Holy Cow! What a Classic, Part II

September 5, 2005

Last Saturday, I drove to Lewisburg, PA, to see the Georgetown gridders, ranked seventh of seven teams in Patriot League pre-season rankings, face the fifth-rated Bucknell Bison. It took overtime to seal the win for the Hoyas who trailed or were tied the entire game. Surely it was the most dramatic victorious ending for any Hoya team that I have seen since last January when JTIII avenged his pop's infamous loss to Villanova in the 1985 NCAA basketball championship game by snatching a crowd-deflating victory from the Wildcats. Deliciously, that identical-score hoop classic came on the Nova campus with their 20th anniversary half-time honorees, the entire 1985 team, in attendance.

This sudden-win victory on the Bucknell gridiron last weekend had its own historical significance and a sweet avenging similarity to its basketball counterpart, although probably only one person in attendance was even aware of it. It was exactly 80 years ago that the Hoyas were in their national collegiate football prime, led by reknown football coach Lou Little, and a collection of all-star players, including consensus All-America lineman "Babe" Connaughton, and Hall of Famers and lifetime Hoyas, Jack Hagerty and George Murtagh. The 1925 squad has been called the best team that Georgetown has ever fielded.

Jack Hagerty and George Murtagh

In a clawing battle in the mud, Georgetown succumbed to Bucknell that year by the soccer score of 3-2. It was the only loss in a 9-1 season that saw the Hoyas outscore their opponents 282-18, with seven of those victories being shutouts. By the end of the season, this single point loss to the Bison was all that separated the team from Georgetown's first undefeated season (a feat later accomplished by the great Hagerty-Murtagh coached team of 1938).

Today, with both teams striving to contend on the smaller but highly competitive football stage of the Patriot League, Saturday's triumph may be the best we will ever do to settle our 80-year old score with the Bison. The Hoyas proved a lot, mostly to themselves, by coming back from a 16-0 deficit, tying the game, shutting down the Bison place-kicker with two seconds remaining in the game, and then kicking the winning field goal in overtime.

With the score tied at 16 late in the fourth quarter, Bucknell took possession and drove to the Hoya 25-yard line to set up a would-be game-winning FG with seven seconds on the clock. For the Bison kicker, who had easily connected on a 48-yard field goal earlier in the game, this kick attempt looked to be a chip shot. Head coach Bob Benson craftily used all three of his timeouts in succession in an attempt to rattle the Bucknell special team unit. As former assistant coach and now assistant AD Dave Holm accurately conjectured at the time, "You know, you really can't get inside

the heads of kickers, but you can freeze the snapper and the holder." And what do you know, a slight hesitation by the holder after the snap led to the blocked kick by the Hoyas.

In overtime, as Georgetown prepared to kick a 33-yard FG to win the game, Bucknell used their one timeout, attempting to turn the Hoya strategy right back against the Blue & Gray. It almost worked. When the ball was snapped, it lay horizontal on the ground as the holder sought to gain control of it until, at the last possible second, he flipped it upright just as the kicker's foot made contact. Perfect kick. As our long time radio broadcaster likes to chant: HOYAS WIN! HOYAS WIN! HOYAS WIN!



















As we drove back to Georgetown after the game, I listened to my fellow traveler, Rory Quirk '65, the prime mover behind Georgetown's football revival in the 1960's and the one person able to relate the football saga of eighty autumns past off the top of his head. And as we recalled the twists and turns of this 2005 season-opening game and its breathtaking finish, we had to wonder if Jack Hagerty wasn't smiling somewhere that night.
Since affiliating with the Patriot League in 2000, we have faced Bucknell five times previously and have won only once in that span (2002); an important victory though: it was Georgetown's first-ever win in the conference. This year's contest, the 18th time the two teams have squared off, may be just the season-launching game that our team needs to prove the prognosticators wrong and to establish ourselves as one of the top teams in the Patriot League.


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4:00 PM
Quinnipiac
Shaw Field
August 11
7:00 PM
Maryland
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August 12
7:00 PM
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August 15
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August 18
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August 19
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12:00 PM
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1:00 PM
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August 24
7:00 PM
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Newark, Del.
August 25
5:00 PM
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Washington, D.C.
August 25
2:00 PM
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Cooper Field
August 27
1:00 PM
Loyola Maryland
Shaw Field
August 27
1:00 PM
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August 28
1:00 PM
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Shaw Field
September 1
4:00 PM
Cal Poly
Shaw Field
September 1
8:00 PM
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Palo Alto, Calif.
September 1
2:00 PM
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Cooper Field
September 3
4:00 PM
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San Jose, Calif.
September 3
1:00 PM
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Cooper Field
September 4
12:00 PM
UCLA
Shaw Field
September 8
4:00 PM
Saint Francis PA
Shaw Field
September 8
7:00 PM
UMass-Lowell
Lowell, Mass.
September 9
TBA
Campbell
Buies Creek, N.C.
September 9
7:00 PM
UConn
Storrs, Conn.
September 10
1:00 PM
Rutgers
Shaw Field
September 10
12:00 PM
Holy Cross
Worcester, Mass.
September 13
2:00 PM
District of Columbia
Washington, D.C.
September 15
2:00 PM
Quinnipiac
Cooper Field
September 15
TBA
Penn
Philadelphia, Pa.
September 15
TBA
Bedford Cup
College Park, Md.
September 16
TBA
Marist
Cooper Field
September 16
7:00 PM
Xavier
Cincinnati, Ohio
September 16
TBA
Bedford Cup
College Park, Md.
September 16
TBA
Penn
Philadelphia, Pa.
September 17
1:00 PM
Towson
Baltimore, Md.
September 17
12:00 PM
Towson
Towson, Md.
September 17
TBA
Penn
Philadelphia, Pa.
September 17
TBA
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College Park, Md.
September 18
All Day
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Colonial Country Club - Memphis, Tenn.
September 19
All Day
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Colonial Country Club - Memphis, Tenn.
September 20
4:00 PM
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September 20
2:00 PM
District of Columbia
Washington, D.C.
September 22
6:00 PM
Old Dominion
Norfolk, Va.
September 22
TBA
Joe Hunt Memorial
Annapolis, Md.
September 23
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New York, N.Y.
September 23
2:00 PM
DePaul
Chicago, Ill.
September 23
TBA
Joe Hunt Memorial
Annapolis, Md.
September 24
1:00 PM
St. Johns
Shaw Field
September 24
1:00 PM
Longwood
Farmville, Va.
September 24
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Annapolis, Md.