LEWISBURG, Pa. – The Bucknell football team kicks off Patriot League action against Holy Cross at Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 9. The Bison, who routed Marist by a 45-6 margin in their season opener, will take on the Crusaders in their first Patriot League game for the second-straight season at noon.
Tickets can be purchased online at www.bucknell.edu/boxoffice or by calling the Campus Box Office at 570-577-1000.
The Bison are excited to welcome alumni back to campus for the Sixth Annual Bucknell Football Alumni Weekend, which is centered around the Holy Cross game. More information about the weekened's many activities can be found here.
When: Saturday, September 9 – 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 19-13 all-time in Patriot League openers
• win their second-straight Patriot League opener
• even their all-time record against Holy Cross in Lewisburg, Pa. to 8-8
• take two in a row from the Crusaders for the first time since 2003 and 2004
• win their first ever September meeting with Holy Cross
• open the season with two-straight victories for the first time since 2014
Inside the Marist Box Score
• The Bison broke open the game in the first quarter by scoring four touchdowns, including three in the final two minutes of the frame. CB Colin Jonov set the tone early, intercepting a pass on the Red Foxes’ first drive and returning it 64 yards for a touchdown.
• WR Kyle Kinner and WR Steven Walier each caught his first career touchdown pass. Walier’s 45-yard touchdown reception, which came with no time left on the clock in the opening frame, was also his first career catch.
• On Marist’s drive after Kinner’s touchdown, DT Nick Zarkoski sacked quarterback Mike White deep in the Red Fox end. The ball came free, and DE Blake Fletcher pounced on it in the end zone to extend the Bison’s lead to 21-0.
• The Bison defense limited Marist to just 154 yards of total offense. LB Mark Pyles led the way with eight tackles (five solo) while LB Ben Richard was close behind with seven (six solo).
• Eight different Bison had a tackle for a loss with DT Abdullah Anderson, Fletcher and Pyles each recording two. Four Bison—Fletcher, LB Simeon Page, Richard and Zarkoski—had a sack.
• Bucknell won its seventh-straight season opener and moved to 7-1 in its first game under head coach Joe Susan.
• The Bison last scored 45 points in a game on Oct. 11, 2014, a 45-24 win at Lehigh. Their margin of victory was their largest since Oct. 6, 2001, a 51-10 win over Towson.
• In their last four meetings with Marist, Bucknell has only allowed 16 points. The Bison blanked the Red Foxes in their 2014 (22-0) and 2015 (17-0) contests and won the 2016 meeting by a 26-10 margin.
Bucknell at a Glance
• Bucknell is currently 1-0 (0-0 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, Pyles and Richard will serve as team captains in 2017.
• 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.
• The Bison currently rank in the FCS’s top 15 in the following statistical categories: red zone offense (t-1st, 1.000), kickoff returns (5th, 32.00), scoring defense (t-10th, 6.0), total defense (t-11th, 154.0), rushing defense (t-12th, 24.0), scoring offense (t-14th, 45.0) and sacks (t-15th, 3.00).
• DE Blake Fletcher (fumble recoveries, t-1st, 1), DL Nick Zarkoski (forced fumbles, t-3rd, 1.0), P/K Alex Pechin (punting, t-4th, 47.0, CB Colin Jonov (interceptions, t-5th, 1.0) and RB Chad Freshnock (total TDs, t-7th, 2) currently rank in the FCS’s top 10 in their respective statistical categories.
• A full slate of promotions is centered around Bucknell’s home opener:
• A full slate of promotions is centered around Bucknell’s Patriot League opener:
- Half-time recognition of football alumni in attendance as part of the Sixth Annual Bucknell Football Alumni Weekend
- Half-time recognition of the defending Patriot League champion men's and women's basketball teams
- Free "Two Teams, One March" poster featuring the basketball teams for the first 500 fans in attendance, presented by Weis Markets of Lewisburg
- Basketball autograph session in the third quarter by the inflatables
- Junior Bison club autograph session with football following the game
Holy Cross at a Glance
• Holy Cross is currently 0-1 (0-0 Patriot League) on the season.
• Holy Cross opened its season with a tight 27-20 loss to FBS opponent UConn in East Hartford, Conn. on Aug. 31. The Huskies scored 20 unanswered points to erase the Crusaders’ 20-7 halftime lead.
