BUIES CREEK, N.C. - Jelani Williamson (Silver Spring, Md./Good Counsel) returned a fumble recovery for a touchdown with 1:27 remaining to help the Georgetown University football team defeat Campbell University, 16-10, in the season opener on Saturday night at Barker-Lane Stadium. With the win, the Hoyas improve to 1-0, while the Camels fall to 1-1.
Tim Barnes (Oradell, N.J./River Dell Regional) completed 14-of-28 passes for 180 yards and a touchdown to lead the offense. Michael Dereus (Hyde Park, Mass./Williston Northampton) caught six passes for 114 yards and a score, while Alex Valles (Danvers, Mass./Danvers) and Carl Thomas (Floirissant, Mo./Lutheran North) led the rushing attack with 47 and 29 yards, respectively.
David Akere (Carrollton, Texas/Hebron) led the defense with 10 tackles and two interceptions, while Daniel Yankovich (Ramsey, N.J./Don Bosco Prep) and Cameron Seward (Atlanta, Ga./The Westminster School/Boston College) each tied for the team lead with 11 tackles. Williamson finished with five tackles, including a sack, and recovered two fumbles. Marquis Parris (Atlanta, Ga./Tri Cities) registered 2.5 sacks and 3.5 tackles-for-loss (TFL), while Khristian Tate (Warner Robins, Ga./Covenant Academy) also recorded 1.5 sacks.
After neither side could convert a first down on their first two drives, Campbell drove the ball down to Georgetown’s 14-yard line. However a Williamson sack, as he came in from his cornerback position, and a TFL by Yankovich and Seward pushed the Camels back and a missed 40-yard field goal kept the game scoreless.
Following GU’s next drive, Brad Hurst (Helen, Ga./White County) switched the field position by booming a 69-yard punt and pinning Campbell at it’s own seven-yard line. The defense forced another three-and-out and a shanked punt gave the Hoyas the ball on Campbell’s 31-yard line.
Hurst put the Hoyas on the board with his first career field goal, a 42-yard kick to give the Blue & Gray a 3-0 lead with seven seconds remaining in the opening quarter.
Both teams locked down on defense, with GU stopping two Campbell red-zone attempts in the first half, including Wesley Bowers (Fort Washington, Md./Bishop McNamara) forcing a fumble inside the five-yard line that Williamson recovered.
On their first possession of the second half, the Camels took a 7-3 lead on a 19-yard touchdown pass.
The Hoyas quickly regained the lead on their next possession, driving 81 yards on just four plays. Valles started the drive with a 33-yard run on the first play. Two plays later, Dereus caught a 32-yard pass from Barnes, juggling it around a defender as he crossed the goalline to give Georgetown a 10-7 lead.
Campbell tied the game back up with a 24-yard field with 10:20 remaining in the fourth quarter.
After neither team could score over the next several drives, the Camels got the ball on their own 26-yard line with 1:43 left on the clock. On the second play, Blaise Brown (New Orleans, La./St. Augustine/Loomis Chaffee) made a hard hit after a reception, popping the ball loose at the 32-yard line. Williamson, who was in on the hit, scooped the ball up and raced to the end zone to give the Hoyas a 16-10 lead after Hurst’s PAT attempt was blocked.
Campbell drove the ball to midfield, but Akere recorded his second interception of the game at the 15-yard line to seal the victory.
The Hoyas will return home to the friendly confines of Cooper Field for their season opener on Saturday, September 16 against Marist College. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m.