POUGHKEEPSIE – The Marist football suffered a 26-10 loss to Bucknell in the season opener for both teams on Saturday night at Tenney Stadium. The game was played before 3,363 fans, the sixth-largest crowd in the 10-year history of the stadium.
Although the final numbers in total yards (Bucknell held a 348-341 advantage) and first downs (Marist led 19-18) were close, the game swung on turnovers. The Red Foxes committed six, with four interceptions and two lost fumbles, as compared to just one for the Bison. Two of Marist’s turnovers occurred inside the Bucknell five-yard line.
Junior quarterback Mike White completed 20 of 36 passes for 251 yards and four interceptions, and ran for the Red Foxes’ only touchdown. Senior running back Marcellus Calhoun led Marist with 60 rushing yards on 17 carries, and sophomore wide receiver Juston Christian had team highs with seven receptions and 89 receiving yards.
Defensively, safeties Wesley Beans and Michael Marston had a team-high seven tackles apiece, while sophomore defensive linemen Peter Delatour and Eddie Zinn-Turner registered sacks. Sophomore cornerback Drew Daniel intercepted a pass and returned it 60 yards on the final play of the first half.
Marist scored on its first drive, as a 33-yard completion from White to Christian brought the Red Foxes into Bucknell territory, and a nine-yard run by White got Marist into the red zone. The drive stalled there, and senior kicker Mike Maccarone hit a 37-yard field goal just 2:07 into the game.
After the teams exchanged punts on their next series, a 32-yard touchdown run by Joey DeFloria gave Bucknell the lead with 8:02 left in the first quarter.
The Bison expanded their lead with a pair of second-quarter touchdowns, both of which followed interceptions. R.J. Nitti completed a 71-yard pass to Jack Horan for a score, and DeFloria added a four-yard scoring run as Bucknell took a 20-3 lead into the intermission.
Marist kept Bucknell out of the end zone in the second half. The Red Foxes scored a touchdown on a five-yard run by White, which immediately followed his 15-yard run, with 40 seconds left in the third quarter.
A 24-yard field goal by Alex Pechin gave Bucknell a 23-10 lead with 9:12 left. On Marist’s next drive, three completions from White to junior wide receiver Lawrence Dickens brought the Red Foxes to the Bucknell 23. White and Dickens connected again for their fourth completion on the drive, but Dickens was stripped by Bucknell’s Bryan Marine at the Bison three-yard line. Marine then recovered the fumble and brought it to his team’s own 15.
Two drives later, a 46-yard field goal by Pechin with 1:10 left accounted for the game’s final points.
DeFloria finished with 145 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 27 carries. Marine finished with eight tackles, two forced fumbles, and a fumble recovery. Ben Richard had 13 tackles, including four for a loss and two sacks.
Marist returns to action by hosting Georgetown on Saturday, Sept. 10. Fireworks will follow the game.