LEWISBURG, Pa. – The Bucknell football team returns to Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium to face off against Sacred Heart on Saturday, Sept. 23 at 6 p.m. during Family Weekend. The Bison, who are 1-1 on their home turf in 2017, are set to host Community Day, sponsored by M&T Bank.
Tickets can be purchased online at www.bucknell.edu/boxoffice or by calling the Campus Box Office at 570-577-1000.
When: Saturday, September 23 – 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...
• go at least .500 over their first four games for the fourth time in Joe Susan's tenure as head coach
• take a 2-1 series lead over Sacred Heart
• improve to 2-1 in non-conference action this season
• move to 15-9 all-time against Northeast Conference teams
Inside the William & Mary Box Score
• William & Mary used an explosive third quarter to down Bucknell, 30-9. At halftime, the Bison trailed by a single point, 10-9, but the Tribe scored three unanswered touchdowns in the third quarter to open up their advantage.
• William & Mary's victory snapped Bucknell's winning streak in its first road game at three games.
• QB Matt Muh finished with 155 yards on 15-for-20 passing while QB John Chiarolanzio entered the game in the fourth quarter and went 7-for-11 for 48 yards.
• WR Jack Horan led the team in receiving yards (69) while RB Joey DeFloria paced the Bison on the ground (62).
• A week before against Holy Cross, Horan set a new career high with five receptions. He surpassed that mark at William & Mary with seven, the most by a Bison to date.
• Defensively, S Chanse Riley and S Jon Fox tied for the team lead with eight tackles, both setting a new career high in the process.
• CB Bryan Marine blocked the extra point on William & Mary's first third-quarter touchdown. He is the first Bison to block an extra point since DL Alex Jordan blocked one against Holy Cross on Nov. 14, 2015.
• At halftime, the Bison held advantages in passing yards (141-40) and total yards (184-121). The Tribe went on to outgain Bucknell, 160-42, in the second half.
• William & Mary held a decisive lead in sacks (6-0).
• There was only one turnover in the contest: the fumble S Corey Parker returned 16 yards for William & Mary's second third-quarter touchdown.
• This was Bucknell and William & Mary's first meeting since 1996. That year, the Bison (Patriot League) and Tribe (Yankee Conference) went on to win league titles.
Bucknell at a Glance
• Bucknell is currently 1-2 (0-1 Patriot League) on the season.
• The Bison rank ninth among FCS programs in total defense, allowing an average of only 249.0 yards per game. They are the lone Patriot League team in the top 30 (Georgetown is next, at 33rd, allowing an average of 308.7 yards per game).
• Bucknell is one of only 26 teams that have allowed less than 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 30 in rushing defense (29th, 111.3), kickoff returns (23.56) and scoring defense (t-29th, 18.7).
• Through three games, Bucknell has yet to allow 200 or more passing yards, holding Marist (130) and William & Mary (105) under 150. Most notably, the Bison limited Holy Cross QB Peter Pujals, who threw for 358 yards (1 TD) against FBS foe UConn and 367 yards (5 TD) against then No. 11/9 New Hampshire, to 178 yards (0 TD).
• DE Blake Fletcher (fumble recoveries, t-19th, 1), QB Matt Muh (completion percentage, 27th, .639) and P/K Alex Pechin (punting, 11th, 44.3) currently rank in the FCS's top 30 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.
• 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.
Sacred Heart at a Glance
• Sacred Heart is currently 2-1 (0-0 Northeast Conference) on the season.
• Like the Bison, the Pioneers rank in the FCS's top 20 in total defense, allowing an average of 271.3 yards per game to stand 15th. They are also just outside the top 30 in rushing defense (32nd, 117.3).
• Sacred Heart averages exactly two more sacks (2.67) than it allows per game (.67). The Pioneers are ranked in the FCS's top 30 in both categories, at tied for 27th and tied for 13th respectively.
• Sacred Heart, which tied for fifth in the NEC with a 1-5 record a year ago, was selected to finish fifth in the 2017 Preseason Poll. LB Kevin Barry and DE Dylan Ackerson were honored on the Preseason All-NEC Team.
• QB Kevin Duke has one NEC weekly honor under his belt. He was named the league's Offensive Player of the Week leading Sacred Heart to a 42-3 victory over Stetson in his first career start. He passed for 155 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 81 yards and three touchdowns.
• The Pioneers have enjoyed four-straight winning seasons. Over that stretch, they won back-to-back NEC titles in 2013 and 2014, the years they faced the Bison.
The Bucknell/Sacred Heart Series
• This is the third meeting between Bucknell and Sacred Heart.
• The Pioneers won the 2013 game in Lewisburg,16-0, while the Bison took the 2014 meeting in Fairfield, Conn, 36-20.
• Before Holy Cross shut out Bucknell, 20-0, in week two of the 2017 campaign, Sacred Heart was the most recent team to blank the Bison. That shutout ended a program-record streak of 77-straight games with a point.
The Last Meeting with the Pioneers
Bucknell 36 – Sacred Heart 20 (Sept. 20, 2014 – Fairfield, Conn.)
• With their victory, the Bison opened a season 3-0 for the first time since 1997.They previously topped VMI (42-38) and Marist (22-0).
