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Senior-Led Hoya Defense Keys Georgetown Home Win
On Senior Day at the Multi-Sport Field, it seemed appropriate that with the clock winding down, the fate of the game lay in the hands of Georgetown’s veteran defense. With the team clinging to a 13-12 lead, senior defensive end Nick Umar dropped back into coverage on a first and 10 at the Marist 40-yard line, and finally made the type of game-changing play Georgetown has lacked this season. Umar intercepted a pass from junior Red Fox quarterback Chris Debowski, and rumbled 20 yards to the Marist 24-yard line to seal the nail-biting victory.
Umar was one of 14 seniors honored before the game. The win ended a seven-game losing streak for Georgetown (2-7, 0-5 Patriot League) and avenged last year’s 37-34 triple-overtime loss to the Red Foxes.
“It’s a play where I’m looking for some crossers across the field, and I made sure it wasn’t a run, dropped back, and I was spying the [quarterback]. He made a mistake and I was able to capitalize,” Umar said.
The third-year starter wears the prestigious Joe Eacobacci No. 35 memorial jersey, which has been presented annually since 2003 to the player who shows extreme dedication to the Georgetown community and its football program. Eacobacci was a former Georgetown defensive end that was killed in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
“It’s been such an honor to wear that jersey here,” Umar said. The interception was Georgetown’s second forced turnover of the fourth quarter. An interception from freshman Jayah Kaisamba halted Marist’s previous drive, and allowed Georgetown to milk six out of the game’s eight remaining minutes. Kaisamba also blocked Marist’s second attempted extra point in the second quarter. The single point proved to be the decisive margin of victory.
Marist sophomore kicker Kevin Pauly also missed his first attempt.
“It was huge to get a win. It’s hard being a football player around here right now, and I give those guys a lot of credit for continuing to play,” Head Coach Kevin Kelly said. “I said I was going to coach my butt off, and that the players were going to play their butts off to make sure we won the game.”
The Hoyas featured an improved ground attack that contributed to a 3-for-3 afternoon in the red zone. Sophomore halfbacks Philip Oladeji and Geoffrey Schnorr rushed for over 150 yards combined, which gave sophomore quarterback Keerome Lawrence some breathing room. The Georgetown signal-caller rushed for 47 yards on 15 carries and threw for 119 yards on 11-of-17 passing with a touchdown.
“After the game I told them [Oladeji and Schnorr] that they took a lot of pressure off me. In the past when we’ve lost, I felt like it was my fault, but today they did well, they stepped up,” Lawrence said.
The Hoyas got the scoring started early after a blocked punt from junior wide receiver Rick Cosgrove gave Georgetown field position in Marist territory. The Hoyas gambled early on a fourth-and-1, and a four-yard run from Oladeji gave the Hoyas a first down at the Marist 23-yard line. Two plays later, a strike from Lawrence to senior wide receiver Collin Meador gave Georgetown a 7-0 advantage.
The Red Foxes responded quickly with an 11-play, 68-yard drive that resulted in a touchdown. However, a missed extra point made the score 7-6. A Georgetown three-and-out gave Marist the ball again, and the Red Foxes converted for the second straight possession on senior tailback Bo Ehikioya’s second rushing touchdown of the game. Kaisamba’s block kept it 12-7 in Marist’s favor.
Georgetown converted on a 24-yard field goal late in the second quarter from junior Jose-Pablo Buerba to cut the Marist advantage to two at 12-10.
That was the score at halftime, and it remained the same until a second field goal from Buerba gave Georgetown the 13-12 lead with 1:22 to go in the third quarter.
“The bottom line is in the second half we won 3-0, and that is what we needed to do,” Kelly said. “Our defense shut them out in the second half.”
Georgetown travels to the Bronx next weekend to take on the Fordham Rams, the Hoyas’ final contest of the season.
Senior-Led Defense Keys Home Win
By Brett Depenbrock, The Hoya