Bucknell Football Holds Annual Postseason Banquet, Hands Out Team Awards
Dec. 7, 2011
LEWISBURG, Pa. –The Bucknell football program held its 50th annual postseason awards banquet this past Sunday evening in the Terrace Room inside the Langone Center as it celebrated a season in which it posted a five-win turnaround and its first winning record since 2006. Fifteen different players earned awards with senior DL Robert De La Rosa (Lancaster, Pa./Manheim Township) being presented the Bison Gridiron Club Award as the team MVP. It was one of two honors for De La Rosa, who also shared the George Rieu Award as the outstanding defensive lineman with classmate and fellow three-time All-Patriot League selection Josh Eden (State College, Pa./State College Area).
De La Rosa and Eden, who also shared the Tom Gadd Coaches’ Award with senior WR Frank DeNick (Middlesex, N.J./Immaculata) and the Captains Award with senior DB Sean Rafferty (Reading, Mass./Reading Memorial), were two of the six multiple award winners during the banquet. Senior LB Tim Bolte (Towson, Md./Loyola Blakefield), junior RB Tyler Smith (Hatfield, Pa./North Penn), Rafferty and junior P Ryan Gutowski (Owings Mills, Md./Calvert Hall) were also each recognized at least twice.
A First Team All-Patriot League selection, De La Rosa was named MVP following a season in which he posted a career-high 47 tackles, 17.5 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks. He ranked second in the Patriot League, and 18th nationally, in tackles for loss and tied Eden for third on the Patriot League sacks list.
A four-year starter, De La Rosa had the best game of his senior year in a home win over Georgetown when he posted 6.5 tackles for loss, tying him for third on the NCAA FCS single-game ledger. De La Rosa finished with at least one tackle for loss in nine of 11 games this fall and he will graduate one sack shy (15) of joining the program's top-10 list for career sacks.
Thanks to his two awards Sunday, De La Rosa finished his career with four team awards. He earned the Stuart M. Smith Award as the top newcomer in 2008 and collected the first of his two George Rieu Awards in 2009. The George Rieu Award has been handed out seven times since 2006 and De La Rosa (2009, 2011) and Eden (2006, 2007, 2010, 2011) have combined for six of those honors.
The Bison Gridiron Club Award winner in 2010, Eden became just the 20th player in league history to be named First Team All-Patriot League three times when he was one of six Bison first-team honorees this fall.
A First Team All-Patriot League selection in 2007, 2010 and 2011, Eden finished his Bison career with 192 tackles, 40 tackles for loss, 19.5 sacks and 13 pass breakups. He also blocked 11 kicks in his career, tying him for fifth on the NCAA FCS all-time list. Eden's eight blocked extra points are an FCS record.
In 2011, Eden finished fifth on the team with 49 tackles, tied for third in the Patriot League with a career-high 6.5 sacks and was third in the Patriot League with 12.5 tackles for loss. He also forced two fumbles, recovered three and intercepted a pass and returned it 27 yards for a touchdown in a win at Princeton.
Eden, who also caught a touchdown pass at Lafayette, lists fifth on Bucknell's all-time sacks list. He earned nine career team awards during his four years as a Bison.
Bolte, a two-time CoSIDA Academic All-District selection and the Patriot League Football Scholar-Athlete of the Year earned both the Bucknell Football Leadership Award and the Bobby Pangburn Memorial Award, which is presented for “commitment, dedication and unqualified friendship.” An East Asian Studies (Chinese) and political science major, Bolte owns a 3.93 cumulative grade-point average and plans on attending law school after graduation next spring.
A two-year starter at linebacker, Bolte ranked second on the Bison with a career-high 64 tackles this season, boosting his career total to 142. He started the final 22 games of his career and finished his senior season with nine tackles for loss, two sacks, five passes defended, one interception, two forced fumbles and a pair of fumble recoveries.
The Patriot League’s leading rusher and a First Team All-Patriot League selection, Smith shared the inaugural Sledge Hammer Award with Gutowski, was presented the Big Blue Award as the team’s top back or receiver, and was the George L. McGaughey Memorial Award winner as the outstanding player in the Lafayette game when he piled up the ninth-most rushing yards in program history in Bucknell’s first victory over the Leopards since 2001. The Sledge Hammer Award was presented to the players who accumulated the most team Player of the Game awards throughout the season. The winners received actual sledge hammers.
Smith had a couple breakout performances late in the season that propelled him to the top of the Patriot League rushing leaders list. After totaling 370 yards rushing over the season's first eight games, he put together back-to-back 200-yard outings and ended up leading the league in rushing with a career-high 795 yards. The 416 yards he piled up in consecutive outings at Lafayette and Fordham helped Smith break the program record for most yards in two straight games. His 212 yards on a snow-covered field at Lafayette were the ninth-most in program history.
