What: Bucknell Bison (1-2, 0-0 PL) at Lafayette Leopards (0-3, 0-0 PL)
Where: Fisher Stadium, Easton, Pa.
When: Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013, 3:30 p.m.
Internet Video: GoLeopards.com
Radio: Eagle 107 (107.3 WEGH)
Internet Radio: BucknellBison.com
Live Statistics: GoLeopards.com
Probable Starters - Offense
QB 14 Brandon Wesley (Sr., 6-2, 195) - Holds Bucknell record for career completions, att. & total off.
RB 4 CJ Williams (Fr., 6-1, 205) - Most rushing yards by Bison freshman since 2006
FB 33 Travis Friend (Sr., 6-2, 242) - 3-time All-Patriot League selection
WR 80 Josh Brake (Jr., 6-3, 205) - At least one catch in eight straight games
WR 81 Vinnie Pini (Jr., 5-9, 170) - One catch each of last two weeks
LT 70 Julie’n Davenport (Fr., 6-7, 305) - Only freshman to start season opener vs. Marist
LG 72 Lonnie Rawles (Jr., 6-4, 285) - Moved to LG from LT this year, 21 career starts
C 77 Brandon Noblett (Jr., 6-2, 285) - Started 14 straight games at center
RG 79 Nevin Hagman (Jr., 6-3, 285) - Missed Sacred Heart game with injury
RT 71 Ramy Kased (So., 6-6, 325) - 12 career games, 4 starts
TE 88 Patrick Kelly (Jr., 6-3, 230) - 25 GP, 7 receptions in career
Probable Starters - Defense
DE 52 Dylan McDonnell (Jr., 6-1, 245) - 13th on team w/27 tackles in 2012
DT 51 Brent Forbes (Jr., 6-1, 285) - Started season opener vs. Marist
NG 90 Tracey Smith (Sr., 6-1, 265) - Second Team All-PL in 2012, Preseason All-PL in 2013
DE 97 D. Baldwin-Youngblood (Jr., 6-1, 285) - Moved from DT to DE for first time last week
Mike LB 27 Evan Byers (Jr., 6-0, 225) - Second Team All-PL in 2012, Preseason All-PL in 2013
Sam LB 37 Lee Marvel (Jr., 6-0, 205) - Equaled career high with 10 tackles vs. Cornell
SS 25 Clayton Ewell (So., 6-1, 195) - Career-high 6 tackles last week vs. Sacred Heart
FS 43 Louis Taglianetti (So., 5-11, 200) - Predominantly a special teams player in 2012
Whip DB 26 Matthew Steinbeck (Jr., 6-0, 210) - First Team All-PL in 2012, Preseason All-PL in 2013
CB 2 Derrick Palmer (Sr., 5-10, 175) - Team captain along with Friend, Goyette
CB 23 Tajh Turner (Sr., 5-9, 170) - First career start & INT vs. Marist
With a Victory over Lafayette, Bucknell Would ...
• ... defeat the Leopards for the second time in three years, and the second straight time at Fisher Stadium.
• ... snap a six-game road losing streak.
• ... win its Patriot League opener for the fifth time in the last six years.
• ... become the first Patriot League school with a conference win in 2013.
• ... own a record of at least .500 four games into the season for the fourth time in the last six years.
About the Game
Bucknell is coming off back-to-back six-turnover games and Lafayette is still looking for its first win as the season enters its second full month. The Bison opened the campaign with a strong 27-14 win over Marist, but have been hurt by turnovers in their last two losses at Cornell and at home against Sacred Heart. Bucknell was forced to play without a number of key starters, including fourth-year quarterback Brandon Wesley, last Saturday against the Pioneers. The Leopards are 0-3 on the season and are coming off their bye week. Lafayette lost to Sacred Heart and Penn by one score apiece and suffered a 28-point home loss to William & Mary. Saturday’s contest marks the final home game for the Leopards until Nov. 9 as they will play their next four on the road. Lafayette’s Easton, Pa., campus will be celebrating Homecoming on Saturday, meaning Bucknell will have played two road games and both will be during Homecoming for the host squad.
• Lafayette is coached by Frank Tavani. Tavani is in his 14th year at the helm of the Leopards and owns a 71-78 career record.
• 2011 Patriot League Rookie of the Year and 2013 Preseason All-Patriot League selection Ross Scheuerman leads the Leopards in rushing with 203 yards rushing this season. The rest of the team has combined to rush for 45 yards.
• Zach Zweizig (57-for-86, 556 yards) and Andrew Dzurik (13-for-25, 171 yards) have both seen time at quarterback.
• Mark Ross has 22 catches for 294 yards and two touchdowns. He is second in the Patriot League in receptions per game (7.3).
Bucknell vs. Lafayette Series Notes
• Lafayette leads 51-33-6.
