The Red Foxes hope to remain perfect in the Pioneer Football League as they take on Drake on Saturday during family weekend. In their home opener, Marist narrowly defeated Stetson 26-23 for their first conference win of the season.
However, the Red Foxes are 0-2 in non-conference play, including a tough defeat against Cornell at home, 21-7, last week as the offense only converted in the redzone once out of their four attempts in the game. With that loss fresh in the minds of the coaches and players, another thing that is getting in their way is their all-time record against Drake winning none of the seven matchups when they have crossed paths.
“The record is what it is, but we don’t carry that into this game as [Drake] has a new team this year,” Marist Head Coach Jim Parady said. “To break that streak, we need to be more efficient offensively. In the Cornell game had we converted the three other opportunities we would’ve won that game and that’s where our game always starts.”
With lots of hurdles to jump less than one month into the season, the biggest one has been the quarterback situation. Quarterback Austin Day, suffered a concussion in the week two victory over Stetson and has not returned to the field since. Luke Strnad was called on to fill in for Day.
According to Coach Parady, Day is “in the last steps of the concussion protocol” and is hopeful for him to make his return sooner rather than later, but Strnad is the most likely to start under center come Saturday. Parady also added it is “uncertain” to see who gets the starting role when both are fully healthy but feels “great about both of them” and is “a great luxury for me to feel confident in both those guys”.
Despite being injured, Day has been supportive of the team since his injury, especially with Strnad. “He’s always got my back,” Strnad said. “He’s always positive and cheering me on and if I ever make a mistake, he is in my ear telling me what I should do better and overall just a great teammate to have.”
With Day returning soon, none of the speculation of Strnad losing his current starting role crosses his mind and is looking forward to the matchup. “It doesn’t even bother me. Whatever the best decision is for the team, I’m sure [Parady] is going to make it. I’m just very excited for family weekend and hope to get a win in front of a big crowd!”
Even though the Bulldogs are winless so far this season, they have matched up against two favorites to win the FCS national championship, North Dakota State and San Diego State. With that they are going to come prepared when they visit Tenney Stadium. As for Marist, they will look to go 2-0 in the conference for just the second time in their history in the Pioneer League and their first since the 2013 season.
Edited by Doug Johnston