LEWISBURG, Pa. – The Bucknell football team is set to square off against Monmouth on Saturday, Sept. 30 at 6 p.m. The Bison will look to ride the momentum from their thrilling, last-second victory over Sacred Heart into their first meeting with the Hawks.
Tickets can be purchased online at www.bucknell.edu/boxoffice or by calling the Campus Box Office at 570-577-1000. This week’s game is sponored by Giant Food Stores.
When: Saturday, September 30 – 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...
• enter their bye week one game above .500
• go at least .500 over their first five games for the fourth time in Joe Susan’s tenure as head coach
• win three home games for the first time since 2014, when they went 3-2
• improve to 3-1 in non-conference action this season
• win their first ever meeting with Monmouth
• win their first game against a current member of the Big South Conference
Inside the Sacred Heart Box Score
• K John Burdick booted a career-best 46-yard field goal as time expired to lift the Bison to a 34-31 victory over the Pioneers.
• Sacred Heart rallied from 14 points down in the fourth quarter and tied the game at 31 apiece when Kevin Duke found Lawrence Nembhard for a 41-yard touchdown with 4:12 remaining in regulation.
• With 1:29 left on the clock, LB Ben Richard and DL Nick Zarkoski teamed up to stuff Duke inches short of a first down on a 4th and 1, giving the Bison a chance to win it.
• QB John Chiarolanzio set career highs in passing yards (187), completions (21) and attempts (34) in his first 2017 start. He also matched his career-long rush with a 17-yard run that helped set up RB Chad Freshnock’s fourth-quarter touchdown.
• In his first game as one of Bucknell’s captains, RB Joey DeFloria rushed for a season-best 80 yards and two touchdowns.
• A trio of Bison reached the double figures in tackles: LB Ben Richard (15), LB Mark Pyles (12) and S Joe Lauro (10). Through the first three games, Bucknell’s single-season high in tackles was eight.
• Richard also recovered a fumble while Lauro and S Aaron Brown picked off passes.
• P Alex Pechin averaged a career-high 48.4 yards on nine punts to round out a big night for the Bison kickers.
• The 46-yard field goal was eight yards longer than Burdick’s previous career long. It capped a perfect night for him, as he made both of his field-goal attempts and all four of his point-after bids for a career-high 10 points.
• With the win, their second at Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium in 2017, the Bison exceeded their home win total from 2016 and 2015.
• For their efforts against Sacred Heart, Burdick and Richard captured weekly awards. Burdick was named the Patriot League Special Teams Player of the Week while Richard was honored as the Patriot League Defensive Player of the Week and the Bison Athlete of the Week.
Bucknell at a Glance
• Bucknell is currently 2-2 (0-1 Patriot League) on the season.
• The Bison, who placed fourth in the Patriot League with a 3-3 record a year ago, were picked to take fifth in the 2017 preseason poll.
• 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, RB Joey DeFloria, Pyles and Richard are team captains. DeFloria was added to the leadership group in week four.
• Bucknell boasts two Preseason All-Americans: Anderson (STATS, Third Team) and CB Bryan Marine (College Sports Madness, Third Team). In addition, Anderson, Marine and Richard were honored on the Preseason All-Patriot League Team while Anderson was named to the Reese’s Senior Bowl’s 2018 Watch List.
A Stifling Defense
• The Bison rank 13th among FCS programs in total defense, allowing an average of 271.5 yards per game. They are the lone Patriot League team in the top 30 (Georgetown is next, at 33rd, allowing an average of 323.3 yards per game).
• Bucknell is one of only 24 teams that have allowed less than 300 yards per game. Of that group, only 14 have held their opponents under 275 yards per game.
• The Bison also rank in the FCS’s top 35 in rushing defense (31st, 107.3) and scoring defense (t-32nd, 21.8).
• The Bison have limited all four of their opponents to less than 200 rushing yards: Marist (24), Holy Cross (134), William & Mary (176) and Sacred Heart (95).They have allowed over 200 passing yards just once, holding Marist (130) and William & Mary (105) under 150.