• Bucknell snapped a nine-game losing streak with a 39-13 win in Easton two years ago. It was the largest win for the Bison over the Leopards since a 33-point victory in 1971.
• The winning team has scored more than 30 points in seven of the last eight meetings.
• Lafayette won nine straight games from 2002 to 2010 by an average score of 30.2-13.0.
• Lafayette has won five straight games at Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium.
• Bucknell’s last shutout before last Saturday vs. Sacred Heart came in 2006 vs. Lafayette.
• Bucknell’s 90 all-time meetings with Lafayette make it the most-played series in program history.
• Lafayette was Bucknell’s only opponent in 1883, its first year of football.
Last Time vs. Lafayette
Lafayette 20, Bucknell 14 (Sept. 22, 2012 - Lewisburg, Pa.)
• Bison QB Brandon Wesley registered the third-highest passing day of his career (239 yards). He also equaled his then-career high with 76 rushing yards.
• DB Donald Quarles recorded five pass breakups to become the first Bison since 2000 with five pass breakups in a game.
• Bucknell outgained Lafayette 223-128 in the second half. The Bison had 10 of their 14 first downs after intermission.
• Bucknell limited Lafayette to 11 yards rushing.
• The game was televised to a national audience on CBS Sports Network.
Inside the Sacred Heart Box Score
• Sacred Heart entered the game ranked fourth nationally in scoring (46.5 ppg). The Bison defense held the Pioneers more than 30 points below their average.
• Bucknell was shut out for the first time since 2006. It ended a program-record streak of 77 consecutive games with points.
• Sacred Heart recorded its first shutout since 2002.
• Bucknell’s defense had three sacks and nine tackles for loss. Dylan McDonnell led the way with 1.5 sacks and two tackles for loss.
• Bucknell and Sacred Heart combined to punt 19 times. The 11 punts by the Pioneers marked the most by a Bison opponent since 2001.
• Bucknell DL Brent Forbes blocked an extra point in the second quarter. It was his third career blocked kick.
• Sacred Heart improved to 5-0 for the first time since 2008.
• J.D. Roussel tied a Sacred Heart record with three interceptions in the contest.
• Bucknell outgained Sacred Heart 135-114 in the second half.
• Bucknell played without fourth-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.
Career Highs Set vs. Sacred Heart
• Clayton Ewell: tackles (6)
• Brent Forbes: tackles for loss (1.5)
• Connor Hayes: tackles (4), tackles for loss (1)
• Trey Lauletta: long rush (27)
• Dylan McDonnell: sacks (1.5), forced fumbles (1)
• Brian Regan: rushing attempts (8), rushing yards (33)
• Tracey Smith: fumble recoveries (1)
• Matthew Steinbeck: tackles (11)
• Kyle Sullivan: punt attempts (8)
• Louis Taglianetti: tackles (6), forced fumbles (1)
• Bucknell has been one of the best teams in the nation against the run the last two years. The Bison are one of just four teams to rank in the top 10 nationally against the run in both 2011 and 2012, joining Sam Houston State, Harvard and North Carolina A&T.
• Bucknell has held 11 opponents to under 50 yards rushing since the beginning of 2011 (25 games).
• The Bison defense has held opponents to under 100 yards rushing 16 times over the same span.
• Marist rushed for just 39 yards against Bucknell on Sept. 7 and Cornell registered just 17 yards on the ground Sept. 21.
• Bucknell is the only team in the top six nationally in rushing defense with a loss this fall.
• Bucknell and Sacred Heart combined for 19 punts last week.
• Bison P Kyle Sullivan punted a career-high eight times. He averaged 40.1 yards per kick.
• Sacred Heart P Alec Finney punted 11 times for an average of 28.9 yards per boot.
• Sacred Heart’s 11 punts marked the most punts for a Bison opponent since Fordham punted 12 times in 2001. Only three other Bucknell opponents have reached double figures in punts since then: Holy Cross (10 in 2001), Duquesne (10 in 2002), Georgetown (10 in 2004).
Patriot League Openers
• Bucknell is 16-11 all-time in Patriot League openers.
• The Bison won four straight PL openers prior to last year’s 20-14 loss to Lafayette.
• Bucknell opened its PL schedule four consecutive years (2008-11) vs. Georgetown.
• This is the third time in the last eight years Bucknell has opened Patriot League play against Lafayette.
• Bucknell has played its first Patriot League game vs. Lafayette six previous times: 1990, 1993, 1997, 2000, 2006, 2012.
150th Patriot League Game
• Saturday’s contest will mark the 150th all-time Patriot League game for Bucknell.
• Bucknell owns a 60-88-1 mark in Patriot League play.
• Bucknell’s last Patriot League win came at Lafayette in 2011.
• Freshman CJ Williams led the Bison with 66 rushing yards last week vs. Sacred Heart. It was the second straight game he has led the team in rushing.
