Expectations were high for Marist Football on the coldest day of the fall thus far, facing the Butler Bulldogs in a conference battle for the Pioneer Football League. Not only were the fans in good spirits, but also the players as they danced on the sideline to the music blasting from the speakers.
It was the second annual #SetTheExpectation game, a campaign to engage male athletes and their coaches as the solution to end sexual assault and physical violence. Marist Football looked to set the expectation for the remainder of their season against Butler on Saturday at Tenney Stadium. For this game, the expectation was for Marist to come out with a victory since they hold a 3-1 record against Butler all-time. The final score was Marist 37, Butler 27.
Redshirt freshman Hunter Cobb started the first drive with a couple of short runs and a 20-yard gain, but it ended quickly after he fumbled on the Butler 27 yard line. Last week against Davidson he was a machine with 17 carries for 178 yards and two touchdowns. Cobb redeemed himself when he rushed down the Marist sideline for a 48-yard touchdown run in the second quarter, his first of the game.
The Marist defense was quick to take the ball away from Butler. Early in the first quarter on Butler’s first possession, Marist cornerback Ryan Webb picked off Butler quarterback Nick Orlando and ran it back for a pick-six to start the scoring for the Red Foxes. Marist head coach Jim Parady showed he still has some gas in the tank in his 28th season as he followed
Webb and the rest of the defense down the sideline.
Webb credited his coach for telling him to be patient when covering his receivers, and it worked out. “My coach told me to sit on my routes,” said Webb. “I bobbled it a little bit, but I kept it in my hands and it was an amazing feeling having the ball in my hands and taking it all the way to the endzone.”
The defense came up big again late in the first quarter. Orlando escaped trouble in the backfield and ran toward the first down marker when the ball was punched loose and recovered by Red Foxes Aaron Acosta and Matt Thomson on the Marist 41-yard line. Marist finished with four forced turnovers overall, including an interception by free safety Kyle Fleitman who read a throw from Orlando.
Butler kicker Drew Bevelhimer nailed two field goals in the third quarter, one from 52 yards and one from 39 yards, to tie the score 20-20. Bevelhimer’s 52-yard kick was the longest of his career, beating his previous best of 46 yards.
Cobb electrified the crowd with a nine-yard touchdown rush to put the Red Foxes in the lead early in the fourth quarter and a 21-yard touchdown that sealed the game with 1:58 left. The running back out of Sandy Hook, CT was a problem for the Butler defense. Cobb finished the day with 21 carries for 146 yards and three touchdowns.
With the win against Butler, Marist moved to 3-5 on the season and extended their winning streak to two games. A newfound energy from both the offense and defense has sparked new life in the Red Foxes. An expectation has been set to continue their winning streak next week against Dayton.
Parady was pleased with the effort of his team. “The team showed a lot of guts […] the defense kept us in it,” said Parady. “Scoring 17 points in the fourth quarter took a lot of guts. Great team win for us.”
Edited by Dan Statile
Photo by Mike Cahill