By Mike Ferraro
NEW YORK – Despite a record-setting day from senior wide receiver Juston Christian, the Marist football team suffered a 34-24 defeat at Ivy League foe Columbia on Saturday.
Christian had 274 receiving yards and three touchdowns on seven receptions. His receiving yards total set Marist’s single-game record, was a Lawrence A. Wien Stadium record, and was the most against Columbia in its 1,103-game history. His three receiving touchdowns tied a single-game Marist record, and also tied records at Lawrence A. Wien Stadium and for an opponent against Columbia.
The first score of the game occurred three seconds into the second quarter on a one-yard plunge by Columbia quarterback Ty Lenhart. The score capped a 21-play, 81-yard drive in 11:04.
On Marist’s next series, red-shirt sophomore quarterback Jacob Hallenbeck completed a 15-yard pass to red-shirt sophomore wide receiver Ethan Carpenter, which was ruled a fumble recovered by Columbia on the field. However, head coach Jim Parady challenged the call, which was reversed. On the next play, Hallenbeck completed a 61-yard touchdown pass to Christian.
Columbia drove to the Marist five on its next drive, the Red Foxes’ defense kept the Lions out of the end zone. Chris Alleyne’s 23-yard field goal gave the Lions a 10-7 lead.
Sophomore Mekhai Johnson returned the ensuing kickoff 55 yards to the Columbia 41. Four plays later, red-shirt freshman Mike Husni completed a 12-yard touchdown pass to Christian.
On Columbia’s next drive, Josh Bean completed a 12-yard touchdown pass to Lynnard Rose. The Lions took a 17-14 lead to the locker room.
After a punt, Marist’s first drive of the second half started on its own two. Two plays later, Hallenbeck and Christian connected on an 84-yard touchdown, which put Marist back in front.
Lenhart capped Columbia’s next drive, which covered 78 yards in 13 plays, with a one-yard touchdown. The Lions then took a 10-point lead with 48 seconds left in the third quarter on a 24-yard touchdown pass from Josh Bean to Casey Mariucci.
With 11:34 to play, a 30-yard field goal by red-shirt sophomore Mateo Zapata brought Marist to within 31-24.
With 4:31 left, Marist got the ball back at its 25 after red-shirt junior Eddie Zinn-Turner blocked a field goal. However, the Red Foxes turned the ball over on downs. Alleyne then hit a 40-yard field goal with 2:21 remaining, which closed out the scoring.
“Our guys played hard all day long,” Marist head coach Jim Parady said. “We just came up a couple plays short in the fourth quarter.”
Marist will return to Pioneer Football League play next Saturday at Jacksonville. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.