WASHINGTON - Despite controlling the ball for nearly 35 minutes, the Georgetown University football team fell in a tight contest, 21-20, to the College of the Holy Cross on Saturday afternoon at Cooper Field. The loss, GU's sixth-straight setback, dropped the Hoyas to 3-6 overall and 0-4 in Patriot League play.
Clay Norris (Charlotte, N.C./Myers Park) made the start at quarter back and finished 25-of-37 for 185 yards. He was also the team's leading rusher, finishing with 40 yards on the ground. Justin Hill (Pittsburgh, Pa./Montour) caught a career-high 12 catches for 85 yards.
Hunter Kiselick (Nutley, N.J./Bergen Catholic) and J'V'on Butler (Melbourne, Fla./Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy) tied for the team lead with nine total tackles, while Kiselick also combined with Leo Loughery (Glenshaw, Pa./Central Catholic) for a sack. Daniel Yankovich (Ramsey, N.J./Don Bosco Prep) and Phil Novacki (Great Falls, Va./Langley) also each registered a sack. Jelani Williamson (Silver Spring, Md./Good Counsel) recorded his team-leading fourth interception of the season and also forced a fumble.
Special teams was again a highlight for the Hoyas. Michael Dereus (Hyde Park, Mass/Williston Northampton) returned a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown, and GU converted a fake field goal for a first down. Henry Darmstadter (Alexandria, Va./George Mason) broke the program record for career field goals with his 25th made kick and Harry McCollum (Arlington Heights, Ill./Saint Viator) pinned the Crusaders inside their own 20-yard line on three of his six punts.
Holy Cross (4-6, 2-3 Patriot League) scored on its first drive of the game. A 46-yard completion on the first play eventually set up a 2-yard rushing touchdown to put the Crusaders up, 7-0.
Dereus responded immediately for the Hoyas. He received the ensuing kickoff at the goal line and began running up the right side of the field. He cut over to the left sideline, outrunning the coverage for the 100-yard score to tie things up, 7-7. It was the first kickoff return by the Hoyas since Jeremy Moore (`12) returned one 85 yards on Sep. 18, 2010. It was also the second-longest kickoff return in program history.
An 80-yard catch-and-run set up a 6-yard touchdown pass to put the Crusaders up, 14-7, at the end of the first quarter.
On the second play of the second quarter, Darmstadter kicked a 46-yard field goal, bouncing it off the crossbar and through, to cut the deficit to 14-10. It was the 25th career field goal for Darmstadter, setting Georgetown's career record.
Two drives later, another deep pass -- this one for 52 yards -- set up a 5-yard touchdown run to extend Holy Cross' lead to 21-10.
Georgetown started its next drive on the 28-yard line after an 18-yard kickoff return by Ramon Lyon (Orlando, Fla./Ocoee/West Orange). The Hoyas marched down the field on 13 plays before a 4-yard touchdown run by Alex Valles (Danvers, Mass./Danvers) on third down pulled them back to within four, 21-17. Norris rushed for two third-down conversions on the drive, including a 20-yard run on third-and-eight.
The Blue & Gray also executed a perfect fake field goal to keep the drive going. On fourth-and-five from the 20-yard line, the Hoyas lined up for a 38-yard field goal attempt, but Norris took the snap and found a wide-open Jacob Sweitzer (Perropolis, Pa./Belle Vernon) for a first down completion down to the 11-yard line.
Holy Cross attempted another deep pass on its next drive, but Williamson recorded his fourth interception of the season at the 3-yard line and returned the ball 40 yards to the 43-yard line.
Neither team could get on the board and the Hoyas continued to trail, 21-20, at halftime.
The defense forced a quick three-and-out on the first possession of the second half and the offense took over on its own 20-yard line. Norris completed five-straight passes, including three to Hill, for 39 yards to put the Hoyas in Holy Cross territory. The drive stalled at the 23-yard line, but Darmstadter connected on a 49-yard field goal, the longest of his career, to pull Georgetown within one, 21-20, with 7:25 remaining in the third quarter.
On the Crusaders' next drive, Williamson forced a fumble with an open-field tackle and Lyons fell on it to give the Hoyas possession.
Both defenses stepped up the rest of the way as neither team could generate much of a scoring threat. A 28-yard punt return gave Holy Cross the ball at Georgetown's 25-yard line, but back-to-back sacks -- first by Kiselick and Loughery and then by Novacki -- pushed the line of scrimmage back. The Crusaders eventually missed a 44-yard field goal attempt wide right.
Holy Cross intercepted a pair of passes in the final three minutes to put away Georgetown's final comeback attempts.
The Hoyas will remain home at Cooper Field for a matchup next weekend against Bucknell. Kickoff on Saturday, Nov. 12, is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Prior to the game, Georgetown will recognize its 18 seniors in a Senior Day ceremony.