Hoyas Hope Eyes Are Opened After Victorious First Clash With Bison

Georgetown, in a win deemed one of its most important in years, hoists the D.C. Mayor's Cup trophy after the inaugural game with Howard.
Georgetown, in a win deemed one of its most important in years, hoists the D.C. Mayor's Cup trophy after the inaugural game with Howard. (By Mark Gail -- The Washington Post)
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By Kathy Orton
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, September 8, 2008

Sad to say, but there are a lot of people in Washington who are unaware that Georgetown has a football team. Or if they do know, they think the Hoyas play in Division III.

That is why Georgetown's 12-7 victory over Howard yesterday was so meaningful to the players and coaches. It's not just that one game into the season the Hoyas already have matched their win total from last season. It was significant for the recognition and respect the victory could give them after being overlooked for such a long time.

Senior wide receiver Kenny Mitchell caught a 31-yard touchdown pass from freshman quarterback James Brady, and sophomore Casey Dobyns kicked two field goals to secure Georgetown's first season-opening victory in three years and perhaps one of its most significant wins since it moved from Division III to division I-AA in 1993.

"It just helps us show D.C. that Georgetown does have a good team that can play a little football," Mitchell said. "I get those questions all the time, my whole career, and so it's just very special to finally show people."

Under brilliantly sunny conditions, the first meeting between the schools drew 6,085 fans to Howard's Greene Stadium. The crowd was bigger than expected, especially since the game had been postponed from Saturday because of Tropical Storm Hanna and it was the first NFL Sunday. A large Georgetown contingent saw its team do just enough to win.

The game began inauspiciously for the Hoyas when Mitchell fumbled away the opening kickoff, the first of two Georgetown turnovers. But Howard was even more careless with the ball. The Bison had three fumbles and an interception.

As the game wore on, Georgetown's offense grew more confident as Howard's stagnated. Platooning two quarterbacks -- Brady and sophomore Keerome Lawrence, neither of whom had started a college game -- the Hoyas capitalized on their signal-callers' strengths: Brady's passing and Lawrence's scrambling. Brady completed 12 of 20 passes for 131 yards.

For Howard, it was a game of missed opportunities and miscues. The Bison took an early 7-0 lead when quarterback Floyd Haigler connected with freshman wide receiver Willie Carter for a five-yard scoring pass on their second drive.

Haigler threw for 183 yards on 17-of-30 passing. He also threw an interception and was sacked four times. Senior wide receiver Arlandus Hood was his primary target, catching nine passes for 114 yards.

"I thought for the most part our defense played pretty well, with the exception of the two long plays," Howard Coach Carey Bailey said. "The majority of our problems right now are on the other side of the ball. We have to do a better job of securing the ball, No. 1, making the right decisions in the passing game, No. 2, and the miscue on the bloop kick, that's inexcusable. That's got to be corrected as well."

After Dobyns kicked a 30-yard field goal to make it 12-7, Georgetown caught Howard's special teams by surprise when the Hoyas sent a kickoff high and short and then ran to the ball before a Bison player touched it. Georgetown took possession on the Howard 29-yard line to secure the win.

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