LEWISBURG, Pa. – Senior safety Bret Berg – who took home the Bison Gridiron Club Award as team MVP - was among the 17 winners of awards at the 55th annual Bison Gridiron Club Awards Banquet, which took place Sunday evening in the Terrace Room inside the Langone Center. More than 200 members of the Bucknell football team and supporters of the program were in attendance at the popular event.
In addition to being named team MVP, Berg was also selected as the Keating-Rieu Memorial Award winner and a winner of the Sledge Hammer Award. The Keating-Rieu Memorial Award recognizes the outstanding player in the Colgate game.
A First Team All-Patriot League selection, Berg was a two-year starter at safety who also took over as the team’s starting punter late in the season. He ranked second on the squad with a career-high 75 tackles. Berg also led the Bison with four interceptions, was second on the team with seven pass breakups and had 3.5 tackles for loss.
Against Colgate, Berg posted eight tackles, registered a team-high two tackles for loss, forced one fumble and had one pass breakup. It was also his first game as a punter, filling in for injured Matt Muh in the second half. Berg registered the first two punts of his career and averaged 40.5 yards on those kicks. He went on to average 40.7 yards on 33 punts with 13 landing inside the 20-yard line.
Berg shared the Sledge Hammer Award with junior RB Joey DeFloria, who was a Second Team All-Patriot League selection. The first-year starter ranked third in the Patriot League with 1,070 rushing yards as he became the first Bison player to rush for more than 1,000 yards in a season since 2004. DeFloria posted six 100-yard rushing games and led the team in all-purpose yards with 1,286 and he also earned the Big Blue Award as the team’s outstanding back or receiver.
Junior DL Abdullah Anderson was also a winner of multiple awards on Sunday. He earned the George L. McGaughey Memorial Award as the outstanding player in the Lafayette game and was also presented the George Rieu Award as the team’s outstanding defensive lineman. A First Team All-Patriot League selection, Anderson finished the 2016 season ranked fourth on the team with a career-high 55 tackles. He also posted 13.5 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks, which are both career highs and place him in the top three in the conference in both categories.
Anderson is a three-time All-Patriot League selection who has started all 33 games on the defensive line since arriving at Bucknell.
Bucknell’s three captains – senior OL Julie'n Davenport, junior LB Mark Pyles and senior DL Ben Schumacher – were also presented two awards apiece. All three shared the Captains Award. Davenport added the Tom Gadd Coaches’ Award, while Pyles was given the Bucknell Football Leadership Award and Schumacher the C. Dale Wolfe Recognition Award as the most inspirational player.
A likely NFL draft pick who is one of just 13 players in Patriot League history to be named All-League four times, Davenport is the only member of Bucknell’s senior class to start all 44 games over the last four years. He was a two-year team captain who was a First Team STATS FCS Preseason All-America selection and was named to the Athlon Sports Preseason FCS All-America Team. He was a Second Team STATS FCS All-American following last season.
A member of the STATS FCS Walter Payton Award Watch List, Davenport was recently invited to play in the prestigious Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama, in late January.
A two-year starter at linebacker, Pyles is a two-time Second Team All-Patriot League selection. He finished with 54 tackles in nine games this fall and registered 3.5 tackles for loss, two sacks, five pass breakups and one forced fumble.
Schumacher had his senior season cut short as he suffered a knee injury in the season opener at Marist and was unable to return to the field. Despite being out of the lineup, he was a vocal presence on the sideline the remainder of the season. Schumacher was a First Team All-Patriot League selection as a junior and finished his career with 60 tackles, 17.5 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks.
Junior LB Ben Richard shared the Tom Gadd Coaches’ Award with Davenport. He put together his second straight All-Patriot League campaign, moving from the Second Team last year to First Team this fall. Richard led the Bison in tackles (95) this year and was among the team leaders in tackles for loss (11.5) and sacks (5). His 178 career tackles are most among current Bucknell players.
Sophomore CB Bryan Marine was named the winner of the Clarke Hinkle Award as the team’s outstanding defensive back or linebacker for the second straight year. The First Team All-Patriot League selection totaled 54 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, two interceptions and three forced fumbles despite missing two games mid-season due to injury. Marine also registered 13 pass breakups, the most by a Bucknell player since 2004.
Senior CB Nick O'Brien was named the Special Teams MVP due to his work returning both punts and kicks. The four-year starter returned 16 punts for 123 yards this season to rank among the Patriot League leaders. He also returned 18 kicks for a 22.6 yard average. O’Brien totaled 223 career punt return yards and nearly 1,200 career kickoff return yards.
On the defensive side of the ball, O’Brien 35 tackles, two tackles for loss and a career-high nine pass breakups this year.
Freshman RB Chad Freshnock earned the Stuart M. Smith Award as the team’s outstanding newcomer. He finished the season with 604 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns to rank among the Patriot League leaders. Freshnock scored at least one touchdown in each of the season’s final five games and had four multi-touchdown games overall.
Second Team All-Patriot League OL Griff Barth earned the John Campana Award as the outstanding offensive lineman. The senior started 10 of 11 games on the right side of the line, splitting time between guard and tackle. Barth played in 17 games over the last two years and was a key member of the senior-laden offensive line this year.
