Football begins season with dominating victory
Defense and offense star in 35-10 win over Bryant
Going into their season opener against Bryant University, the Marist defense had one goal: stop Jordan Brown, the Bulldogs' star running back whose 1,815 yards and 165 yards per game average were the best in the country among Division I-AA teams.
After limiting Brown to only 43 yards on 22 carries, it is safe to say that the Red Foxes met, and exceeded, that goal.
Behind a strong defensive performance and superb efforts on offense, the Red Foxes defeated Bryant 35-10, last Saturday on the road.
The defense allowed 295 total yards of offense to a team that last season averaged 371 yards per game, with a lot of those yards coming from Brown. After watching his defense shut down the star running back, Head Coach Jim Parady liked what he saw.
"We knew he was a dynamic runner coming in, and I think the biggest thing we did was that we never let him [Brown] get going out into the second and third level," Parady said. "That is a great tribute to both the front seven, as well as the safeties coming in and filling their gaps."
Defensive coordinator Scott Rumsey was also very pleased with his unit's play on Saturday, crediting the players for stepping up and focusing on what they had done during practice to prepare for the Bryant attack.
"The players did a really great job executing the game plan that we [the coaching staff] had put out for them, and it wasn't an easy game plan," Rumsey said. "There was lot of little adjustments in there, a lot of things that a lot of people won't do. But they knew that to be successful in the game, that is what they had to do.
Rumsey also explained how special this group of players is, not just in terms of their individual football skills, but also their dedication to getting better.
"I think that we [the coaches] are blessed with a group of kids who really care about the game of football, and really puts a lot of time in to understanding what we want to do that week. They put a lot of time into watching film on their own, asking questions on their own, and not just on the field but off the field as well. We are really lucky to have those kind of kids on our team," Rumsey said.
On the offensive side of the ball, quarterback Chuckie Looney and running back Calvin McCoy led the Red Foxes' attack that totaled 419 yards. Looney went 15-22 in passing attempts, throwing for 178 yards and two touchdowns. In addition, the junior ran for 92 yards on 10 carries. McCoy had 13 carries for 98 yards and a touchdown. As a whole unit, Parady was very impressed with the job that his players did, especially in three statistical areas: turnovers (zero) red zone efficiency (five for five, all touchdowns), and rushing yards (240 yards).
"Those three areas are what I, and the rest of the coaching staff, feel are really critical areas that we look at statistical to determine whether or not we [the team] are having an efficient game," Parady explained. "To come out in all those categories...we really feel good about it."
In his first game back as a starter, a spot that he lost after three games last season, Looney felt particularly well about his performance against Bryant.
"It was awesome," Looney said. "I worked really hard in the offseason to come back and grab that starting spot, so for all the hard work to pay off was really great to see."
Looney, who suffered a season-ending foot injury last year, said that his injury helped him take some time to focus on aspects of the game that he had never really focused on before. He explained that the time he spent in the film room, instead of on the field, really helped in preparing for this season.
"When I broke my foot, I really got a chance to correct myself on all the little mistakes I had made during the season at that point. I got to study and learn and understand the offense better, and I was able to understand how to read defenses better, looking for things that I never really looked for before," Looney said.
Both Looney and McCoy were excited about how the entire offense game together, and are eager to build off of the momentum they gained last Saturday.
"I felt like all the hard work we put into practice had finally paid off. The line did a great job, and so did everyone else," McCoy said. "We want to keep moving forward and to put a lot of points on the scoreboard."
The Red Foxes have now won two straight season openers. Last year, the team defeated Sacred Heart, 20-7, but finished the season a disappointing 5-7. Parady said that the players understand the importance of building off of this win, not dwelling on it.
"It was addressed right in the locker room by the players. We celebrated that win, but the last thing that was said was, 'This game is over.' They know that as well as the first game went, they can't hang on the success of last week. They have to keep moving forward, and I am confident that they will," Parady said.
The Red Foxes will have their season opener this Saturday, against Bucknell of the Patriot League. The game is scheduled to start at 6 p.m.
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