Friday, June 30, 2017

2017 Opponent Preview: Georgetown UPDATED

Tim Barnes wears the unusual number 35 for a QB

In retrospect, last year’s 17-14 loss to Georgetown in Washington, D.C. really was the low point for the Columbia Football program under Al Bagnoli.

The stat sheet, other than the final score, looks like a complete Lion rout with Columbia winning the 1st downs battle, 20-8, outrushing the Hoyas 172-71, and beating them in total yards by 314 to 195.

As much as Columbia beat themselves in the 2015 loss at home to Georgetown, in 2016 they took self-destruction to a new level against GU.

Just to illustrate that point, it should be noted that Georgetown never won another game in 2016 after that Columbia game, dropping all remaining eight games by an average of 15 points per game.

But here’s a look at what we might expect from the Hoyas when they come to Kraft Field in week 2 this fall:


It’s possible a big part of the Georgetown collapse last season was the result of QB Tim Barnes going down to injury after the Lions game. Barnes was far from stellar against the Lions, but decent. He was a bit better overall in his other two full games against Davidson and Marist. In short, the Hoyas weren’t such a great team with Barnes but they were positively terrible without him. And Barnes will be back this season under center.

The running game also gets its 2016 leader back for 2017 in Alex Valles, but “leader” is a relative term when Valles didn’t even average 10 carries per game.

GU’s top 2016 receiver Justin Hill has graduated, but their #2 WR Justin Harrell is back and so is senior Michael Dereus who caught that shocking early 44-yard TD pass in the game against Columbia last year. Still, this part of the Hoya team seems really thin.

In an eerie coincidence with week one opponent Wagner, Georgetown is also returning its entire starting offensive line from last season. That O-line wasn’t so great in their run blocking duties, but it did a bit better on pass protection in general and did not allow a sack in the game against the Lions last year.


The best news for the Hoyas is that half of their strong starting linebacking unit from 2016 returns for 2017. That includes leading Hoya tackle J’V'on Butler and the solid Matt Apuzzi. The bad news is that one of the graduates is 2016 leading sacker Phil Novacki.

The entire starting secondary is back for this season, but that’s a mixed bag as the GU DB’s allowed seven yards per pass last season. However, CB Jelani Williamson is a rising star and is considered one of the best players in the entire Patriot League. Williamson had three tackles and no INT's or pass break ups vs. Columbia last year. But in 2015, he broke up three passes in the Hoyas 24-16 win. 

2/3 of Georgetown’s starting D-line from last year is back for this season, but the one guy they lost was their best D-lineman in Hunter Kiselick.


Georgetown’s excellent placekicker Henry Darmstadter, who nailed a 47-yard FG against the Lions last year, has graduated. Their excellent punter Harry McCollum is also gone. But decent kickoff returner Isaac Ellsworth is coming back after averaging 23.2 yards per return.

Overall, it’s hard to not see this game as a must win for the Lions to have a truly successful season. Unless some great new stars suddenly appear on the Hoya roster, it’s likely getting a win in this contest will be more about Columbia keeping it together than anything else.

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