Nov. 8, 2008
LEWISBURG, Pa. -
Under the direction of sophomore quarterback Marc Quilling, the Lafayette offense put up 474 yards of total offense and ran away to a 38-21 win at Bucknell on Saturday at Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium. Quilling received the start under center for the Leopards in place of an injured Rob Curley. The Allentown, Pa. native passed for 274 yards and three touchdowns and was 17-for-26 with no interceptions in his first career start.
The rushing game was buoyed by the return of junior TB Tyrell Coon who carried 30 times for a career-high 169 yards. Tight end Michael Conte added four catches for a career-high 118 yards as Lafayette improved to 7-2 overall 3-1 in Patriot League play.
Quilling was 4-for-4 on the team's first drive of the game, and the Leopards scored on Quilling's 23-yard touchdown strike to FB Joe Russo. The drive covered 73 yards on nine plays, and following Davis Rodriguez's PAT Lafayette led 7-0.
The lead was short-lived as A.J. Kizekai returned the Leopards' kickoff 100 yards from Bucknell's own goal line and into the Leopards' endzone to tie the score at 7-7. Kizekai was briefly touched by a defender at the Bucknell 35 before putting on a burst of speed for the score. The 100-yard score and Kizekai's 210 kickoff return yards set school records.
Seconds into the second quarter, Lafayette attempted a 34-yard field goal. The kick missed wide left, but a Bucknell defender ran into Rodriguez. The Leopards got the ball back 4th-and-2 after the penalty, and head coach Frank Tavani elected to go for the first down. Coon's seven-yard scamper off left tackle gave Lafayette the first down. Lafayette scored on Russo's one-yard run and led 14-7 at the 13:57 mark in the second quarter.
Bucknell (4-5, 1-3) tied the game 14-14 at 3:59 in the second with an eight-yard touchdown pass from Andrew Lair to Shaun Pasternak. The drive spanned 56 yards on six plays and was aided by a 15-yard facemask penalty.
With time winding down in the first half, Eric McGovern forced Pasternak to fumble. Allan Whitesell recovered and the Leopards took over at the Bucknell 46 with 1:14 remaining. Lafayette moved the ball to the Bucknell four-yard line thanks in part to a pair of 10-yard catches by Conte and a 12-yard reception by Mitchell Bennett. With 11 seconds left, Lafayette took one shot at the endzone for Bennett, but the pass was defended. Rodriguez converted the 20-yard field goal to give Lafayette a 17-14 halftime lead.
The Leopards' offense took the ball in the second half and a marched it 94 yards thanks to a 38-yard run by Coon and the scoring play, a 51-yard strike from Quilling to Conte. Lafayette led 24-14. Coon's 38-yard run put him over the 100-yard mark for the first time in his career.
As in the first half, Bucknell answered quickly, putting together a four-play, 66-yard drive that concluded with a 37-yard halfback option pass from Justin Pulgrano to a wide-open Pasternak for a touchdown. Bucknell trailed 24-21 with 10 minutes to go in the third.
When the Leopards got the ball back, Quilling hooked up with Conte for another big gainer, a 47-yard reception that put Lafayette at the Bucknell nine. Coon rushed twice, the second time for a three-yard score that handed Lafayette a 31-21 lead.
The Lafayette defense helped put the game away late in the third. Andrew Paulson met the Bucknell ballcarrier Kevin Mullen in the backfield and forced a fumble that Andy Romans recovered. Lafayette took over at the Bucknell 36. The offense used a "flea flicker," initially handing off to Coon who pitched it back to Quilling who connected with Adair for a 34-yard touchdown catch and a 38-21 Lafayette lead.
Lafayette forced another turnover when Carlos Lowe picked off his second pass in as many games, but neither team scored in the final 14:53 of the game.
The Leopards who concluded their longest road trip since 1996, will return home for the first time since Oct. 4 hosting Holy Cross at 1 p.m. at Fisher Stadium.
WR Shaun Adair moved into fourth place in the career receiving yards (2051) and career receptions (140), surpassing Frank Corbo '85 (136-1970) in both categories and Joe McCourt '05 (139) for career catches.