LEWISBURG, Pa. – The Bucknell football team hits the road for the first time in 2017 to take on William & Mary. The Bison and Tribe will face off for the first time since 1996 on Saturday at 6 p.m. in Williamsburg, Va.
When: Saturday, September 16 – 6 p.m.
Where: Walter J. Zable Stadium – Williamsburg, Va.
Internet Video: TribeAthletics.com
Radio: Eagle 107 (107.3 WEGH)
Internet Radio: BucknellBison.com
Live Stats: TribeAthletics.com
Follow on Twitter: @Bucknell_FB
With a victory the Bison would...
• move to 49-78-4 all-time in their first road game of the season
• win their first road game for the fourth-straight season
• improve to 5-3 in their first road game under head coach Joe Susan
• defeat William & Mary for the first time in program history, snapping a four-game losing skid to the Tribe
• improve to 2-0 in non-conference action this season
Inside the Holy Cross Box Score
• Holy Cross toppled Bucknell, 20-0, in the Patriot League opener for both teams at Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium on Sept. 9.
• After recovering a fumble on the opening kickoff, the Crusaders started their drive on the Bison 22. While they took three penalties on that drive, which pushed them back to the Bucknell 32, QB Peter Pujals connected with WR Richie DeNicola for a 30-yard gain that set up RB Diquan Walker for his first of two touchdown rushes.
• The Bison limited Pujals, who threw for 358 yards and one touchdown against FBS foe UConn on Aug. 28, to 178 yards and no touchdowns.
• For the second-straight game, Bucknell held its opponent to 20 or fewer points and 200 or less passing yards.
• S Aaron Brown and S Jon Fox each hauled in his first career interception.
• S Joe Lauro led the Bison defense with eight tackles (five solo) while S Chanse Riley was close behind with a career-best seven (two solo).
• QB Matt Muh totaled 138 yards on 22-for-39 passing, connecting with eight different receivers. His 22 completions and 39 passing attempts were both career-best totals.
• Before this game, Bucknell last suffered a shutout on Sept. 28, 2013, a 16-0 loss to Sacred Heart.
• The Crusaders scored 13 of their 20 points off of turnovers.
• Bucknell held a slim 30:48 to 29:12 advantage in time of possession. The Bison were bolstered by a 9:37 fourth quarter drive that covered 71 yards in 18 plays.
• This was the first time since 2012 the Bison began Patriot League play in September. It was also the second time they had their Patriot League opener on Sept. 9, which is the second earliest date they have kicked off league action.
• The next Patriot League game will be contested on Sept. 30 (Lafayette at Holy Cross). Colgate, Fordham, Georgetown and Lehigh start Patriot League action in October.
Bucknell at a Glance
• Bucknell is currently 1-1 (0-1 Patriot League) on the season.
• The Bison currently rank eighth among FCS programs in total defense, allowing an average of only 233.0 yards per game. They are the lone Patriot League team in the top 30 (Holy Cross is next, at 31st, allowing an average of 325.0 yards per game).
• Bucknell is one of 20 FCS teams that has held its opponents under an average of 300 yards per game. Of that group, only nine have held their opponents under 250 yards per game.
• The Bison also rank in the FCS’s top 20 in scoring defense (11th, 13.0) and rushing defense (20th, 79.0). They are one of only 16 teams that have held their opponents under an average of 14 points per game.
• DE Blake Fletcher (fumble recoveries, t-12th, 1), P/K Alex Pechin (punting, 14th, 44.1), S Joe Lauro (forced fumbles, t-17th, .50), LB Ben Richard (forced fumbles, t-17th, .50) and DL Nick Zarkoski (forced fumbles, t-17th, .50) currently rank in the FCS’s top 20 in their respective statistical categories.
• 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.
William & Mary at a Glance
• William & Mary is currently 1-1 (0-0 Colonial Athletic Association) on the season.
• The Tribe opened 2017 with road games against the ACC’s Virginia (10-28) and the MEAC’s Norfolk State (20-6).
• Like Bucknell, William & Mary is in the FCS’s top 25 in scoring defense (t-20th, 17.0) total defense (25th, 313.5) and rushing defense (t-25th, 96.5). The Tribe are also tied for 28th in red zone defense (.714).
• OL Chris Durant is a STATS Preseason Third Team All-American. He and WR DeVonte Dedmon were also honored on the Preseason All-CAA Team.
• William & Mary head coach Jimmye Laycock enters this weekend tied with Columbia’s Al Bagnoli for the lead among active Division I coaches with 244 career victories.
• The Tribe is 22-9 all-time against Patriot League teams. William & Mary has faced Lehigh the most times and owns an 8-1 mark against the Mountain Hawks.
• The Tribe boasts a dual threat quarterback in Tommy McKee, who leads the team in rushing yards (203) and has also racked up 232 yards and three touchdowns through the air. McKee’s favorite target has been WR Daniel Kuzjak, who has posted eight receptions for 74 yards.
• LB Nate Atkins (18), LB Arman Jones (15) and S Corey Parker (15) are William & Mary’s top three in tackles. LB Josh Dulaney is next with 14, a team-best 4.5 of which were for a loss. Dulaney’s younger brother, Justin, is a wide receiver for the Tribe.
The Bucknell/William & Mary Series
• This is the fifth meeting between the Bison and Tribe.
• William & Mary won the four previous meetings, all of which occurred between 1986 and 1996.
• The Tribe scored 30 or more points in all four of those games, reaching the 45-point plateau in the two 1990s tilts.
