Saturday, October 14, 2023

Toreros fall to Marist 30-16 as Turnovers Prove Costly

Poughkeepsie, New York - In a rain-soaked showdown, the University of San Diego Toreros (1-5, 1-2 PFL) clashed with the Marist Red Foxes (3-3, 3-1 PFL) in Pioneer Football League action at Tenney Stadium Saturday morning. Despite an initial lead, the Toreros fell 30-16 to Marist in a game riddled with turnovers, marking their second consecutive loss.

The First Quarter Stalemate

The opening kickoff handed San Diego an early setback with a quick fumble, but they redeemed themselves with an essential third-down stop led by the fiery sack from Giovanni Iovino. A promising drive, featuring a 37-yard pass to Ja'seem Reed, ended with a missed 50-yard field goal attempt.

However, USD's Nick Murray swung the momentum back in their favor with a timely interception of Marist quarterback Brock Bagozzi. Yet, neither side capitalized on their takeaways, and the first quarter concluded with the scoreboard unblemished.

Wildcat Magic and Marist Response

The second quarter burst into life as the Toreros unleashed the Wildcat formation with Re-al Mitchell taking the snaps. The gamble paid off with a spectacular 49-yard touchdown run, giving San Diego a 7-0 lead.

But Marist was quick to respond, as Bagozzi connected with Trevor Sterry for a 17-yard touchdown pass, restoring parity at 7-7. The rain intensified, casting a shadow on the Toreros' fortunes, as they fumbled twice in the final three minutes of the half. Marist capitalized on these errors, scoring two touchdowns to claim a 21-7 halftime lead.

Third-Quarter Setbacks

The third quarter opened with Mitchell engineering a promising drive, guiding the Toreros into the red zone. However, Marist snatched the momentum right back with a 99-yard pick-six, pushing the lead to 28-7. San Diego answered with Aiden Lehman nailing a 27-yard field goal, cutting the deficit to 28-10.

Fourth-Quarter Hopes and Disappointment

The final quarter saw the Toreros' spirits remain unbroken, led by the electric Re-al Mitchell. His acrobatic hurdle set the tone for a 13-yard touchdown pass to Isaiah Williams, putting the Toreros back in contention at 28-16. However, a botched two-point conversion left them facing an uphill battle.

Deep in their own territory following an accurate punt from Marist, a high snap during a punt attempt proved disastrous. The ball sailed over punter Aydan Corrales' head and out of the back of the endzone, giving Marist a safety and securing their first victory over USD in team history.

Impact Toreros

Re-al Mitchell showcased his versatility with 102 rushing yards, 68 receiving yards, and a touchdown.

Linebacker Giovanni Iovino made his presence known with five tackles, a tackle for a loss, and a sack.

Eric Haney shined on special teams with 78 total return yards, averaging 19.5 yards per return.

What's Next?

USD returns to the friendly confines of Torero Stadium on October 21st to host the Drake Bulldogs (3-3, 3-0), who put themselves in first place with a 52-21 win over defending league champion St. Thomas.

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