CENTER VALLEY, Pa.- It looked like a challenging weekend when the schedule came out, with five out of six Patriot League teams on the road and three facing squads from top conferences in the Football Championship Subdivision. But the squads responded as four Patriot League teams scored wins on Saturday, including Lafayette pulling out a 17-14 victory at William & Mary.
The Leopards broke a 7-7 halftime tie by scoring the first 10 points of the second half and recovered a late onsides kick to hold off the Tribe, a member of the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA). Lafayette wins its season opener for the first time since 2009.
While the Leopards closed the evening, Lehigh and Georgetown both registered wins in the afternoon against opponents from the Northeast Conference. The No. 14/16 Mountain Hawks got to 2-0 for the first time since 2003 with a 35-14 triumph at Central Connecticut State for their 11th consecutive regular-season victory. Matt MacZura made the game-winning field goal with 1:42 to play to lift Georgetown to a 13-10 victory over Wagner, moving the Hoyas to 2-0 for the third consecutive season. Georgetown had not started 2-0 for three straight years since 1978-80.
The victories by Lehigh and Georgetown give the Patriot League an 8-1 record versus the NEC over the last two seasons.
Bucknell also began its season with a win, going ahead for good in the second quarter and holding on at the end for a 19-17 victory at Marist. The Bison open with a victory for the second year in a row.
Colgate and Fordham each led in the first half in tough matchups, but could not pull out the victory. The Raiders dropped to 0-2 with a 31-21 loss at South Dakota, while the Rams gave up three second-half touchdowns and fell to Villanova, 28-13.
All seven Patriot League teams will be in action next weekend, with six playing at home. Each contest is a non-League affair, with five squads facing a foe from the Ivy League.
Recaps and box scores from Saturday's games are included below, along with a synopsis of each contest.
WILLIAMSBURG, Va.- Lafayette (1-0) opened its season in impressive fashion by taking the lead for good in the third quarter and holding on to defeat William & Mary (0-2) 17-14 on Saturday at Zable Stadium.
The Leopards struck first, with Vaughn Hebron scoring on a 14-yard rush with 1:36 left in the first quarter for a 7-0 lead. After a lengthy weather delay, William & Mary capitalized on a Lafayette turnover to tie the score at 7-7 late in the second quarter.
Lafayette went ahead for good in the third quarter, with Andrew Shoop tossing an 18-yard touchdown pass to Mike Duncan for a 14-7 lead with 3:30 left in the period. The Leopards started the drive in William & Mary territory after Shane Black recovered a fumble to set up the good field position. Lafayette added to the lead in the fourth quarter on a 34-yard field goal by Ethan Swerdlow with 11:50 left, which proved important when the Tribe got within 17-14 on a touchdown with 1:48 to go. With no timeouts left William & Mary had to go for the onsides kick, which the Leopards recovered and then ran out the clock to seal the big road win.
Shoop completed 18-of-33 passes for 189 yards and a touchdown, while Hebron led the way on the ground with 66 yards and a score. Duncan had four receptions for 60 yards and the score. Mike Boles had five tackles, a tackle for loss and a forced fumble to lead an outstanding defensive effort that limited William & Mary to just 197 yards of total offense. The Leopards gained 301 yards in the game and had 36:58 in time of possession.
Lafayette and William & Mary were facing off for the first time, and the Leopards were the first Patriot League team to play the Tribe since 1996.
NEW BRITAIN, Conn.- No. 14/16 Lehigh improved to 2-0 for the first time since 2003 by jumping out to a 21-0 lead and cruising from there for a 35-14 victory at Central Connecticut State (0-2) on Saturday at Arute Field.
The Mountain scored two touchdowns almost immediately to open the game. They started their first drive in Central Connecticut State territory, and quickly cashed in when Zach Barket scored on a one-yard touchdown run less than four minutes into the game. After a fumble recovered by Gabe Johnson on CCSU's next offensive play, Lehigh took a 14-0 lead on a one-yard run by Keith Sherman with 10:11 still to go in the first quarter. It stayed that way into the second quarter when another Sherman one-yard touchdown run gave Lehigh a 21-0 lead it would carry into the half.
The Blue Devils cut the gap to 21-7 in the third quarter, but Lehigh added another score less than a minute into the fourth on a three-yard touchdown run by Michael Colvin. Colvin threw a three-yard touchdown to Max Anderson for a 35-7 advantage before CCSU added a late score for the final margin.
Colvin completed 19-of-31 passes for 249 yards and a touchdown, though he did also throw two interceptions. Three running backs combined for 132 of the team's 148 rushing yards, led by Barket with 60 on 14 carries. Seven different players caught a pass, with preseason All-American Ryan Spadola hauling in a pair for 82 yards. Nigel Muhammad and Sam Loughery led the defense with 11 tackles apiece, with Muhammad adding a force fumble and Loughery recording three tackles for loss. Lehigh held a 397-281 edge in total offense, and a 249-87 advantage in passing.
Lehigh has won 11 consecutive regular-season games, and defeated an opponent from the Northeast Conference for the second straight week. Lehigh improved to 2-1 in its all-time series with CCSU, and 9-2 all-time versus the NEC.
WASHINGTON, D.C.- Matt MacZura booted a 35-yard field goal with 1:42 left and the defense held in the final minute to lift Georgetown (2-0) to a 13-10 win over Wagner (0-2) on Saturday at Multi-Purpose Field.