• QB Peter Pujals, a two-time All-Patriot League selection and the league’s 2013 Rookie of the Year, made a strong return from injury, throwing for 358 yards and one touchdown. WR Blaise Bell, who finished with 129 yards and a touchdown on 10 catches, was his favorite target.
• Because of his performance against UConn, Pujals currently ranks sixth in the FCS ranks in passing yards.
• LB Ryan Brady led the Crusader defense with 14 tackles while CB Alim Muhammad (12) and LB Nick McBeath (11) also reached the double digits.
• Holy Cross’s game against UConn was its first against an FBS foe since 2002.
• In 2016, the Crusaders posted a 4-7 overall record. They went 2-4 in Patriot League action to finish fifth.
• Holy Cross was selected to take fourth in the Patriot League in the 2017 preseason poll, as voted on by the league’s coaches and sports information directors.
• LB Nick McBeath was the lone Crusader voted to the 2017 Preseason All-Patriot League Team. McPeath (1st ‘16), QB Peter Pujals (1st ‘15, 2nd ‘14) and OL James Murray (2nd ‘16).
The Bucknell/Holy Cross Series
• Bucknell and Holy Cross first met on Oct. 31, 1925, with the Crusaders emerging a 23-7 victor in Worcester, Mass.
• The Crusaders and Bison have squared off annually since 1986, the year the Patriot League was founded as the Colonial League.
• Between 1925 and 1986, Bucknell and Holy Cross met only once: in 1953.
• The Crusaders lead the all-time series, 21-12, and hold a slim 8-7 edge over the Bison at Christy-Mathewson Memorial Stadium.
• Bucknell has won two of the past three games. The Bison took the 2014 (31-24 OT) and 2016 (21-20) meetings, both of which occurred at Holy Cross’s Fitton Field.
• The Crusaders enter Saturday’s game riding a three-game win streak over Bucknell in Lewisburg, Pa.
• The Bison last downed Holy Cross on their home turf on Nov. 21, 2009. The Crusaders, who had already clinched the Patriot League title and were ranked No. 13 in the country, never led in that contest, as Bucknell racked up 321 rushing yards, including 189 by C.J. Hopson, en rotue to its 23-17 victory.
• Head coach Joe Susan is 2-5 against the Crusaders.
• Saturday’s game marks the first time Bucknell and Holy Cross will face off in September. Previously, the earliest date they had played was Oct. 6 (2012). They have squared off 20 times in November and 13 times in October.
• This is the second-straight season the Bison will open Patriot League play against the Crusaders.
The Last Meeting with the Crusaders
Bucknell 21 – Holy Cross 20 (Oct. 8, 2016 – Worcester, Mass.)
• The Bison overcame a 17-0 disadvantage to kick off Patriot League action with a 21-20 victory.
• RB Chad Freshnock scored the game’s final two touchdowns, his last with 6:37 remaining in regulation.
• In the final minutes, DE R.J. Sheldon sacked QB Geoff Wade on a 4th-and-10 deep in Crusader territory to clinch Bucknell’s victory.
• The Bison held Holy Cross without a point in the second half. The Crusaders entered the tilt averaging more than 31 points per game.
• Bucknell limited Holy Cross to 162 yards of total offense, including just 28 in the second half. The Crusaders had eight three-and-out drives that ended with punts.
• WR Will Carter broke school records for career receptions and career receiving yards that had been held by Tom Mitchell since 1965.
• RB Joey DeFloria had runs of 44 and 43 yards on the way to his third 100-yard game of the season. He finished with 149 yards on 28 carries, with 129 coming in the second half.
• With the win, the Bison took two in a row from the Crusaders at Fitton Field for the first time since their victories in the 1996 (38-7) and 1998 (32-21) meetings.
Inside the Bucknell Depth Chart
• Bucknell’s projected starters on both offense and defense are the same as from week one against Marist. Every projected starter did get the start in the 2017 opener.
• Bucknell’s 11 projected starters on offense have made a combined 81 starts.
• Bucknell’s 11 projected starters on defense have made a combined 129 starts.
• Ten seniors, seven juniors and five sophomores are expected to start. Fifteen seniors, 13 juniors, 16 sophomores and five freshmen appear on this week’s depth chart.
