Turnovers Haunt Leopards in 20-17 Loss
Oct. 27, 2012
EASTON, Pa. - In a season that has seen Lafayette soar to the top of the turnover margin charts nationally, it was exactly that category that led to its demise on Saturday evening. Although the Leopards forced an interception and a fumble, its own fumbles (four) and interceptions (three) proved to be the difference in the 20-17 loss to Georgetown at Fisher Stadium.
The turnovers started on the first play of the game when freshman Jamel Smithhad the ball knocked loose on the kick return. Georgetown recovered and its offense began from its own 49-yard line. The Lafayette (5-3, 2-1) defense made a quick defensive stand and forced a Georgetown punt that was downed at the Lafayette one.
On a third down inside the Lafayette 40, Shoop's pass over the middle was intercepted by Georgetown's Stephen Atwater and returned to the Leopard 18. The Lafayette defense again stood strong as it forced a Georgetown 26-yard field goal attempt. Matt MacZura's kick was good and Georgetown took a 3-0 lead with 9:45 remaining in the first quarter.
To begin the ensuing drive, Shoop connected with sophomore Justin Adamson a 17-yard pass. Adams took a shot to the helmet on the play, and after the unnecessary roughness penalty, Lafayette had a 1st-and-10 from the Georgetown 41. After two false start penalties, the Hoyas came up with a strip sack of Shoop and fell on the ball for their third turnover of the first quarter. Again, the Lafayette defense imposed its will and forced a punt.
Georgetown (4-5, 1-2) put together a 13-play, 70-yard drive to start the second quarter. A timely pass deflection in the endzone from sophomore Jared Robertsforced a 37-yard field goal, extending Geoergetown's lead to 6-0 with 10:53 remaining in the first half.
Following the field goal, Lafayette's drive stalled, but Georgetown's Kevin Macari mishandled a punt. The ball bounced right into the hands of Lafayette freshman Matt Smalley. The offense got a second chance inside the Hoya 30-yard line. Freshman kicker Ryan Gralishconnected on a 39-yard field goal to pull Lafayette within three with 8:21 left in the half.
Lafayette's next drive gave the Leopards their first lead of the night. An eight-play, 62-yard journey in 3:34 culminated in a six-yard, highlight-reel catch in the corner of the end zone by Mark Ross from Andrew Shoop. Lafayette led 10-6 with three minutes remaining in the second quarter.
Lafayette had an opportunity to create a little breathing room at the end of the first half. The Leopards drove and had the ball 1st-and-10 at the Georgetown 12. Shoop was looking for junior tight end Brandon Hallup the seam, but Georgetown's Malcolm Caldwell-Meeks tipped and picked him off in the endzone. Georgetown led 10-6 at the half.
With 2:38 remaining in the third, Georgetown freshman QB Kyle Nolan connected with classmate Jo'el Kimpela for the Hoyas' first touchdown of the game. Georgetown led 13-10. The drive went 73 yards on 10 plays in 3:15.
To end the third, Shoop and Vaughn Hebronfailed to complete a handoff as the ball was fumbled for Lafayette's fifth turnover of the evening, giving the Hoyas the advantage heading into the fourth.
Lafayette's defense held and the offense's first drive of the fourth quarter was impressive. A flea-flicker resulted in a touchdown as Ross Scheuerman took the handoff, tossed it back to Shoop who lofted it to junior fullback Greg Kesselfor a 36-yard touchdown. Lafayette led 17-13 with 11:50 remaining in the contest.
The Hoyas marched down the field on the Lafayette defense. However, an errant throw led to an interception from Kyni Scott, who returned it 59 yards to the Georgetown 34. The following play, though, senior Rodney Gouldhad the ball punched out after a reception and it was recovered by the Hoyas at the Georgetown 39 with 8:09 remaining.
Midway through the fourth, Georgetown trailed 17-13 and had the hall 4th-and-2 at the Lafayette 42. Nolan connected with Jamal Davis for a 25-yard gain that set up a two-yard touchdown run by Nick Campanella. Georgetown re-took the lead 20-17 with 5:08 remaining.
Lafayette's ensuing drive stalled and the Leopards were forced to punt. They did get the ball back with 48 seconds. On that drive, Shoop and Adams were caught in the costliest of miscommunications as Shoop's pass was intercepted by Cameron Gamble to end hopes of a Leopard comeback.
Shoop connected with eight wide receivers on the evening as he went 17-for-34 for 186 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions. He was also the leading rusher, carrying eight times for 84 yards with two fumbles. Nolan finished 15-of-32 for 193 yards with one TD and one INT. Defensively, Robert McCabe had 16 tackles for Georgetown while Colton Kirkpatrickmanaged 12 for the Leopards.
Next up for the Leopards is a trip to Hamilton, N.Y. for a match-up with Colgate which currently sits atop the Patriot League standings. Kick-off is scheduled for 1 p.m.
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