McCarney Makes History as Raiders Pick Up Road Win

Spencer Serling

This past weekend, the Raiders continued their winning streak, picking up their second league victory. Travelling to Washington, D.C., the Raiders (3-5) defeated the Georgetown Hoyas (1-7) 34-14 and remained at the top of the standings in the Patriot League. The Raiders were led by senior quarterback Gavin McCarney who joined special company in FCS history. McCarney, on his third play of the day, completed a pass to first-year wide receiver John Maddaluna and became the third player to pass for 5,000 yards and rush for 2,500 yards in a career.

On top of becoming a part of FCS lore, McCarney also helped lead the Raiders to their ninth straight League victory keeping pace at the top of the Patriot League standings. The Raiders began the game with the ball and promptly marched down the field. Sophomore tailback Demetrius Russell, returning from his ankle injury that kept him out of previous contests, plunged in from one yard out to put the Raiders ahead early. A missed extra point attempt held the Raiders lead at 6-0.

The Hoyas got the ball and found themselves with good field position. The Raiders, however, forced a long third down, which the Hoyas converted for a 55-yard touchdown pass to put them in the lead. The Raiders responded with a quick scoring drive that was highlighted by junior fullback Ed Pavalko’s big 40-yard rush that put the Raiders in the red zone. From there, McCarney hit junior tight end CJ Stempeck for the touchdown to put the Raiders back in the lead 13-6. After a long Hoyas drive that brought them into the red zone, senior defensive back Demetri Diamond recovered the fumble and gave the Raiders the ball back as the first quarter came to a close. The Raiders quickly took advantage of the Hoyas mistake and McCarney rushed from 12 yards out for the touchdown to extend the Raiders lead to 20-7.

The Raiders went back on defense and the Hoyas marched down the field, converting on three third downs. Finally, once in Raiders territory, the Raider defense stepped up and forced a fourth down, which the Hoyas went for and could not convert. The Raider offense, however, went three downs and out and gave the Hoyas the ball back quickly after getting good field position.

Blocking the punt, the Hoyas got good field position, set up on their own 46-yard line, but went three-and-out and pinned the Raiders back on their own 9-yard line. Unphased, McCarney and Russell engineered a drive that lasted 18 plays and ended with a Raiders score as McCarney found Maddaluna from five yards out to extend the lead to 27-7.

Going into halftime with a sizable lead, the Raiders looked to come out strong in the second half. The defense picked up right where they left off in the first half, stopping the Hoyas on three downs and giving the Raiders offense the ball. McCarney put the Raiders in great position, moving the ball through the air and on the ground, but could not convert in the red zone. The Raiders missed the field goal wide right on fourth down and the Hoyas got the ball back, hoping to change the momentum of the game.

The Raiders defense, however, remained strong as the Hoyas could once again not move the ball down the field. But the Raiders coughed the ball up on the punt return and the Hoyas recovered with great field position at the Raiders’ 46. Hoyas penalties, however, forced their drive to a near standstill and the Raiders got the ball back after a big sack on third down from junior linebacker Vinny Russo. The Hoyas, trying to regain their earlier momentum, found life as they picked off McCarney on third down and got the ball once again with great field position at the Raiders’ 42. The Hoyas took advantage of the short field and scored just three plays later to cut the lead to 27-14.

Hoping to avoid a comeback, however, the Raiders got the ball, and after a strong return from senior defensive back Wendell Lewis, McCarney found Maddaluna for his second touchdown reception. That put the game nearly out of reach with a score of 34-14. The Hoyas got the ball back and got down the field in a hurry, knowing that the game would be out of reach if they did not score quickly. But upon reaching the red zone, the Hoyas could not convert as Lewis came up with two big defensive plays on third and fourth downs to give the Raiders the ball back. From there, McCarney, Russell and Pavalko ran the ball down the field and ended the game, giving the Raiders the victory.

One big reason for the victory was the Raiders success on the ground offensively. The Raiders rushed for a season-high 309 yards on the ground and held the Hoyas to just 54. Highlighted in the Raiders ground attack was 139 yards from Russell and a career-high 69 yards from Pavalko. The Raiders hope to carry this momentum as they come back home to Andy Kerr Stadium to face the Bucknell Bison, who come in hungry after their big upset against the Lehigh Mountain Hawks. The Raiders will face the Bison this Saturday, November 2

at 1:00 p.m.

Contact Spencer Serling at [email protected]