Kyle Nolan Leads Hoyas Past Holy Cross, 28-21 in Season Finale
Nov. 23, 2013
WORCESTER, Mass. - Sophomore quarterback Kyle Nolan (Branford, Conn./Choate Rosemary Hall) rushed for an 82-yard touchdown with under two minutes left in the fourth quarter to help seal the Georgetown University football team's (2-9, 1-4 Patriot League) eventual 28-21 victory over Holy Cross on Saturday afternoon at Fitton Field.
The Hoyas led by six points, 20-14, when they started a drive deep in its own territory with 2:12 remaining in the game. Nolan took off on the second play for 82 yards, the longest GU rushing play since 1984, to give the Hoyas a 28-14 lead. After a Holy Cross touchdown, senior quarterback Isaiah Kempf kneeled out the clock to seal the Hoyas victory. Nolan completed 19-of-32 passes for 227 yards and 18 carries for 143 yards and two rushing touchdowns to lead the Hoyas offense. "We were reading the defensive end," Nolan said. "It was a play we ran several times during the game and we were just hoping the safeties split. The offensive line did a great job opening everything up, I saw the hole and I just didn't want to get caught. I couldn't let the seniors down. I knew we needed to get one more to put it away and everybody did a great job blocking down field. This one was for Isaiah and the seniors."
The Hoyas forced four turnovers and put pressure on the Crusaders backfield, as junior defensive end Alec May (Wrenthem, Mass./King Phillip) led the Hoyas defense with 3.0 sacks and 2.0 tackles for loss, while junior linebacker Patrick Boyle (Wheaton, Ill./Benet Academy) had 13 tackles. Junior defensive end Richard Shankle (Atlanta, Ga./South Gwinnett) had one sack, two tackles for loss, while Jordan Richardson (Watkinsville, Ga./Athens Academy) had one sack and a pass breakup.
"My hat is off to our players," Head Coach Kevin Kelly said. "They practiced very hard this week. It's been a tough year, but I am so thrilled for the seniors that we came out with the victory today. Isaiah Kempf had a pre-game speech today for our guys about family and for him to be able to kneel at the end it was a storybook ending. I'm so happy for a guy that persevered through a lot and has been an excellent leader for our team."
Turnovers led to a touchdown apiece in the first quarter. Holy Cross's quarterback Peter Pujals helped the Crusaders capitalize first when Georgetown fumbled in its own territory in its opening possession. Six plays and 42 yards later, Pujals rushed in for one yard to take a 7-0 lead.
Georgetown got a break one series later, recovering a fumbled punt at the Holy Cross 26 yard line. Sophomore running back Jo'el Kimpela (Kinshasa, D.R Congo/Euless Trinity) scored seven plays later on a five yard touchdown rush to tie the score at seven, after senior Matt MacZura's (Cranberry Twp., Pa./Central Catholic) extra point.
Holy Cross answered on its following possession, driving 71 yards in nine plays, with Mike Fess catching a 19 yard touchdown pass from Pujals take a 14-7 lead with 1:25 left in the first quarter.
The Hoyas defense would stifle the Crusaders for the next two quarters, allowing just 27 total yards of offense in the second quarter and five yards in the third quarter. In the second quarter, Shankle forced Pujals into an off balance pass that was picked off by junior linebacker Nick Alfieri (Portland, Ore./Jesuit/Hotchkiss School).
Senior wide receiver Zack Wilke (Boca Raton, Fla./St. Andrew's) would save his best game for last, catching seven passes for a career-high 121 yards. Wilke would help extend the Hoyas next scoring drive, catching a third down and 10 pass from Nolan over the middle for a 32 yard gain, deep into HC territory. Two plays later, freshman wide receiver Justin Hill (Pittsburgh, Pa./Montour) turned a screen pass into a 24-yard gain down to the one-yard line, setting up Nolan's one-yard touchdown rush to tie the score at 14 going into halftime.
"This was a very emotional game for all of us seniors," Wilke said after the game. "We knew there was no tomorrow for us so we had to play as hard as we could. The offensive line and Kyle did a great job today. We didn't have the season we wanted, but ending it with a victory is amazing.
The Hoyas took the lead early in the third quarter, driving 57 yards to set up a 29 yard field goal by MacZura, to take its first lead, 17-14 with 9:55 remaining in the third quarter.
Sophomore cornerback Cameron Gamble (Powder Springs, Ga./McEachern) would help set up the Hoyas next scoring drive, intercepting a Pujals pass to give the Hoyas possession near midfield. GU drove 22 yards to set up a 39-yard MacZura field goal, extending the lead to 20-14 with 1:17 left in the third quarter.
Holy Cross drove deep into Hoyas' territory midway through the fourth quarter, but the Hoyas forced a fumble that sophomore safety Garrett Powers (Columbus, Ohio/Upper Arlington) recovered at the Hoyas two yard line.
Late in the fourth quarter Nolan would put the game away taking off on an 82-yard touchdown run, with 1:53 on the clock. Nick Campanella (Roselle, Ill./Montini Catholic) converted the two point conversion to give the Hoyas a 28-14 lead.
The Crusaders drove quickly, covering 66 yards on nine plays to bring the game within one touchdown, 28-21 with 47 seconds remaining. Senior wide receiver Elliott Owusu recovered the ensuing onside kick attempt and senior quarterback Kempf kneeled the ball down twice to seal the Hoyas season-ending victory.
NOTES: The current Georgetown football seniors have won 19 games during their four years at Georgetown. The 19 victories is the most by any Hoyas class that has played all four years in the Patriot League.