Bucknell Football Returns Home to Open Patriot League Play vs. Georgetown

PATRIOTLEAGUEDOTORG Tim Bolte and the Bison host Georgetown this Saturday.
Tim Bolte and the Bison host Georgetown this Saturday.

Sept. 27, 2011

What: Georgetown Hoyas (3-1, 1-0 PL) at Bucknell Bison (3-1, 0-0 PL)
Where: Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium, Lewisburg, Pa.
When: Saturday, Oct. 1, 2011, 1 p.m.
Promotions: Men's Basketball Ring Presentation, Domino's Pizza Crazy Fan Giveaway, Bisonettes Performance, Bison Land Inflatables
Tickets: 570-577-1000 or www.bucknell.edu/boxoffice
Internet Video: Bison Vision
Radio: Eagle 107 (107.3 WEGH)
Internet Radio: SportsJuice.com
Live Statistics: GameTracker
Game Notes 

Probable Starters - Offense
QB 14 Brandon Wesley (So., 6-2, 195) - First Bison w/3 rush TDs in a game since 2007
RB 32 Tyler Smith (Jr., 5-9, 195) - 6th in PL in all-purpose yards (463)
FB 33 Travis Friend (So., 6-2, 235) - First Bison freshman named All-PL since 1993
WR 41 Frank DeNick (Sr., 6-2, 195) - Leads team in receptions (17) and yards (197)
WR 85 Gabe Skwara (Sr., 6-2, 180) - At least one catch in 5 straight games
LT 72 Lonnie Rawles (Fr., 6-4, 280) - Expected to make first career start
LG 62 Carson Rohrbaugh (Sr., 6-3, 280) - Started first six games at LT in 2010
C 61 Ian Dal Bello (Sr., 6-1, 280) - Moved to C after starting at LG last three years; 37 cons. starts
RG 59 Anthony Carter (Sr., 6-0, 280) - 36 career starts ranks third among current Bison
RT 76 Josh Phillip (Sr., 6-4, 259) - 15 consecutive starts
TE 42 Nick Gatto (Jr., 6-2, 230) - 18 catches for 135 yards last two years

Probable Starters - Defense
DE 9 Samuel Oyekoya (Jr., 6-3, 235) - Two straight starts in place of injured Sean Sellers
DT 24 Robert De La Rosa (Sr., 6-2, 290) - Eight consecutive games w/at least 1 TFL
NG 90 Tracey Smith (So., 6-1, 255) - Season-high three tackles three times in 2011
DE 92 Josh Eden (Sr., 6-4, 280) - Defense led to all 17 first-half points vs. Princeton
Mike LB 12 Beau Traber (Jr., 5-11, 233) - First Oklahoma native on Bison roster since 1994
Sam LB 51 Tim Bolte (Sr., 6-1, 230) - Averaging 8.5 tackles over last four home games
SS 36 Jordan Dudas (Fr., 6-0, 195) - Patriot League Rookie of the Week (9/12)
CB 2 Derrick Palmer (So., 5-10, 175) - Tied for team lead w/3 pass breakups (Bolte)
FS 20 Ryan Morgan (So., 5-11, 180) - 19 of 38 career tackles have come in two games (Colgate, Princeton)
Whip DB 43 Sean Rafferty (Sr., 6-0, 215) - Team co-captain, along with Josh Eden
CB 5 Bryce Robertson (Sr., 5-9, 180) - Tied for second in nation with 1.00 INT/per game

With a Victory over Georgetown, Bucknell Would ...
... extend its winning streak over the Hoyas to four games. 
... win its Patriot League opener for the fourth consecutive year. 
... post two winning streaks in the same season for the first time since 2004. 
... win four of its first five games for the first time since 2001. 
... open its home schedule 3-0 for the second time in three years. 
... equal its Patriot League win total from 2010.

