LEWISBURG, Pa. – The Bucknell football team returns to Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium for the first time since September to take on Lehigh on Saturday, Nov. 4 at 12 p.m. The Bison, who had their two-game winning streak snapped at Colgate on Oct. 28, will look to score a Homecoming victory over the defending Patriot League champions.
Tickets can be purchased online at www.bucknell.edu/boxoffice or by calling the Campus Box Office at 570-577-1000.
When: Saturday, November 4 – 12 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...
• move to 46-44-5 all-time on Homecoming
• win their fourth Homecoming game in the past five seasons
• even their Patriot League record at 2-2
• snap a two-game losing slide to Lehigh
• defeat Pennsylvania rivals Lafayette and Lehigh in the same season for only the third time since 1997 (others 1997 and 2014)
• help head coach Joe Susan tie Bob Odell for sixth in program history in career victories (37)
Bucknell Celebrates Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2017, 1997 Men’s Cross Country
• At halftime during Saturday’s game, the six members of the Bucknell Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2017 will be recognized. They are Lectie Altman ‘06, Kevin Bettencourt ‘06, Melanie Buczko Lincoln ‘07, Maria Garcia Harkley ‘04, Charles Lee ‘06 and Chris McNaughton ‘07.
• The Bison are also excited to welcome back the 1997 men’s cross country team, which is celebrating the 20th anniversary of its Patriot League championship.
Inside the Colgate Box Score
• Colgate scored four unanswered touchdowns in the second quarter to down Bucknell, 40-3. Nick Ioanilli intercepted a pair of passes for the Raiders, directly leading to two of those scores.
• In the first half, Colgate outgained Bucknell, 293-63, and held a 15-4 advantage in first downs. The tables turned in the second half, with the Bison holding edges in yards (169-93) and first downs (10-4).
• DL Abdullah Anderson and S Joe Lauro each blocked his first career extra point. It was Anderson’s fourth career blocked kick, as he previously blocked three field goals.
• In the third quarter, Anderson corralled a pass that was deflected by LB Mark Pyles on Colgate’s 12-yard line. While the Bison reached the one-yard line, a fumbled hand-off ultimately gave the Raiders the ball back on their seven-yard line.
• That was Anderson’s first career interception. He became the fourth Bison to pick off his first career pass in 2017, joining Ss Aaron Brown, Jon Fox and Drew Newcomb.
• QB Matt Muh entered the game in the second half and threw for 133 yards on 11 for 23 passing. QB John Chiarolanzio completed five of 10 passes for 37 yards.
• WRs Justin Bethea (48) and Mike Balzofiore (41) led the Bison in receiving yards, both setting a new career high in the process.
• Defensively, a pair of freshmen reached the double digits in tackles: S Brandon Benson (12) and LB Simeon Page (11). It was Benson’s second double-digit tackle game and Page’s first.
• Bucknell last blocked multiple kicks in the same game on Nov. 19, 2016 when Anderson blocked a pair of field goals in a 36-22 loss to Fordham.
• The Bison last allowed 40 points in a game on Oct. 29, 2016, a 49-28 loss at then No. 9 Charleston Southern.
• Colgate went 6-for-6 on its red-zone chances, scoring six touchdowns. Bucknell went 1-for-4 in the red zone.
Bucknell at a Glance
• Bucknell is 4-4 (1-2 Patriot League) on the season and currently owns the Patriot League’s second-best overall winning percentage.
• The Bison went 3-2 in non-conference action. This is the sixth time in Joe Susan’s tenure as head coach Bucknell posted a winning record in non-conference play.
• 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 returned 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.
• Bucknell ranks in the FCS’s top 30 in net punting (11th, 38.90) and total defense (15th, 301.3).
• The Bison have excelled at stopping the passing game, allowing an average of just 158.4 passing yards per game. They held seven of their eight opponents under 200 passing yards, including three under 150 in Marist (130), William & Mary (105) and Lafayette (90).
