Matt MacZura's Late Field Goal Lifts Georgetown Past Wagner, 13-10 in Home-Opener

GUHOYAS.COM
Aaron Aiken and Nick Campanella celebrate after the Hoyas take the lead in the third quarter.

GUHOYAS.COM
Aaron Aiken and Nick Campanella celebrate after the Hoyas take the lead in the third quarter.
GUHOYAS.COM

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WASHINGTON - Junior placekicker Matt MacZura (Cranberry Twp., Pa./Central Catholic) connected on a 35-yard field goal with one minute and 42 seconds left in the game to give the Georgetown University football team (2-0, 0-0 Patriot League) a 13-10 lead. The defense did the rest, stopping Wagner College (0-2, 0-0 NEC) on its final drive to seal the 13-10 victory in the home-opener.

In his first career start, junior quarterback Aaron Aiken (Morristown, N.J./The Lawrenceville School) completed 18-of-38 passes for 146 yards with one interception and rushed for the Hoyas lone touchdown, while four GU running backs combined for 149 on 30 carries.

"I couldn't have asked for a more exhilarating win," Aiken said following the game. "Wagner has a very athletic defense and they were coming with a lot of pressure, but up front we were able to sustain the pressure and move the ball."

The Hoyas defense gave up a touchdown on Wagner's first possession, but managed to clamp down on the Seahawk's holding their strong rushing attack to just 94 yards on the day. Senior linebacker Robert McCabe (Newtown Square, Pa./Malvern Prep) finished with 13 tackles, one sack and one tackle for loss and junior linebacker Sean Campbell (Middletown, N.J./Middletown South) finished with five tackles, including two for loss to help GU win its sixth consecutive home game.

"I think we came out a little flat," McCabe said. "It was little mistakes, we didn't tackle very well on that first series, but we knew this game was going to be on the defense and we corrected it fast and took care of business."

The Seahawks started quickly, forcing the Hoyas to punt in the game's opening series. Then quarterback Nick Doscher led the offense on a 66 yard, 11 play drive that took over seven minutes off the clock, before he connected with Bryant Watts on a 12-yard touchdown pass to take an early, 7-0 lead.

The Hoyas responded on its ensuing possession, moving the ball on the ground down to the Wagner four yard line before stalling, as MacZura connected on his first career field goal attempt, a 21-yarder, to bring the score to 7-3.

The score remained the same until late in the third quarter. Wagner was forced to punt from its own four yard line, allowing sophomore Kevin Macari (New Canaan, Conn./New Canaan) to field the punt in front of midfield and return it for 33 yards down to the Seahawks 12 yard line. Two plays later Aiken rushed into the end zone to give the Hoyas its first lead, 10-3.

Wagner's David Lopez tied the score with 5:19 left in the fourth quarter, connecting on a 44-yard field goal after a five minute Seahawk's drive, making the score 10-10.

Penalties played a major role on the ensuing series, as Jeremy Moore's (New Haven, Conn./James Hillhouse) kick-off return for a touchdown was negated by a holding penalty deep in the Hoyas own end. Five plays later, Georgetown would catch a break as Wagner was flagged for a personal foul on MacZura's punt attempt, giving GU the ball back at Wagner's 38 yard line.

As the drive continued, Aiken completed a 12-yard pass to Macari and a four-yard pass to Dalen Claytor to help GU get the ball down to the Wagner 19, setting up MacZura's eventual game-winning 35-yard field goal.

"You always have the thought that the game might come down to you in the back of your head," MacZura said following the game. "Obviously there kicker had a great kick to tie it up, so I was just glad that I was in a position to get our team the W."

The Seahawks had one final chance, but the Hoyas defense forced a turnover on downs, before Aiken kneeled on the ball to let time run out on the Hoyas 13-10 victory. "Our defense wants to be in that position," McCabe said. "We want to be on the field at the end of the game with our offense giving us a lead. They took care of our job and we took care of ours at the end."

Hoyas run defense does it again:
A week after holding Davidson to negative 18 rushing yards, the ninth best mark in Georgetown football history, they were able to hold Dominique Williams, one of the Division I FCS's top rushers to just 66 yards on 22 carries. Senior linebacker Robert McCabe finished with a team-high 13 tackles, while junior linebacker Sean Campbell had two of the Hoyas six tackles for loss. The return of senior cornerback Jeremy Moore also helped the Hoyas against the run, as he made 10 tackles, including one for loss and stuffing a run for no-gain on Wagner's final drive.

Kicking game a question no more:
Coming into the season, one of the biggest question marks with the Hoyas squad was its field goal and extra point units. Junior Matt MacZura has answered those questions through the first two games. MacZura, who has been the team's punter since his first day on campus, made his first two field goal attempts, including the game-winning 35 yard field goal with one minute and 42 seconds on the clock.

Offensive line paves the way for Hoyas offense:
LT James Spaly, LG Donald Rhodes, C Kevin Sullivan, RG Mike Roland and RT Michael Francis might not get a lot of name recognition, but paved the way for the Hoyas to outrush Wagner, 166-94, no small feat considering the strength of Wagner's ground game. In two games they have outrushed opponents, 446-76. GU's offensive line unit has not only helped the Hoyas outrush each opponent this season, but has allowed quarterback Aaron Aiken time to throw the ball for 274 yards in two games, as GU had over 300 yards of total offense against Wagner.

 

 

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