Nov. 11, 2008
What: Bucknell (4-5, 1-3 PL) at Lehigh (3-6, 2-2 PL)
Where: Goodman Stadium, Bethlehem, Pa.
When: Saturday, Nov. 15, 2008, 12:30 p.m.
TV: Service Electric 2 (Lehigh Valley)
Internet Video: lehighsports.com
Radio: Eagle 107 (107.3 WEGH)
Internet Radio: SportsJuice.com
With a Victory over Lehigh, Bucknell Would ...
- ... snap its first three-game losing streak of the season.
- ... avoid consecutive road losses for the first time this year
- ... end a 10-game losing streak to the Mountain Hawks
- ... surpass its Patriot League win total from all of 2007.
- ... help Tim Landis move past Pete Reynolds and into sole possession of eighth place on the program’s win list (28).
- ... keep the chance of a .500 record alive
- ... win at Lehigh for the first time since 1996
About the Game
Both Bucknell and Lehigh have struggled in recent weeks and will be looking to turn things around on Saturday. The Bison are in the midst of their first three-game losing streak since last year, while the Mountain Hawks are 1-3 in their last four games with the lone win coming against last-place Georgetown. Bucknell has been in each of its last three losses, but each time the opponent has pulled away late. On Oct. 25, the Bison led Colgate 21-17 late in the first half before the Raiders scored 35 straight points. Two weeks ago Bucknell was up 10-0 late in the final seconds of the first half, but ended up losing to Holy Cross 34-17. Last Saturday, the Bison trailed Lafayette by a slim 24-21 margin midway through the third quarter before eventually falling by a 38-21 score. Lehigh has suffered some tough defeats as well. The Mountain Hawks are coming off a heartbreaking 34-33 loss to Colgate last week and their last five losses have been by a total of 22 points.
Bucknell vs. Lehigh Series Notes
- Lehigh leads 39-29-3. fíLehigh has won 10 straight.
- Bucknell has not scored more than 20 points in a game since 1999.
- Lehigh has scored at least 38 points each of the last five years.
- Bucknell and Lehigh have played every year since 1950.
- Bucknell has not won at Goodman Stadium since 1996.
Last Time vs. Lehigh
Lehigh 38, Bucknell 10 (Nov. 10, 2007 - Lewisburg, Pa.)
Lehigh’s Jaren Walker rushed for 94 yards and Sedale Threatt added 78 and three touchdowns as Bucknell lost its final home game of the 2007 campaign 38-10 to Lehigh. The Bison trailed just 14-10 at halftime, but were forced to punt three times and fumbled once on their four second-half possessions. Bucknell overcame three first-half turnovers to trail by just four points at halftime. The Bison fell behind 14-0 in the first quarter as Lehigh capitalized on the turnovers with a pair of touchdowns. A 58-yard fumble return by Tim Diamond put the Mountain Hawks up 7-0 less than two minutes into the contest. Later in the quarter, Threatt capped a 14-play, 73-yard drive that ate up nearly seven minutes with a one-yard run.
Lafayette Game Recap
Lafayette 38, Bucknell 21 (Nov. 8, 2008 - Lewisburg, Pa.)
In his first career start, Lafayette quarterback Marc Quilling was 17 of 26 passing for 274 yards and three touchdowns and Tyrell Coon rushed 30 times for 169 yards as the Leopards defeated Bucknell 38-21. The Bison were plagued by three turnovers as they lost their fourth consecutive home game. A.J. Kizekai was a bright spot for Bucknell as he broke the Bison career and single-game records for kickoff yards. He also opened the Bison scoring with a 100-yard kickoff return in the first quarter, breaking the program record of 99. Kizekai totaled 210 return yards on his six returns, giving him 2,039 in his career.
Inside the Lafayette Box Score
- A.J. Kizekai broke the Bucknell single-game record with 210 kickoff return yards. Kizekai also set a Bucknell record with a 100-yard kickoff return that opened the Bison scoring.
- Shaun Pasternak caught two touchdown passes, giving him 10 this season to equal the Bucknell record.
- Bucknell had three turnovers compared to zero for Lafayette.
- Lafayette doubled up Bucknell in total yards, 474-222.
- After combining for two penalties the week before, Bucknell and Lafayette were flagged a total of 10 times.
- A.J. Kizekai totaled 285 all-purpose yards, the seventh-best total in program history.
