Raiders Defense Holds Hoyas Scoreless, 19-0


Special teams was the name of the game this weekend as the Raiders picked up a 19-0 victory over the Georgetown Hoyas in their Patriot League opener. On the day, the Raiders got a huge performance from junior linebacker Victor Steffen, whose two blocked punts gave the Raiders both a touchdown and a safety. For his efforts on the day, Steffen was named Patriot League Special Teams Player of the Week as well as FCS Co-Special Teams Player of the Week by The

Sports Network.

The Raiders approached their first Patriot League matchup of the season coming off their first win of the season against the Cornell Big Red. The Raiders took much of this momentum into their matchup with the Hoyas, with Steffen blocking the second Hoyas punt of the game straight through the uprights to give the Raiders an early 2-0 lead.

From there, both teams struggled to break through offensively – the Hoyas gained just 189 yards on the afternoon while the Raiders could only get 30 yards through the air. The Raiders, however, did see success on the ground. Three different players received double digit carries, with sophomore quarterback Jake Melville

leading the team with 14 carries and

142 yards.

It wasn’t until there were five minutes remaining in the first half, however, that the Raiders were able to get back on the board. With the Hoyas lining up for another punt, Steffen broke through and blocked his second punt of the day. While this one didn’t end up in the back of the end zone, first-year linebacker Pat Afriyie scooped up the ball and returned it 10 yards for a

Raiders touchdown, giving them the

9-0 lead. 

When the Raiders got the ball back with just under four minutes remaining in the half, Melville and the offense went to work, maneuvering their way down the field. With just 40 seconds left, Melville scampered into the end zone from 38 yards out for the touchdown, extending the Raiders’ lead to 16-0 as they headed to the locker room for halftime.

The second half had much of the same offensive stagnation as the first half with the Hoyas still unable to get any momentum against the Raiders defense. The Raiders had five sacks on the afternoon, with different players pitching in from everywhere to wreak havoc in the backfield. The Raiders were led by senior linebacker Kris Kent, whose six solo tackles led the team.

While the defense held the Hoyas in check, the offense did their part by controlling the game with their consistent ground attack. A pair of running backs – junior

Demetrius Russell and first-year James Holland – each received 12 carries on the afternoon and had over 80 yards to pace the Raiders. Their 319 yards on the ground slowed down the pace of the game.

In the middle of the fourth quarter, the Raiders tacked on three more points, as sophomore kicker Jonah Bowman converted a 31-yard field goal, his ninth straight, to extend the Raiders lead to 19-0, a score that would last until the end of the game.

The Raiders’ strong efforts on special teams hope to continue into this coming weekend as they welcome the Holy Cross Crusaders to Crown Field at Andy Kerr Stadium. With a start time of 1 p.m. on Saturday October 4, the Raiders hope to pick up their third straight victory on the season and third straight in their

series with the Crusaders.