Oct. 2, 2012
What: Bucknell Bison (1-3, 0-1 PL) at Holy Cross Crusaders (0-4, 0-0 PL)
Where: Fitton Field, Worcester, Mass.
When: Saturday, Oct. 6, 2012, 1 p.m.
Internet Video: GoHolyCross.com
Radio: Eagle 107 (107.3 WEGH)
Internet Radio: SportsJuice.com
Live Statistics: GoHolyCross.com
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) - Returned from ankle injury and rushed for 44 yds vs. Cornell
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) - 354 yards shy of 10th place on Bison career rec. yards list
WR 8 Jake Flaherty (Jr., 6-1, 190) - Second on Bison with 15 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) - 5 career games played
TE 82 Nick Gatto (Sr., 6-2, 230) - At least one catch in five straight games
Probable Starters - Defense
DE 40 Sean Sellers (Jr., 6-0, 235) - At least 0.5 sacks in all four games in 2012
DT 78 Devin Gordon-Hamm (Sr., 6-1, 270) - 19 career games played, made 1st career start vs. Marist
NG 90 Tracey Smith (Jr., 6-1, 255) - 15 consecutive starts
DE 9 Samuel Oyekoya (Sr., 6-3, 235) - 11 career sacks is most among current Bison
Mike LB 27 Evan Byers (So., 6-0, 215) - Career-high 37 tackles this season
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) - Only INT by a Bison DB in 2012 (vs. Cornell)
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 37 consecutive games
In the Herd: Bucknell-Holy Cross Preview
With a Victory over Holy Cross, Bucknell Would ...
... snap a three-game losing streak.
... snap a two-game losing streak to the Crusaders.
... win at Fitton Field for the first time since 2004.
... even its Patriot League record at 1-1.
... move head coach Joe Susan's career record back above .500.
... improve to 3-1 in its last four road Patriot League games.
About the Game
Bucknell (three games) and Holy Cross (four games) both enter Saturday's contest in the midst of losing streaks, however, that does not diminish the importance of the game. The Bison have played just one Patriot League contest and the Crusaders will be playing their PL opener and both can still challenge for the Patriot League title. Bucknell and Holy Cross are no strangers to close games. The Bison's four games have been decided by a total of 33 points, including three by a touchdown or less, while the Crusaders have had two of their four outings decided by just a field goal. Saturday's contest marks the fourth home game of the season for Holy Cross, while Bucknell will be heading on the road for the first time since playing at Delaware Sept. 15.
Bucknell vs. Holy Cross Series Notes
Holy Cross leads 18-10.
Holy Cross has won six of the last seven meetings.
Only three of the last 11 meetings have been closer than two touchdowns.
Holy Cross owns a 12-3 advantage in Worcester.
First meeting was in 1925.
Last Time vs. Holy Cross
Holy Cross 16, Bucknell 13 (Oct. 22, 2011 - Lewisburg, Pa.)
Homecoming at Bucknell.
Bucknell and Holy Cross alternated scores throughout the game, although the Crusaders finished with two touchdowns and a field goal, while the Bison had two field goals and a touchdown.
Bucknell's defense forced six turnovers and held Holy Cross to minus-16 yards rushing.
Bucknell and Holy Cross combined for 12 sacks.
Bucknell went three-and-out on six consecutive second-half drives.
Neither team had a second-half drive that consumed more than 2:29.
Inside the Cornell Box Score
Bucknell had the ball in the closing minute with a chance to win for a second consecutive week, but turned the ball over on downs inside the Cornell 15-yard line.
Charles Thompson's 63-yard run in the first quarter set up Bucknell's only touchdown of the game. It marked the longest run from scrimmage by a Bison since A.J. Kizekai had an 80-yard run at Holy Cross in 2007.
Bucknell co-captain Tyler Smith returned to the lineup after missing the previous two games with an ankle injury. He rushed 12 times for 44 yards and caught one pass for two yards.
