CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Different coach, different location, same combo, same result.
George Washington senior Ryan Switzer picked off an Austin Hensley pass at his own 45 yard line in the first quarter Friday night, then bobbed and wove his way through the Hurricane defense for a 55-yard touchdown that highlighted the Kennedy Award winner's 2012 home debut in a 41-15 Patriots win.
"He was wide and he wasn't going to run a comeback, which is their favorite route so I just played the inside and he threw it right to me," Switzer said.
A year ago in Hurricane, Switzer jumped a route on a Hensley pass and returned the interception for a 50-yard TD in a 35-0 GW win.
On Friday, Switzer's score put the Patriots (3-1) ahead 14-0, and after a quick stop on Hurricane's ensuing drive, the North Carolina-bound Switzer took a handoff and ripped off 52-yard touchdown run on first down to all but put the game away before halftime.
Hurricane (2-2) was given new life before intermission, however. On fourth-and-20 from the GW 40, the Redskins were granted a fresh set of downs on a pass interference call against GW's Trevon Johnson. Although Switzer ultimately ended the drive with one of his three pass break-ups on the night four plays later, it set field position for what led to a 29-yard touchdown pass from Hensley to junior Zach Pate with 1:10 left in the half.
"It changed a little, and it will when you have silly penalties like that," GW Coach Steve Edwards Jr. said. "They become controlling, and you really don't want that to happen.
"We talked about it halftime - being able to control the emotions and ups and downs and highs and lows during the ballgame, and to keep out composure. We wanted to keep doing what we do."
Switzer got some assistance in the second half from senior quarterback Trevor Bell that helped swing momentum back in the Patriots' favor for good. A 27-yard pass to Austin Giacomo on third-and-8 call from the GW 45 gave the Patriots a fresh set of downs, and two plays later Bell called his own number to score on a 16-yard run that gave GW a 34-15 lead with 8:33 left in the game.
Bell, who completed 3 of 8 passes for 49 yards, gained 35 yards on four carries, including a long of 33 yards. He was sacked once for an 11-yard loss.
"We recognized some things and the (coaches) did a nice job making some good calls," Edwards said. "Those were things where - with Ryan being healthy - it helps us get a lot more people in play. You've got to be able to defend the field on us."
Switzer, who entered the game with just 12 carries on the season for 302 yards, carried 30 times for 266 yards and two rushing touchdowns. He missed the Patriots' home opener on Aug. 31 after suffering a concussion in GW's season opener a week earlier.
"I guess they wanted to get me back up to my average number of carries," Switzer said with a laugh. "I feel fine. I could go work out and do whatever, so I feel good."
Hensley threw for 174 yards, but completed just 11 of 29 pass attempts. Pate, who entered the game with 359 rushing yards and 348 receiving yards, carried just three times for 10 yards. He caught three passes for 52 yards and a touchdown.
Steven Handley, who caught a 30-yard touchdown pass in the loss, led the Redskins with 40 rushing yards on nine carries.
GEORGE WASHINGTON 41, HURRICANE 15
Hurricane 0 7 0 8 -- 15
George Washington 14 7 7 13 -- 41
First downs 16 19
Total yards 266 428