Sept. 25, 2012
What: Cornell Big Red (1-1, 1-0 Ivy League) at Bucknell Bison (1-2, 0-1 PL)
Where: Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium, Lewisburg, Pa.
When: Saturday, Sept. 29, 2012, 6 p.m.
Tickets: 570-577-1000 or www.bucknell.edu/boxoffice
Internet Video: Bison Vision
Radio: Eagle 107 (107.3 WEGH)
Internet Radio: SportsJuice.com
Live Statistics: GameTracker
In the Herd: Bucknell-Cornell Preview
Probable Starters - Offense
QB 14 Brandon Wesley (Jr., 6-2, 190) - Top 10 on career yards, attempts, completions, total offense lists
RB 32 Tyler Smith (Sr., 5-9, 195) - Missed last 2.5 games w/ankle injury
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) - Second on Bison with 10 catches this season
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) - 4 career games played
TE 82 Nick Gatto (Sr., 6-2, 230) - At least one catch in four straight games
Probable Starters - Defense
DE 40 Sean Sellers (Jr., 6-0, 235) - At least 0.5 sacks in all three games in 2012
DT 78 Devin Gordon-Hamm (Sr., 6-1, 270) - 18 career games played, made 1st career start vs. Marist
NG 90 Tracey Smith (Jr., 6-1, 255) - 14 consecutive starts
DE 9 Samuel Oyekoya (Sr., 6-3, 235) - 10.5 career sacks is most among current Bison
Mike LB 27 Evan Byers (So., 6-0, 215) - 34 tackles in 2011, 25 already in 2012
Sam LB 12 Beau Traber (Sr., 5-11, 220) - Preseason All-Patriot League selection
SS 37 Lee Marvel (So., 6-0, 205) - Career-high 3.5 TFL vs. Lafayette
CB 4 Donald Quarles (Sr., 5-7, 175) - 5 pass breakups vs. Lafayette tied for most in FCS in 2012
FS 20 Ryan Morgan (Jr., 5-11, 190) - 7th in Patriot League in tackles (27)
Whip DB 26 Matthew Steinbeck (So., 6-0, 205) - Moved to DB in 2011 after coming to Bucknell as RB
CB 21 Joseph Francis (Sr., 5-11, 205) - Played in 36 consecutive games
The Last Meeting
September 17, 2011
Bucknell Football Suffers First Loss of Season, 24-13 at Cornell
The Bucknell football team nearly posted a last-minute victory for the second time in three weeks, but came up just short in a 24-13 loss at Cornell's Schoellkopf Field Saturday evening. The Bison trailed by just four points will less than two minutes to go and they had the ball inside the Cornell 10-yard line, but quarterback Brandon Wesley was stopped short of a first down on fourth down, turning the ball over to the Big Red.
With a Victory over Cornell, Bucknell Would ...
... snap a two-game losing streak.
... snap a three-game home losing streak.
... win a home game for the first time since last Oct. 1 (vs. Georgetown).
... defeat the Big Red for the first time since 2006.
... finish September with a .500-or-better record for the second straight year, and fourth time in five years.
... improve to 6-1 in its last seven night games (6 p.m. or later starts).
About the Game
Bucknell's defense will be charged with the task of stopping Cornell's high-powered offense that enters the weekend second nationally in passing offense (414.5 ypg) and fourth nationally in total offense (500.0 ypg). The Bison are stout against the run, yielding just 76.3 ypg on the ground, but opponents are averaging nearly 250 ypg through the air. The Big Red, who are 1-1 on the season, are averaging 36.0 points per game and are coming off a 45-6 victory over Ivy League foe Yale. Bucknell's games have been considerably lower scoring as only Lafayette has been able to reach 20 points in a game against the Bison, who have yet to score 20 themselves this year and bring a 1-2 record into the contest. Cornell is led by junior QB Jeff Mathews, who has completed 67 of 95 passes for 829 yards in just two games this year. His 5,964 career passing yards places him ninth among active FCS quarterbacks. He has thrown for 512 yards against Bucknell in his career. Bison QB Brandon Wesley has thrown for a career-high 267 yards each of the last two years against the Big Red.
Bucknell vs. Cornell Series Notes
Cornell leads 40-11.
Cornell leads 8-6 in Lewisburg.
Bucknell and Cornell alternated wins over a 10-game stretch until the Big Red posted victories in each of the last five meetings.
The home team has won 10 of the last 12 games.
The scheduled 2001 meeting in Ithaca, N.Y., was cancelled due to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. It was the first Bison game to be cancelled since 1963.
