Red Foxes lose thrilling home opener
Despite some late game heroics by quarterback Chuckie Looney and the offense, the Marist Red Foxes dropped their first home game of the 2012 season to the visiting Bucknell Bison, 19-10. The game, which was postponed for over an hour due to severe thunderstorms in the area, was also the first night game at Tenney Stadium in over a year.
Marist struggled to find the end zone for most of the game, and the defense of the Red Foxes did not take advantage of an inexperienced Bucknell offensive line, allowing 332 total yards of offense, a major difference from their previous week's showing against Bryant, when they allowed 292 yards.
"For our group of kids and for the coaching staff, I know that this [loss] is very frustrating because we really feel like we should have come out of here with a win," Head Coach Jim Parady said.
Entering the fourth quarter, the Red Foxes trailed the Bison by six points, having not scored since the second quarter. When Bucknell kicker Sean Cobelli put a 36-yard field goal through the uprights, the home team suddenly found themselves in a 19-10 hole with 4:50 minutes remaining.
The Marist offense would later take over with under three minutes to play, and since they had used all three of their timeouts on the previous defensive possession to ensure a last chance to score, the team needed to move quickly.
Looney then proceeded to lead a 10 play, 80-yard drive beginning near the Marist endzone, and ending with a perfectly thrown pass to wide receiver Matt Tralli (seven catches, 76 yards) that was originally tipped by a Bucknell defender.
With Jason Myers nailing the extra point, the score stood at 19-17 in favor of the vistors. Myers then lined up for the onside kick, and as soon as he kicked it, the ball bounced several times into the opponent's backfield until it was recovered by Bucknell, sealing the victory for the Bison.
Looney used both his arm and his legs throughout the entire game, as he has throughout his entire Marist career. His performance, particularly in that final drive, earned special recognition from his head coach after the game.
"Very gutsy performance tonight from Chuckie," Parady said. "He is such a leader of this offense, and he just keeps grinding and grinding all through the course of the game. He is fantastic on the sidelines too, and there is great conversation going on between us, the receivers, and the offensive line. There is nothing better than that."
The scoring began at the 3:45 mark of the first quarter, with Bucknell striking first, thanks to a six-yard touchdown pass from Brandon Wesley to Travis Friend. Marist would strike back soon after, when Calvin McCoy caught a one-yard pass from Looney in the back of the endzone.
The score was tied 7-7 entering the second quarter when the Bison had two long drives that ate up most of the clock. Cobelli hit a 22-yard field goal to put his team ahead, and on their next possession, Bucknell got another touchdown pass from Wesley, this time to Jake Flaherty from seven yards out. The scoring in the first half would end when Myers nailed a 36-yard field goal to make the score 16-10 at halftime. There would be no scoring in the third quarter, setting the stage for the nail-biting final frame.
Coach Parady understands how hard his team fought throughout the entirety of the game, especially at the end. But he also knows that in this game, there is no room for excuses.
"We did fight really hard, but we left a lot of opportunities out on the field tonight," Parady said. "We couldn't make those plays [we needed to]. So, we will look at the film tomorrow and get right back at it on Tuesday."
The next game for the Red Foxes will be next Saturday, when the team travels to New York City to take on Columbia. Kickoff is scheduled for 12:30 p.m.
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