Offensive production was at a standstill in Marist’s opening season game against Georgetown at Tenney Stadium, losing 43-12. Marist’s new starting quarterback, sophomore Brock Bagozzi, debuted this season with one prior start in his collegiate career. In fact, he is the only quarterback on the roster with prior game experience entering the 2022 season, and he made today’s start with multiple new starters that struggled on the offensive side of the ball.
While Bagozzi produced positive numbers on the day that got the Red Foxes down the field, there were clear efficiency problems scattered throughout Marist’s loss, including the run game and the lack of standout receiver performances. Marist had a total of 210 scrimmage yards, only 48 of which were rushing yards.
Bagozzi utilized most of the offensive weapons he had, dishing out passes to eight different receivers and was 15-for-27 with one touchdown and one interception. No receiver had more yards than fifth-year senior Brandon Lombana, who caught the lone touchdown of the day– which coincided as his only catch of the day– for 43 yards.
After three seasons, the Marist Red Foxes have changed leadership in the pocket. Austin Day, who started 22 games for Marist from 2018-22 (excluding 2020), has left Marist, meaning a significant change in the Red Fox offense. Both Bagozzi and redshirt freshman Diego Arroyo are at the helm of an offense with question marks facing their first opponent of the season with Georgetown from the Patriot league. Bagozzi, who started the homecoming game against Bryant last year, posted a promising stat line throwing 20-for-38 with two touchdowns and one interception.
“I was excited coming into the game,” said Bagozzi. “[But] the outcome was not where we wanted it and we got a lot to work on.”
Arroyo, making his first appearance as a Red Fox, ran into turnover troubles in his passing game. Coach Parady made the switch to Arroyo after the first two offensive possessions, who aired out a deep pass to running back Devin Thompson, getting his fingertips on the ball but was unable to convert on the single coverage. He threw the ball two more times on two more possessions, both of which resulted in two interceptions. Redshirt freshman Logan Brabham entered the game long after Marist had any hopes of a comeback, completing his lone pass for eight yards.
Only five offensive starters returned to the Red Foxes; 2021 leading receiver Dwayne Menders Jr. transferred to Duquesne in the offseason after leading the receiving core in yards. Lead rushers Hunter Cobb and Mehkai Johnson also departed from the program, leaving skill positions wide open for newcomers to step up, or for potential holes to appear in offensive production.
The first half showed those holes with sluggish movement downfield. On their first offensive possession, the offense played it safe in their own endzone with the rushing core and elected to punt after a failed screen pass. Miraculously, Georgetown’s punt returner botched the mile-high 50-yard punt that followed the three-and-out drive. Bagozzi took advantage with improved field position, completing a few short passes and impressing the Red Fox fans with accurate throws on the fly and out of the pocket. When they entered the red zone, Bagozzi had two incompletions which turned into a short field goal for the Red Foxes.
After scoring, production halted until the end of the second quarter. Bagozzi returned to the game in the quarter to give the offense some momentum after another quick Georgetown drive, but the woes continued. Three straight pass attempts led to three straight incompletions, and no one impressed after multiple passes fell out of the hands of the Marist offense. In the first half alone, Marist had only gained four first downs as opposed to Georgetown’s 18.
Unsurprisingly, most of these woes stemmed from Marist’s inability to convert on third downs. Marist went just two-for-10 on third-down conversions, which was the largest factor in the short offensive possession on the day. “A lot of them were manageable, too,” said Parady after the loss. “We have to find plays that are going to get us there and we have to clean it up.”
Entering the second half down 14 after multiple Georgetown end zone appearances, Marist went three-and-out and failed to execute on special teams, leading to a blocked punt to the house for Georgetown. An impressive kick return from Glenmour Leonard-Osbourne gave the Red Foxes a refresher to give the offense some momentum, in which Bagozzi wasted no time. He executed two picture-perfect passes, including a 43-yard lob landing safely in the hands of Lombana.
When the offense did produce, Bagozzi looked comfortable in the pocket. His mid and deep passing accuracy stood out especially, posting a completion percentage of 56%. He got more chances to produce in the second half due to the large lead Georgetown retained since the second quarter. However, the rushing core did no favors for Bagozzi and the passing offense. The longest rush on the day was from Bagozzi himself, as no running backs produced a run over eight yards.
“We as a whole need this time off,” said Bagozzi. “We’re gonna prepare and it’s not going to be like this again.”
The rest of the Marist offense will need to revamp the image they showed against Georgetown. By the end of the game, the energy was low, and the offensive tone was set by an inaccurate deep ball thrown for a pick by Bagozzi, his worst mistake on the day. With much to improve on, the Red Foxes will need to search for an offensive spark that can kickstart the team into reliable scoring production.
Edited by Ricardo Martinez-Paz
Photo from Jonathan Kinane