss to freshman running back Jo’el Kimpela, and the Blue and Gray regained a 13-10 lead heading into the fourth.
Kimpela, a promising young back, experienced his best day in Georgetown’s uniform, catching Nolan’s touchdown pass and also rushing for 80 yards on 16 carries. After weeks of failing to move the ball on the ground, Georgetown’s rushing attack rediscovered its early-season form Saturday, as Kimpela and junior Nick Campanella combined for 158 yards rushing.
The Leopards briefly took back the lead early in the fourth quarter, when a Georgetown roughing-the-passer penalty helped them move the ball into Hoyas territory and eventually take a 17-13 advantage on a 36-yard touchdown pass.
The Blue and Gray was not finished, however, and a few drives later, Nolan took advantage of senior defensive back Jeremy Moore’s fumble recovery to lead the offense 61 yards downfield. The bruising Campanella scored a 2-yard touchdown run to give Georgetown a 20-17 lead with 5:08 remaining in the game.
While that score held, Campanella’s touchdown did not end the drama, as the Leopards still had two more chances.
Georgetown forced a three-and-out on the ensuing possession, and the Leopards were left with just a final shot with 48 seconds left. But Gable’s interception at midfield sealed the deal and gave the Hoyas a much-needed victory.
The banged-up Blue and Gray now enjoy a bye week, where they’ll have an opportunity to get healthy and build on their latest win before facing Bucknell in two weeks.