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Georgetown College's football team flexed its defensive muscle once again in its home-opener Saturday against University of the Cumberlands.
The No. 8 Tigers (2-0) picked off the No. 10 Patriots three times in the third quarter, which translated into 10 points and a 24-14 lead. GC tacked on a final score in the fourth quarter for the 31-14 win.
"It was a good day," said Georgetown coach Bill Cronin. "Our defense had a game plan and Coach (Shan) Housekeeper and the rest of the coaches did a great job of executing it. We knew Cumberlands struggled passing the ball, and we wanted to get them to throw it."
UC had 25 pass attempts on the day, in two previous games it combined for a total of 30. In two games, the Patriots rushed for 744 yards and eight rushing touchdowns. The Tigers held them to 67 yards on 33 attempts and no rushing touchdowns. Cumberlands was also averaging 36.5 points per game, but managed just 14 at Toyota Stadium.
Georgetown improves to 26-5 in this long-standing, in-state rivalry.
"This defense continues to grow," Cronin said. "Our first outing we had to stop the pass and today we did it again against the run. Now we have to see what happens when we face a team that has both."
Sophomore Patrick Dougherty was one of the first to really disrupt the Patriots. On the first series out of the half, the defensive lineman tipped a pass that Jake Conner then snagged out of the air to set up an Alex Kreimer 36-yard field goal. It broke a 14-14 stalemate and would be all the points the Tigers needed.
Zach Goebel helped Georgetown add some insurance with a pick on the very next series. This set up a five-play, 34-yard touchdown drive. The score came as Kaelin Ammons danced away from not one tackle, but two, all while staying behind the line of scrimmage to find an open Logan Osborne for a six-yard strike. GC led 24-14 at that point.
The Tigers final score came late in the fourth when Ammons hooked up with Coty Minnis for a two-yard touchdown reception. On the day, the senior signal-caller was 17-of-31 for 161 yards, three touchdowns and one interception.
"This was a good day and a good win," Cronin said. "But, we do have a long way to go. I liked seeing our team come out and really take control in the third. We sort of grabbed momentum there with a late score in the second quarter and a lot of good things happened."
That late score came as back-up quarterback Cameron Smyth had to jump into the fire on a drive in UC territory. Ammons went down with a knee injury and limped to the sidelines, leaving just a few moments for Smyth to warm up.
The junior did not waste his opportunity. His first play under center was a 40-yard lofting touchdown pass for 6-foot-5 Rashad Mason, who elevated and brought it in for the score. This knotted the game at 14.
"It was great to see Cam come in and good to see him get his confidence up. He threw it right up there, just like we draw it up," Cronin said with a smile.
GC jumped out to a lead on the first possession of the day, when a 14-play, 64-yard drive was capped by a 16-yard Ammons to Minnis strike.
Cumberlands tied it on the ensuing drive and then grabbed its only lead when Ammons was picked off by Drew Yeargin. The Patriots marched 35-yards on six plays for the 14-7 advantage.
"Our guys competed and played a nice game today," Cronin said. "Now we have a very tough Shorter University team coming in here next Saturday for Homecoming. It will be another test."
It could also be the Tigers third straight opponent ranked inside the Top 25. Ottawa was preseason No. 10 and UC jumped from No. 16 to No. 10 this past week. The Hawks were tied at No. 21 this past week and beat Pikeville with two late scores to improve to 2-0. Kick-off is set for 1:30 pm at Toyota Stadium.