The rushing attack of the Georgetown Hoyas proved to be too overwhelming for the Marist Red Fox defense in the season opener at Tenney Stadium this weekend. The Red Fox defense was unable to slow down any of the Hoya running backs who as a team rushed for a total of 224 yards and averaged 4.1 rushing yards per attempt.
Joshua Stakely led the charge out of the Hoya backfield as he alone accounted for two rushing touchdowns and totalled 123 yards on the ground. This was the first time that a Georgetown running back has rushed for over 100 yards in a game since Stakely himself last did so against Bucknell in 2019.
“Well I think they just leaned on us a little bit and it was some heavy sets and they kept pounding the ball in there,” said Marist head coach Jim Parady after the game when asked why the Georgetown running attack was so effective. “When [Georgetown went] heavy on us they’re gonna get some yards, and that’s okay but when we got down in the red zone we stiffened up. That’s some things that’s going to happen when they go with that type of attack.”
A big reason why the defense may have struggled so much against the run could be because of how often they needed to be on the field. Georgetown dominated the time of possession battle, controlling the ball for 38 minutes and nine seconds of game time versus Marist’s 21 minutes and 51 seconds of possession.
The Marist defense was constantly forced to return to the field with minimal rest due to the offense’s continuous struggles to pick up first downs. Up until the final drive of the first half, Marist had just two first downs and were a mere one for six on third down conversions.
“When [Georgetown] gets a long drive we need to make sure offensively we respond and give them a chance to recover. There were situations where we did not do that and put the defense back out too quickly and we talked about that on the sideline, the guys knew that and tried to hold up their part,” said Parady on if fatigue played a factor in the defense’s struggles.
The more concerning aspect of the Hoya’s success running the ball is that Georgetown was a very poor team when it came to rushing offense all last season. In 2021, Georgetown averaged just two and a half yards/rush and just 80 yards a game of rushing offense, a far cry from their domination on the ground today.
“They were leaning on us and they were willing to take that three, four, five, six yard play at a time and push it downfield. We didn’t sit in the same defense by any means, we made a lot of adjustments,” said Parady.
The one positive take away from the defense today is that they did have some success early on in stopping the Hoyas on short yardage situations in the red zone. The Hoyas were aggressive in fourth down situations attempting to convert on fourth down six different times, and the Marist defense was successful in preventing them from converting on two of those occasions.
Both of those stops came in the first half, perhaps before the fatigue really set in for the defense, and both stops came deep inside the red zone.
Parady talked about these two stops by his defense being positives from the game saying, “Credit to our defense is we bent in a lot of cases but we came up big in the red zone a bunch of times too, they fought down there with a couple fourth down stops.”
This does not hide the fact that at the end of the day Marist conceded 43 points, more than they gave up in any game all of last season. While the defense struggled, all units will need to be better for the team to have success in 2022.
“Disappointing day for us today, thought we would have a better showing,” said Parady. “Mistakes in all aspects of the game, in all three phases really caught up to us.”
Edited by Andrew Hard
Photo from Jonathan Kinane