Oct. 22, 2011

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  • LEWISBURG, Pa. - Bucknell's defense forced six turnovers and held Holy Cross to minus-16 yards rushing, but the Crusaders' Ryan Taggart completed 32 of 58 passes for 380 yards and a pair of touchdowns as the Bison dropped their final home game of the season to Holy Cross, 16-13, Saturday afternoon at Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium. Bucknell, which was celebrating both Senior Day and Homecoming, is now 4-4 on the season and 1-2 in Patriot League play with its final three games on the road.

    The Bison defense was solid, holding its second opponent in four weeks to negative yards rushing. Bryce Robertson intercepted two passes, vaulting his season total to eight, while Beau Traber had a career-high 10 tackles, including 3.5 tackles for loss and a pair of sacks. Overall, Bucknell totaled a season-high 10 tackles for loss and six sacks.

    The Bison entered the game fifth nationally in forced turnovers and now have 26 turnovers gained against nine turnovers lost this year after not committing a miscue on Saturday.

    Holy Cross (4-3, 2-0 PL) had a solid game defensively as well, holding the Bison to 146 yards of total offense, including 48 in the second half. Bucknell quarterback Brandon Wesley completed 7 of 27 passes for just 77 yards. He was also sacked six times. Chandler Fenner and Ricky Otis shared team-high honors with eight tackles apiece, while Mike Tucker posted three sacks.

    Bucknell's offense was opportunistic when it did score, tallying six points (two field goals) immediately after turnovers, and its only touchdown after a career-long 32-yard punt return by Robertson.

    Holy Cross' offense took advantage of a couple big penalties by the Bison, who were flagged seven times for 65 yards. The Crusaders' first 13 points came on drives that featured 15-yard penalties by Bucknell. Holy Cross averaged more than eight plays and 64 yards on its three scoring drives.

    Drew Orth, one of 19 Bison seniors honored in the pregame Senior Day ceremonies, connected on a pair of first-half field goals as Bucknell trailed 13-6 at the half. His first field goal (37 yards) made the score 3-0 and came after a Reggie Woods fumble gave the Bison possession at the Holy Cross 21-yard line. Later, Orth capped an 11-play, 39-yard drive with a 25-yard field goal following a Tim Bolte forced fumble gave the Bison possession on the Crusaders' side of the 50-yard line.

    Bucknell tied the score at 13-13 on its first possession of the second half when running back Tyler Smith, who came four yards shy of his second 100-yard outing this year, scored on a 1-yard rush. It was the first touchdown for the Bison since an Oct. 1 win over Georgetown. The big play on the drive, which started at the Holy Cross 33, was a 21-yard completion from Wesley to Victor Walker on a 3rd-and-4. It was one of just three successful third downs for Bucknell in 17 chances.

    Holy Cross rounded out the scoring in the game with a 30-yard field goal by John Macomber midway through the third quarter.

    The teams alternated possessions throughout the rest of the third and fourth quarters as they combined for 10 punts and two turnovers during that span.

    A sack by senior Josh Eden - the 18th of his career - with just over two minutes to play forced a Holy Cross punt and gave the Bison one last chance to at least tie the score and force overtime with a field goal. They took possession at their own 31-yard line with 1:55 on the clock, but an incomplete pass and two sacks set up a 4th-and-26 pass, which fell incomplete, clinching the victory for the Crusaders.

    Holy Cross scored two touchdowns in the first half, both on five-yard passes from Taggart. Joseph Francis blocked the second extra point, the fourth blocked kick by the Bison this year.

    The Crusaders finished with 364 yards of total offense, 223 of which came in the first half.

    Robertson piled up a career high-tying nine tackles to go along with his two interceptions and a pair of pass breakups. He broke the program record for interception return yards in a single season and now has 168, 18 more than Kevin Eiben's 2000 total. He is just two interceptions shy of Gene Luccarelli's school single-season record.

    Robert De La Rosa picked off his first career pass for the Bison, while Tim Bolte, Evan Byers and Tracey Smith forced fumbles. Byers also recovered a fumble and had four tackles.

    Bucknell will be on the road for its final three games in 2011. The Bison will begin that road trip next Saturday with a 6 p.m. contest at Lafayette.

    Bucknell-Holy Cross Video Highlights