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Special Teams Are Anything But for Hoyas

Lehigh 49, Georgetown 18

By Kathy Orton
Special to The Washington Post
Sunday, November 7, 2004; Page E14

If any of the 2,111 at Harbin Field yesterday believed Georgetown stood a chance at upsetting Lehigh, those thoughts quickly dissipated after the No. 9 Mountain Hawks returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown.

It was the start of a disturbing special teams trend for the Hoyas, 49-18 losers despite perhaps their best offensive game of the season. The defeat, the Hoyas' third straight in the Patriot League, dropped them to 2-7 overall, 0-5 in the league. Lehigh improved to 8-1, 4-0.

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"We did some good things," Hoyas Coach Bob Benson said. "We just don't put it all together in every area, and first and foremost, with the special teams."

Lehigh came in ranked eighth in Division I-AA in points, allowing 15.4 per game, but gave up 384 yards to the Hoyas.

"We had a game plan to try to keep them off balance," said Georgetown wide receiver Janeiro Wooten, who caught six passes for 85 yards. "We were basically trying to do the opposite of what they would predict we would do."

Quarterback Andrew Crawford, who regained his starting job four games ago, executed that strategy nearly flawlessly. He quickly found his comfort zone, throwing crisp, accurate passes.

"All offenses are really based on rhythm and getting into a groove," said Crawford, who completed 17 of 29 passes for 187 yards. "Unfortunately, the way the season has gone, what the other defenses have done to us and our inexperience with this offense, we haven't gotten in rhythm. So finally when we do get into a rhythm, it all makes sense and works."

But for a team playing its ninth game of the season, the Hoyas appeared remarkably confused at times. They burned three timeouts because the play clock was about to expire. Twice on their two-point conversion attempts, players were grabbing helmets and rushing onto the field at the last moment.

Georgetown did not convert an extra point or make a field goal, and its coverage team yielded the opening touchdown to Gerran Walker.

The lone bright spot on special teams was Jasper Ihezie's 90-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the third quarter. It tied the second-longest kickoff return for a touchdown in school history.

Georgetown showed early it wasn't going to be intimidated by Lehigh. After Walker's opening score, the Hoyas put together a six-play, 65-yard drive that took just two minutes. Crawford's 27-yard pass to Glenn Castergine on third and nine from the Hoyas 36-yard line was the key play, especially when 15 yards were tacked on after Lehigh defensive end Tristan Lawrence was penalized for roughing Crawford.

Four plays later, Crawford pitched the ball to Emir Davis, who carried it eight yards to the end zone.

Lehigh answered later in the first quarter when Mark Borda threw the first of his four touchdown passes, a 21-yarder to Adam Berger. Borda finished 15 of 30 for 288 yards.


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