The first 25 games in the series were played in Ithaca, N.Y.
Cornell won 26 of the first 27 meetings.
Cornell has been on Bucknell's schedule every year since 2000, the longest current stretch of any non-league opponent.
Bucknell has scored more than 20 points vs. Cornell just once in the last 13 meetings (2000: W, 38-15).
Last Time vs. Cornell
Cornell 24, Bucknell 13 (Sept. 17, 2011 - Ithaca, N.Y.)
Bucknell dominated the second-half time of possession, 18:48-11:12.
While Bucknell lost by 11 points, it had the ball inside the Cornell 10-yard line trailing 17-13 in the final two minutes with a chance to take the lead, but turned the ball over on downs. The Big Red then scored the game-clinching touchdown on an 87-yard pass from QB Jeff Mathews to WR Kurt Ondash.
Bucknell forced three turnovers, but scored just three points off those Cornell miscues.
Bucknell nearly went a second consecutive game without a turnover, but turned the ball over on downs and threw an interception inside the final two minutes of play. The Bison went 136 minutes, 24 seconds between turnovers.
Inside the Lafayette Box Score
Bucknell lost its Patriot League opener for the first time since 2007.
Bison QB Brandon Wesley registered the third-highest passing day of his career (239 yards), and his highest against an opponent other than Cornell. He also equaled his career high with 76 rushing yards, posted a career-long 45-yard rush, passed for a touchdown and rushed for another.
Donald Quarles recorded a career-high five pass breakups, equaling the most by an FCS player this season. A senior, Quarles entered the contest with six career passes defended.
Bucknell outgained Lafayette 223-128 in the second half.
Bucknell's defense registered 13 tackles for loss. Thirteen different players had at least one-half tackle for loss.
Bucknell limited Lafayette to 11 yards rushing, marking the sixth opponent in the last two years (14 games) the Bison have held to 50 yards or fewer on the ground.
Bucknell's streak of forcing at least one turnover in 15 straight games came to an end as Lafayette won the turnover battle 3-0.
The game was televised nationally on CBS Sports Network.
Bucknell senior TE Nick Gatto caught his first career touchdown pass.
Lafayette's average starting field position was its own 41-yard line. Bucknell's average starting field position was its own 21-yard line.
Bucknell's eight penalties equaled its most during the Joe Susan era (25 games).
Only one team (Lafayette) has managed to tally 20 points against Bucknell this year and the Bison have yet to put 20 points on the scoreboard themselves. Because of this, Bucknell (30.7) is second nationally in terms of fewest average points scored during its games, behind only Columbia (26.0).
Bucknell vs. Ivy League
Bucknell snapped a nine-game losing streak to Ivy League foes with a win at Princeton last September. The Bison, who have two Ivy League opponents (Cornell, Harvard) on their 2012 schedule, are 37-99-3 all-time against Ivy League institutions. Patriot League teams are 5-3 opposite Ivy League foes in 2012.
Bucknell is 16-14 in night games (6 p.m. or later starts) since 2000 and is 5-1 in its last six. The Bison and Big Red have met at night six times since 2002 with each team winning three times.
Brandon Wesley averaged 131.5 passing yards per game in 2011. He is averaging 208.7 in 2012.
Jeremiah Young (46) and Brandon Wesley (29) have combined for 75 of Bucknell's 92 rushing attempts this year.
Bucknell had 12 turnovers (8 INT, 4 FUM) all last year. This year, the Bison already have seven turnovers (4 INT, 3 FUM).
Bucknell's total offense has increased from 273.8 in 2011 to 321.3 in 2012. However, the Bison scoring has dropped from 20.5 in 2011 to 12.0 in 2012.
Fourteen different Bison have at least one tackle for loss this year, the same number as in all of 2011.
Bucknell has yielded just three rushing touchdowns in its last 11 games.
Bucknell finished the 2011 campaign with 79 tackles for loss. The Bison already have 26 tackles for loss and are on pace for 95 this season.
Quarles Tries to Imitate Bryce Robertson
Senior CB Donald Quarles against Lafayette tried to imitate 2012 Bucknell graduate Bryce Robertson, who led the nation in interceptions a year ago, but was unable to pick off a pass. Instead, he recorded a career-high five pass breakups. It marked the most pass breakups by a Bison since Kevin Eiben had five in a 10-9 loss to Holy Cross Nov. 4, 2000, and it matched the most pass breakups by any player in the nation this year.
