LEWISBURG, Pa. – The Bucknell football team scored a Senior Day shutout of Georgetown on Saturday at Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium.
On a day where the Bison (5-5, 2-3 PL) recognized their 19-man senior class and honored the 28th Infantry Division with special helmet decals as part of their Veterans Day celebrations, the defense held the Hoyas (1-9, 0-5 PL) to 214 yards of total offense and didn’t allow them to reach the red zone en route to a 12-0 victory.
It was Bucknell’s first shutout victory since Sept. 5, 2015, a 17-0 whitewashing of Marist in Lewisburg.
Need to take a moment to thank our amazing seniors. This may have been your last game at Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium, but you will always be part of our #BisonFamily. #StartTheStampede pic.twitter.com/bSc33YZgll— Bucknell Football (@Bucknell_FB) November 11, 2017
Colin Jonov led the stifling Bison defense with a career-high nine tackles while Abdullah Anderson registered two sacks for a loss of 12 yards, putting him one away from entering Bucknell’s top 10 in the career annals entering the final game of his storied career.
Offensively, the Bison used two John Burdick field goals to stake themselves a 6-0 lead early in the third quarter. With eight seconds remaining in that frame, John Chiarolanzio connected with Marcus Ademilola for a 36-yard touchdown while under pressure to bring the score to 12-0.
In the fourth quarter, Bucknell held Georgetown to just two first downs and 23 yards of total offense. With nine minutes left to play, the Bison took over on their eight-yard line after a Hoya punt. They proceeded to run out the clock, ultimately ceding the ball on downs at the Georgetown 34 with 2:31 remaining in regulation.
With the Hoyas scrambling to make something happen, the Bison defense put an exclamation mark on its shutout, with Trevor Fennimore sacking Gunther Johnson for a loss of nine yards and Anderson hauling him down for a loss of six on back-to-back plays. After taking over on downs at the Georgetown 22, Bucknell went into victory formation and took a knee to end the game.
In the first half, the teams combined for only 11 first downs and 282 yards of total offense. The Bison finally broke through with 3:35 remaining in the half after recovering a fumbled punt return in the red zone. Tom Adams forced Blaise Brown to cough up the ball on the Hoya 19-yard line, and Brice Sydnor pounced on it to give the offense a short field to work with.
Bucknell advanced as far as Georgetown’s eight-yard line but was forced to settle for a field goal when Chiarolanzio’s pass to Alan Butler was broken up in the corner of the end zone by Ramon Lyons on 3rd and goal. Burdick ultimately kicked a 26-yard field goal, his 10th of the season, to give the Bison a 3-0 lead.
After Burdick missed a 36-yard field goal on Bucknell’s next drive, Georgetown took over with 1:01 on the clock. On the second play of that series, Johnson found a seam and ran 38 yards to the Bucknell 41. He then completed a seven-yard pass to Michael Dereus to set the Hoyas up on the Bison 34. Two plays later, Drew Newcomb corralled a deflected Johnson pass to give Bucknell the ball back with just nine seconds remaining in the half.
Burdick booted his second field goal of the game at 7:17 of the third quarter, capping a 10-play, 40-yard drive that was highlighted by a nine-yard Kyle Kinner reception on a 4th and 2 at the Georgetown 21. The Hoyas held fast to hold Bucknell to a 21-yard field goal, with David Akere tying up Ademilola a yard shy of a first down at their three-yard line.
Ademilola took his revenge a drive later, finishing off an eight-play, 82-yard march with his second touchdown grab of the season. Bolstered by that 36-yard score, he led all receivers with 61 yards.
Chiarolanzio completed 15 of 27 passes for 126 yards. The offensive line played well, only allowing one sack. Joey DeFloria and Chad Freshnock split Bucknell’s carries and finished with 97 and 78 yards respectively. DeFloria’s total was his second highest of the 2017 campaign behind a 99-yard outing at Cornell on Oct. 14.
Alex Pechin played a key role in flipping the field in the Bison’s favor, averaging 43.7 yards per punt. He dropped five of his seven punts inside the 20.
Seven Bison recorded at least 0.5 tackles for a loss, with Anderson leading the way with two thanks to his two sacks. He now has 15.5 in his career, meaning he needs just one to crack Bucknell’s top 10.
Bucknell held advantages in total offense (297-214), first downs (17-8) and time of possession (35:59-24:01).
The Bison will look to ride the momentum from their Senior Day shutout into their 2017 finale at Fordham on Saturday, Nov. 18 at noon.
With the win, the 37th of his Bucknell career, Joe Susan tied Bob Odell for sixth in program history.
Burdick’s pair of field goals gave him 11 on the season, which is tied for sixth in program history. This is only the 12th time a Bison kicker has reached the double digits in field goals in a single season; 10 kickers combined for those 12 efforts, with Steve Barimo (1987, 1989) and Ross Coleman (1997, 1998) each doing so twice. The most recent kicker to accomplish this feat was Derek Maurer in 2014 with 11.
Ben Richard made the 250th tackle of his collegiate career during this game. He’ll enter his final game with 251 (128 solo).
The Bison held the Hoyas to just 79 passing yards, the lowest total they’ve allowed in 2017. They have now limited four of their 10 opponents under 150 passing yards in in Marist (130), William & Mary (105), Lafayette (90) and Georgetown (79).
Georgetown was the first team Bucknell did not allow to reach the red zone in 2017. The Bison kept the Hoyas from drawing inside the 20 for the second-straight season.
This was the Bison’s first Senior Day victory since 2013, a 17-7 win over Georgetown.
Bucknell finished .500 at Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium in 2017, at 3-3. The Bison last finished at least .500 at home in 2014 (3-2).
For Veterans Day, the Bison wore special decals on their helmets in honor of the 28th Infantry Division. One of the most decorated infantry divisions and the oldest division-sized unit in the United States Army, it traces its lineage to Benjamin Franklin’s battalion, The Pennsylvania Associators (1747-1777). The division was officially established in 1879 and was later re-designated as the 28th Division in 1917 after America’s entry into World War I. Today, it is part of the Pennsylvania Army National Guard, Maryland Army National Guard, Ohio Army National Guard and New Jersey Army National Guard.