• CB Colin Jonov ranks in the FCS’s top three in both interception return yards (2nd, 159) and interception return touchdowns (t-2nd, 2). Other Bison in the FCS’s top 25 in their respective statistical categories include S Drew Newcomb (interception return touchdowns, t-6th, 1), P Alex Pechin (punting, 7th, 44.0), K John Burdick (field goals per game, t-24th, 1.13) and LB/DE Simeon Page (sacks, t-24th, .75).
Lehigh at a Glance
• The Mountain Hawks are currently 2-6 (2-1 Patriot League) on the season.
• After going 0-6 in non-conference play, they defeated Colgate (41-38) and Georgetown (54-35) in their first two Patriot games. Last Saturday, they fell at Fordham, 45-35, to suffer their first Patriot League loss since Nov. 14, 2015 at Colgate (42-49).
• Lehigh has been involved in high-scoring games throughout 2017. The average total of points scored in a Mountain Hawk game is 80.9.
• Lehigh ranks in the FCS’s top 15 in scoring offense (t-11th, 35.9) and bottom 15 in scoring defense (122nd, 45.0). The Mountain Hawks are third in the FCS in total offense (499.8) and fourth in passing offense (343.9).
• Lehigh, which won the Patriot League with a perfect 6-0 record a year ago, was selected to defend its tile in the 2017 preseason poll. Seven Mountain Hawks earned a league-best nine spots on the Preseason All-Patriot Team.
• WR Troy Pelletier and RB Dominick Bragalone were honored as STATS Preseason All-Americans. Pelletier was also named to the watch list for the Walter Payton Award.
• Pelletier is fourth in the FCS in receptions per game (8.3), seventh in receiving yards (894) and ninth in receiving yard per game (111.8). He set a Patriot League record with 16 receptions against Georgetown.
• Bragalone is fifth in the FCS in rushing yards (863) and rushing yards per game (107.9) and tied for fifth in rushing touchdowns (9).
• QB Brad Mayes is second in the FCS in passing yards (2,732) and passing yards per game (341.5) and tied for second in passing touchdowns (23). He is one of only seven FCS quarterbacks who have cleared 2,500 passing yards to date.
The Bucknell/Lehigh Series
• Lehigh leads the all-time series, 46-31-3, and has won eight of the past 10 meetings.
• From 1998 to 2012, the Mountain Hawks ran together a 15-game winning streak over Bucknell, the longest by either team in the all-time series. The Bison ended that streak with an emphatic 48-10 victory over then No. 15 Lehigh during their 2013 Homecoming game.
• Bucknell then won the 2014 contest, 45-24, before dropping the 2015 (10-21) and 2016 (13-20) games.
• Last season, the Mountain Hawks, ranked No. 21/24 at the time, clinched their 11th Patriot League title with their victory over the Bison on Nov. 5 in Bethlehem, Pa.
• With 1:46 to go in the third quarter, Nick Shafnisky found Gatlin Casey for a nine-yard touchdown to turn a 13-10 Bucknell lead into a 17-13 Lehigh advantage. The Mountain Hawks extended their edge to 20-13 just over a minute later after Pierce Ripanti intercepted a pass in the red zone, setting up a 20-yard field goal. They then held the Bison scoreless the rest of the way.
• Bucknell limited Lehigh to a season-low 20 points and 357 yards of total offense. The Mountain Hawks entered the game averaging 42.2 points and 504.4 yards per game.
• In Bucknell’s last victory, on Oct. 11, 2014 in Bethlehem, QB Trey Lauletta became the first Bison in 20 years to throw for at least 300 yards, completing 15 of 20 passes for 313 yards and four touchdowns.
• WR Will Carter became only the fourth Bison to catch three touchdown passes in a single game while also accumulating 246 receiving yards, which ranks second in school history. His touchdown receptions were 69, 78 and 77 yards long.
• The Bison scored 31 unanswered points in a span of less than 20 minutes from late in the first quarter to early in the third frame, turning a 7-0 deficit into a 31-7 advantage. After Lehigh closed the gap to 31-24 with 6:46 left to play, Bucknell scored the game’s final two touchdowns.
Bucknell on Homecoming
• The Bison are 44-44-5 (.500) all-time on Homecoming.
• Bucknell is 11-9 (.550) in Homecoming games over the past 20 years.