• DL Abdullah Anderson is the lone senior who has started all 34 games since arriving in Lewisburg. He’s anticipated to make his 35th-conseuctive start on Saturday.
• Anderson and CB Trey Johnson are the only seniors who have played all 34 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 17 career starts.
• LB Ben Richard and TE Andrew Podbielski round out Bucknell’s top three in consecutive starts. Richard is set to make his 24th in a row and Podbielski his 22nd.
• WR Alan Butler, S Joe Lauro and OL Chase Watkins each made his 10th career start in the 2017 opener. With their addition, there are now 12 players on the 2017 roster who have reached the double digits in career starts.
• The following seven players made their first career start in the 2017 opener: OL Pat Finn, DE Blake Fletcher, OL Erik Lukner, S Chanse Riley, OL Noah Stephenson, OL Josh Yoder and DL Nick Zarkoski.
• The 2017 opener was the first career game for the following 14 players: LB/LS Tom Adams, WR Mike Balzofiore, OL P.J. Barr, DE Simon Behr, S Brandon Benson, RB Marquis Carter, CB Mike Caruso, WR Blais Herman, OL Erik Lukner, DE Roger Mellado, OL Noah Stephenson, LB Simeon Page, P/K Ethan Torres and OL Josh Yoder. That group includes one senior (Adams), five sophomores (Balzofiore, Caruso, Lukner, Stephenson, Yoder) and eight freshmen.
Patriot League Openers
• Bucknell holds an 18-13 record in Patriot League openers.
• In 2016, the Bison defeated Holy Cross, 21-20, in their first Patriot League game.
• Bucknell has met Holy Cross in its Patriot League opener three times: 2016 (21-20), 1996 (38-7) and 1992 (12-27).
• This is the first time since 2012 the Bison will begin Patriot League play in September. That year, they played Lafayette on Sept. 22 (14-20).
• This is the second time the Bison will have their Patriot League opener on Sept. 9, which is the second earliest date they have begun league action. The first time was in 2006 against Lafayette (14-20).
• The earliest date Bucknell had their Patriot League opener was Sept. 3 (2005). In that game, the Bison fell to Georgetown, 19-16, in overtime.
Bison Capture Weekly Awards
• For their role in Bucknell’s 45-6 rout of Marist, LB Simeon Page was voted the Patriot League Rookie of the Week while CB Colin Jonov was named the Bison Athlete of the Week.
• Page captured his first Rookie of the Week award after totaling two solo tackles, one tackle for a loss and one sack to help Bucknell limit Marist to 154 yards of total offense.
• Page is the first member of the Bison defense to be named the Patriot League Rookie of the Week since CB Bryan Marine was honored on Oct. 5, 2015 after totaling 10 tackles and three pass breakups in a 28-22 overtime victory at VMI. In 2016, RB Chad Freshnock was a three-time Rookie of the Week pick.
• Jonov intercepted a pass on Marist’s first drive of the game and returned it 64 yards for a touchdown. He was part of a backfield that limited the Red Foxes to 130 yards through the air.
• This is Jonov’s first Bison of the Week nod. He was previously named the Patriot League Rookie of the Week on Nov. 17, 2014 after recording two interceptions, two pass breakups and two tackles in a 34-21 overtime win at Holy Cross.
• In 2016, LB Ben Richard (Sept. 4), RB Joey DeFloria (Oct. 9) and DL Abdullah Anderson (Oct. 23) received Bison Athlete of the Week accolades.
• DL Abdullah Anderson: Needs 3.5 sacks to crack Bucknell’s top 10 in career sacks
• RB Joey DeFloria: Needs 554 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
• S Joe Lauro: Needs four tackles to reach 100 in his career
• LB Mark Pyles: Needs four solo tackles to reach 100 in his career
• LB Ben Richard: Needs one solo tackle to reach 100 in his career
• LB Ben Richard: Needs 15 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 fourth in career games (78) and seventh in career victories (33).
• Susan moved into a tie with Tim Landis (78) in career games on Sept. 2. With Bucknell’s victory over Marist, he also broke his tie for seventh with Landis (32) in career victories.
• At the conclusion of the season, Susan 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.
• 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 take on William & Mary for the first time since 1996. Bucknell travels to Williamsburg, Va. for a 6 p.m. tilt on Saturday, Sept. 16.