Freshman Quarterback Dazzles in Debut as Marist Loses to Bryant

Fans of Marist (0-2) packed Tenney Stadium like never before to watch the Red Foxes take on the Bryant Bulldogs (2-2) on the second night of the college’s Family Weekend. The Foxes played their 2021 home opener in front of 6,154 fans, the most ever in the stadium’s 15-year history. Yet, they couldn’t make the home-field advantage count, losing 34-17.

Brock Bagozzi started at quarterback, becoming the first true freshman to start under center in head coach Jim Parady’s 30-year tenure. The coaching staff decided on Wednesday that redshirt senior Austin Day, who started last week’s game and most of the 2019 season, would not play. In Marist’s season opener last week, Day re-aggravated a groin injury that he sustained in training camp and was held out of this game as a precaution. 

Yesterday, Parady chose to ride with Bagozzi as the starter but still planned to play two quarterbacks. Bagozzi and redshirt junior Julian McGarvey split the first four drives so they could each feel out the game. Parady liked the energy Bagozzi was able to create in his second drive and decided to stick with him after McGarvey played his two drives.

“I thought he managed the game well,” Parady said of Bagozzi. “He got the ball to the right places. He extended plays for us.” The freshman ended the night with 20 completions in 37 attempts (12 of which picked up double-digit yards), 211 passing yards, two passing touchdowns, one interception and a passer rating of 114.4, which comes impressively close to a perfect 158.3 rating for a first-time starter. 

Bagozzi’s favorite target was undoubtedly wide receiver Dwayne Menders, who recorded 12 catches, 144 yards and a touchdown.The redshirt junior’s performance tied the program’s record for catches in one game and was the first 10-reception game for a Red Fox since 2018. Scott Scherzer tallied six catches and 43 yards.

“My main game today was running [dig routes],” Menders said. “They had a lot of Cover One, so I sat in that window.” He mentioned that because the receivers run routes with all of the quarterbacks in practice, he was able to build up some chemistry with Bagozzi.

After going their first game without any penalties against them, Marist committed two on the game’s opening drive and 10 overall. Redshirt senior defensive end Jacob Abill jumped offsides on 3rd-and-long and the Bulldogs capitalized on the shorter yardage. Later in the drive, freshman cornerback Alvin Stallworth committed a pass interference in the end zone that set up Bryant’s first score, a two-yard touchdown run. Throughout the game on offense, the Foxes lost out on multiple scores because of penalties.

The lack of penalties was Marist’s silver lining last week but was one of their biggest weaknesses in this game. Parady, though, isn’t worried about it, saying how the difference in how certain referees officiate the game is a likely cause in the sharp spike in penalties.

After Bryant secured red-zone positioning and scored touchdowns on their first two drives, the Marist defense used blitzes more, sending linebackers and secondary players off the edge to disrupt Bryant’s plays in the backfield. Safety Teddy Wright recorded 1.5 tackles for loss; redshirt sophomore safety Kyle Coffindaffer recorded one; redshirt junior cornerback Clay Fields III and linebackers Arthur Pinckney and Mike Arrington each recorded a half of one.

The Bulldogs still found success through the air, mainly through freshman wide receiver Anthony Frederick, who snagged two touchdown catches in the second half to go along with 10 total catches and 98 yards. Quarterback Zevi Eckhaus, also a true freshman, drove the Bryant offense down the field consistently while running for big gains when needed. His final statline: 22 completions in 29 tries, 211 passing yards, 70 rushing yards, a pair of passing touchdowns, one interception and a 152.8 passer rating.
The Red Foxes surrendered over 30 points for the second game in a row. They will head back on the road to face their first PFL opponent, Valparaiso, next Saturday, Oct. 2 at 2:00 p.m.

Edited by Mackenzie Meaney

Photo by Kira Crutcher via Marist Athletics

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