- Greg Jones led Bucknell with 13 tackles, the third time in the last four games he has posted double-figure tackles.
- Bucknell’s 21 points equaled the most Lafayette’s defense has given up in 2008 and it was the most the Bison had scored against the Leopards since 2000.
- Four different Bison attempted passes.
Kizekai Showered with Awards
A.J. Kizekai had an outstanding day returning kicks last Saturday against Lafayette and was appropriately honored. The junior was named The Sports Network National Special Teams Player of the Week, the Patriot League Special Teams Player of the Week and the Damon’s Bison Athlete of the Week after setting a Bucknell record with 210 kickoff return yards. The highlight of Kizekai’s day came the second time he touched the ball as he returned a kickoff 100 yards for a new touchdown, setting a new Bucknell record. Overall, he had six returns for 210 yards and totaled 285 all-purpose yards in the contest. Kizekai has registered at least 100 return yards in four of the last five games and currently owns six of the top 10 return marks in program history.
Kickoff Return Records Set by A.J. Kizekai vs. Lafayette
Single Return: 100 yards Old Record: 99 (Justin Brumbaugh - 1929, Terence Parham - 1996)
Single Game: 210 yards Old Record: 198 (Dante Ross - 2004)
Career: 2,039 yards Old Record: 1,843 (Dan Scocca - 1987-90)
Rewriting the Bucknell kickoff return record book is not all that A.J. Kizekai is doing. He is also etching his name into the all-purpose yards ledger. The junior has totaled at least 190 all-purpose yards each of the last five games, including four outings with more than 200 yards. Kizekai’s 193.6 all-purpose yards per game, which rank him second nationally, place him atop the Patriot League in that category with second-place Matt McGowan more than 60 yards behind. Kizekai, who has 789 all-purpose yards over the last three games, posted a career-high 285 yards against Lafayette, the seventh-best mark in program history.
Kizekai’s All-Purpose Yards
vs. Duquesne: 137; at Robert Morris: 139; vs. Cornell: 169; at Marist: 83; Hofstra: 235;
at Georgetown: 190; vs. Colgate: 250; at Holy Cross: 254; vs. Lafayette: 285
National All-Purpose Yards Leaders
1. William Osborne (Texas Southern) - 204.20
2. A.J. Kizekai (Bucknell) - 193.56
3. Toddrick Pendland (McNeese State) - 185-11
A.J. Kizekai set a Bucknell record with a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown last Saturday against Lafayette. The junior now has five career plays of at least 79 yards, including two in the last two weeks. His two career kickoff returns for touchdowns ties a Bucknell and Patriot League record.
Bucknell’s offense has been clicking this year. In fact, the Bison are averaging 25.6 points per game, their second-highest total this decade. The 1999 squad averaged 29.1 points per game and since that time only the 2004 team (26.9 points per game) has averaged more than the current edition of the Bison.
Highest Scoring Averages (since 2000)
1. 2004 - 26.9
2. 2008 - 25.6
3. 2001 - 24.0
High-Scoring Offense - Part 2
Bucknell has tallied at least 17 points in each of its nine games this year. Only one other time in program history (1918) have the Bison scored at least 17 points in every game. In fact, only five times has Bucknell avoided a single-digit score for an entire season.
Four different Bison attempted passes last Saturday against Lafayette. It marked the most players to attempt a pass in a game for Bucknell since a 14-10 victory over Towson in 2003. Among the Bison to complete passes Saturday was RB Justin Pulgrano, who found Shaun Pasternak for a 37-yard touchdown. It was the third time in the last two years Bucknell had executed the halfback option for a long gain. The last two times it was Nolan Applegate, who hooked up with Cale Cadman for a 44-yard gain last year and found Alex Odenbach for a touchdown earlier this season at Robert Morris.
Bucknell has been relying on the pass much more than in any of the six years Tim Landis has been at the helm. In fact, the Bison have thrown for 1,683 yards, their most since 2001 when they threw for 2,339. Marcello Trigg, who is listed fifth in the nation in passing efficiency, leads Bucknell with a career-high 1,438 yards. He is the first Bison to throw for more than 1,000 yards in back-to-back seasons since Todd Wenrich in 2001 and 2002.