• The Bison won their 2016 (42-17 over Lafayette), 2014 (27-24 OT over Lafayette) and 2013 (48-10 over then No. 15 Lehigh) Homecoming contests.
• This will be the 13th time Bucknell will face Lehigh in its Homecoming game. The Bison are 4-7-1 against the Mountain Hawks on Homecoming.
• Before the 2013 victory, Bucknell last defeated Lehigh in a Homecoming game in 1967 (14-3 on Oct. 14). The Mountain Hawks spoiled the Bison’s 1973, 1979, 1981, 1983, 1989, 1995 and 2009 Homecomings.
Inside the Bucknell Depth Chart
• Nine seniors, four juniors, four sophomores and five freshmen are expected to start.
• Bucknell’s 11 projected starters on offense have made a combined 116 starts.
• Bucknell’s 11 projected starters on defense have made a combined 181 starts.
• DL Abdullah Anderson missed his first career game at Cornell on Oct. 14, 2017. Before that, he had started every game during his time as a Bison, a streak of 38 in a row. He returned to the lineup at Lafayette and started his 40th game at Colgate.
• CB Trey Johnson is the only senior who has played in all 41 games during his time as a Bison.
• LB Mark Pyles is set to become the third senior to play in his 40th career game against Lehigh.
• LB Ben Richard (30), Pyles (17), CB Bryan Marine (11) and OL Chase Watkins (11) are Bucknell’s leaders in consecutive starts. Richard became the second Bison senior to run a starting streak to 30 at Colgate.
• TE Andrew Podbielski made 23-straight starts at tight end from Sept. 19, 2015 to Sept. 16, 2017. His streak, which was the third longest on the team at the time, was snapped due to injury against Sacred Heart. After a two-game absence, he returned to the lineup at Cornell.
• 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 and the Monmouth and Cornell games due to injury, owns 22 career starts.
• There are 13 players on the roster who have started at least 10 games: Anderson (40), Richard (31), Pyles (28), Podbielski (27), Marine (23), Jonov (22), S Connor Golden (20), WR Alan Butler (17), Watkins (17), RB Joey DeFloria (16), S Joe Lauro (16), TE/FB Andrew Owers (15) and WR Jack Horan (11). DE Trevor Fennimore will become the 14th with a start against Lehigh.
• Against Sacred Heart in week four, OL P.J. Barr and TE Alex Twiford became the first freshmen to start for Bucknell. They have started every game since then, a string of five in a row. Fellow freshmen S Brandon Benson and DE Roger Mellado have started the past three tilts.
• To date, nine Bison have started every game: Butler, Fennimore, Horan, Marine, Pyles, Richard, OL Noah Stephenson, Watkins and OL Josh Yoder. Of that group, only two are underclassmen: Stephenson and Yoder.
Patriot League Leaders
• CB Colin Jonov: Interception Return Touchdowns (2), Interception Return Yards (159)
• P Alex Pechin: Punting (44.0)
• As a team, Bucknell leads the Patriot League in total defense (301.3), pass defense (158.4), pass defense efficiency (108.2) and punting (38.9).
• 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
• K John Burdick: Needs one field goal to become just the 12th Bison kicker to reach the double digits in a single season; needs three to move into Bucknell’s top three in single-season field goals
• RB Joey DeFloria: Needs 271 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 Chad Freshnock: Needs 135 rushing yards to reach 1,000 in his career
• CB Colin Jonov: Needs 20 interception return yards to claim Bucknell’s career record; needs 25 to claim Bucknell’s single-season record
• S Joe Lauro: Needs nine solo tackles to reach 100 in his career
• CB Bryan Marine: Needs three interceptions to crack Bucknell’s top 10 in career interceptions; would also become 12th Bison to reach the double digits in this statistical category
• TE Andrew Podbielski: Needs two receiving yards to reach 500 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 third in career games (85) and seventh in career victories (36).
• Susan needs one victory 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.
• The Bison will celebrate their seniors in their final home game against Georgetown on Saturday, Nov. 11 at noon. For Veterans Day, Bucknell will offer free admission for military veterans, active duty servicemen and women and Gold Star Families.