The questions we had about the Marist Red Foxes’ offense turned out to be massive issues, while the defense and special teams didn’t do them any favors in a 43-12 season-opening loss against the Georgetown Hoyas on Saturday at Tenney Stadium.
Right off the bat, you could see how Georgetown sliced and diced Marist’s defense. They were able to attack Marist with their rushing attack (which didn’t rank too highly last year) which set up passing conversions. In the game, Georgetown rushed for over 200 total yards, which is the first time the program has done that since they played the Red Foxes in 2019, which saw Georgetown win 43-3.
The Red Foxes had two fourth-down stops early after the Hoyas drove down the field each time, including a massive stop from redshirt senior defensive lineman Dominic Dutton. Dutton shot up the A-gap and stopped the Georgetown carrier, Herman Moultrie III. He and the entire defense got amped up, which they hoped to see translated to the offense.
They, instead, went nowhere each time. They got lucky after Georgetown senior returner Joshua Tomas muffed a punt, giving the Red Foxes great field position. Marist could only come up with a field goal.
This was the true theme of the game – offensive drives going nowhere after motivated defensive plays. This would quickly dissipate the energy in the stadium every single time.
“All three phases of the game were at fault,” said Marist head coach Jim Parady. “There were big momentum shifts…we gave up field position, on another we gave up a touchdown and then field position…it put the defense in bad spots.”
Just look at the stark first down difference and time of possession. Georgetown had 26 first downs, while Marist only had 10. Georgetown controlled possession for over 38 minutes, while Marist only controlled it for only about 22. It was simply the offense not doing the defense any favors.
The defense couldn’t catch a break, and they got gassed early into the game because of the constant offensive three-and-outs. It didn’t help that key contributors Teddy Wright and Clayborne Fields III both missed snaps with injuries during the game.
Wright eventually re-entered the game after he appeared to get checked out for a concussion, and Fields came back to play in the second half. Fields would eventually get sidelined once again after he missed a tackle on Georgetown senior running back Joshua Stakely’s 37-yard run in the third quarter. He was down for a couple of minutes, but once again returned to the game in the fourth quarter.
Stakely ended up rushing for 123 yards and two touchdowns, which is the first time since 2019 that a Hoya running back has rushed for over 100 yards in a game, which Stakely did against Bucknell. The Red Foxes will visit Bucknell for the last game of the season.
It was widely expected that Brock Bagozzi would be the starting quarterback for this game, and he was. There was a wrinkle in that, however, as he split reps in the first half with redshirt freshman Diego Arroyo, a player who has had no in-game experience while with the Red Foxes. The second half belonged to Bagozzi, with redshirt freshman Logan Brabham making a cameo for the last minute and a half of the game when their fate had already been decided.
It didn’t matter who was in for the Red Foxes – the offense simply could not get clicking. Bagozzi went 15-for-27 for 154 yards with one touchdown and one interception, while Arroyo went 0-3 with two interceptions. The feeble running attack couldn’t assist them either, as inside zones often went for only one or two yards, sometimes ruining drives and killing momentum.
Special teams should now be considered an area of concern for the Red Foxes after this game, which is unexpected based on their veteran depth. The Red Foxes’ redshirt junior punter Dominic Donohue has started for Marist before, but he had a hard time sensing Georgetown’s rush. Donohue had two punts blocked, one of which was returned for a touchdown to give the Hoyas a 27-6 lead in the third quarter.
The only consistent forces on special teams were redshirt senior Glenmour Leonard-Osbourne and redshirt senior kicker Luke Paladino. Leonard-Osbourne had a couple of great returns totaling 106 kick return yards, putting Marist in good field position on multiple occasions. He even seemed to be Marist’s lone spark on the offense when he touched the ball, and Parady recognized that.
“We tried to give him the ball a couple of different ways out on screens,” said Parady. “We tried to get him around the edge and get it out away from the box a little bit and run into space. We will try to get more of that in as the season goes on.”
It all broke apart when Paladino injured his ankle in the third quarter. It was all on a PAT after an exciting 43-yard touchdown from Bagozzi over the top to redshirt senior wide receiver Brandon Lombana, the offense’s only TD of the game.
Senior long snapper Justin Iaccio had a bad snap which forced Paladino to pick up the football and improvise on the fly, so he rolled out and threw it into the endzone.
After the play, Paladino was down for a few minutes and needed assistance to get to the sidelines where he got work done on his right ankle. He began to walk under his own power after getting his ankle taped up, but it wasn’t looking good for Marist. The dreaded injury bug seemed to have already begun.
For the players on the sideline witnessing all these injuries, they seem to be under one, unified mindset.
“Next guy has gotta step up,” said Dutton. “You’re put in that position for a reason, so we gotta trust the backups, and we all think they can do their job.”
The backup for Paladino is currently redshirt sophomore Chase Gardi, and Parady has already said that they will get him ready for their next game against Columbia. The coaching staff also has faith in Dominic Donohue to handle kicking duties, if need be.
Even with all of these team issues, Bagozzi doesn’t believe there’s much he or his teammates can work on individually.
“We as a whole just need this time off,” said Bagozzi. “We need to prepare better, and I promise we’re not gonna be like this again.”
Time off could very well ease emotions throughout this Marist squad, and luckily for them, that’s exactly what they will get. The Red Foxes will be on a bye next week, so they won’t play again until September 17th, when they play their only home night game of the season against the Columbia Lions. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m.
Edited by Jonathan Kinane
Photo from Jonathan Kinane