LEWISBURG, Pa. – The Bucknell football team is set to open the 2017 campaign at Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium against Marist on Saturday, Sept. 2. The Bison, who went 4-7 (3-3 Patriot League) a year ago, will take on the Red Foxes in their first game for the fifth time in the past six seasons at 6 p.m.
Tickets can be purchased online at www.bucknell.edu/boxoffice or by calling the Campus Box Office at 570-577-1000.
When: Saturday, September 2 – 6 p.m.
Where: Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium – Lewisburg, Pa.
Internet Video: Patriot League Network
Radio: Eagle 107 (107.3 WEGH)
Internet Radio: BucknellBison.com
Live Stats: BucknellBison.com
Follow on Twitter: @Bucknell_FB
With a victory the Bison would...
• improve to 92-39-1 in season openers
• move to 97-33-1 in home openers
• win its seventh-straight season opener, the longest such streak since they took 11 in a row from 1947 to 1957
• improve to 7-1 in season openers under head coach Joe Susan
• extend its winning streak over Marist to seven games
• snap a one-game losing streak in home openers
Bucknell at a Glance
• Bucknell finished 2016 with a 4-7 (3-3 Patriot League) record.
• The Bison, who placed fourth in the Patriot League in 2016, were picked to take fifth in the 2017 preseason poll, as voted on by the league’s coaches and sports information directors.
• Bucknell returns 39 of its 59 letterwinners from 2016. That group includes 15 seniors, 14 juniors and nine sophomores. Six seniors—DL Abdullah Anderson, S Connor Golden, CB Trey Johnson, TE Andrew Podbielski, LB Mark Pyles and LB Ben Richard—are three-time letterwinners.
• Anderson, Pyles and Richard will serve as team captains in 2017.
• The Bison return their top passer (Matt Muh, 847 yards), top rusher (Joey DeFloria, 1,070 yards) and top tackler (Richard, 95) from 2016. They will need to replace their top receiver (Will Carter, 734 yards).
Marist at a Glance
• Marist finished 2016 with a 5-6 (5-3 Pioneer Football League) record.
• The Red Foxes, who placed fourth in the Pioneer Football League in 2016, were picked to take third in the 2017 preseason poll, as voted on by the league’s coaches.
• Marist ran together a four-game winning streak in October 2016. The Red Foxes ultimately lost three of their final four games to finish under .500.
• Marist had seven players named to the Preseason All-Pioneer Football League: LB Willie Barrett, DB Wesley Beans, RB Marcellus Calhoun, WR Juston Christian, DB Jordyn Jean-Felix, LS Jordyn Jean-Felix and OL Richard Duncan-Murphy.
• In 2016, Christian ranked second in the Pioneer Football League and 22nd nationally with 992 receiving yards. Beans was the Pioneer Football League leader in interceptions (6) and finished fifth among defensive backs in tackles per game (6.9).
• QB Mike White place second in the Pioneer Football League in passing yards (2,931) and total offensive yards (3,315). He threw for 21 touchdowns and rushed for five more to finish third in the league’s total offense touchdown race. He also tied for the league lead in interceptions (11).
The Bucknell/Marist Series
• Bucknell holds an 11-1 advantage in the all-time series and enters 2017’s game on a six-game winning streak.
• The Bison are 6-0 against the Red Foxes at Christy-Mathewson Memorial Stadium. Bucknell held Marist to seven or fewer points in three of those games.
• This is the fifth time in the past six seasons, Bucknell will open its season against Marist. The Bison have outscored the Red Foxes by an 89-41 margin in those games.
• Bucknell blanked Marist in their 2014 (22-0) and 2015 (17-0) contests. The Red Foxes snapped a 137:42 scoreless stretch against the Bison with a field goal on their first drive of the 2016 game, a 26-10 Bucknell victory.
• Marist has never scored more than 20 points against Bucknell. The Red Foxes’ highest total came in 2006’s 48-19 loss in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. They are averaging just 11.25 points per game in the series.
• Marist’s lone victory came in Joe Susan’s second game as head coach. On Sept. 11, 2010, the Red Foxes edged the Bison, 14-3, at Tenney Stadium at Leonidoff Field.
The Last Meeting with the Red Foxes
Bucknell 26 – Marist 10 (Sept. 3, 2016 - Poughkeepsie, N.Y.)
• In his first career start, RB Joey DeFloria enjoyed his first 100-yard rushing game (145 yards).
• Bucknell forced six turnovers with CB Bryan Marine and DE Doug Whitlock recovering fumbles and S Bret Berg, S Connor Golden, S Joe Lauro and CB Nick O’Brien recording interceptions. It was the Bison’s most takeaways since a 2011 game at Lafayette.
• LB Ben Richard led the Bison defense with 13 tackles, four tackles for loss, two sacks and one pass breakup. He was later named the Patriot League Defensive Player of the Week and the Bison of the Week for his performance.
