LEWISBURG, Pa. – Sacred Heart’s Keshaudas Spence rushed 20 times for 126 yards and a touchdown and the unbeaten Pioneers forced six Bucknell turnovers as the Bison football team lost by a 16-0 score and saw its three-game home winning streak come to an end Saturday night at Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium.
Bucknell (1-2) played without four-year starting quarterback Brandon Wesley, starting right guard Nevin Hagman, All-Patriot League defensive end Sean Sellers and running back Matt DelMauro, who were held out due to injury.
The Bison defense was strong throughout the night, holding Sacred Heart (5-0) to a season-low 16 points. The Pioneers, who came into the game ranked fourth nationally in scoring offense at 46.5 ppg, had just nine points as the game reached its final minutes.
“The defense played great. They were on the field a lot,” said Bucknell head coach Joe Susan after the contest. “We faced a good football team tonight. We saw why they are 5-0. They have an offensive line as big as we’ll see this year. We have to put points on the board and eliminate turnovers.”
For the second straight week the turnovers were the story of the game as Bucknell threw four interceptions and lost a pair of fumbles. Five of the miscues came in the second half. Sacred Heart lost just one fumble in the contest.
Junior Trey Lauletta earned his first career start at quarterback in place of Wesley and was 10-for-26 for 59 yards. He also ran nine times, including a nifty 27-yard scamper in the third quarter.
CJ Williams led Bucknell in rushing for the second straight week as he ran 21 times for 66 yards and now has a team-high 256 yards on the year. Brian Regan added 33 yards on eight carries, while Charles Thompson had 15 yards on two carries, including a first-down run when Bucknell was pinned against its own goal line in the second half.
Bucknell outgained Sacred Heart 135-114 in the second half, but the Bison managed just 29 yards of offense in the first half thanks to five sacks by the Pioneer defense.
The game was scoreless until early in the second quarter when Moses Webb outraced the Bison defensive backs to the right corner of the end zone and scored on a 64-yard play. Brent Forbes got a hand on the extra point to keep the score 6-0.
It almost remained 6-0 at the half, but Chris Rogers connected on a 33-yard field goal as time expired in the first half to give Sacred Heart a 9-0 lead at intermission.
Sacred Heart had just two drives of longer than 20 yards in the second half, but added a late touchdown when Spence scored on a 20-yard run with 2:02 to play.
The Bison held the Pioneers to less than four minutes of possession time on each of their 16 offensive drives.
Quarterback RJ Noel finished 13-for-30 for 161 yards and the touchdown for Sacred Heart.Bucknell will open Patriot League play next Saturday with a 3:30 p.m. game at Lafayette. The Bison defeated the Leopards 39-13 the last time they met in Easton, Pa., in 2011.