When Marist football last took the field, it had a chance to secure a winning season and send its senior class away with a fond final memory. Unfortunately, neither of those things happened, and the 2021 season ended with a sour taste in a loss to PFL bottomfeeder Butler.
Now, after almost ten long months, the Red Foxes are about ready to return to Tenney Stadium as they open the 2022 season with a non-conference clash against Georgetown on Saturday.
With plenty of excitement heading into the first game of the year, let’s get you prepared for the Hoyas and the Red Foxes.
How did Georgetown fare last season?
The Hoyas struggled to a 2-8 overall record and went 1-5 in the Patriot League in 2021. Georgetown was supposed to host Marist to open last season, but COVID-related complications canceled the game. The Hoyas lost three one-possession games and ended the season on a four-game slide.
The offense struggled to produce, putting up 19 points per game in a season where quarterbacks Joseph Brunell and Pierce Holley split most of the snaps. Similar to Marist, Georgetown struggled to move the ball on the ground, averaging just 84 yards per game on the ground.
The defense surrendered 30 points per contest last season and especially struggled against the running game, allowing almost 200 yards per game.
How do the Hoyas look for this season?
Georgetown landed in sixth place (second from last) in the Patriot League preseason poll. With Brunell gone, Holley looks the favorite to start as the signal caller. The Hoyas also return their two leading rushers in Herman Moultrie III and Joshua Stakely. The offensive line looks mostly unchanged from last season’s group that protected the passer well but struggled to open gaps for the running game.
The Hoyas will need to take a step forward on the defensive end if they want to outperform their preseason expectations. The defensive line returns a good deal of experience, although none of those players registered more than two sacks. The linebacker core also brings back plenty of experience, including Justin Fonteneaux, the team’s second-leading tackler from last season.
Who starts at QB for Marist?
Now that the clock has struck midnight on Austin Day’s Marist career, Jim Parady has to decide on a new starting quarterback. The Red Foxes don’t have much experience in the QB room, but all signs to sophomore Brock Bagozzi trotting out for the first offensive series on Saturday.
Bagozzi played in five games in 2021, completing 25-of-51 passes with two touchdowns, two interceptions, and 282 yards. Most of his work came against Bryant when he threw for 213 yards and both of his touchdowns.
Diego Arroyo and Logan Brabham, both competing with Bagozzi, threw touchdowns in last Friday’s scrimmage, but a lack of in-game experience would explain why neither of them start.
Two key matchups
The Hoyas, sometimes by necessity, were a pass-first team last season, averaging 250 yards per game through the air. Marist’s secondary looks to be in good shape, with Teddy Wright and Clayborne Fields III at the safety spots (combined for nine interceptions last season) and Isaiah Smith at cornerback, all coming off solid seasons. If the Marist front seven can shut down the running game and force Georgetown into a one-dimensional offense, the secondary should be ready for what’s coming.
It’s no secret that the Red Foxes lack a lot of experience in the skill positions (running back and wide receiver). In some respects, this is an advantage, because the Georgetown coaching staff doesn’t have much game film to watch, but it also means that someone has to step up and make some plays. If the Marist pass catchers can find openings against the Hoyas secondary, it might help Bagozzi (or someone else) make some easy throws and ease into the game.
Breakdown and prediction
These teams have played nearly every season since 2006, and the series hasn’t been kind to the Red Foxes, with Marist winning just once in the last six meetings, including a 43-3 loss last time they met. We also have to consider the imbalance between the PFL and pretty much every other league. Georgetown’s players are on football scholarships, Marist’s are not.
The last time Marist won a non-conference game was against Hoyas all the way back in 2017. At home against a team that only won two games in 2021, this may be a golden opportunity for the Red Foxes to break their nine-game out-of-conference losing streak.
This looks like it’s going to be a close, low-scoring game. It all comes down to how well the Marist offense performs, and in the first game for many new starters, the Red Foxes can’t quite do enough.
Georgetown 21, Marist 17
Edited by Isabella Cicinelli
Photo from Marist Athletics