Sept. 7, 2013
CENTER VALLEY, Pa. - The first full Saturday of the Patriot League football season was one to remember, as Fordham beat No. 8/11 Villanova 27-24 and No. 19/23 Lehigh came back from 20 points down in the fourth quarter to knock off Central Connecticut State 51-44 in double overtime.
The Rams (2-0) became the first Patriot League team to beat a top 10 non-League foe in two years, scoring the game-winning touchdown early in the fourth quarter and holding on from there for the 27-24 win. Michael Nebrich had the winning touchdown run as he rushed for 102 yards and two scores and completed 26-of-35 passes for 190 yards in the game.
No. 19/23 Lehigh (1-0) was in danger of its first non-League loss since 2011, but a Mountain Hawks team that won close games throughout the 2012 season started out the year by doing just that on Saturday against CCSU. Down 37-17 with under 11 minutes to play, Lehigh scored three straight touchdowns to force overtime and went on to win 51-44 in double OT. Brandon Bialkowski threw for 366 yards and four touchdowns in his first start while Lee Kurfis notched seven receptions for 222 yards and two scores.
Bucknell and Georgetown each put up impressive performances at home on Saturday evening. The Bison (1-0) led 24-7 by halftime and cruised from there for a 27-14 win over Marist, with quarterback Brandon Wesley completing 12-of-16 passes for 176 yards and two touchdowns and rushing for 51 yards. Georgetown (1-1) was even more impressive, leading 28-6 at halftime on its way to a 42-6 win over Davidson. Six different Hoyas scored touchdowns, including linebacker Dustin Wharton with an interception return for a score.
Two Patriot League teams fell in heartbreaking fashion on Saturday. Lafayette (0-1) saw Sacred Heart kick a game-winning field goal as time expired for a 26-24 victory over the Leopards in Easton, while Colgate (0-2) could not climb all the way out of an early hole in a 37-34 loss to Albany. Holy Cross (0-2) fell 49-7 at home against No. 5/6 Towson.
Recaps and box scores from each of Saturday's games are included below, with a synopsis of each contest added soon.
at Fordham 27, No. 8/11 Villanova 24
*Fordham knocked off a top 10 FCS team at Jack Coffey Field for the first time.
*The Rams earned the first non-League top 25 win for a Patriot League team since Lehigh beat No. 5 Towson in the 2011 FCS second round.
*Fordham snapped a 13-game losing streak against Villanova, beating the Wildcats for the first time since 1920.
*The Rams became the first Patriot League team to beat Villanova since Lehigh in 2006.
*Junior quarterback Michael Nebrich had the eventual game-winning touchdown when he put the Rams up 27-24 on a four-yard run early in the fourth quarter.
*Nebrich had 102 rushing yards and two touchdowns, and completed 26-of-35 passes for 190 yards.
*Fordham scored the final 10 points and held Villanova scoreless for the final 26:52.
*Fordham's defense and special teams forced five Villanova fumbles in the game.
*The Rams outgained the Wildcats 363-332 and controlled the ball for over 38 minutes.
*Fordham opens the season at 2-0 for the first time since 2003.
at No. 19/23 Lehigh 51, Central Connecticut State 44
*Lehigh rallied from 20 points down in the fourth quarter for the 51-44 win in double overtime against Central Connecticut.
*Lehigh scored a pair of touchdowns in a two-minute span to close a 37-17 deficit to 37-31 with 8:12 to play.
*The Mountain Hawks tied the score at 37-37 on a two-yard TD run by Sean Farrell with 3:32 to play.
*The score was set up by a 77-yard completion from Brandon Bialkowski to Lee Kurfis.
*The game went to overtime when CCSU missed a 39-yard field goal attempt with 22 seconds left.
*CCSU scored to start the first overtime, but Lehigh answered on its first play with a 25-yard strike from Bialkowski to Kurfis.
*Farrell scored on an 11-yard touchdown rush to put Lehigh up 51-44 in double overtime.
*CCSU did not pick up a first down on its possession as Lehigh forced three straight incompletions.
