The time has come.
With teams across the nation a couple weeks into their seasons, the football team begins its 136th season against Georgetown (1-1) on Saturday at The Yale Bowl.
This will be just the second meeting between the two schools. The first was a 28-14 Bulldog victory in the nation’s capital to open the Elis’ 2007 season.
While the Bulldogs will be opening their season, the Hoyas will be in game shape with two games under their belts. Georgetown defeated Howard, 12-7, to open their season before falling to Lafayette on the road, 24-6.
The Bulldogs found themselves in a very similar position last season, and head coach Jack Siedlecki admitted that they came out a little sluggish before finally kicking into high gear.
This time around, the Elis are confident they will avoid déjà vu.
“This is their third game and our first so were bound to make a mistake or two, but we can’t come out sluggish like we did last year,” captain Bobby Abare ’09 said. “I think our team has been focused all preseason, and hopefully it’ll pay off. I think this team will be ready to go.”
Offensively, the Bulldogs head into their opener with a wrinkle. Although Ryan Fodor ’09 has been named the starter, Siedlecki confirmed that Brook Hart ’11 would be seeing time under center “in the first half.” How Hart will be implemented wasn’t confirmed, but it’s likely that Hart will see a couple series.
Even with the peculiar circumstances, Fodor is honored to be the opening game’s starter and knows the challenge ahead.
“I have worked very hard and dedicated myself to the program for the past three years, and it is nice to show that my patience and commitment has paid off,” Fodor said. “At the same time I also understand that I have to continue to play how I am capable of playing and prove that I can lead the team to victory week in and week out, because at this level you aren’t allowed to take plays off.”
As for coming out of the bullpen?
“I don’t think it’ll be too different going into the game without starting,” Hart said. “I will be able to see what they are doing from the sideline, which may help. Getting mental reps before I even go in should be very helpful.”
Whoever is under center will be handing the pigskin off quite a bit to Walter Payton Award candidate Mike McLeod ’09, who ran for 157 yards and four touchdowns against the Hoyas last year.
“We will definitely still rely on the running game considering we have the best player in the Ivy League on our team,” Fodor said. “We will throw the ball enough to keep them honest and open up the running lanes for Mike.”
One of McLeod’s two reliable backups from last year, Jordan Farrell ’10, will not be available for the entire season because of a shoulder injury that will require surgery in a few weeks. Ricardo Galvez ’10, who has been battling a hamstring injury, will be the primary backup due to Farrell’s absence.
McLeod and company will be looking to exploit a defense that allowed 261 rushing yards per game last season, along with 36 touchdowns on the ground. But so far this year, Georgetown has given up 148 rushing yards, a stark improvement.
The Hoyas’ win over Howard in the opener equals the win total for their horrid 2007 season. Georgetown finished 1-10 — three of the losses came against Ivy League foes by an average score of 38-11 — and at the bottom of the Patriot League.
This season, the Hoyas returned 15 starters, eight on offense including four offensive linemen.
Behind that experienced line, Georgetown features an option attack with its own platoon quarterback situation.
Sophomore Kerrome Lawrence and freshman James Brady alternate at quarterback for the Hoyas, and while both can make plays with their arms and their legs, Brady has been more effective in the passing game, throwing the team’s only touchdown pass this season. On the other hand, Lawrence leads the team in rushing with 96 yards and a touchdown on 27 carries.
“We really just have to take away their big plays and make sure we don’t give them too much space in the open field or they can be dangerous,” Abare said.
Georgetown is one of the three non-Ivy games on the Bulldogs’ schedule this season — all three are Patriot League members.
The Elis face their first Ancient Eight opponent next week when they head to Ithaca, N.Y., to play Cornell.