• P/K Alex Pechin connected on a 46-yard field goal in the closing minutes of the game. It was the longest field goal by a Bison since Will Carney’s 47-yarder at Holy Cross in 2008.
• Jack Horan, who moved to WR from QB during preseason camp, caught a 71-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter.
• Marist’s third-quarter touchdown was its first against Bucknell in 179:55, a drought that dated back to 2013.
Inside the Bucknell Depth Chart
• Bucknell has 12 regular starters returning, six on offense and six on defense.
• Bucknell’s 11 projected starters on offense have made a combined 70 starts.
• Bucknell’s 11 projected starters on defense have made a combined 118 starts.
• Fifteen seniors, 13 juniors, 15 sophomores and six freshmen appear on this week’s depth chart.
• Ten seniors, seven juniors and five sophomores are expected to start.
• DL Abdullah Anderson is the lone senior who has started all 33 games since arriving in Lewisburg. He’s anticipated to make his 34th-straight start on Saturday.
• Anderson and CB Trey Johnson, who is listed behind Colin Jonov on the depth chart, are the only seniors who have played all 33 games during their time as Bison.
• LB Ben Richard and TE Andrew Podbielski round out Bucknell’s top three in consecutive starts. Richard is set to make his 23rd in a row and Podbielski his 21st.
• The following seven players are expected to make their first career start: OL Pat Finn, DE Blake Fletcher, OL Erik Lukner, S Chanse Riley, OL Noah Stephenson, OL Josh Yoder and DL Nick Zarkoski. Three of those players, Lukner, Stephenson and Yoder, have yet to appear in a game.
• The lone freshman listed first on the depth chart at any position is P/K Ethan Torres. He is expected to handle kickoff duties for the Bison. Other freshmen who appear on the first depth chart of the season include OL P.J. Barr, LS Mike Colantuono, DE Roger Mellado, DL Clay Myers and TE Alex Twiford.
The 132nd Season of Football
• Bucknell is set to embark on its 132nd season of football in 2017. The Bison played their first game in 1883 and have played continuously since 1887.
• Only Princeton (148), Yale (145), Harvard (143), Penn (141), Dartmouth (136), Lafayette (136), Lehigh (134) and Richmond (134) have played longer among current FCS teams.
• Bucknell ranks 19th among all FCS programs with 596 all-time victories.
• Bucknell is 91-39-1 (.698) all-time in season openers.
• Under head coach Joe Susan, the Bison have faced Duquesne (twice), Marist (four times) and VMI (once) in week one.
• Susan is 6-1 (.857) in season openers at Bucknell, with his only loss coming during his first campaign at the helm (13-17 at Duquesne).
• The Bison have won their past six season openers by a combined 158-105 margin.
• In the past 10 years, the Bison are 8-2 (.800) in week one.
First Home Games
• Bucknell is 96-33-1 (.742) all-time in its first home game of the season.
• Under head coach Joe Susan, the Bison have faced Cornell, Dartmouth, Duquesne, Lafayette, Marist (twice) and VMI in their home opener.
• Susan is 4-3 (.571) in Bucknell’s first home game. In 2016, the Bison had a three-game winning streak in home openers snapped by Cornell (16-24).
• In the past 10 years, the Bison are 6-4 in their first home game.
• Since 2000, Bucknell is 22-20 (.550) in night games (6 p.m. or later starts).
• A year ago, the Bison played their first three games of the season at night, posting a 1-2 record. They defeated Marist (26-10) and fell to Duquesne (19-30) and Cornell (16-24).
• The Bison have four night games on tap in 2017: Marist (Sept. 2), at William & Mary (Sept. 16), Sacred Heart (Sept. 23) and Monmouth (Sept. 30).
• This is Bucknell’s most night games since 2014. The Bison went 2-2 at night that season, with one of their losses coming in overtime to then No. 9 Fordham (27-30).
Bucknell Against Pioneer Football League Opponents
• Bucknell is 28-5 all-time against teams that are currently in the Pioneer Football League.
• The Bison have faced Davidson (15-3), Dayton (2-1) and Marist (11-1).
Home Opener Promotions
• A full slate of promotions is centered around Bucknell’s home opener:
- Post-game fireworks show, presented by Weis Markets of Lewisburg and Silvertip Inc.
