Sept. 17, 2012
What: Lafayette Leopards (2-0, 0-0 PL) at Bucknell Bison (1-1, 0-0 PL)
Where: Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium, Lewisburg, Pa.
When: Saturday, Sept. 22, 2012, 12 p.m.
Tickets: 570-577-1000 or www.bucknell.edu/boxoffice
TV: CBS Sports Network
Internet Video: None
Radio: Eagle 107 (107.3 WEGH)
Internet Radio: SportsJuice.com
Live Statistics: GameTracker
In the Herd: Bucknell-Lafayette Preview
Probable Starters - Offense
QB 14 Brandon Wesley (Jr., 6-2, 190) - Top 10 on career yards, attempts, completions, total offense lists
RB 3 Jeremiah Young (Sr., 5-10, 205) - Led Bison in rushing each of first two games
FB 33 Travis Friend (Jr., 6-2, 235) - Preseason All-Patriot League selection; 2-time All-PL choice
WR 5 Victor Walker (Jr., 6-1, 197) - Eclipsed 1,000 career rec. yards last week vs. Delaware
WR 8 Jake Flaherty (Jr., 6-1, 190) - Expected to make 1st career start
LT 72 Lonnie Rawles (So., 6-4, 285) - Only returning starter on OL
LG 69 Troy Steinhilber (Sr., 6-4, 295) - Made 1st career start in season opener vs. Marist
C 77 Brandon Noblett (So., 6-2, 285) - Made 1st career start in season opener vs. Marist
RG 76 Clayton Hoffmaster (Fr., 6-4, 295) - Only freshman to start a game in 2012
RT 79 Nevin Hagman (So., 6-3, 285) - 3 career games played
TE 82 Nick Gatto (Sr., 6-2, 230) - At least one catch in three straight games
Probable Starters - Defense
DE 40 Sean Sellers (Jr., 6-0, 235) - One of three Bison with 2 sacks this yr (Oyekoya, Smith)
DT 78 Devin Gordon-Hamm (Sr., 6-1, 270) - 17 career games played, made 1st career start vs. Marist
NG 90 Tracey Smith (Jr., 6-1, 255) - 13 consecutive starts
DE 9 Samuel Oyekoya (Sr., 6-3, 235) - 10 career sacks is most among current Bison
Mike LB 27 Evan Byers (So., 6-0, 215) - Led Bison freshmen in tackles in 2011 (34)
Sam LB 12 Beau Traber (Sr., 5-11, 220) - Preseason All-Patriot League selection
SS 37 Lee Marvel (So., 6-0, 205) - 24 tackles in 2011, 9 already in 2012
CB 4 Donald Quarles (Sr., 5-7, 175) - 29 career games played, made 1st start since 2010 vs. Marist
FS 20 Ryan Morgan (Jr., 5-11, 190) - 4th on team in tackles (51) in 2011; 2nd on team in 2012 (17)
Whip DB 26 Matthew Steinbeck (So., 6-0, 205) - Started once (vs. Harvard) in 2011
CB 21 Joseph Francis (Sr., 5-11, 205) - Team captain along with Tyler Smith and Beau Traber
The Last Meeting
October 29, 2011
With a Victory over Lafayette, Bucknell Would ...
... win its Patriot League opener for a fifth consecutive season.
... snap a two-game home losing streak.
... defeat the Leopards in back-to-back years for the first time since 2000 and 2001.
... win its home opener for the fourth time in the last five years.
... win its third game of the year for the first time since 2006.
... open a season 2-1 for the third time in five years.
About the Game
Bucknell and Lafayette kick off the Patriot League schedule Saturday at Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium in a game that will be televised nationally on CBS Sports Network at noon. All eyes in the Patriot League will be focused on Lewisburg as the Bison look to win their fifth straight league opener and extend their winning streak over the Leopards to two games after defeating them for the first time since 2001 last October in snowy Easton. Bucknell brings a 1-1 record into the game, but is coming off a solid showing against top-15 ranked Delaware. Lafayette is already halfway to its win total from all of 2011 as it upset a very good William & Mary team to open the season and followed that with a 28-21 win over Penn last Saturday that featured a school-record-tying seven interceptions by the Leopard defense. Both Bucknell and Lafayette had week one byes, meaning they have both only played two games and are in the midst of 11 games in 11 weeks.
Bucknell vs. Lafayette Series Notes
Lafayette leads 50-33-6.
Bucknell snapped a nine-game losing streak with a 39-13 win in Easton a year ago. It was the largest win for the Bison over the Leopards since a 33-point victory in 1971.
The winning team has scored more than 30 points in every meeting since 2005 (7 games).
Lafayette won nine straight games from 2002 to 2010 by an average score of 30.2-13.0.
Lafayette has won five straight games at Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium.
Bucknell was last shut out vs. Lafayette (31-0, Sept. 9, 2006) - Bison have scored in 66 straight games since.
Bucknell's 89 all-time meetings with Lafayette make it the most-played series in program history.
