Poughkeepsie, NY -- The USD Toreros earned a hard fought 27-3 victory over the Marist Red Foxes to stay perfect in PFL play. With the win the Toreros improve to 6-0 in league play and 7-1 overall. Marist drops their first PFL game of the season and now find themselves with a 4-1 league record and 4-4 overall mark. The win improved USD's series record against the Red Foxes to 12-0.
Senior RB Jonah Hodges was the workhorse for the Toreros as he finished with 175 yards rushing on 33 carries. He found the end zone twice in the 4th quarter with rushing scores of 7 and 1 yard to put the game out of reach. Quarterback Anthony Lawrence completed 21-of-35 passes for 195 yards and 1 score. His favorite target was Hodges who pulled in 7 balls for 45 yards, followed by TE Ross Dwelley with 6 catches for 50 yards and one score. Once again the Torero defense turned in an outstanding team effort limiting the Red Foxes to 201 yards of total offense on 54 plays. Defensive end Jonathan Petersen was credited with 4 stops, 3 sacks, 3 tackles for loss and 1 QB hurry.
In the first half the Toreros owned a 13-3 lead with the defense playing outstanding and not giving up any points until Marist converted a 27-yard field goal with 13 seconds left in the half from the leg of Mike Maccarone. USD began the half impressively with a solid 15-play, 75-yard drive that culminated with a 9-yard TD reception by TE Ross Dwelley from QB Anthony Lawrence. Lawrence was 6-for-8 for 47 yards on the drive, and RB Jonah Hodges added 17 yards rushing on five attempts.
Marist drove all the way to the San Diego 1-yard line on their opening drive only to see the Torero defense come up big. On a 4th-and-one attempt, Marcellus Calhoun's running attempt was met by LB Marcus Vaivao who forced the fumble and safety Colton Giorgi recovered the fumble on the 1-yard line. The Toreros turned the ball over four plays later on a Lawrence pass intercepted near midfield, but the USD defense stopped the Red Foxes on three plays and forced a punt.
USD's next two scores came from kicker Patrick Murray who converted field goals of 43 and 26 yards. Each field goal came after long Torero scoring drives that ate up some clock. The 43-yarder finished up a 10-play, 55-yard drive, and the 26-yarder closed out a 13-play, 62-yard drive that chewed up almost 5 minutes. In the first half Hodges paced the Toreros with 66 yards rushing on 11 plays. Lawrence completed 11-19 for 96 yards with the one score to Dwelley.
The second half started with either team scoring in the third period. The Torero defense forced three Marist punts, and USD's best chance to score came midway through the third period when Patrick Murray attempted his third field goal of the game, this time from 39 yards out. He missed wide left. The Toreros extended their lead to 20-3 with 11:02 left in the game. Facing a 4th-and-goal from the Marist 7-yard line, Jonah Hodges raced in on the right side for his 11th rushing TD of the season. The score closed out another long drive as the Toreros strung together a 15-play, 85-yard drive that last 7:56. A key play in the drive came when Lawrence connected with WR Brian Riley for a 41-yard strike that put the Toreros at the Marist 26-yard line. Following the ensuing kickoff to the Red Foxes, safety Ray Clark intercepted Mike White's first attempt from scrimmage and returned it 3 yards to the San Diego 34.
USD drove down to the Marist 23 on a Hodges 10 yard rush but he had the ball knocked away by Maliek Carr. USD would get it back six plays later when Jacob Bergstrom sacked Marist QB Mike White and stripped the ball away and pounced on it on the Marist 31-yard line. That would set up Hodges again for his second rushing score of the game, this time from 1-yard out that improved USD's advantage to 27-3 with 2:22 to go. The Torero defense would force one more Marist punt and USD would finish the game by running out the clock.
The Toreros return to San Diego for two straight home games. On Saturday, Nov. 5th, the Toreros will play a non-conference and international game against Universidad De Las Americas Puebla (UDLAP) with kickoff slated for 4:00 pm. USD returns to PFL action on the 12th against the Stetson Hatters in a 1:00 p.m. contest at Walter J. Zable Field at Torero Stadium.
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