• Most notably, Bucknell limited Holy Cross QB Peter Pujals, who threw for 358 yards (1 TD) against UConn, 367 yards (5 TD) against then No. 11/9 New Hampshire and 222 yards (2 TD) against No. 25 Dartmouth, to 178 yards (0 TD).
• Interestingly, the Bison have been held without a sack for two-straight games.
• Against Sacred Heart, Bucknell had its second multi-interception game of the 2017 campaign. LB Ben Richard also recorded the Bison’s second fumble recovery of the season in that contest.
• From 2011 to 2015, Bucknell led the Patriot League in total defense and rushing defense. A year ago, the Bison finished second to Colgate in both of these categories.
Pechin Cracks FCS Top Three
• After averaging a career-best 48.4 yards per punt against Sacred Heart, P Alex Pechin’s season punting average improved to 45.7.
• Pechin vaulted from 11th to third in the FCS rankings. His average would also crack the FBS’s top 20.
• In part because of Pechin’s efforts, Bucknell entered the national top 20 in net punting (t-20th, 38.41).
• Through four games, Pechin has posted 10 punts of 50 or more yards, matching his total from 2015. That season, he was an All-Patriot League First Team selection.
Youth Football/Cheer Night (Part II)
• For the second time in 2017, the Bison will host a Youth Football/Cheer Night:
- 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
- Discounted admission for family and friends of attending youth football players and cheerleaders
Monmouth at a Glance
• Monmouth is currently 3-1 (0-0 Big South Conference) on the season.
• Like the Bison, the Hawks won their most recent game in thrilling fashion. Behind Eric Zokouri’s 25-yard touchdown run, they edged Hampton on the road, 30-23, in overtime. Zokouri, who carried the ball nine times for 77 yards, was ultimately named the Big South Offensive Player of the Week for his performance against the Pirates.
• Monmouth, which finished 4-7 (0-5 Big South) a year ago, was selected to take fourth in the Big South in the 2017 preseason poll. Four Hawks—DB Mike Basile, TE Jake Powell, OL Alex Thompson, WR Reggie White Jr.—were voted to the Preseason All-Big South Team.
• In addition, Basile was recognized as a STATS First Team Preseason All-American and was named to the Buck Buchanan Watch List.
• Basile has lived up to his preseason accolades thus far. The senior currently stands second in the FCS ranks with an average of 7.5 solo tackles per game. He is also 12th in total tackles per game, averaging 10.5.
• As a team, Monmouth ranks in the FCS’s top 30 in the following statistical categories: turnover margin (t-15th, 1.00), rushing defense (16th, 82.3), kickoff returns (16th, 24.77) and red zone offense (t-25th, .882).
The Bucknell/Monmouth Series
• This will be the first meeting between Bucknell and Monmouth.
• The Hawks are currently celebrating their 25th season of varsity football.
• The Bison are in their 132nd season. They played their first game in 1883 and have competed continuously since 1887.
Bucknell Faces Unfamiliar Foe
• This is the second-straight season the Bison will face a team they have not previously met.
• Since 2000, Bucknell has faced seven teams for the first time: Charleston Southern (2016, 28-49), Sacred Heart (2013, 0-16), Bryant (2012, 24-21), Robert Morris (2008, 17-14), Marist (2005, 27-7), Stony Brook (2005, 18-21) and Richmond (2000, 7-10).
• Only the games against Marist, Bryant and Sacred Heart were contested at Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium.
Bucknell vs. Big South Conference
• Bucknell has only faced one current member of the six-team Big South Conference in Charleston Southern. The Buccaneers, ranked No. 9 at the time, downed the Bison in their only meeting by a 49-28 margin on Oct. 29, 2016 in Charleston, S.C.
• Bucknell’s women’s golf team was a member of the Big South Conference as recently as 2012.
Inside the Bucknell Depth Chart
• Nine seniors, seven juniors, five sophomores and one freshman are expected to start. Of that group, eight made his first career start in 2017: OL P.J. Barr, S Aaron Brown, OL Pat Finn, DE Blake Fletcher, S Chanse Riley, OL Noah Stephenson, OL Josh Yoder and DL Nick Zarkoski.
