Around a year ago today, Marist hosted Georgetown at Tenney Stadium to kick off their season. They lost by a whopping 31; the Hoyas had a memorable 224 rushing yards, and the Red Foxes did not have a single answer to Georgetown.
This year, the Red Foxes fell in a more painful way.
On defense, they were overpowered by the Georgetown running back platoon with nearly 300 rushing yards given up, complemented by efficient play from quarterback Tyler Knoop. Though Casey Tosches’ offense scored on their first drive and was effective on the run, they wouldn’t touch the endzone for the rest of the day, thanks to drive-killing penalties and an inefficient pass game. Marist was outmatched on all fronts, falling swiftly to the Hoyas in a whopping 49-7 blowout.
Marist’s defense looked solid on the first few drives against the run, but the Hoyas utilized a quick passing scheme to convert on third down and a pair of screens to march past the 50-yard line. When the Hoyas elected to run again, they would trick the defense with an option play to graduate student running back Joshua Stakely going all the way down the left side of the field for a 42-yard touchdown. With an entire game ahead of them, this was a sign that Marist wouldn’t have much time to figure out a solution to a dynamic Hoyas offense.
“We need to fully get to ball carriers and tackle better,” said Marist head coach Jim Parady. “They made us miss way too many times out in space. That’s something they have to get used to, and hopefully, we’ll improve on it.”
The offensive highlight for Marist was produced by redshirt junior running back Amin Woods, who found easy lanes to run through created by the offensive line. Woods finished the day with 48 yards and 3.9 yards per carry. Marist would continue to rely on their running scheme with Woods on the first drive, and soon enough Tosches’ new offense earned some downs in the red zone. Platoon running back Triston Shannon would rush it in for Marist’s lone score of the day on their first drive.
“There were very few minus plays we had in the run game,” said Parady. “The only time we got off track was after a penalty. The offensive line was really creating some great seams in the backside.”
As soon as the ball got back to the Hoyas, the offense stuck to what worked: screen passes and the run. On their second drive, junior Naiim Kearney fooled Marist defenders with spin-move jukes and explosiveness to march into the end zone for a 14-7 lead before the end of the first quarter.
With the ball back in junior quarterback Brock Bagozzi’s hands, the junior couldn’t get any momentum on long passes, forcing the Red Foxes to punt. Throughout the game, Bagozzi showed his ability to roll out of the pocket and use his athleticism to create better looks, but finished the day with 121 yards and two interceptions.
“Where we’ve been connecting with those in practice, those are things that in the same situation, we need to as a game scheme, we need to get used to that game speed again,” said Parady about the passing game. “I think those things will start to click.”
Mistakes from Georgetown’s special teams gave Marist opportunities to keep the game close. After a stroke of luck on a fourth-down punt, the ball ricocheted off the returner’s foot, and Marist got a second life 35 yards farther downfield. After running into holding trouble again on crucial downs, the offense let special teams try for a field goal but couldn’t convert from 42 yards out.
Georgetown continued to pull away with another strong touchdown drive, using the threat of their proficient running back duo to haunt the Marist defense. In the meantime, Hoya quarterback fifth-year Tyler Knoop quietly completed all of his passes in the first half until the final minute, going 8-8 with a 13-yard touchdown pass to Isaiah Grimes in the corner of the endzone.
From the second half onward, it was a rough contest.
Georgetown would once again open the door for Marist on a special teams blunder. The Hoyas went offsides on a punt to give Marist their second set of fresh downs after forcing out the punting team. Though Bagozzi would complete his first pass of the drive to Stianche, he would miss a wide-open pass downfield to freshman Zeraun Daniel, fumbling an open read and ending Marist’s chances to get back in the game. Georgetown would march downfield with no problem after another pass touchdown for Knoop.
“We put the defense out in the short field four times in the second half, and that ultimately was what ended up getting away from us in the third quarter,” said Parady. “They just kind of ran it out in the fourth quarter and leaned on us a little bit.”
The fourth quarter was mostly garbage time due to Georgetown’s nine-minute drive. The game ended with Marist in their own territory with a minute to go, trying to find some positives on the offense to end the game. On the fifth play of the drive, Bagozzi would fire an interception to senior Sherman Steptoe II, who ran all the way back for Georgetown’s seventh touchdown of the day.
Marist’s last matchup against the Hoyas was deflating, to say the least. Today, added to that as Marist lost by 42. There’s no sugarcoating it: the Red Foxes will need to play much more cohesively to be a threat to teams in the PFL. Marist has a chance to catch their breath, as they have a bye week to recuperate before their home opener against Davidson on Sept. 16.
Edited By Sam Murphy
Photo Credit: Kira Crutcher