• Bucknell (2-0) and Sacred Heart (3-0) were unbeaten at the time of their meeting.
• R.J. Nitti became the first Bison quarterback to throw four touchdown passes in a game since Jim Fox in 1996.
• Nitti connected with WR Will Carter and WR Bobby Kaslander twice each. Three of his four touchdown passes were at least 35 yards long, with his longest a 65-yard throw to Kaslander that got Bucknell on the board after Sacred Heart opened up a 10-0 lead.
• With 271 yards, Nitti also matched his career high at the time (he went on to throw for 338 against Georgetown on Oct. 24, 2015). He spread his passes around, with six different Bison recording at least two receptions.
• S Clayton Ewell paced the defense with a career-high two interceptions, including one 60-yard return that set up Williams's rushing touchdown early in the second half.
• Bucknell scored all 36 of its points in a stretch of nearly 27 minutes spanning from the second quarter to early in the fourth.
• The Bison held the Pioneers to 300 yards of total offense, 117 below its season average at the time of their meeting.
Joey DeFloria Added as Team Captain
• RB Joey DeFloria will join DL Abdullah Anderson, LB Mark Pyles and LB Ben Richard as a team captain, head coach Joe Susan announced on Sept. 19.
• With DeFloria's addition to the leadership group, the team will have four captains for the first time since 2010. That season, Susan's first at the helm, DE Josh Eden, LB Travis Nissley, OL Jason Vollmar and WR Marlon Woods served as captains.
• As a junior, DeFloria became the 10th Bison to rush for at least 1,000 yards in a single season, finishing with 1,070 on 230 carries. He accounted for 11 of Bucknell's 32 touchdowns, running for 10 and also catching a touchdown pass at Duquesne.
• DeFloria has rushed for at least 100 yards in six career games, which ranks ninth in school history. He needs 472 yards to crack Bucknell's top 10 in career rushing yards.
Inside the Bucknell Depth Chart
• After having the same 22 projected starters for the first three games of the season, the Bison made two changes ahead of their tilt with Sacred Heart.
• TE Marcus Ademilola is listed first at FB instead of TE/FB Andrew Owers while either Matt Muh or John Chiarolanzio could start at QB.
• Ademilola is projected to make his second career start. He made his first on Oct. 31, 2015 at Lafayette and caught the lone touchdown pass of his career in that game.
• If Muh gets the call at QB, it would be his eighth career starting assignment (and fourth consecutive). Chiarolanzio would be making his second career start.
• 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. Of that group, seven made his first career start in 2017: OL Pat Finn, DE Blake Fletcher, OL Erik Lukner, S Chanse Riley, OL Noah Stephenson, OL Josh Yoder and DL Nick Zarkoski.
• DL Abdullah Anderson is the lone senior who has started all 36 games since arriving in Lewisburg. He's anticipated to make his 37th-conseuctive start on Saturday.
• Anderson and CB Trey Johnson are the only seniors who have played all 36 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 19 career starts.
• LB Ben Richard and TE Andrew Podbielski round out Bucknell's top three in consecutive starts. Richard is set to make his 26th in a row and Podbielski his 24th. At 12 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 (36), Richard (26), Podbielski (24), Pyles (23), S Connor Golden (20), Jonov (19), CB Bryan Marine (18), Owers (15), RB Joey DeFloria (13), WR Alan Butler (12), S Joe Lauro (12) and OL Chase Watkins (12).
• At William & Mary, S Aaron Brown made his first career start. A week earlier against Holy Cross, he hauled in his first career interception.
• Four upperclassmen earned their first career starts in 2017: Finn, WR Kyle Kinner, Riley and Zarkoski. Kinner is the lone senior of that group.
• A freshman has yet to start a game for the Bison in 2017.
Bucknell vs. Northeast Conference
• Bucknell is 14-9 all-time against current members of the Northeast Conference: Bryant (1-1), Duquesne (10-7), Robert Morris (2-0), Sacred Heart (1-1).
• The Bison dropped their most recent contest against a Northeastern Conference team. On Sept. 10, 2016, Duquesne topped Bucknell, 30-19, in Pittsburgh.
• Since 2000, Bucknell is 23-21 (.523) 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 (9-30), 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).
Milestones Met Last Week
• WR Alan Butler: Surpassed 500 career receiving yards; enters this week with 508
• RB Joey DeFloria: Surpassed 300 career carries; enters this week with 315
• LB Mark Pyles: Made his 100th career solo tackle; enters this week with 102
• 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 472 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
• P/K Alex Pechin: Needs four punts to reach 100 in his career
• TE Andrew Podbielski: Needs 100 receiving yards to reach 500 in his career
• LB Ben Richard: Needs three 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 (80) and seventh in career victories (33).
• With Saturday's game, he will move into a tie for third in games coached with Roger Hoskins.
• The second head coach in team history, Hoskins coached the Bison from 1899 to 1906 and in 1909. He stands third in the Bucknell record book in seasons (9) and fifth in victories (40).
• 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 will take on Monmouth for the first time in program history at Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 30 at 6 p.m.
• The Bison, who have their bye week after their contest against the Hawks, are hosting four of their first five games for the first time since 1996.