About the Game
In recent years Bucknell and Georgetown have typically been closer to the bottom half of the Patriot League standings, but both teams enter Saturday’s game with matching 3-1 records, equaling nationally ranked Lehigh for the best record among league teams so far this fall. The last time the Bison and Hoyas met when both teams were above .500 was 1938 when Bucknell entered the contest with a 4-1 mark and the Hoyas were undefeated (5-0). The two teams have met 10 times since Georgetown joined the Patriot League in 2001 and only two times has even one team (Bucknell in 2001 & 2008) been above .500. The offenses are sure to be on display on Saturday at Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium as the Bison are coming off their highest scoring output in more than three years, while Georgetown exploded for 52 points in a win over Marist, marking its highest score since Halloween 1998. Bucknell, which forced six turnovers and held Princeton to just nine points this past Saturday, will try to slow down the Hoyas’ offensive attack as its goal will surely be to hold a second consecutive opponent to fewer than 10 points for the first time since the Bison’s 1996 Patriot League Championship campaign. Saturday’s game will serve as Bucknell’s Patriot League opener, while Georgetown already has a league win under its belt, defeating Lafayette 14-13 in week two.

Bucknell vs. Georgetown Series Notes
- Bucknell leads 13-9-1.
- Bucknell has won three straight.
- Each of the last six games have been decided by 10 points or less.
- The road team has won six of the last seven games.
- Georgetown has served as Bucknell’s Patriot League opener six of the last eight years (2004, 2005, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011).
- There was a 61-year gap between games from 1939 to 2000.

Last Time vs. Georgetown
Bucknell 24, Georgetown 21 (Oct. 16, 2010 - Washington, D.C.)
- Bucknell snapped a 10-game road losing streak.
- Sean Rafferty intercepted a pass for a second consecutive game. His 12-yard return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter proved to be the winning score.
- Brandon Wesley broke Travis Kopp’s Bucknell freshman passing record.
- Bucknell dominated the time of possession battle, 38:44-21:16.
- Bucknell was 8-for-18 on third downs.

Inside the Princeton Box Score
- Josh Eden recorded a safety, registered 0.5 sacks, recovered a fumble inside the Princeton 10-yard line, returned an interception 27 yards for his first career touchdown and recovered an onside kick. He finished with five tackles and his defensive play was responsible for all 17 of the Bison’s first-half points.
- Bucknell’s 34 points were its most since scoring 48 in the 2008 season opener vs. Duquesne. The Bison last scored more points in a road game in the 2007 season finale at Fordham.
- Bucknell’s 25-point margin of victory was its largest since defeating Marist by 31 points (38-7) in 2007.
- Brandon Wesley established a new career high for rushing yards (76).
- Brandon Wesley became the first Bison to rush for three touchdowns in a game since Marcello Trigg in 2007.
- Bucknell’s final 25-point margin of victory was its largest lead since leading Duquesne 42-7 early in the second half of the 2008 season opener.
- Bryce Robertson intercepted passes on back-to-back Princeton drives.
- Bucknell dominated the time of possession, 38:42-21:18, including 21:04-8:56 in the second half.
- Princeton committed six turnovers (3 INT, 3 FUM).
- Bucknell scored more than 14 points in a quarter for the first time since 2008.
- Ryan Morgan posted a game-high 10 tackles, also a new career high for the sophomore.
- Bucknell snapped a nine-game losing streak to Ivy League opponents.

Surprising Starts
Georgetown (5th) and Bucknell (6th) were picked to finish at the bottom of the Patriot League in its Preseason Poll, but the two teams are a combined 6-2 this season, equaling nationally ranked Lehigh for the best overall record among Patriot League squads.

