FOOTBALL | No Kempf, No Problem
Published: Friday, September 7, 2012
Updated: Friday, September 7, 2012 00:09
When senior quarterback Isaiah Kempf suffered a concussion in the first quarter of the Georgetown football team’s (1-0) season opener against Davidson, it could have been a premature stake in the heart of an otherwise promising season.
Kempf’s teammates would have none of it. Junior running back Nick Campanella rushed for 124 yards and three touchdowns on only 12 carries, and junior backup quarterback Aaron Aiken tossed two touchdowns (including one to Campanella) and ran for another 119 yards in his first major game action.
Senior linebacker Robert McCabe had a stunning 17 tackles, and junior outside linebacker Dustin Wharton added two sacks, as the Hoyas dominated the last three quarters to cruise to a 35-14 victory.
But with the starting field general out for Saturday’s home opener against Wagner, the pressure is on for the rest of the team to step up once again.
For his part, Head Coach Kevin Kelly appears confident in his team’s mettle.
“I think we handled everything in a very positive way, and it showed us the strong character of this year’s team very quickly,” he wrote in his Davidson post-game notes.
At first glance, the next opponent on the schedule, Wagner (0-1), wouldn’t appear to present a particularly menacing challenge. The Seahawks dropped an uninspiring 7-3 decision at Florida Atlantic last weekend in which they managed a meager 91 passing yards. They also lost by two touchdowns in their 2011 meeting with the Blue and Gray.
However, Wagner did force four fumbles in last week’s loss and held Florida Atlantic — a mid-major Football Bowl Subdivision team that encounters better competition than most of Georgetown’s opponents — to only that one touchdown.
“To give up seven points to a Sun Belt [Conference] team in the season opener, I’m proud as dickens of our team,” Wagner Head Coach Walt Hameline wrote in a press release. “We didn’t win the football game, but we didn’t lose the physical battle, I can tell you that.”
Junior Seahawks safety Patrick O’Connor, who notched 10 tackles and a fumble recovery in the loss, was named Northeast Conference defensive player of the week for his efforts. Because the Hoyas will be focused on the ground game — Aiken is a scrambling threat at quarterback, and Campanella is coming off an incredible outing — the physical Seahawks will likely aim to stack the box and blitz often.
Fortunately for Kelly’s defense, the other side looks to be similarly predictable. Senior quarterback Nick Doscher took the majority of the snaps for Wagner against FAU and managed only six completions for 66 yards and one interception. Junior running back Dominique Williams, meanwhile, had his number called 24 times and racked up 117 rushing yards.
This is sure to be a far cry from Georgetown’s last game, then, in which Davidson quarterback Jonathan Carkhuff threw a whopping 53 times. Expect Kelly to clog the middle with linebackers and McCabe to pad his Patriot League-leading tackle total.
Saturday’s impending defensive battle will be preceded by a tailgate for Georgetown football alumni to celebrate the home opener. Kickoff is slated for 1 p.m.