Senior WR Will Carter was the recipient of a brand new award this year – the Career Record Award. Carter finished his career with 195 catches for 2,744 yards, both school records. He eclipsed Tom Mithchell’s standards that had stood for 51 years. Carter will graduate tied for the program record for career touchdown receptions (18) with Mitchell and Lester Erb.
In 2016, Carter led the Bison with 49 catches for 734 yards and three touchdowns. He also ran 10 times for 14 yards and two touchdowns.
Senior RB C.J. Williams – a two-time Second Team All-Patriot League selection – was unable to be in the lineup this year and earned the Bobby Pangburn Memorial Award for commitment, dedication and unqualified friendship. The sixth-leading rusher in program history with 2,334 yards, Williams acted in a student assistant coach role this year, focusing his efforts on the running backs, who helped Bucknell rush for its most yards since 2013.
Senior QB Alexander Romango, who did a nearly flawless job as holder this year, was presented the Moxie Award for special contribution to the Bucknell football program, while freshman WR Stefone Moore-Green (offense), freshman DL John Hunt (defense) and freshman WR Mike Balzofiore (special teams) were awarded the Scout Team Player of the Year plaques.
Bucknell finished the 2016 season with a 4-7 overall record and was 3-3 in Patriot League play, its third time in the last four years it has finished at least .500 in conference play.
2016 Bucknell Football Award Winners
Scout Team Player of the Year (Offense): Stefone Moore-Green
Scout Team Player of the Year (Defense): John Hunt
Scout Team Player of the Year (Special Teams): Mike Balzofiore
Moxie Award: Alexander Romango
- Presented for special contribution to the Bucknell football program
Career Record Award: Will Carter
Bucknell Football Leadership Award: Mark Pyles
Bobby Pangburn Memorial Award: C.J. Williams
- presented for commitment, dedication and unqualified friendship
George L. McGaughey Memorial Award: Abdullah Anderson
- Outstanding player in the Lafayette game
Keating-Rieu Memorial Award: Bret Berg
- Outstanding player in the Colgate game
Stuart M. Smith Memorial Award: Chad Freshnock
- Outstanding newcomer
John Campana Award: Griff Barth
- Outstanding offensive lineman
George Rieu Award: Abdullah Anderson
- Outstanding defensive lineman
Clarke Hinkle Award: Bryan Marine
- Outstanding defensive back or linebacker
Big Blue Award: Joey DeFloria
- Outstanding back or receiver
Special Teams MVP: Nick O'Brien
C. Dale Wolfe Recognition Award: Ben Schumacher
- Most inspirational player
Tom Gadd Coaches' Award (Offense): Julie'n Davenport
Tom Gadd Coaches' Award (Defense): Ben Richard
Captains Award: Julie’n Davenport, Mark Pyles, Ben Schumacher
Sledge Hammer Award: Bret Berg, Joey DeFloria
Bison Gridiron Club Award: Bret Berg
- Team MVP
2016 Bucknell Football Letterwinners (total number of career letters in parentheses)
Sophomore TE Marcus Ademilola (2)
Junior DL Abdullah Anderson (3)
Senior OL Griff Barth (2)
Senior OL Ned Bent (4)
Senior S Bret Berg (3)
Freshman WR Justin Bethea (1)
Senior LB Thomas Bodolus (4)
Senior OL Devlin Brennan (4)
Freshman S Aaron Brown (1)
Junior K John Burdick (2)
Sophomore WR Alan Butler (2)
Senior WR Will Carter (4)
Junior DE Craig Cassidy (1)
Sophomore K Jack Chambers (1)
Freshman QB John Chiarolanzio (1)
Freshman LB Sam Chitty (1)
Senior OL Julie'n Davenport (4)
Junior RB Joey DeFloria (2)
Senior RB Anthony DelRusso (1)
Junior DE Trevor Fennimore (1)
Sophomore OL Pat Finn (1)
Freshman DE Blake Fletcher (1)
Freshman S Jon Fox (1)
Freshman RB Chad Freshnock (1)
Senior DL Troy Glenn (2)
Junior S Connor Golden (3)
Senior OL Cary Hess (3)
Junior WR Jack Horan (1)
Freshman DL John Hunt (1)
Junior CB Trey Johnson (3)
Sophomore DL Alex Jordan (2)
Junior WR Kyle Kinner (1)
Sophomore S Joe Lauro (2)
Junior FB Luke Liprando (2)
Sophomore CB Bryan Marine (2)
Senior WR Nathan Medrano (1)
Junior TE Jared Morse (1)
Junior QB Matt Muh (1)
Sophomore S Drew Newcomb (1)
Senior QB R.J. Nitti (4)
Senior CB Nick O'Brien (4)
Sophomore CB Fisayo Oluleye (2)
Sophomore TE Andrew Owers (2)
Freshman LS Dillon Paprota (1)
Sophomore P/K Alex Pechin (2)
Junior TE Andrew Podbielski (3)
Junior LB Mark Pyles (3)
Freshman TE John Reedy (1)
Junior LB Ben Richard (3)
Senior OL Ryan Riethmiller (1)
Sophomore CB Chanse Riley (1)
Sophomore LB Matt Robinson (2)
Senior QB Alexander Romango (1)
Senior DL Ben Schumacher (3)
Senior DE R.J. Sheldon (3)
Sophomore S Brice Sydnor (1)
Junior OL Chase Watkins (1)
Junior DE Doug Whitlock (1)
Senior RB C.J. Williams (4)