Georgetown News
Kyle Longworth makes a circus grab Saturday. Photo by Richard Davis
Kyle Longworth makes a circus grab Saturday. Photo by Richard Davis
Football - Sat, Sep. 30, 2017

Georgetown College football entered the fourth quarter with a 24-14 lead and total command against Cumberland University. However, the showdown between two Mid-South Conference Bluegrass Divisional foes and Top 25 teams had an electric fourth quarter that finished with the No. 12 Tigers holding on for a 38-28 win. 

"We'll take the win," said GC coach Bill Cronin. "I like the way we started. We finished blocks and executed well offensively and defensively in the first half." 

The No. 12 Tigers (4-0, 1-0) started the fourth as back-up quarterback Reese Ryan engineered a 71-yard drive, capped off with a 15-yard shovel pass to Darius Barbour for a 17-point edge, 31-14 with 11:30 left to go in the game. The No. 22 Phoenix (4-2, 0-1) came to life, scoring 14-unanswered points. Back-up quarterback Joseph Rushin, who came in early in the third quarter after starter Dezmon Huntley got injured, threw an 81-yard bomb to Denarius Toliver for the score and to put the game back in reach just a minute and a half later. Two series later, Rushin threw a 67-yard touchdown to Toliver as Cumberland pulled with three. The Phoenix's onside kick but was recovered by the Tigers' Shawn Gilliam. Georgetown just needed a first down to put the game away but on the second play of the drive, Daric Pugh busted a 43-yard touchdown run to seal the game and give the Tigers a 38-28 win.  

"Pugh probably played his best game of the year," said GC coach Bill Cronin. "He was extremely physical and also had the speed to break away from defenders." 

The scoring started early in the first quarter after an interception by Georgetown's Kishawn Walker gave the Tigers great field position at the Phoenix 25. On the second play, Riley Hall found Connor Ford for a 22-yard touchdown. On the very next drive for the Tigers, Coach Cronin called a rare trick play, a double reverse pass play to Kyle Longworth for 42-yards and down to the Phoenix 15. Georgetown could not capitalize for a touchdown, but settled for a Jack Nguyen 40-yard field goal. A muffed punt led to CU's first great field position, and Huntley led the Phoenix down the field. Inside the five, CU went with the Wildcat package as Rushin plunged one-yard for the visitor's first points. 

GC answered with 14-unanswered points – Pugh a three-yard rush and Hall a seven-yard strike to Bart Bell. This all seemed more than enough for GC's stingy defense.  

In the 3rd quarter, the Phoenix gained a little momentum when they sacked back-up quarterback Reese Ryan. Josh Bates picked up Ryan's fumbled and lumbered 64 yards to be within two scores.  

On offense, the Tigers were again be led by Pugh and Hall. Pugh would carry the ball 14 times for 99 yards and two touchdowns. Hall was 11-for-25 for 172 yards and two touchdowns. The Tigers also got significant contribution from Darius Barbour and Bart Bell who both had two receptions for 47 yards and a touchdown. Ryan finished 6-of-10 for 77 yards and a touchdown.  

"We planned to play both quarterbacks today," Cronin said. "Ryan is a developing quarterback, but he hasn't played football in a while. You want to get him in there and see how he handles a game situation with pressure and all that. 

"I was very pleased with how he controlled the offense today. He needed to get some live reps in so he has some experience just in case something happens to Riley." 

The Phoenix were led today by Rushin and Toliver. Rushin went 14-of-24 for 304 yards with two passing and a rushing touchdown. Toliver, who was on the receiving end for both of Rushin's touchdown throws, caught the ball five times for 213-yards.   

The defense started strong, limiting CU to just 135 first half yards and one score. However, the second half was not as pretty. Cumberland finished with 545 total yards and the most points since GC allowed 39 on the road in overtime to Faulkner University.  

"It was ugly, but it's still a W," Cronin said. "All we need to do is learn how to close games out. You have to be able to finish games, and you want to finish. There's not really an art to it. It's just something you have to learn how to do. We've got things to work on, no question about it. That's what it's all about." 

The Tigers go down to Bethel University next weekend for more MSC divisional action. The Wildcats will go into play next weekend 1-4 and 0-1 in the Bluegrass Division following a 43-37 overtime loss to Campbellsville. That game will begin at 2:30 pm EST as the Tigers look to remain perfect this year. 

 
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