A versatile player, Smith finished the year with a career-high 1,609 all-purpose yards, good for fifth in Bucknell single-season history. He totaled 163 yards on receptions and 651 on kickoff returns and boosted his career all-purpose yards total to 3,399, the seventh-most in school annals. Smith currently ranks 18th nationally in kickoff return average and tied for 13th in all-purpose yards per game (146.27) despite missing the majority of the season finale at Colgate with an injury.
Fellow Sledge Hammer Award winner Gutowski was also a First Team All-Patriot League selection this fall after punting a Bucknell-record 79 times and averaging 36.7 yards per boot. Gutowski recorded seven touchbacks, forced 23 fair catches and pinned opponents inside the 20-yard line 22 times. His best outing was against Patriot League champion Lehigh when he averaged 44.3 yards on seven kicks and recorded the third-longest punt (71) in school history. Gutowski was also a winner of the Special Teams Award, which he shared with long snapper Jeff Goyette (Dillsburg, Pa./Trinity).
Rafferty was the Clarke Hinkle Award winner as the team’s outstanding defensive back or linebacker for a second consecutive season. He also shared the Captains Award with Eden. Rafferty led the Bison with a career-high 70 tackles, which ranked him tied for 13th in the Patriot League. He posted 4.5 tackles for loss, two sacks and intercepted three passes to rank second on the team behind Robertson. A two-year starter and a Second Team All-Patriot League selection in 2011, Rafferty finished his career with 143 tackles and six interceptions.
First Team All-Patriot League defensive back Bryce Robertson (Reserve, La./East St. John) was presented the C. Dale Wolfe Recognition Award as the team’s most inspirational player. The four-year starter had an All-America-type season with 13 interceptions, just one pick shy of tying the NCAA FCS single-season record. He posted four multi-interception outings and had at least one interception in nine of Bucknell's final 10 games. Robertson easily broke the Patriot League (9) and Bucknell (10) marks for interceptions in a season, and the next closest person in FCS this year was Alabama State's Kejuan Riley, who had eight interceptions.
Robertson finished the season with more interceptions than Bucknell had turnovers (12), and his 184 interception return yards broke Kevin Eiben's 11-year-old program record.
DeNick, Bucknell’s second All-Patriot League wide receiver in the last decade, shared the Tom Gadd Coaches’ Award with Eden. He was the only Bison to catch at least one pass in every game in 2011 and he finished with 554 yards receiving on 42 catches, both career highs. His best outing came against Georgetown when he totaled four receptions for 114 yards and two scores, becoming just the 21st player in school history with at least two career 100-yard outings. DeNick, who was a defensive back at the beginning of his career, finished his career with 977 career receiving yards.
Another of Bucknell’s record-tying 12 All-Patriot League selections, senior OL Anthony Carter (Bethlehem, Pa./Freedom) earned the John Campana Award as the team’s outstanding offensive lineman. Carter was a mainstay on the Bison offensive line the last four years, starting 43 of a possible 44 games.
Senior K Drew Orth (Sugarloaf, Pa./Hazleton Area) was recognized early in the program with the Moxie Award. Instituted in 1992 by then-equipment manager Ken Hare, the Moxie Award is named for his grandfather, Walter Jacob “Moxie” Mahon, and is presented for special contribution to the Bucknell football program. Orth earned his first career All-League certificate in 2011 after connecting on 12 of 15 field goals. He didn't take over as the team's primary kicker until week three at Cornell, but still tied for third on the program's single-season field goals made list. A solid kicker throughout his tenure, Orth finished his career 25-for-32 on field goals and 50-for-54 on extra points for a grand total of 125 points.
Four freshmen rounded out the list of honorees as FB Kareem Hyman (Somerset, N.J./Franklin) and DE Matt Donaldson (Wayne, Pa./Archbishop Carroll) were named the Scout Team Players of the Year, while LB Evan Byers (Roaring Brook, Pa./Wyoming Seminary/Trinity-Pawling (N.Y.)) earned the Stuart M. Smith Award as the outstanding newcomer, and QB Trey Lauletta (Exton, Pa./Downingtown East) copped Keating-Rieu Memorial Award honors as the outstanding player in the Colgate game. Byers finished his rookie campaign with 34 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, two forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries. Lauletta, who saw his first action of the season in week nine vs. Lafayette, took almost every snap against Colgate in place of an injured Brandon Wesley (Plano, Texas/Plano East). He completed 22 of 35 passes for 166 yards and rushed 15 times for 34 yards.
Also recognized at the banquet were Bucknell’s 57 letterwinners and the Patriot League award winners.
The banquet concluded with a highlight video of the season and Bucknell second-year head coach Joe Susan handing out jerseys to each of the 19 seniors.
2011 Bucknell Football Award Winners
2011 Bucknell Football Letterwinners (total number of career letters in parentheses)