• Four of the six underclassmen projected to start are on the offensive side of the ball.
• Bucknell’s 11 projected starters on offense have made a combined 87 starts.
• Bucknell’s 11 projected starters on defense have made a combined 158 starts.
• DL Abdullah Anderson is the lone senior who has started all 37 games since arriving in Lewisburg. He’s anticipated to make his 38th-conseuctive start on Saturday.
• LB Ben Richard and LB Mark Pyles round out Bucknell’s top three in consecutive starts. Richard is set to make his 27th in a row and Pyles his 14th. Anderson, Pyles and Richard are the only Bison who own starting streaks in the double figures.
• TE Andrew Podbielski made 23-straights starts at tight end from Sept. 19, 2015 to Sept. 16, 2017. His streak, which was the third longest on the team, was snapped due to injury last week. He last missed a game in week 11 of his freshman campaign.
• Anderson and CB Trey Johnson are the only seniors who have played all 37 games during their time as Bison.
• Anderson and CB Colin Jonov are the only players on the 2017 roster who have started every game they played in while at Bucknell. Jonov, who missed the 2016 campaign due to injury, owns 20 career starts.
• Jonov became the sixth Bison senior to reach the 20-start plateau last week. Fellow CB Bryan Marine is projected to become the first junior to reach this milestone this week.
• There are 12 players on the roster who have started at least 10 games: Anderson (37), Richard (27), Podbielski (24), Pyles (24), Jonov (20), S Connor Golden (20), Marine (19), TE/FB Andrew Owers (15), RB Joey DeFloria (14), WR Alan Butler (13), S Joe Lauro (13) and OL Chase Watkins (13).
• Against Sacred Heart, Barr and TE Alex Twiford became the first freshmen to start a game for Bucknell.
• Since 2000, Bucknell is 24-21 (.533) in night games (6 p.m. or later starts).
• The Bison have four night games on tap in 2017: Marist (45-6), at William & Mary (9-30), Sacred Heart (34-31) and Monmouth (Sept. 30).
• 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).
• This is Bucknell’s most night games since 2014. The Bison went 3-1 at night that season, with their lone loss coming in overtime to then No. 9 Fordham (27-30).
• DL Abdullah Anderson: Needs one blocked field goal to claim sole possession of Bucknell’s career record
• DL Abdullah Anderson: Needs 2.5 sacks to crack Bucknell’s top 10 in career sacks
• RB Joey DeFloria: Needs 392 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 the seventh Bison with at least 10 in his career
• RB Joey DeFloria: Needs 32 all-purpose yards to reach 2,000 in his career
• RB Chad Freshnock: Needs 284 rushing yards to reach 1,000 in his career
• WR Jack Horan: Needs 86 receiving yards to reach 500 in his career
• CB Bryan Marine: Needs five solo tackles to reach 100 in his career
• TE Andrew Podbielski: Needs 100 receiving yards to reach 500 in his career
• LB Mark Pyles: Needs 12 tackles to reach 200 in his career
Head Coach Joe Susan
• Joe Susan, the 26th head coach in program history, is in his eighth season at the helm and currently ranks tied for third in career games (81) and seventh in career victories (34).
• With Saturday’s game, Susan will claim sole possession of third place in games coached, breaking his tie with Roger Hoskins.
• The second head coach in team history, Hoskins coached the Bison from 1899 to 1906 and in 1909. He is third in the Bucknell record book in seasons (9) and fifth in victories (40).
• Robert Curtis (101) and Harry Lawrence (97) will remain first and second in games coached through the 2017 campaign.
• Susan needs three victories to tie Bob Odell (37) for sixth in program history.
• At the conclusion of the season, Susan will stand in sole possession of fourth place in career seasons, passing legendary coaches Odell and Tom Gadd
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.
• 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.
• 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 entered 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 entered 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.
• After its bye week, Bucknell opens a three-game road swing by traveling to Cornell for their 56th meeting on Saturday, Oct. 14 at 1:30 p.m.
• For the first time since 1996, the Bison hosted four of their first five games at Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium. Saturday’s game against Monmouth closes that stretch.