Pass Breakups (Single Game) in 2012
1. Donald Quarles (Bucknell) - 5 vs. Lafayette (9/22)
Norman Hayes (Harvard) - 5 vs. San Diego (9/15)
3. 16 players tied with 4 pass breakups
Gutowski Entering Record Books
Bucknell senior P Ryan Gutowski is second in the Patriot League in punting with an average of 41.0 yards per kick. It's still early in the year, but that figure would rank second on the Bison single-season ledger. Phil Azarik holds the program's single-season mark with a 41.1 average in 2007.
After limiting Lafayette to just 11 yards rushing last week, Bucknell's opponents are averaging 76.3 yards per game on the ground, putting the Bison seventh nationally in rushing defense. Bucknell ranked third nationally in rushing defense a year ago, yielding 78.3 yards per game. Six of the Bison's last 14 opponents have failed to eclipse 50 yards on the ground.
Each of Bucknell's first three opponents brought undefeated records into its game against the Bison. Marist was 1-0, Delaware was 2-0 and Lafayette was 2-0. Cornell enters Saturday's game with a 1-1 mark, breaking that streak. The three teams Bucknell has faced (Marist, Delaware, Lafayette) are currently a combined 9-2 this season.
200 Yards for Wesley
Bucknell QB Brandon Wesley threw for a season-high 239 yards last week vs. Lafayette. It marked the third-highest passing total in the junior's three-year career. He has registered seven career games with at least 200 passing yards.
Brandon Wesley's 200-Yard Passing Games by Year
2010: 3 (Dartmouth - 201, Cornell - 267, Fordham - 228)
2011: 3 (Cornell - 267, Georgetown - 200, Lehigh - 208)
2012: 1 (Lafayette - 239)
Bucknell piled up 365 yards of total offense last week vs. Lafayette, outgaining the Leopards by 76 yards. It marked the most yards for the Bison since they had 372 in a 2010 game vs. Cornell.
Bucknell's Most Yards Under Joe Susan (since 2010)
1. 372 - vs. Cornell (2010)
2. 367 - vs. Dartmouth (2010)
3. 365 - vs. Lafayette (2012)
Bucknell's average starting field position is its own 35-yard line in its win (at Marist) and its own 21-yard line in its two losses (Delaware, Lafayette).
Bucknell has held five of its last seven opponents under 20 points. The only two to reach the 20-point plateau have just barely done so as Colgate scored 21 in a 15-point win last November and Lafayette registered 20 in a six-point win last week. Bison foes are averaging just 14.9 points per game during the seven-game span.
No Tyler Smith
All-Patriot League running back Tyler Smith has missed the last two games with an ankle injury. Smith led the Patriot League in rushing a year ago and is among Bucknell's all-time leaders in all-purpose yards. He initially hurt the ankle in the season opener at Marist, but is listed first on the depth chart at running back this week.
400th Game at Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium
Saturday's contest against Cornell will be the 400th all-time game for the Bison at Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium. The facility opened Oct. 18, 1924 and Bucknell owns a 237-152-10 (.607) record in the stadium. Ground for the venue, which was known as Memorial Stadium for its first 65 years, was broken March 17, 1924 and its original capacity was 18,000. In 1989, the facility was rededicated and renamed Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium in honor of perhaps Bucknell's most honored alumni and one of the true heroes of American sports.
Turnover Streak Ends
Bucknell had forced at least one turnover in 15 consecutive games entering last Saturday's contest vs. Lafayette. The Leopards did not turn the ball over once against the Bison defense, ending that streak. Bucknell forced 45 turnovers during the streak.
Joseph Francis is 1 tackle shy of 100 for his career.
Ryan Morgan is 6 tackles shy of 100 for his career.
Derrick Palmer is 7 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 3 tackles shy of 100 for his career.
Victor Walker needs 411 yards to move into top 10 on program's career receiving yards list.
Brandon Wesley needs 229 passing yards to become fourth player in program history with 4,000 in a career.
Coach to Cure MD
Bucknell is one of more than 500 schools joining forces this weekend to support the American Football Coaches Association's Coach to Cure MD program. All the Bison coaches will be wearing patches on their sleeves to raise awareness of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, the most prolific genetic killer diasgnosed in childhood. Donations can be made by going to CoachtoCureMD.org or by texting the word "CURE" to 90999 to donate $5 on your next mobile phone bill.
Bucknell will begin a grueling three-game road trip (Holy Cross, Harvard, Lehigh) next week with a trip to Patriot League foe Holy Cross. Kickoff at Fitton Field is 1 p.m. The Bison have lost six of the last seven meetings with the Crusaders, who enter this weekend with an 0-3 record in 2012.