Bucknell LB Evan Byers registered a career-high 12 tackles. He had tackles on three straight plays in the fourth quarter that forced Cornell to punt and set up a potential game-winning drive for the Bison.
Cornell's kicking game had trouble all night. The Big Red missed an extra point, missed a 32-yard field goal and failed on a two-point conversion attempt after a bobbled snap.
Cornell scored 15 unanswered points after Bucknell took a 7-0 lead in the first quarter.
Bucknell's average field position was its own 33-yard line. Cornell's average field position was its own 21-yard line.
Bucknell dominated time of possession in the fourth quarter: 11:01-3:59.
400th game at Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium (Bucknell record: 237-153-10)
Career Highs Set vs. Cornell
Jaylen Amaker: pass breakups (2)
Demetrius Baldwin-Youngblood: tackles for loss (1)
Evan Byers: tackles (12), sacks (1.5)
Ryan Gutowski: punts inside 20 (4)
Dylan McDonnell: tackles (3)
Ryan Morgan: interceptions (1), long interception return (3 yards)
Matthew Steinbeck: tackles for loss (1)
Kyle Sullivan: long punt return (22 yards), tackles (1)
Charles Thompson: rushing yards (63), long rush (63 yards), all-purpose yards (63)
Victor Walker: receptions (8), long kickoff return (41 yards), kickoff return yards (81)
Bucknell's four games this year have been decided by a total of 29 points, or an average of 7.25 points per game. That is the second-smallest margin of decision in the nation this year. Patriot League teams hold the top three spots on the list.
Holding Opponents Down
Bucknell has held each of its first four opponents to fewer points than that team has averaged against its other opponents this season.
||Pts. vs. Bucknell
||Avg. Pts. vs. Other Opponents
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 is first nationally in terms of fewest average points scored during its games (29.3 ppg).
Bucknell has limited opponents to 71 points through this season's first four games. It is the fewest points Bison foes have registered in the first four games since 2005 when Georgetown, Strony Brook, Cornell and Marist also scored 71 points against Bucknell in the first four weeks of the campaign. The Bison rank 17th nationally in scoring defense this year.
Bucknell's opponents are averaging 17.8 points per game this season. The last time the Bison held opponents to a figure that low over the course of a full season was 2001 (15.7 ppg).
Bucknell's stout defense has held three of its first four opponents to under 100 yards rushing. Bison opponents are averaging just 72.8 yards on the ground this season, putting Bucknell sixth nationally in rushing defense. The Bison ranked third nationally in rushing defense a year ago, yielding 78.3 yards per game. Six of Bucknell's last 15 opponents have failed to eclipse 50 yards on the ground and just four have gone over 100 yards.
Holy Cross will be the first winless team Bucknell has faced since playing at 0-1 Princeton Sept. 24, 2011.
Brandon Wesley averaged 131.5 passing yards per game in 2011. He is averaging 190.2 in 2012.
Bucknell is 8-for-28 (28.6%) on third downs the last two games, but the Bison are still ahead of last year's pace. Bucknell is converting 37.7% of third downs, compared to 28.4% a year ago.
Jeremiah Young (54) and Brandon Wesley (37) have combined for 91 of Bucknell's 123 rushing attempts this year.
The junior (34) and senior (12) classes have combined to score all 46 of Bucknell's points this season.
Victor Walker came into the 2012 campaign averaging 22.9 yards per catch. This year the junior is averaging 11.1 yards per reception.
Four of Bucknell's top five leading tacklers are non-seniors.
Bucknell's total offense has increased from 273.8 in 2011 to 312.5 in 2012. However, the Bison scoring has dropped from 20.5 in 2011 to 11.5 in 2012.
Sean Sellers has had at least 0.5 TFL in each game this season.
Bucknell has gone over 100 yards rushing in six of its last seven games, dating back to 2011.