Lafayette was Bucknell's only opponent in 1883, its first year of football.
Last Time vs. Lafayette
Bucknell 39, Lafayette 13 (Oct. 29, 2011 - Easton, Pa.)
Game was played in a steady snow. The field was almost constantly snow covered and heavy machinery was brought in to clear the field.
Bucknell forced a season-high seven turnovers (3 INT, 4 fumbles). The Bison had just one turnover in the snowy conditions.
Bucknell's Tyler Smith ran a career-high 42 times for 212 yards and a pair of scores. The 42 carries ranks second on the program's single-game list, while the 212 yards are ninth all-time. Smith also posted 71 kickoff return yards for a career-high 283 all-purpose yards, good for eighth in the school record book.
Bucknell scored five touchdowns, and 33 of its 39 points, after Lafayette turnovers.
Inside the Delaware Box Score
The game featured five field goals and one touchdown.
Bucknell outgained nationally ranked Delaware 174-132 in the first half, but the Blue Hens held a 190-93 edge in the second half.
Delaware's Sean Baner tied a school record by connecting on four field goals.
Bucknell trailed just 6-3 at halftime, but the Bison advanced into Delaware territory just once in the second half. The Bison moved the ball inside the Blue Hens' 25-yard line just once in 10 possessions during the game.
Bucknell WR Victor Walker surpassed 1,000 receiving yards for his career thanks to his six catches for 74 yards. He finished the game with 1,071 yards for his three-year career.
Bison QB Brandon Wesley (21-for-37, 197 yards) registered a second straight 20-completion game for the first time in his career.
Three tight ends (Nick Gatto, Josh Lebo, Patrick Kelly) were part of the Bison starting lineup.
Bucknell's defense posted seven TFL and two sacks. Delaware's defense had six TFL and one sack.
Delaware RB Andrew Pierce posted his 16th career 100-yard rushing game (101 yards) as he became just the second player to rush for 100 yards against the Bison in the last 12 games.
CBS Sports Network
Saturday's game will be televised nationally on CBS Sports Network. Dave Ryan will handle play-by-play duties, while former Illinois and Florida head coach Ron Zook will provide analysis. Evan Washburn will handle sideline reporting duties. Bucknell last appeared on CBS Sports Network when it hosted Cornell in 2010. The Bison will appear on CBS Sports Network one more time this season, Oct. 13 at Harvard.
Opponents Under 20
It is well chronicled that Bucknell's defense has been strong over the last couple of years. The Bison were second nationally in turnovers forced a year ago and were third in rushing defense. The success has shown through on the scoreboard as five of Bucknell's last six opponents have not scored 20 points. Over that span, Bison foes are averaging 14.0 points per game.
Bucknell is 93-31-1 (.748) all-time in home openers. The Bison are 3-1 over the last four years, including a 27-26 win over Duquesne last season.
Patriot League Openers
Bucknell is 16-10 all-time in Patriot League openers. The Bison have won their Patriot League opener each of the last four years. Bucknell has opened its last four Patriot League schedules against Georgetown. The last time the Bison played their first Patriot league contest against Lafayette was 2006.
Lafayette is Bucknell's third consecutive undefeated opponent to open the season. The Bison faced 1-0 Marist on Sept. 8, 2-0 Delaware on Sept. 15 and the Leopards enter Saturday's contest with a 2-0 mark. The streak will end next week against Cornell, which lost its season opener to Fordham this past Saturday.
Improvement on Third Down
Through two games this season, Bucknell is much improved on third downs. The Bison converted 46 of 162 (28%) of third downs in 2011. This year, Bucknell is at 12 of 25 (48%).
11 Months Between Home Games
Thanks to five straight games on the road over two seasons, Bucknell will play at home for the first time in exactly 11 months this Saturday. The Bison last played at Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium Oct. 22, 2011 vs. Holy Cross.
No Tyler Smith
All-Patriot League running back Tyler Smith missed last Saturday's game at Delaware with an ankle injury. It was just the second career DNP for Smith, the Patriot League's leading rusher in 2011. Jeremiah Young received his first career start in place of Smith and led the Bison in rushing for a second consecutive week (44 yards). Young, who entered the game with two career receptions, caught a career-high four passes, filling some of the void left by the absence of the versatile Smith, who has 70 career receptions out of the offensive backfield.
Delaware QB Trent Hurley scored the only touchdown in last Saturday's game on an 11-yard run up the middle. It marked just the second rushing TD against the Bison in the last 10 games. In fact, Bucknell has yielded just five rushing touchdowns over the last two years (13 games). The lengths of the five rushing touchdowns over that span are: 11 yards (Delaware - 2012), 50 yards (Colgate - 2011), 22 yards (Cornell - 2011), 10 yards (Marist - 2011), 4 yards (Duquesne - 2011).
The announced attendance at last Saturday's game at Delaware was 18,118. It was the largest crowd the Bison have played in front of since taking the field at Army's Michie Stadium in 1995. The attedance that day at West Point was 30,023.
