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Hoyas Are Unable To Take Advantage

By Kathy Orton
Special to The Washington Post
Sunday, September 12, 2004; Page E16

The offense's inability to capitalize on the opportunities created by the defense cost Georgetown its first 2-0 start since 1999.

Although they forced five turnovers, the Hoyas failed to cross the goal line and lost, 17-6, to Lafayette yesterday in a Patriot League game at Harbin Field before 1,842.

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Georgetown's only points came from a pair of field goals by Michael Gillman.

"There were plenty of times we had opportunities to score, early in the game, late in the game," quarterback Keith Allan said. "We had some drives going, but just couldn't put the ball in the end zone. That's something you've got to do. Defense did a great job today, but if you can't put points up on that board, you're not going to come away with a win."

The Hoyas (1-1, 0-1 Patriot League) switched starting quarterbacks this week, going with Allan, a sophomore, over senior Andrew Crawford. Allan was slated to be the starter in the season opener until he suffered a high ankle sprain two weeks ago.

Allan, making his first collegiate start, completed 10 of 18 passes for 71 yards. He also threw an interception, which led to Lafayette's first touchdown.

On third down and nine from the Georgetown 2-yard line, Allan dropped back into the Hoyas end zone to pass. Just as he started to throw, Lafayette's Dion Witherspoon hit him from behind. The ball sailed into the air. It hit the Leopards' Maurice Bennett in the pads and popped up. Andrew Brown snagged the ball out of the air then lunged past the goal line to put Lafayette ahead, 10-6.

"That was a big play for them," Allan said. "We thought that play was something we could catch them on."

Lafayette (2-0, 1-0) scored the only offensive touchdown of the game on its next series. Backup quarterback Pat Davis threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to Joseph Ort with 2 minutes 20 seconds to play.

Georgetown's offense was anemic, generating only 132 yards. Kim Sarin, who rushed for 154 yards a week ago, had plenty of opportunities to run the ball, but didn't gain much ground. Sarin ran for 80 yards on 27 carries -- six more carries than he had against St. Francis.

The lack of offensive production marred an impressive performance by the Georgetown defense. It is an aggressive, swarming unit that creates havoc. Mikey Blainefield intercepted a pass for the second straight week and recovered a fumble. Maurice Banks and Sheldon Epps also had interceptions. Christopher Paulus recovered a fumble.

But no one flustered Lafayette more than defensive end Michael Ononibaku. He was everywhere, and the Leopards were at a loss trying to block him. Ononibaku tied for the team-high with 12 tackles, had five tackles for a loss, three sacks and forced a fumble.

"During the week, I study film a lot, watch the tackles," Ononibaku said. "I study their steps and find ways to utilize my speed to the best of my ability to make big plays."

It was a long, frustrating afternoon for the defense. Yet, Ononibaku refused to blame the offense for the loss.

"All I care about is playing hard and doing our job" on defense, Ononibaku said. "We can't worry about what our offense does. If they, the offense, does the same thing, we'll win."

• BOWIE STATE 26, VIRGINIA STATE 23: The Bulldogs (2-1, 1-0 CIAA) trailed after P.J. Berry returned the opening kickoff 89 yards for a touchdown for Virginia State (2-1, 0-1). But Bowie State gained 410 yards in total offense to rally at home.

Isaac Redman rushed for 115 yards and scored twice, and Lamar Manigo threw two touchdown passes to Glenn Thomas as Bowie State overcame a 17-6 deficit.

• URSINUS 39, CATHOLIC 0: David Ashworth rushed for 130 yards and scored two touchdowns, and Ursinus returned interceptions for two more touchdowns in Collegeville, Pa.

Catholic was also shut out by Ursinus last year, 26-0.


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