• Williams’ 256 rushing yards this season puts him at the top of the Bucknell leaderboard, 151 ahead of second-place Matt DelMauro.
• Williams’ 256 rushing yards are the most by a Bison freshman since 2006 rookies A.J. Kizekai (441) and Marcello Trigg (299).
• Williams piled up 148 yards on 30 carries earlier this season against Cornell. He became the 74th Bison to rush for 100 yards in a game, and the first freshman to do so since Rashod Bumpers in 2006.
Big Yardage for Thompson
• Senior RB Charles Thompson is averaging 5.4 yards per carry over his career, including 6.3 over the last two years (34 carries).
• Thompson has 75 yards on 12 carries this season to rank third on the team.
• 30 of Thompson’s last 34 rushing attempts have come in road games.
Patriot League Special Teams Player of the Week (9/23)
Senior Kyle Sullivan was named the Patriot League Special Teams Player of the Week last Monday after becoming the first Bison to return a punt for a touchdown in a decade. His 59-yard punt return against Cornell was the longest by a Bucknell player since 1993. Overall, he returned three punts for 60 yards, punted three times for an average of 37.0 yards per kick, served as the holder on kicks and caught one pass for 12 yards against the Big Red. It was his first career weekly honor from the Patriot League and he was the first Bison to earn Special Teams Player of the Week honors since Drew Orth Nov. 21, 2011.
• Bucknell is 9-1 in its last 10 games it has scored at least 20 points.
• The Bison are 10-4 when scoring 20 points since Joe Susan took over as head coach in 2010.
• Ten of Bucknell’s 11 wins under Joe Susan have come when the team has scored 20 points.
Bucknell’s rushing game has totaled 512 yards this year, while the Bison have 353 through the air. Bucknell has had more passing yards than rushing yards in each of Joe Susan’s first three campaigns at the helm of the program. The last time the Bison had more rushing yardage was 2009, the final year the team ran an option-style offense.
• Bucknell has had six turnovers each of the last two weeks after turning the ball over just 13 times in all of 2012.
• After recording at least one interception in nine consecutive games, Bucknell has not had an interception since game one vs. Marist.
• Bucknell has had at least one interception in 21 of its last 25 games and at least one forced turnover in 25 of its last 27 outings.
Time of Possession
Bucknell has dominated the time of possession category this year. The Bison offense is on the field an average of 35:11, which leads the nation.
Bucknell’s Time of Possession (last four games)
vs. Bryant (2011) - 35:57
vs. Marist (2013) - 34:59
at Cornell (2013) - 39:30
vs. Sacred Heart (2013) - 31:05
2013 Time of Possession Leaders
1. Bucknell - 35:11
2. Gardner-Webb - 35:02
3. San Diego - 34:52
• Bucknell had its three-game home winning streak snapped last week vs. Sacred Heart.
• Despite being outscored 75-40 this year, Bucknell has the same number of first downs as its opponents (51) and has been outgained by only seven yards (872-865). However, the Bison are -9 in the turnover battle.
• LB Evan Byers has had at least 0.5 tackles for loss in 13 straight games. The last time he did not record a tackle for loss was the 2012 season opener at Marist.
• Bison seniors Travis Friend and Jeff Goyette have played in all 36 games over the last four years.
Brandon Wesley Record Watch
• Bucknell senior QB Brandon Wesley broke Scott Auchenbach’s school record for career total offense vs. Marist. He now has 5,756 career yards of total offense.
• Wesley enters Saturday’s contest just 36 yards behind Auchenbach’s career passing yards mark (5,256-5,220). Wesley is one of just two players in program history to throw for 5,000 yards and one of four to register 4,000 yards.
• Wesley entered the 2013 season in first place on Bucknell’s career pass completions and pass attempts lists. He is now 480-for-838 (.573) in his career.
• The versatile Wesley has rushed for 536 yards in his career. He also caught his third career pass against Marist when he hauled in one of his own throws that was batted back to him.
• Wesley missed last week’s Sacred Heart game with a leg injury. It was the first game he has not started since the first game of his freshman year at Duquesne. He had played in all 35 games since he first arrived at Bucknell in 2010.
• Brandon Wesley is 36 passing yards shy of tying Scott Auchenbach for first place on Bucknell’s career list.
• Brandon Wesley needs three touchdown passes to move into tie for sixth place on program’s career list with Rob Glus.
• Tracey Smith is 11 tackles shy of becoming the fifth current Bison to reach 100 career tackles.
• Travis Friend is 31 yards shy of reaching 500 all-purpose yards in his career.
Bucknell will play its first home Patriot League game of the 2013 season when it hosts Holy Cross next Saturday, Oct. 12, at Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium. Kickoff is 1 p.m. The Crusaders have won seven of the last eight meetings, including last year’s contest at Fitton Field.