Rick Chamberlin’s face said it all.
As the University of Dayton football team funneled into the locker room under the stands at Welcome Stadium, Chamberlin stood near a wall, staring at his team with the focus of a falcon stalking its prey. Not one player made a sound walking into the locker room.
Marist (2-2, 1-0 PFL) had just finished dominating Dayton 31-20 in front of a silent crowd of 5,146 on Saturday afternoon. The Red Foxes were better in every facet of the game and even caused the Flyers to commit uncharacteristic mistakes with seven penalties for 84 yards, including four 15-yard infractions.
“What happened today was Marist College executed better than us,” Chamberlin said. “We just did not play very well today on offense, defense, our kicking game was OK. But our offensive and defensive execution was not very good, and like we’ve told our players, if you don’t execute on each and every play a good team is going to make you pay for it.
“And that’s exactly what they did today.”
Dayton (2-2, 0-1) started strong, scoring on its opening drive when senior quarterback Will Bardo found senior receiver Branden Johnson on a slant route for an 8-yard touchdown. Johnson finished with seven catches for 74 yards and two touchdowns but broke his collarbone on Dayton’s last offensive possession.
UD scored again when senior running back Robert Johnson tried to leap over a pile of linemen at the goal line but was hit in the air and fumbled. Robert Washington somehow ended up with the loose ball in the end zone, but the extra-point attempt was blocked, giving Dayton a 13-0 lead with 2:18 to go in the first quarter.
Dayton outgained Marist in the first 15 minutes, 139-59. The Red Foxes outgained the Flyers, 429-202, over the next three quarters.
That’s when it became the Chuckie Looney show.
All week, Chamberlin told his defense that Marist’s senior quarterback was a playmaker. Apparently, there was a breakdown in communication as Looney used everything in his arsenal to lead the Red Foxes to a win in the league opener.
Looney finished with 12 rushes for 121 yards and one touchdown. He also completed 19 of 36 passes for 233 yards and one interception.
“Chuckie Looney made plays and I said that all week … He’s a play maker,” Chamberlin said after the game. “We were getting pressure on him, but then he’d get away and he’d run down field and by the time our coverage got to him he already picked up the first down or more. And then if he didn’t run down field, he’d find a receiver down field and get the ball to him. I felt like that was the difference throughout the game. Chuckie Looney made plays on offense and we didn’t.”
After trailing 13-7 at halftime, Marist took the lead with 7:31 to go in the third quarter on 1-yard run by senior running back Atiq Lucas, his second of the game
Marist’s defense stifled Dayton’s offense possession after possession and with 9:34 to go in the fourth, Looney broke loose for a 48-yard touchdown run. On Dayton’s following possession, a Bardo pass was tipped at the line and then intercepted by sophomore defensive back Zachary Quarles, who returned it for a 30-yard touchdown and gave Marist a 28-13 lead.
“We got off to a fast start,” Chamberlin said. “Offense was clicking, defense was stopping them, but you knew Marist was not going to give into that. They always fight back. Today, they fought back enough and made the plays in the second half that got them the win.”