POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y.— Marist defeated Dayton by a score of 28-17 Saturday afternoon for their first win of the season in front of their home crowd of 2,830 for Marist’s parent’s weekend. This marks the first time Marist has beat Dayton in Tenney Stadium and only the second time they won against the Flyers in program history.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Mike Husni sought a better performance against Dayton after only completing 10 of his 30 pass attempts against Stetson last week. This Saturday, he finished 5-7 with 60 yards and one rushing touchdown.
Head Coach Jim Parady was looking for a better performance from his defense, specifically in the second half. After failing to hold the Stetson offense, they gave up the lead in the last quarter last week. However, the Marist defense played with high intensity and came up with some key stops throughout the match again Dayton.
“It feels fantastic. This is the feeling that you work for. Everything we do, we work for this feeling and I told the guys to embrace this and remember what it felt like,” Parady said. “We want more of it. It’s a great feeling.”
The defense opened with a dominant stop against Dayton on their first possession. After two sacks from redshirt senior linebacker Willie Barrett, redshirt senior Eric Taylor forced a three and out, and the ball was handed over to Marist.
“We got them off the field and did not allow a lot of long drives and getting stops down in the red zone. They got field position for us and we had more three and outs,” Parady said of the change in the defensive approach.
Dayton was held on third down eight out of 13 times. The Marist defense completed three sacks for a total loss of 16 yards.
“We just went back to basics,” said Barrett. “We played together and played for the guy next to us and it showed in the result.”
The offense took that momentum and scored on their first possession of the game. They marched down the field to score on a 10 play drive that covered 66 yards, capped off by Husni escaping the pocket and scoring an eight-yard rushing touchdown to open up the scoring.
Dayton’s high pace offense was no match for Marist’s defense, holding Dayton again in their second possession.
The offensive line remained unyielding, and was consistently able to open running lanes for redshirt sophomore running back Darryn Jordan. Jordan had 53 yards on 17 carries on the game.
“We were 17 for 22 throwing the football and we ran the ball for a good amount of yardage. That’s credit to the offensive line. Coming in down two starters, that was something that they bonded together and really took on this challenge,” said Parady.
“I thought we had great momentum today,” said redshirt sophomore quarterback Hallenbeck, who was rotated in and out for Husni throughout the game. “There were really no mistakes made by the offense. The offensive line played great, for being down two people. They pulled together and played great. We just need to keep doing what we’re doing. It’s all we gotta do.”
Dayton grabbed their first lead of the game with 3:40 left in the third quarter after quarterback Jack Cook threw a perfect 24-yard touchdown to wide receiver Matt Tunnacliffe.
Marist sophomore punt returner Mekhai Johnson set up the offense after a big return that got into Dayton territory. Hallenbeck led the offense and went 45 yards in three plays. After escaping the pocket, he made several Dayton defenders miss and dove into the end zone for a 24-yard rushing touchdown, giving Marist a 21-17 lead with 1:52 left in the third.
Redshirt junior tight end Jon Kanda kept the drive alive with a huge third down conversion for a 30-yard pickup. Marist continued its drive which ended with a 56-yard touchdown pass from Hallenbeck to senior wide receiver Juston Christian. Christian finished the game with 107 receiving yards on 7 catches. The Red Foxes increased their lead to 28-17 with just over 11 minutes left in the game.
“This game meant a lot to me. It meant a lot to me and it meant a whole lot to the team. Offensively I thought we played great. I thought we controlled the ball very, very, well and we didn’t put our defense in tough situations. I’m very proud of all our guys,” said Hallenbeck.
The Marist defense came back on the field with high intensity late in the game and forced Dayton to another three and out. Junior linebacker Maliek Carr sacked Cook, redshirt senior cornerback Brandon Miller had a huge hit on Dayton wide receiver Kyle Butz behind the line for a loss of yardage. Redshirt sophomore cornerback Ryan Webb then made a huge play on a third down, nearly intercepting a pass from Cook.
“It was a great team win. We played well in all three facets of the game. I’m very proud of these guys,” said Parady. “But most important I’m very happy for them because they worked so hard, and now for them to get a reward it’s great for them.”
Dayton having time for one more drive, the defense’s job was not yet done. A holding penalty against Marist set up Dayton inside the 30-yard line. Redshirt senior defensive end Enmanuel Soriano came up with a huge sack on Cook. Miller secured the win, who picked off the ball in his own end zone with two minutes left.
After improving 1-3 on the year, Marist will head to Manhattan to face Columbia University for next week’s matchup.
Edited by Matt Rzodkiewicz, Lily Caffrey-Levine, and Meaghan Roche