The Marist Red Foxes (3-4, 3-2) responded to its first PFL loss of the season with a flat performance against the St. Thomas Tommies (5-2, 4-1). The Red Foxes lost by a score of 27-7.
Although the score doesn’t indicate total domination, Marist seemed to play with a lack of urgency today. The tackling effort from the defense was weak, the Tommies were able to run the ball with little resistance from the Marist defensive front and the offense wasn’t able to execute.
Marist redshirt senior quarterback Austin Day completed nine of his 16 pass attempts for 101 yards and an interception. The typically reliable redshirt junior wide receiver Dwayne Menders recorded three catches for 34 yards and dropped a pair of passes. Running backs redshirt junior Hunter Cobb and redshirt senior Mekhai Johnson rushed for 31 yards and 26 yards respectively.
St. Thomas senior quarterback Cade Sexauer completed nine passes in 20 attempts for 139 yards and two total touchdowns. Senior running back Tom Loeffler tallied four receptions for 33 yards. Running back Hope Adebayo put on a show. The sophomore ran through the Red Foxes all day, dashing through the wide lanes his offensive line created for him and powering through defenders. He recorded 191 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
The tone of this game was set on its first drive, when St. Thomas ran a double reverse before pitching the ball back to Sexauer, who connected with an open Max Zimmerman. The senior tight end bounced off the terrible tackle attempts from Marist en route to punctuate a 52-yard touchdown. The defense got pummeled and allowed the Tommies to break tackles often.
On offense, the Marist pass blocking broke down quickly. St. Thomas’ blitzes did boatloads of damage, occasionally sending one of its defenders untouched. Day’s pocket collapsed within a few seconds time after time. In one instance, Day had to scramble immediately after the snap and ended up throwing an interception to the Tommies’ senior defensive back Luke Glenna, giving the Tommies the ball near midfield.
The Red Foxes were given easy chances to post points thanks to a pair of St. Thomas special teams disasters. An awful snap on 4th down went far over the Tommies’ punter’s head, giving Marist the ball on the opponent two-yard line to end the first quarter. They scored on the next play with a Day bootleg.
Then, midway through the second quarter, the Marist defense blocked a St. Thomas pooch punt, giving their offense the ball 24 yard away from the end zone. The Foxes drove down to the two-yard line and tried an option run on 4th down but the play was blown up by St. Thomas’ senior wide receiver Isaiah Hall.
Without that easy opportunity on the botched punt, the Red Foxes probably wouldn’t have posted any points. In the first half, they recorded just 83 total yards. They committed two turnovers — Day’s interception and a fumble from redshirt junior wide receiver Scott Scherzer — and only got close to the red zone when the Tommies’ special teams gifted them incredible field position.
To start the second half, the Tommies put together a 15-play, 83-yard drive that ended with a Sexauer rushing touchdown to add to their lead. Near the end of the drive, Marist redshirt junior linebacker Arthur Pinckney was ejected after drawing an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.
The Red Foxes responded with their first long drive of the day, getting down to St. Thomas’ five-yard line thanks to big plays from Menders and Johnson. They were unable to chip away at the deficit, as Day got injured on 3rd down and backup quarterback, freshman Brock Bagozzi fumbled the 4th-down snap.
The Marist offense, overall, mustered up only 167 total yards. St. Thomas recorded 253 yards just on the ground. The wire-to-wire defeat marks the second consecutive loss to a PFL opponent for the Red Foxes.
Marist returns to action next Saturday at noon in Tenney Stadium against Drake, which will begin a three-week stretch of facing PFL opponents with losing records.
Edited by Mackenzie Meaney
Photo by Marist Athletics