*Kurfis had seven catches for a career-high 222 yards and two touchdowns, with the other coming on a 62-yard catch that cut Lehigh's deficit to 37-31.
*The 222 yards were the highest total in Goodman Stadium history and the 12th-most for a Patriot League player.
*It was the highest receiving yardage total for a Patriot League player since 2009.
*Bialkowski finished 18-of-29 for 366 yards and four touchdowns in his first-career start.
*The 95 combined points marked the highest single-game total in Goodman Stadium history.
*The Mountain Hawks won their season opener for a fourth straight year.
*Lehigh has won nine consecutive non-League regular-season games, and nine straight games decided by seven points or less.
at Bucknell 27, Marist 14
*Bucknell won its season opener for the third year in a row.
*The Bison did most of their damage in the first half, taking a 24-7 lead at the break.
*It was the highest first-half point total for Bucknell since 2011, and the Bison accumulated 270 of their 353 yards before intermission.
*Brandon Wesley completed 12-of-16 passes for 176 yards and two touchdowns and also ran for 51 yards.
*The fourth-year starter moved into first place in program history with 5,404 yards of total offense.
*Bucknell recorded six sacks, its most since 2011 vs. Holy Cross.
*Sean Sellers led the way with two of the sacks, while four other players notched one.
*Bucknell improved to 8-1 all-time against Marist, including 5-0 in Lewisburg.
at Georgetown 42, Davidson 6
*Georgetown led 28-6 by halftime on its way to the 42-6 victory.
*Six different players scored touchdown, including the first for Patriot League Preseason Defensive Player of the Year Dustin Wharton on a 24-yard interception return late in the second quarter.
*Quarterback Isaiah Kempf completed 16-of-23 passes for 185 yards and two touchdowns, while rushing for 37 yards and another one.
*Georgetown held a 190-76 edge in rushing yardage and 375-290 in total offense.
*Georgetown beat Davidson for a fourth straight season and has won eight of the last nine meetings between the schools.
Sacred Heart 26 at Lafayette 24
*Lafayette suffered a heartbreaking 26-24 loss when Sacred Heart's Alec Finney made a 42-yard field goal as time expired.
*Ross Scheuerman had put Lafayette up 24-23 on a 12-yard touchdown run with 2:02 to play.
*Mark Ross had a third-quarter touchdown reception to tie the score at 17-17 as he caught 11 passes for 156 yards.
*It was his school record 20th touchdown reception.
*Matt Smalley opened the game with a school record 98-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.
*Scheuerman ran for 95 yards and the score, while Zach Zweizig completed 24-of-34 passes for 282 yards and the touchdown.
*Lafayette was outgained 322-130 on the ground and 474-412 overall.
*The Leopards dropped their season opener for the third time in the last four years.
Albany 37 at Colgate 34
*Colgate fell behind 24-7 in the first half and could not get all the way back in the loss to Albany.
*The Raiders closed to within 30-27 on a touchdown run by Demetrius Russell to open the fourth quarter.
*Colgate had a chance to take the lead, but was stuffed at the goal line on three consecutive plays and turned it over with 4:26 left.
*Albany padded the lead to 37-27 with 1:34 left before Russell scored with 18 seconds to play.
*Gavin McCarney completed 25-of-31 passes for 301 yards and a touchdown and also ran for 95 yards.
*It was his second career 300-yard passing game.
*The Raiders held a 586-518 edge in total yardage, but were outgained 338-283 on the ground.
*Colgate dropped a home opener for the first time since 2008.
*The Raiders start 0-2 for the second consecutive season.
*It was the 200th game for Colgate Head Coach Dick Biddle, who is 133-67 in his 18th season.
No 5/6 Towson 49, Holy Cross 7
*No. 5/6 Towson scored the final 42 points in the 49-7 win over Holy Cross.
*Mike Fess caught a 31-yard touchdown from Ryan Laughlin to even the score at 7-7 in the first quarter.
*The Crusaders were outgained 525-263 in the game.
*Holy Cross starts 0-2 for the second straight season and loses its home opener for the third year in a row.