GW wins with heavy hearts
PRINCETON - It was perhaps the longest week in George Washington football history.
At least that's the way Ryan Switzer will remember it.
The week started with the death of freshman lineman Drew Morton in a tragic auto accident Sunday morning.
It ended Friday as Switzer and company, paying tribute to Morton, defeated Princeton 61-11 at Hunnicutt Stadium.
Switzer rushed for 318 yards and five touchdowns as the Patriots improved to 4-1.
"We've known Drew all of our lives," Switzer said. "To us, that was one of our babies. When we heard it, we all rushed to the hospital. When we heard the news, our stomachs just kind of dropped. To lose a baby like that, it was rough. But he is in a better place, watching over us.
"It felt like we hadn't played in a month."
"It was just tough, really tough," GW coach Steve Edwards Jr. said. "There's no book on how to do it. It's a credit to the kids how they handled it. They helped me get through it. They did a fine job of being mature. They had to grow up a little faster than they wanted to. I thought they came and they were as focused as they could be. They answered the call."
Princeton started strong, with a 56-yard pass from quarterback Jay Palmer to Chad Wyrick setting up a 25-yard Austin Smith field goal.
After that, it was all GW and a whole lot of Switzer.
The Kennedy Award winner scored four first-half touchdowns, including a 98-yarder after an interception by Jacob Jackson halted a potential Princeton scoring drive. That gave GW a 14-3 lead and opened the floodgates.
"I had a great hole and I followed my big man [Dustin Crouser's] block and good things usually happen when I get in space," Switzer said. "Princeton came out and played hard but our guys responded."
The Patriots, who scored 61 unanswered points, led 35-3 at the half.
"He's a great back," Princeton coach Randy Peek said of Switzer. "We don't have anything like that on the field. What we don't have in talent I thought we made up for in heart. I thought we fought till the end and we didn't give up. Our offensive line was pushing them around at times and we'd get in the red zone and make a mistake."
George Washington got another three touchdowns in the third quarter, including Switzer's 59-yard scamper to start the half.
On the evening, George Washington rolled up 456 yards on the ground and 557 yards of total offense.
Crouser added 76 yards and a touchdown. Quarterback Trevor Bell completed 6 of 8 passes for 101 yards and also had a 19-yard touchdown run.
"I'm really proud of our guys," Switzer said. "We really played well. [Morton] is going to be with us the rest of the season, and we're going to play for him."
Princeton was led by freshman quarterback Palmer, who had 27 carries for 89 yards. He was 3 for 3 passing for 71 yards.
The Tigers were without standout running back Tahj Sho-Johnson for the third straight game with a leg injury. He is expected to return next week.
George Washington is off next Friday, while Princeton hosts Graham, Va.