Leopards Battle Through Rain to Beat Marist 28-6 in Football Season Opener
Sept. 6, 2008
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POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. - Junior tailback Maurice White made a triumphant return from an injury-riddled 2007 season, rushing for 212 yards and two touchdowns in a 28-6 win over Marist on Saturday night. The Lafayette defense held Marist to 37 yards rushing and 58 yards in the air led by 10 tackles and a fumble recovery by preseason All-American Andy Romans.
White's career night at Tenney Stadium was the first time a Lafayette back reach 200 yards since Joe McCourt rolled up 212 against Bucknell in 2003. White played just four games in 2007 due to injury.
The Leopards got on the scoreboard in the first quarter, culminating a 10-play, 80-yard drive with a 25-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Rob Curley to tight end Michael Conte at 4:41. Davis Rodriguez added the PAT. Curley showed his mettle on the drive as he was sacked on first and second downs for a loss of 11 yards before completing a 22-yard strike to Mark Layton to keep the ball moving down the field. Three plays later Lafayette scored.
The Leopards looked to be in a tough situation after a bad snap left punter Tom Kondash running for the sideline with a host of hungry Marist defenders in tow. Marist had the ball at the Lafayette 18 when the defense stepped to the task. Mark Leggiero, who finished with seven tackles, forced a fumble on a catch by O'Neil Anderson that Romans recovered.
A second special teams' error proved more detrimental in the second quarter, when Marist's Michael Rios broke through the middle of the line and blocked Kondash's punt. The Red Foxes recovered on the Lafayette one-yard line and Bo Ehikioya ran it in on the next offensive play. Marist missed the PAT and trailed 7-6 with 14:10 left in the first half.
Lafayette ran its own version of the "fumblerooski" to score in the second quarter. Curley had trouble with the snap under center, but scooped it up, burst through the line and ran 27 yards for a touchdown. Lafayette led 14-6 at halftime.
With less than nine minutes left in the third quarter, Marist had the ball fourth and inches at the Lafayette 10. Trailing 14-6, Marist went for it, but quarterback Chris Debowski fumbled the exchange from center and Lafayette took over on downs.
The Lafayette offense responded to the defensive stop with a dominating drive that covered 89 yards on 11 plays. White's seventh carry of the drive came on the first play of the fourth quarter when he broke off the left side and scampered 38 yards for a touchdown. Lafayette led 21-6.
The Lafayette offense took over with 8:33 left in the game, and the running game put it away. White churned out 47 more yards and scored on a three-yard run in the 28-6 final.
White finished with 29 carries on the night. Fullback Joe Russo carried the ball 12 times for 58 yards. In the air, Curley was 8-for-11 for 112 yards and one touchdown on a night not conducive to throwing the ball.
Lafayette opens Patriot League play on Saturday at Fisher Stadium, hosting Georgetown at 6 p.m.
NOTES: The two teams played in a driving rain storm for the entire game with wind blowing the sheets of rain down at a 45 degree angle.
Junior cornerback Carlos Lowe was injured with 8:25 in the third quarter with a stinger. He did sit up after the play and did not leave on the stretcher that was brought out for him. He was replaced by Jared Ricks.
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