Pasternak Receiving Headlines
Sophomore WR Shaun Pasternak is putting up numbers that have not been seen at Bucknell in a long time. He is the first Bison with four 100-yard receiving games in the same season since current Iowa assistant coach Lester Erb in 1989. Pasternak is second in the Patriot League in receiving yards per game (92.2) and is first in receptions per game (6.0). He is in the top 25 nationally in both categories. Pasternak eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark for his career two weeks ago at Holy Cross and his 830 yards this season rank sixth on the program’s single-season ledger. Still a sophomore, Pasternak, whose 54 receptions are the most by a Bucknell player since Jim Horan hauled in 59 in 2001, is on pace to join Tom Mitchell and Horan as the only Bison receivers to ever record 2,000 yards in their careers.
Touchdowns for Pasternak
While Shaun Pasternak is within reach of becoming Bucknell’s second receiver to register 1,000 yards in a season, he has already made a mark in the Bison record book thanks to his 10 touchdown catches. The sophomore, who has caught at least one touchdown in four consecutive games and seven of nine this year, equaled Lester Erb’s 18-year-old record with two touchdown grabs against Lafayette. Pasternak now has 12 career touchdown receptions, placing him six shy of the Bucknell record of 18 shared by Erb and Tom Mitchell.
With its reliance on the pass more this year, Bucknell has failed to rush for at least 100 yards in a game four times this season, including the last two outings. In the first five years of head coach Tim Landis’ tenure, the Bison did not rush for at least 100 yards six times, and never did they fail to record 100 yards on the ground in back-to-back games.
While Bucknell was flagged for four penalties last week against Lafayette, it is still one of the least-penalized teams in the nation. The Bison, who led the country with just 29 penalties in 2007, have been whistled 37 times this season. Their four penalties against the Leopards were their most in a single game since committing six versus Georgetown in mid-October. Bucknell has just 22 penalties over its last seven contests.
Fewest Penalties (FCS) Fewest Penalties per Game (FCS)
1. Princeton - 33 1. Davidson - 3.89
2. Davidson - 35 2. Indiana State - 4.00
3. Bucknell - 37 3. Bucknell - 4.11
4. Villanova - 38 4. Princeton - 4.13
Holding Halftime Leads
Bucknell is 8-1 in the last nine games in which it has held a lead at halftime. Two weeks ago the Bison lost to Holy Cross after leading 10-7 at the half, marking their first loss in that situation since 2005.
Landis Moving up Pair of Lists
Sixth-year Bucknell head coach Tim Landis has increased his victory total as the Bison coach to 27 thanks to Bucknell’s four victories this season. He is just one win shy of taking sole possession of eighth place on the program’s all-time list. Additionally, the 44-year-old coach will be on the sidelines for his 66th game at Bucknell on Saturday, moving him into a tie for fifth place on the program’s career games coached list.
Among the National Leaders
Three different Bison are among the national leaders in a particular individual statistical category this year, and none are members of the senior class. QB Marcello Trigg, WR Shaun Pasternak and RB A.J. Kizekai all show up in the national rankings.
Bucknell Players in Top 25 of Individual National Statistics
A.J. Kizekai - 2nd in all-purpose yards (193.6)
- 15th in kickoff returns (26.3)
Marcello Trigg - 5th in passing efficiency (168.8)
Shaun Pasternak - 19th in receiving yards per game (92.2)
- t-23rd in receptions per game (6.0)
Home vs. Road
Bucknell has done the exact opposite of what is expected by going 1-4 at home and 3-1 on the road. The Bison, who opened their road slate 3-0 for just the eighth time in program history, will be trying to win their fourth road game in a season for the first time since 1997 this Saturday at Lehigh. Bucknell is in the midst of its first four-game home losing streak since 1991.
Bucknell has managed just 38 first downs over the last three games, while its opponents have 81.
First Downs Last Three Games
Bucknell: 12 Colgate: 28
Bucknell: 14 Holy Cross: 30
Bucknell: 12 Lafayette: 23
Total: 38 Total: 81
Bucknell has yielded 124 points over its last three games. It is the first time the Bison have given up that many points in three consecutive contests since last September when Stony Brook (48), Cornell (38) and Richmond (45) combined for 131 points. Bucknell has seen its opponents score 135 points in its last three outings at Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium. Never before had three straight home opponents combined for 135 points.
Bucknell will close its season with a home game against Fordham next Saturday, Nov. 22, at Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium. The Bison are 15-8 all-time against the Rams. Prior to the game, the Bucknell seniors will be recognized on the field as part of Senior Day ceremonies.