• The Bison were held to less than 20 points in all four of those games. They topped out at 17 in the 1990 meeting, a 45-17 loss.
The Last Meeting with the Tribe
Bucknell 0 – William & Mary 47 (Sept. 21, 1996 – Lewisburg, Pa.)
• The Bison squared off against the Tribe in their second game of the 1996 campaign on the heels of a 44-7 victory over Towson State.
• The Tribe totaled 543 yards of total offense and limited the Bison to 82. Bucknell was held to four first downs and went 0 for 11 on third-down conversions.
• With the win, the Tribe stretched their winning streak over the Bison to four games.
• The Tribe entered their game against the Bison slotted No. 23 in the Division I-AA ranks. They climbed to No. 5 by the final rankings of the season.
• William & Mary went on to finish 1996 with a 10-3 (7-1 Yankee Conference) record, tying the school record for wins.
• The Tribe defeated five ranked teams and advanced to the NCAA Quarterfinals, where they fell to No. 3 Northern Iowa, 38-35, in Cedar Falls, Iowa.
• William & Mary was then a member of the Yankee Conference, which folded at the end of the 1996 campaign. The Tribe won the league title and also captured the Lambert Cup and ECAC Team of the Year trophies.
• William & Mary head coach Jimmye Laycock was in his 17th season at the helm in 1996. A year earlier, he became the 13th coach in Division I-AA history to reach the 100-win plateau with a 39-0 victory over New Hampshire on Sept. 23, 1995.
• Bucknell’s tilt against William & Mary was part of a four-game home stretch to open 1996. That season, the Bison played five of their first six games in Lewisburg, Pa.
Inside the Bucknell Depth Chart
• Bucknell’s projected starters on both offense and defense are the same as from last week. All but one projected starter got the start against Holy Cross.
• Bucknell’s 11 projected starters on offense have made a combined 92 starts.
• Bucknell’s 11 projected starters on defense have made a combined 140 starts.
• Ten seniors, seven juniors and five sophomores are expected to start. Fifteen seniors, 13 juniors, 17 sophomores and five freshmen appear on this week’s depth chart.
• DL Abdullah Anderson is the lone senior who has started all 35 games since arriving in Lewisburg. He’s anticipated to make his 36th-conseuctive start on Saturday.
• Anderson and CB Trey Johnson are the only seniors who have played all 35 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 18 career starts.
• LB Ben Richard and TE Andrew Podbielski round out Bucknell’s top three in consecutive starts. Richard is set to make his 25th in a row and Podbielski his 23rd. At 11 in a row, LB Mark Pyles is the only other Bison who has reached the double digits in consecutive starts.
• There are 12 players on the roster who have started at least 10 games: Anderson (35), Richard (25), Podbielski (23), Pyles (22), S Connor Golden (20), Jonov (18), CB Bryan Marine (17), TE/FB Andrew Owers (15), RB Joey DeFloria (12), WR Alan Butler (11), S Joe Lauro (11) and OL Chase Watkins (11).
• Against Holy Cross, WR Kyle Kinner made his first career start while TE Alex Twiford made his first appearance.
• Kinner is the fourth Bison upperclassmen to earn his first career start in 2017, joining OL Pat Finn, S Chanse Riley and DT Nick Zarkoski. Kinner is the lone senior of that group.
• Twiford was one of four freshmen who saw the field in week two, joining S Brandon Benson, LB Simeon Page and DE Roger Mellado. Benson, Page and Mellado were previously among eight newcomers who made their debut in week one.
• A freshman has yet to start a game for the Bison in 2017.
• Since 2000, Bucknell is 23-20 (.539) 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 (45-6), 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 Freshman Finalist for NFF Award
• LB Rick Mottram was selected as one of 35 finalists for the 2017 National Football Foundation Chapter Scholar-Athlete Awards, the organization announced on Sept. 13.
• The finalists are 2017 high school graduates who are currently playing college football. The five honorees, one from each region, will be announced Oct. 4.
• Mottram is one of eight finalists from the East Region. He was nominated by the NFF
Delaware Valley (N.J.) Chapter.
• A First Team All-State selection and two-time Trenton Times Defensive Player of the Year, Mottram left Allentown High School (N.J.) as the program leader with 435 career tackles. He helped lead the Redbirds to the 2016 Central Jersey Group IV state title and three West Jersey Football League crowns.
Milestones Met Last Week
• S Joe Lauro: Made his 100th career tackle last week; enters this week with 104 (67 solo)
• LB Ben Richard: Made his 100th career solo tackle last week; enters this week with 103
• 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
• WR Alan Butler: Needs 10 receiving yards to reach 500 in his career
• RB Joey DeFloria: Needs three carries to reach 300 in his career
• RB Joey DeFloria: Needs 534 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
• LB Mark Pyles: Needs four solo tackles to reach 100 in his career
• LB Ben Richard: Needs nine 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 fourth in career games (79) and seventh in career victories (33).
• Susan moved out of a tie with Tim Landis (78) in career games on Sept. 9. With Bucknell’s Sept. 2 victory over Marist, he 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.
• Bucknell returns to Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium to face Sacred Heart on Saturday, Sept. 23 at 6 p.m. during Family Weekend.
• The Bison, who will welcome Monmouth to Lewisburg the following Saturday, are set to host four of their first five games for the first time since 1996. That season, they played four-straight home games against Towson State (44-7), William & Mary (0-47), Harvard (7-30) and Penn (21-30 OT) before traveling to Yale (21-23). They went on to win five of their final six games and capture the Patriot League crown with a 4-1 mark in league play.