LEWISBURG, Pa. – The Bucknell football team resumes Patriot League play on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. by taking on Lafayette in Easton, Pa. The Bison, who finished non-conference action with a winning record after topping Cornell in Ithaca, N.Y., are in the middle of a three-game road swing.
When: Saturday, October 21 – 3:30 p.m.
Where: Fisher Stadium – Easton, Pa.
Internet Video: Patriot League Network
Radio: Eagle 107 (107.3 WEGH)
Internet Radio: BucknellBison.com
Live Stats: GoLeopards.com
Follow on Twitter: @Bucknell_FB
With a victory the Bison would...
• win their 600th game in program history
• become the 19th FCS program to reach 600 victories
• improve to 1-1 in Patriot League play
• extend their winning streak over the Leopards to four games
• enter next week’s meeting with Colgate as the only Patriot League team above .500
Inside the Cornell Box Score
• After the Big Red evened the score on their first drive of the second half, the Bison scored 16 unanswered points en route to a 26-18 victory.
• With four field goals, K John Burdick matched a school record set in 1989. He went 4-for-4 on his field-goal attempts and 2-for-2 on his point-after bids to total a career-high 14 points.
• QB John Chiarolanzio completed 11 of 16 passes for 176 yards and a career-high two touchdowns. He connected with six different receivers, four of whom reached the double digits in yards on only one catch.
• Bucknell’s first scoring play was a 64-yard touchdown reception by WR Jack Horan at 8:20 of the first quarter.
• This was the second-straight game Chiarolanzio completed a pass of at least 50 yards to Horan. Against Monmouth on Sept. 30, Chiarolanzio found Horan for a 76-yard gain in the first quarter.
• TE Jared Morse blocked a punt to set up Burdick’s third field goal. It was the first time a Bison blocked a punt since S Connor Golden did so on Oct. 4, 2014 at Bryant.
• In the second quarter, CB Bryan Marine forced a fumble just outside the red zone, which was scooped up by DL John Hunt. It was Hunt’s first career fumble recovery and led to Burdick’s first field goal.
• RB Joey DeFloria ran for a season-best 99 yards. On Bucknell’s final scoring drive in the fourth quarter, he accounted for 52 of the 60 yards the offense covered.
• LB Ben Richard led the Bison defense with 11 tackles. It was his ninth double-figure tackle game and second of 2017.
• In his first career start, LB Simeon Page became the first Bison to have a multi-sack game in 2017. He posted two for a combined loss of 15 yards. LB Roger Mellado, who also made his first career start, picked up his first career sack in the red zone, forcing the Big Red to settle for a field goal.
• After Cornell scored its equalizing touchdown, RB Omar Garcia returned the resulting kickoff 49 yards up the sideline to the Big Red 49. Garcia’s return, which was the longest by a Bison in 2017, helped swing the momentum back in Bucknell’s favor and led to Burdick’s second field goal.
• P Alex Pechin played a key role in the win, dropping all four of his punts inside the 20. On average, Cornell started its drives on its 20 while Bucknell began on its 40.
• With the win, the Bison took two in a row from the Big Red at Schoellkopf Field for the first time since they won three-straight in 1987 (20-6), 1990 (42-21) and 1995 (10-7). Bucknell won the 2015 meeting, the last in Ithaca, N.Y., by a 19-14 margin.
Bucknell at a Glance
• Bucknell is 3-3 (0-1 Patriot League) on the season and currently owns the Patriot League’s 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 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, 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 (13th, 38.84) and total defense (23rd, 306.0). The Bison, who ranked in the FCS’s top 35 in rushing defense from week one through week four, fell to 55th (143.6) following the Monmouth game. They moved up to 48th (139.3) after holding Cornell to 120 rushing yards.
• Bucknell has excelled at stopping the passing game, allowing an average of just 166.7 passing yards per game. The Bison held five of their six opponents under 200 passing yards, including two under 150 in Marist (130) and William & Mary (105).
Lafayette at a Glance
• The Leopards are 2-5 (2-0 PL) on the season. They are tied with Lehigh (2-5, 2-0 PL) for the Patriot League lead.
• Both of Lafayette’s victories came by less than a touchdown. On Sept. 30 at Holy Cross, K/P Jeffrey Kordenbrock’s 43-yard field goal lifted the Leopards to a 10-7 win as time expired. They then downed Fordham, 14-10, on Oct. 7 at Fisher Stadium. In that game, QB Sean O’Malley completed a 63-yard touchdown pass to WR Rocco Palumbo with 5:06 remaining in regulation.
• Lafayette went 0-5 in non-conference play, losing by an average of 28 points.
• LB Brandon Bryant owns 92 tackles through seven games, an average of 13.1 per contest. Among FCS players, he stands seconds in tackles per game and is one of only 21 that boasts an average in the double figures.
• Bryant racked up a career-high 19 tackles at Harvard on Oct. 14. For his efforts, he was named the Patriot League Defensive Player of the Week for the third-straight week. Over that stretch, he averaged 16.3 tackles per game.
• The Leopards have averaged 221.0 yards per game through the air, roughly 96 percent of their average total offense. Due in part to allowing 22 sacks for a loss of 149 yards, Lafayette has only netted 64 yards on the ground through seven games, an average of 9.1 per contest that ranks second to last among FCS programs.
• In the Patriot League preseason poll, the Leopards were picked to finish tied for sixth with Georgetown. Bryant and TE Dylan Wadsworth were Lafayette’s Preseason All-Patriot League picks.
The Bucknell/Lafayette Series
• Bucknell played Lafayette in its first ever game on Nov. 30, 1883, a 59-0 loss.