Bucknell will be playing on the road for the sixth time in its last eight games.
Bucknell has not yet scored a point in the third quarter this year. The Bison have been held scoreless in the third quarter for the last 97 minutes, 17 seconds (since 10/29/11 vs. Lafayette).
Thompson's Long Rush
Junior RB Charles Thompson posted a career-long 63-yard rush down the left sideline last week vs. Cornell. It was Bucknell's longest run from scrimmage since 2007 and it marked the longest offensive play for the Bison since Brandon Wesley found Frank DeNick on a 79-yard pass in a 2010 contest vs. Lafayette at Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium.
Hard to Score
Bucknell has registered 46 points this season. It marks the fewest points through four games for the Bison since the 1991 squad managed 44 points against its first four foes. That team finished the year 1-9 and reached double figures in points just four times in the 10 games.
Tackles for Loss
Bucknell has totaled 31 tackles for loss this year, nearly double the 16 it has allowed. The Bison rank 11th nationally in tackles for loss per game (7.75) and 14th in tackles for loss allowed per game (4.00). Seven different players have at least 3.0 tackles for loss, led by Tracey Smith's four. Last year, nine Bison recorded at least 3.0 tackles for loss all year.
Tackles for Loss (per game - nationally)
1. Central Arkansas - 9.80
2. Mississippi Valley State - 8.75
North Carolina A&T - 8.75
11. Bucknell - 7.75 (first PL team)
33. Lehigh - 6.80 (second PL team)
Three-Game Road Trip
After its first two home games of the season, Bucknell will head back out on the road for three straight games starting Saturday at Holy Cross. The Bison are in the midst of a stretch where they are playing eight of 10 games (and two bye weeks) on the road over a two-year span. Since the Patriot League era began in 1986, Bucknell has had 12 single-season road trips of at least three games.
Long Road Trip Records (since 1986, at least three games)
1997: 3-0, 2-1
Bucknell has held six of its last eight 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 two weeks ago. Bison foes are averaging just 15.1 points per game during the eight-game span.
Samuel Oyekoya is 5 sacks shy of 10th place on Bucknell's career list.
Derrick Palmer is 1 tackle shy of 100 for his career.
Tyler Smith needs 7 receiving yards to reach 500 for his career.
Victor Walker needs 354 yards to move into top 10 on program's career receiving yards list.
Brandon Wesley needs 94 passing yards to become fourth player in program history with 4,000 in a career.
Jeremiah Young is 289 rushing yards shy of 1,000 in his career.
Oyekoya Named Semifinalist for Campbell Trophy
Bucknell senior DE Samuel Oyekoya last week was selected by the National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame as one of 147 semifinalists across all divisions of college football for the William V. Campbell Trophy. He is the seventh Bison in as many years to be a semifinalist. Nominated by their schools, which are limited to one nominee each, candidates for the award must be a senior or graduate student in their final year of eligibility, have a GPA of at least 3.2 on a 4.0 scale, have outstanding football ability as a first team player or significant contributor, and have demonstrated strong leadership and citizenship. A two-time member of the Patriot League Academic Honor Roll and a nominee for the Academic All-Patriot League Team, Oyekoya owns a 3.23 cumulative grade-point average while majoring in economics and political science. A three-time letterwinner on the football field, Oyekoya has been a mainstay at defensive end since his freshman campaign. He has played in 34 career games, totaled 57 tackles, including 15.5 tackles for loss, and his 11 sacks put him within reach of joining the Bison career top-10 list by season's end.
Bucknell will continue its grueling three-game road trip (Holy Cross, Harvard, Lehigh - 1,688 miles) next Saturday at Harvard. The Crimson are 3-0 on the season and are outscoring their opponents by an average of score of 42-16. Harvard leads the all-time series with Bucknell, 5-3-1, including a 42-3 margin of victory a year ago. This is the second straight year the Bison will play at Harvard Stadium.