Tigers Turn It Around Fast, Roll Over Georgetown

  • October 8, 2017


The only things even longer than the week following a bitter loss might be Jesper Horsted’s and Stephen Carlson’s strides.  So before the kickoff Saturday, it was not Bob Surace’s intention to keep his Tigers caged.

“I wanted to get the guys out there so we could get stretched and loose,” said the coach. “But I ended my pregame (talk) early and we were in the tunnel for an extra four minutes.

“At the start, I just didn’t feel we were ready. It was my fault.”

Fortunately a team that had a little too much time on its hands has big, soft, mitts.  Down 10-0 after a brief, but unsettling, siesta, the Tigers used nine catches by Horsted, five by Carlson and two receptions for touchdowns by Graham Adomitis to rout Georgetown 50-30 on Powers Field at Princeton Stadium.

Chad Kanoff, whose 25-for-29 for 313 yards also included touchdowns to Horsted and Carlson, became Princeton’s second all-time leading passer to Doug Butler (‘83-‘85), as 3-1 Princeton scored 50 straight points, only six of which–a one-yard plunge by Charlie Volker–was of the grinding variety.  It was a welcome bust-out before six straight weeks of Ivy opponents begin Saturday at Brown.

“We are handling the ball really well, are in a good flow with our dropbacks,” said Surace. “We have big receivers who can body-up guys, which you see on jump balls and other type routes.

“We have guys with great body control. And Chad is throwing the ball to spots where those guys can catch it.”

Take the first Princeton score for instance–however long it took to unfold. Having for the second straight week surrendered a long touchdown drive that featured three third-down conversions, the sleepy Tigers then gave away three more points when freshman punter Antonio Ferrer dropped a snap and Georgetown recovered to set up a field goal.

It was far too early to panic. The defense got a second-consecutive stop and the cobwebs started to clear.

A 36-yard completion to Tiger Bech, sprung primarily by a Horsted perimeter block, and then a shovel pass to Volker put Princeton second-and-six at the Georgetown 13. Most of the stadium knew the next ball was going to Carlson or Horsted, they just didn’t know exactly where.

“I think I was expected to run a fade after they had seen that on film a couple times,” said Horsted. “I cut inside and was wide open.”

The Tigers were on the board at 10-7 and things were about to change dramatically. The Hoyas’ Isaac Ellsworth had trouble picking up Tavish Rice’s well-squibbed kickoff and was nailed by Chase Williams at the eight.  On third-and-seven, Kurt Holuba and Mike Wagner overwhelmed their blockers—Holuba from the right side and Wagner up the middle–and quarterback Clay Norris had no chance to avoid a safety.

It was two points that felt like 20.

“Huge,” said Wagner. “We needed something to get our defense going.”

Happy to chip in on the momentum swing, Georgetown went offside on the free kick and Surace made the Hoyas re-do it, picking up 17 yards in the process.  On the first play, Charlie Volker fumbled and the spinning ball stayed inside the sideline for an apparent Hoya recovery, only to have it wiped out by an offsides.

Promptly, fullback Cody Smith, apparently dressed in camouflage greens, was wide open on the sideline for 34 yards to the one, from where Volker got in with a strong second effort. Only seven minutes after falling behind 10-0, Princeton was on top 17-10.

The defense, rallying strongly, put up another three-and-out and the Hoyas were gasping after just 15 minutes.  Horsted ran through everybody for 29 yards to the five. And after a first-down pass to Adomitis failed, another on the very next play found him wide open in the back of the end zone,

Three plays later, CJ Wall stepped in front of a Norris sideline toss, picked it off and scored easily, making it 31-10.

At halftime, the Tigers did not linger in the tunnel, thank you very much. They were far from done.  On the second series of the third quarter Carlson lined up in a second-and-seven at the Princeton 37 as if he knew the Princeton acceptance letter was in his mailbox. .

“His eyes lit up,” said Surace. “I was 10 yards from him and he had this look like, ‘I can go for [67] yards.

“As he was in stance, I hear (receivers coach Dennis) Goldman (in the coaches booth) on my head phone.  ‘We got this.’ And Stephen thought the same thing. ‘This is the play that is going to beat this guy (Ramon Lyons).’

“Great fake, beautiful throw and good run on the finish by Stephen.”

Said Carlson: “Worked on it all summer with Chad, “My eyes light up anytime there is a deep route.”

Ryan Quigley, back after a one-week absence, broke out of a butterfingered Hoya tackle and cut back on a 15-yard run that made it 50-10, seemingly on the way to 70-10.  But after the defense foiled a 75-yard kickoff runback by Ellsworth–Georgetown missed the field goal–the Tigers continued being sloppy.  A block in the back by Brett Stewart spoiled a long Bech return, and Quigley fumbled the ball into 21-yard touchdown runback for Khristian Tate.

“I thought we got relaxed,” said Surace. “We can’t be relaxed.”

With still a quarter to go, Surace put back in the first team. Though an eight-minute drive resulted in a Tavish Rice field goal miss from 42, Princeton ran enough clock to eradicate any sliver of hope by Georgetown.

Surace was especially disappointed about that on behalf of some wide-outs–principally Alex Parkinson, and Jordan Argue — whose opportunities have diminished in the weekly Horsted-Carlson-Bech show. The coach wanted to get them some work and ditto for backup quarterback Kevin Davidson, but oh well, if the start and the finish Saturday were a little hard to swallow, the middle was yummy.

And besides. . . .

“There is nothing better for a coach than having things to nag about after a win,” smiled the coach.

That’s what you call a win-win.

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