The Last Time...
Bucknell notched a number of pertinent statistical milestones vs. Princeton:
• Forced six turnovers for the first time since 9/6/03 vs. Delaware State.
• First player (Brandon Wesley) with three rushing touchdowns since Marcello Trigg vs. Marist (9/29/07).
• First passing two-point conversion (Wesley to Smith) since Marcello Trigg to Shaun Pasternak vs. Cornell (9/20/08).
• First two-interception game (Bryce Robertson) since Rob Gerlach vs. Robert Morris (9/12/09).
• Recorded a safety for the first time since 9/19/09 vs. Cornell.

Patriot League Defensive Player of the Week
Senior DE Josh Eden earned his first career Patriot League Defensive Player of the Week honor on Monday following his terrific all-around performance at Princeton where he recorded a safety, registered 0.5 sacks, recovered a fumble inside the Princeton 10-yard line, returned an interception 27 yards for his first career touchdown and recovered an onside kick. The State College, Pa., native had twice previously been named the Patriot League Special Teams Player of the Week (11/8/10, 9/5/11).

Higher Scoring in 2011
Bucknell has scored at least 27 points in three of its four games this season and already has 102 points on the year. The Bison scored 151 points in all of 2010. Bucknell is averaging 25.5 points per game, it highest figure since 2004. The 2004 Bucknell team finished the season with 296 points, fourth-most in program history.

Bucknell Points per Game (since 2004)
2004: 26.9
2005: 16.3
2006: 20.2
2007: 21.0
2008: 24.5
2009: 14.7
2010: 13.7
2011: 25.5

Second and Fourth Quarters are the Difference
Bucknell is outscoring its opponents 43-17 in the second quarter and 29-13 in the fourth quarter. Overall, the Bison hold a 72-30 edge in those two periods.

Patriot League Openers
Bucknell is 15-10 all-time in Patriot League openers. The Bison have won their Patriot League opener each of the last three years. This is the sixth time in the last eight years Bucknell has opened its Patriot League slate opposite the Hoyas.

3-1 Starts
Bucknell is off to its first 3-1 start to a season since 2008. The Bison started at least 3-1 for five consecutive years (1997-2001), but this is just the third time they have accomplished that feat since 2002.

Long Scoring Drive
Bucknell put together a game-sealing 14-play, 80-yard drive that ended with a Brandon Wesley four-yard touchdown run this past Saturday at Princeton. The drive spanned the end of the third quarter and the first 4:35 of the fourth and ate up 8:06 off the clock. It was the longest scoring drive for the Bison since a 19-play, 61-yard drive that spanned 9:00 in last year’s season opener at Duquesne.

.500 Non-League Record
With its win last Saturday at Princeton, Bucknell snapped a nine-game losing streak against Ivy League foes. The Bison also guaranteed at least a .500 record against non-league foes this year since they are 3-1 with two more (Harvard, Fordham) to play. The last time Bucknell finished above .500 against non-league opponents was 2008 when it was 3-2 with wins over Duquesne, Robert Morris and Marist.

Using his Legs
While QB Brandon Wesley is just 466 passing yards shy of joining Bucknell’s career top-10 list, he used his legs more than his arm last Saturday at Princeton. He ran 15 times for a career-high 76 yards and three touchdowns, becoming the first Bison to post three rushing touchdowns in a game since 2007.

Morgan Tackles in Bunches
Sophomore DB Ryan Morgan posted a career-high 10 tackles in last week’s win at Princeton. He now has 38 tackles in 14 career games and half have come in two contests since his previous career high was nine stops vs. Colgate last fall.

Interceptions for Robertson
Bucknell senior DB Bryce Robertson has four interceptions this year and is tied for second nationally, averaging 1.00 per game. Last Saturday at Princeton he intercepted passes on back-to-back drives, becoming the first Bison with a multi-interception game since Rob Gerlach vs. Robert Morris in 2009. Robertson has three interceptions in his last two games, becoming the first Bucknell player to do that since Stephen Collage in 2006. No Bison has had more than four interceptions in a year since Joe Glenn had six in 2003.