• Lafayette leads the all-time series, 52-36-6, but Bucknell has won four of the past six meetings between the teams.
• The Bison and Leopards have met every season since 1945, a stretch that will reach 73-consecutive years with the 2017 contest.
• Bucknell rides a three-game winning streak against Lafayette into Saturday’s game, having won the 2016 (42-17), 2015 (35-24) and 2014 (27-24 OT) contests. The Bison have previously enjoyed four winning streaks against the Leopards of equal or greater length: from 1929 to 1945 (6), 1968 to 1972 (5), 1949 to 1952 (4) and 1960 to 1962 (3).
• Last season, WR Will Carter and RB Chad Freshnock each rushed for two touchdowns while RB Joey DeFloria ran for 130 yards and one touchdown to lead the Bison to a 42-17 victory on Homecoming. The Bison scored the game’s final 21 points.
• In 2015 at Fisher Stadium, Bucknell overcame a 14-0 first-half deficit to score a 35-24 victory. QB R.J. Nitti threw for 241 yards and matched his career high with four touchdown throws while RB Matt DelMauro accounted for 107 yards on the ground.
• Lafayette is celebrating Homecoming this weekend.
Inside the Bucknell Depth Chart
• Eight seniors, six juniors, four sophomores and four freshmen are projected to start.
• Six of the underclassmen expected to start are on the offensive side of the ball.
• Bucknell’s 11 projected starters on offense have made a combined 93 starts.
• Bucknell’s 11 projected starters on defense have made a combined 164 starts.
• DL Abdullah Anderson missed his first career game at Cornell. Before that, he had started every game during his time as a Bison, a streak of 38 in a row.
• CB Trey Johnson is now the only senior who has played in all 39 games since arriving in Lewisburg. He started Bucknell’s past two games.
• LB Ben Richard (28), LB Mark Pyles (15), CB Bryan Marine (9) and OL Chase Watkins (9) are Bucknell’s leaders in consecutive starts.
• S Joe Lauro had his starting streak halted at 10 at Cornell.
• Richard will become the second Bison senior to start his 30th game at Lafayette.
• TE Andrew Podbielski made 23-straights 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 and matched his career long with a 31-yard reception.
• 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 past two games due to injury, owns 20 career starts.
• CB Bryan Marine became the first junior to start his 20th career game against Monmouth.
• There are 12 players on the roster who have started at least 10 games: Anderson (38), Richard (29), Pyles (26), Podbielski (25), Marine (21), S Connor Golden (20), Jonov (20), RB Joey DeFloria (16), WR Alan Butler (15), TE/FB Andrew Owers (15), Watkins (15) and Lauro (14). With a start at Lafayette, WR Jack Horan will become the 13th.
• There were four first-time starters during Bucknell’s game at Cornell: S Brandon Benson, DE Roger Mellado, S Drew Newcomb and LB Simeon Page. In addition, five freshmen—S Joe Fex, WR John McGuire, LB Rick Mottram, DL Clay Myers and OL Justis Peppers—made their collegiate debuts.
• Newcomb is the fifth upperclassmen to start his first game in 2017, joining OL Pat Finn, WR Kyle Kinner, S Chanse Riley and DL Nick Zarkoski.
• Against Sacred Heart in week four, OL P.J. Barr and TE Alex Twiford became the first freshmen to start a game for Bucknell. Each is expected to make his fourth-straight start at Lafayette.
• At the 2017 campaign’s halfway point, 11 Bison have started every game: Butler, DeFloria, Fennimore, Horan, Marine, Pyles, Richard, OL Noah Stephenson, Watkins, OL Josh Yoder and Zarkoski. Of that group, only two are underclassmen: Stephenson and Yoder.
Burdick Captures Second Patriot League Weekly Award
• After matching Bucknell’s record with four field goals at Cornell on Saturday, K John Burdick was named the Patriot League Special Teams Player of the Week.
• Burdick equaled Steve Barimo’s school record, which was set on Nov. 4, 1989 in a 54-33 victory over Lafayette. He also became the first Bison kicker to make three field goals in a single game since Ryan Korn did so in a 19-16 loss to Georgetown on Sept. 3, 2005.
• Burdick’s 4-for-4 effort helped vault him into the FCS’s top 25 in both field goals per game (t-12th, 1.33) and field goal percentage (t-21st, .800).
• This is Burdick’s second Patriot League weekly award. He was honored on Sept. 25 after booting a career-best 46-yard field goal as time expired to lift Bucknell past Sacred Heart, 34-31. In that game, he went 2-for-2 on his field-goal attempts and 4-for-4 on his extra-point bids.
Patriot League Leaders
• K John Burdick: Scoring by Kicker (5.7); Field Goals (1.33)
• CB Colin Jonov: Interception Return Touchdowns (1)
• P Alex Pechin: Punting (45.0)
• As a team, Bucknell leads the Patriot League in scoring defense (23.3), total defense (306.0), pass defense efficiency (106.1), punting (38.8) and field goal percentage (.800). They are also the least penalized team (38.3).
• 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 two field goals to become just the 12th Bison kicker to reach the double digits in a single season; needs four 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 223 rushing yards to reach 1,000 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
• P Alex Pechin: Needs 90 punting yards to reach 5,000 in his career
• TE Andrew Podbielski: Needs 69 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 (83) and seventh in career victories (35).
• Susan needs two victories 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 wrap up their three-game road swing by traveling to Colgate on Saturday, Oct. 28 for a 1 p.m. tilt. They then return to Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium to face Lehigh in their Homecoming game on Saturday, Nov. 4 at 12 p.m.