Highest Attendance at Bucknell Game (since 1995)
Nov. 18, 1995: Army 37, Bucknell 6 (at Army - 30,023)
Sept. 15, 2012: Delaware 19, Bucknell 3 (at Delaware - 18,118)
Oct. 21, 2000: Lehigh 21, Bucknell 14 (at Lehigh - 16,906)
Oct. 15, 2011: Harvard 42, Bucknell 3 (at Harvard - 16, 236)
20 Completions for Wesley...Again
QB Brandon Wesley completed 20 of 27 passes for 190 yards and a pair of touchdowns vs. Marist and 21 of 37 for 197 yards vs. Delaware. It marked his fourth and fifth career games with at least 20 completions, and the first time he had done it in back-to-back outings.
Games with 20 Completions (Brandon Wesley)
Oct. 2, 2010 vs. Cornell: 25-45, 267 yds., 0 TD, 1 INT
Nov. 6, 2010 vs. Fordham: 23-41, 228 yds., 1 TD, 1 INT
Sept. 17, 2011 at Cornell: 22-35, 267 yds., 0 TD, 1 INT
Sept. 8, 2012 at Marist: 20-27, 190 yds., 2 TD, 1 INT
Sept. 15, 2012 at Delaware: 21-37, 197 yds., 0 TD, 1 INT
Scoring in the Air
Bucknell has not scored a rushing touchdown in its last three games (at Colgate, at Marist, at Delaware). The Bison last crossed the goal line on a rush last Nov. 12 at Fordham when Tyler Smith ran for two touchdowns and Jeremiah Young one in a 21-0 victory over the Rams.
Senior RB Jeremiah Young and sophomore TE Josh Lebo made their first career starts last Saturday at Delaware. Lebo was one of three Bison tight ends, along with Nick Gatto and Patrick Kelly, on the field for the first snap. Young entered the lineup in place of an injured Tyler Smith.
Bucknell has scored 19 of its 22 points this year in the first half.
Bucknell is outscoring its opponents 19-16 in the first half.
All 22 points scored have been by juniors (Sean Cobelli - 10, Jake Flaherty - 6, Travis Friend - 6)
Walker Eclipses 1,000 Yards
Junior WR Victor Walker has caught a career-high six passes in each of the first two games of the season and leads the Bison with 155 receiving yards. His first catch vs. Delaware moved his career total past 1,000 yards and he enters Saturday's contest vs. Lafayette with 1,071 career receiving yards. He is the first Bison receiver to cross the 1,000-yard mark since Shaun Pasternak in 2009. Walker needs just 444 more yards to tie Pasternak and move into 10th place on the program's all-time receiving yards list.
No Drop Off on DL
All-Patriot League performers Josh Eden and Robert De La Rosa graduated last year, but the Bison defensive line has not seen a drop off in 2012. Bucknell is holding opponents to 18.0 points per game and 344.0 yards of total offense per game, not too far off from last year's final figures of 19.4 points and 301.5 yards. Bucknell totaled 79 tackles for loss and 25 sacks a year ago. The Bison already have 13 TFL (pace: 71.5) and seven sacks (pace: 38.5). Samuel Oyekoya, Sean Sellers and Tracey Smith have two sacks apiece.
Success in Close Games
Bucknell has had success in close games in recent years. In fact, the Bison have posted a 13-6 record in games decided by seven points or less since 2006.
Bucknell, in 2011, led the nation in turnover margin (+2.45) and was second in forced turnovers (39). The Bison have now forced 42 turnovers over their last 13 games. They have forced at least one turnover in 15 straight games and in 21 of 24 since Joe Susan took over as head coach prior to the 2010 campaign.
Turnovers Forced (15-game streak)
Colgate (1), Holy Cross (1)
Duquesne (1), Marist (3), Cornell (3), Princeton (6), Georgetown (3), Lehigh (1), Harvard (3), Holy Cross (6), Lafayette (7), Fordham (5), Colgate (1)
Marist (2), Delaware (2)
OL Performing Well
While Bucknell's offensive line still lacks game experience, it has performed well in the early stages of the 2012 season. The Bison line has allowed only one sack each of the first two weeks and just seven tackles for loss. Freshman Ramy Kased has received some playing time, in addition to the five starters.
Victor Walker needs 444 yards to move into top 10 on program's career receiving yards list.
Joseph Francis is 4 tackles shy of 100 for his career.
Tyler Smith needs nine receiving yards to reach 500 for his career and 26 rushing yards to reach 1,500.
Beau Traber is 7 tackles shy of 100 for his career.
Brandon Wesley needs 161 yards of total offense to become seventh Bison to reach 4,000-yard plateau.
Bucknell will continue its two-game homestand when it hosts Cornell next Saturday, Sept. 29. Kickoff is 6 p.m. It is the 12th consecutive year the Bison and Big Red are scheduled to meet (DNP in 2001 due to Sept. 11 terrorist attacks). Cornell leads the all-time series 40-11 and has won the last five meetings, including last year's in Ithaca by a 24-12 margin.