Most Interceptions in a Season (since 2003)
1. Joe Glenn (2003) - 6
2. Jerome Acy (2003) - 4
Virgil Rush (2003) - 4
Dante Ross (2004) - 4
David Frisbey (2005) - 4
Stephen Collage (2006) - 4
Ahkiel White (2009) - 4
Bryce Robertson (2011) - 4

+11 Turnovers
Bucknell ranks second in the nation in turnover margin at +2.75 per game, behind only Alabama State’s +4.00. The Bison have forced 13 turnovers (8 INT, 5 FUM), while they have committed just two miscues (1 INT, 1 FUM).

Time of Possession
Bucknell has dominated the time of possession category this year. The Bison offense is on the field an average of 34:24.

Bucknell’s Most Time of Possession (since 2000)
1. vs. Duquesne (2000) - 39:26
2. at Georgetown (2010) - 38:44
3. at Princeton (2011) - 38:42

Bucknell’s Time of Possession (last five games)
at Holy Cross (2010): 36:40
vs. Duquesne (2011: 28:30
vs. Marist (2011): 36:21
at Cornell (2011): 34:02
at Princeton (2011): 38:42
Average: 34:51

Favorite Third Down Target
Senior WR Frank DeNick is quickly becoming Brandon Wesley’s favorite target on third down. Five of DeNick’s 17 catches this year are on third down and nine of his grabs have gone for a first down. DeNick, who has earned his first two career starts the last two weeks, leads the Bison in receptions (17) and receiving yards (197) this year.

De La Rosa Gets Behind the Line
Senior DL Robert De La Rosa has a knack for getting into the opposition’s backfield. He had one tackle for loss, including a half-sack, vs. Princeton and has now posted at least one tackle for loss in eight consecutive games, dating back to 2010. He currently ranks second in the Patriot League with six tackles for loss this year. De La Rosa now has 29.5 tackles for loss in his four-year career, second on the team to classmate Josh Eden’s 32.5.

De La Rosa’s Tackles for Loss (last 8 games)
10/30/10 vs. Lafayette: 1.0 TFL - 6 yds.
11/6/10 vs. Fordham: 1.5 TFL - 2 yds.
11/13/10 vs. Colgate: 2.5 TFL - 7 yds.
11/20/10 at Holy Cross: 2.0 TFL - 8 yds.
9/3/11 vs. Duquesne: 2.0 TFL - 8 yds.
9/10/11 vs. Marist: 1.0 TFL - 2 yds.
9/17/11 at Cornell: 2.0 TFL - 6 yds.
9/24/11 at Princeton: 1.0 TFL - 4 yds.
Totals: 13.0 TFL - 43 yds.

15-Point Quarter
Bucknell scored 15 points in the second quarter of its win over Princeton last Saturday. It was the first quarter with at least 15 points for the Bison since they registered 28 points in the second quarter of the 2008 season opener vs. Duquesne.

Milestone Watch
• DE Josh Eden moved into the top 10 in program history in sacks (16) vs. Princeton.
• P Ryan Gutowski moved past the 100-punt (102) plateau for his career vs. Princeton.
• DB Sean Rafferty enters the Georgetown game five tackles shy of 100 in his career.
• QB Brandon Wesley enters the Georgetown game 24 completions (234) from 10th place on Bucknell’s career list.

Veteran Offensive Line
Bucknell started five seniors on the offensive line in each of its first four games: Anthony Carter, Ian Dal Bello, Josh Phillip, Carson Rohrbaugh and Andre Shields. That quintet now has a combined 107 career starts, including 37 by Dal Bello, who has never missed a start in his four-year career. Freshman Lonnie Rawles is expected to replace Shields in the starting lineup against Georgetown.

Up Next
Bucknell will continue its stretch of three home games in four weeks when it hosts nationally ranked Lehigh Saturday, Oct. 8, at 1 p.m. The Bison have not beaten the Mountain Hawks since 1997, a span of 13 meetings.