- Free admission for children 12 and younger
- Free Julién Davenport poster for children 12 and younger (while supplies last)
- On-field experiences for youth football/cheerleading teams as part of Youth Football/Cheer Night, sponsored by Weis Markets of Lewisburg
- Discounted admission for family and friends of attending youth football players and cheerleaders
- Christy’s Crew t-shirt giveaway for Bucknell students (while supplies last)
• DL Abdullah Anderson: Needs 3.5 sacks to crack Bucknell’s top 10 in career sacks
• RB Joey DeFloria: Needs 575 yards to crack Bucknell’s top 10 in career rushing yards
• RB Joey DeFloria: Needs one 100-yard rushing game to move into a tie for eighth in school history; needs four to become seventh Bison with at least 10 in his career
• S Joe Lauro: Needs nine tackles to reach 100 in his career
• LB Mark Pyles: Needs nine solo tackles to reach 100 in his career
• LB Ben Richard: Needs seven solo tackles to reach 100 in his career
• LB Ben Richard: Needs 22 tackles to reach 200 in his career
• The Bison return six All-Patriot League selections: DL Abdullah Anderson (1st ‘16 & ’15, 2nd ‘14), RB Joey DeFloria (2nd ‘16), CB Bryan Marine (1st ‘16), P/K Alex Pechin (1st ‘15), LB Mark Pyles (2nd ‘16 & 15) and LB Ben Richard (1st ‘16, 2nd ‘15).
• Bucknell only lost three of its eight 2016 honorees: OL Griff Barth (2nd) DB Bret Berg (1st) and OL Julién Davenport (1st).
• In Joe Susan’s seven years as head coach, 56 Bison have received All-Patriot League laurels. Bucknell reached the double digits in honorees in 2011 (12) and 2015 (10).
• The Bison had two players named Preseason All-Americans: DL Abdullah Anderson (STATS Third Team) and CB Bryan Marine (College Sports Madness Third Team).
• In addition, Anderson was named to the Reese’s Senior Bowl’s 2018 Watch List. Last year, OL Julién Davenport, now a member of the Houston Texans, represented Bucknell at this prestigious event, which features the top 110 seniors in the country.
Preseason All-Patriot League
• The Bison had three players voted to the Preseason All-Patriot League Team: DL Abdullah Anderson, CB Bryan Marine and LB Ben Richard.
• This is Anderson’s third Patriot League preseason honor and Richard’s second.
• All three of Bucknell’s honorees were 2016 All-Patriot League First Team selections.
Head Coach Joe Susan
• Joe Susan, the 26th head coach in program history, is in his eighth season at the helm and currently ranks fifth in career games (77) and tied for seventh in career victories (32).
• At the conclusion of the season, he will stand in sole possession of fourth place in career seasons, passing legendary coaches Tom Gadd and Bob Odell.
Inside the 2017 Schedule
• Bucknell has the benefit of playing six of its 11 games at Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium for the first time since 2010.The Bison are set to host Marist (Sept. 2), Holy Cross (Sept. 9), Sacred Heart (Sept. 23), Monmouth (Sept. 30), Lehigh (Nov. 4) and Georgetown (Nov. 11).
• Eight of the Bucknell’s 11 opponents from 2016 remain on its 2017 schedule, with William & Mary, Sacred Heart and Monmouth taking the place of Duquesne, VMI and Charleston Southern. The Bison have faced the three new additions to their schedule a combined six times.
• Bucknell’s 2017 opponents went a combined 55-65 (.458) in 2016. Of that group, Colgate (5-5), Fordham (8-3) Lehigh (9-3) and Sacred Heart (6-5) finished at or above .500. The Bison had a better 2016 record than two of their opponents and matched two other’s marks.
• One of Bucknell’s 2017 opponents reached the 2016 NCAA FCS Playoffs. Lehigh, the defending Patriot League champion and the Bison’s Homecoming opponent, fell to New Hampshire, 64-21, at Wildcat Stadium in the opening round.
• Bucknell’s five non-conference opponents hail from five different conferences: the Big South Conference (Monmouth), the Colonial Athletic Association (William & Mary), the Ivy League (Cornell), the Northeast Conference (Sacred Heart) and the Pioneer Football League (Marist).
• Bucknell enters the season with a 156-24-10 (.383) record against its 2017 opponents, including winning marks against Marist (11-1) and Georgetown (17-11-1) and an even record with Sacred Heart (1-1).
• Head coach Joe Susan enters 2017 with a 25-33 (.431) record against the Bison’s 2017 foes. Bucknell has not faced Monmouth (first meeting) and William & Mary (fifth meeting) during his tenure as head coach.
How to Follow the Bison
• Every game will be broadcast on Eagle 107 (WEGH 107.3) and BucknellBison.com. As always, Doug Birdsong and Kevin Herr will have the call.
• All six of Bucknell’s home games and its road contests at Lafayette, Colgate and Fordham will air on the Patriot League Network (PatriotLeague.TV).
• Fans can watch the Bison’s games at William & Mary (TribeAthletics.com) and Cornell (Ivy League Network) through the home team’s video platform.
• The Bison are active on Twitter (@Bucknell_FB) and Instagram (Bucknell_FB). Interact with the team using the hashtag #StartTheStampede.
• The Bison, who are set to play four of their first five games at home, take on Holy Cross at Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium. Kickoff on Saturday, Sept. 9 is scheduled for noon.