The Hoyas improve to 2-0 for the third straight year, reaching the mark in three consecutive seasons for the first time since 1978-80. Georgetown has won 11 of its last 14 games dating back to the 2010 season, and defeated Wagner for the second year in a row.
Offense was hard to come by, as Wagner took a 7-3 lead into the half. It stayed that way into the third quarter when Georgetown used special teams to set up a short field for its lone touchdown. A 33-yard punt return by Kevin Macari gave the Hoyas the ball at the Wagner 12, and two plays later quarterback Aaron Aiken ran in from there for a 10-7 lead. Wagner tied the score on a 44-yard field goal with 5:19 to go, but the Hoyas answered with a 10-play, 68-yard drive that ended with MacZura's winning kick. Wagner picked up one first down on its final drive, but the Hoyas stopped the Seahawks from crossing midfield before taking over on downs and sealing the win.
Georgetown held a 312-244 edge in total offense, and a 27-16 advantage in first downs. Aiken threw for 146 yards and ran for 17 and the touchdown, while Nick Campanella and Wilburn Logan combined for 97 of the team's 166 rushing yards. Macari had five receptions for 36 yards in addition to the key punt return. Robert McCabe led the defense with 13 tackles and a sack, while Jeremy Moore notched 10 stops.
POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y.- Bucknell (1-0) opened its season with a win for the second year in a row by taking the lead in the second quarter and holding off Marist (1-1) by a 19-17 final on Saturday at Tenney Stadium.
The teams each scored a touchdown in the first quarter, with Bucknell striking first on a six-yard pass from Brandon Wesley to Travis Friend with 3:45 left in the period. Marist tied it up less than three minutes later, but Bucknell went ahead for good on a Sean Cobelli field goal with 10:37 left until halftime. The Bison made it 16-7 on a seven-yard pass from Wesley to Jake Flaherty later in the period, but Marist closed to within 16-10 at the half. After a scoreless third quarter, Cobelli nailed a 36-yard field goal for some key insurance that made it 19-10 with 4:50 to play. Marist found the endzone with 31 seconds to go in the game, but Bucknell recovered the ensuing onside kick to seal the win.
Wesley was 20-of-27 for 190 yards and two touchdowns and also ran for 29 yards. Jeremiah Young led the way on the ground with 71 yards as Bucknell rushed for 142 in the contest while holding Marist to 57 rushing yards. Victor Walker had six receptions for 81 yards and also had an interception on Marist's final play of the first half. Ryan Morgan led the defense with eight tackles and a fumble recovery that he returned 55 yards to set up Bucknell's first touchdown. Samuel Oyekoya added two sacks.
Bucknell was playing Marist for the eighth year in a row, and improved to 7-1 in those contests.
For video highlights of Bucknell's victory, go here
VERMILLION, S.D.- Colgate (0-2) hung tight on the road with a solid program from the Missouri Valley Football Conference, but South Dakota (1-1) was too much for the Raiders in a 31-21 final on Saturday at DakotaDome.
The teams exchanged touchdowns in the first half. Gavin McCarney had a three-yard touchdown run for Colgate in the first quarter, and the Raiders opened a 14-7 edge in the second quarter on a 22-yard scoring strike from McCarney to Chris Looney. South Dakota tied the score at 14-14 in the final two minutes of the first half, and continued its run with the first 10 points of the second half for a 24-14 lead. Colgate got closer late in the third quarter when a 13-yard McCarney touchdown run trimmed the deficit to 24-21, but South Dakota scored again in the fourth for the 31-21 advantage. Colgate drove into South Dakota territory two more times, but the drives both came up empty.
Both teams took to the ground, with South Dakota holding a 238-237 edge in rushing yardage. Colgate boasted a pair of 100-yard rushers, as Jordan McCord led the way with 125 on 28 carries and McCarney rushed for 108 yards and the two touchdowns on 19 carries. McCarney completed 10-of-20 passes for 96 yards with a touchdown and interception, with Looney catching three balls for 40 yards and the score. Patrick Friel led the Colgate defense with 10 tackles.
The Raiders fall to 0-2 for the first time since 2002. Colgate became the first Patriot League team to face a team from the state of South Dakota.
VILLANOVA, Pa.- After a strong first half, Fordham (1-1) gave up three second-half touchdowns as Villanova (1-1) rallied past the Rams for a 28-13 win on Saturday at Villanova Stadium.
Fordham got on the board first with a six-yard touchdown run by Michael Nebrich with 7:50 to go in the first quarter. After Villanova knotted the score at 7-7 less than a minute later, Fordham went ahead 13-7 at halftime as Patrick Murray connected on field goals of 50 and 37 yards.
The second half was a different story. Villanova scored twice in the third quarter to take a 21-13 lead, and added a fourth-quarter touchdown for the 28-13 victory.
Nebrich ran for 107 yards and the touchdown to lead the Rams, and also completed 8-of-11 passes for 45 yards. Ryan Higgins completed 11-of-23 passes for 112 yards. Fordham was outgained 365-312 on the ground, and gave up 287 rushing yards to the Wildcats. In addition to making both of his field-goal attempts, Murray punted five times for a 44.0 average and had a 25-yard run on a fake punt that set up Fordham's touchdown. Michael Martin led the Fordham defense with 11 tackles, three tackles for loss, a sack and a forced fumble.
Villanova beat Fordham for the 13th straight time, as the teams were meeting for the first time since 2002. The Rams were trying to start the season 2-0, which they have not done since 2003.