Bucknell Football Caps 2012 Season with Home Game vs. Bryant on Saturday

PATRIOTLEAGUEDOTORG Donald Quarles and Ryan Morgan
Donald Quarles and Ryan Morgan

Nov. 12, 2012

What: Bryant Bulldogs (4-6, 4-4 NEC) at Bucknell Bison (2-8, 0-5 PL)
Where: Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium, Lewisburg, Pa.
When: Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012, 1 p.m.
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 (Jr., 6-2, 190) - Holds Bucknell record for career completions (443) & att. (780)
RB 32 Tyler Smith (Sr., 5-9, 195) - Ranks 9th on Bucknell's career rushing list (1,823)
FB 33 Travis Friend (Jr., 6-2, 235) - Preseason All-Patriot League selection; 2-time All-PL choice
WR 25 John Gallagher (Sr., 5-11, 185) - 5 career games played (0 in 2012)
WR 87 Brandon Pinnock (Sr., 6-0, 190) - 15 career games played; expected to make 1st career start
LT 72 Lonnie Rawles (So., 6-4, 285) - Only returning starter on OL
LG 69 Troy Steinhilber (Sr., 6-4, 295) - Made 1st career start in season opener vs. Marist
C 77 Brandon Noblett (So., 6-2, 285) - Made 1st career start in season opener vs. Marist
RG 76 Clayton Hoffmaster (Fr., 6-4, 295) - One of two freshmen (Ramy Kased) to start a game in 2012
RT 66 Josh Haywood (Sr., 6-4, 265) - Expected to make first career appearance
TE 82 Nick Gatto (Sr., 6-2, 230) - Needs 26 rec. yards to equal career high (112)

Probable Starters - Defense
DE 31 James Carson (Sr., 6-2, 235) - Expected to make first career start (16 career games played)
DT 78 Devin Gordon-Hamm (Sr., 6-1, 270) - Started first 8 games of season at DT
NG 47 Amir Afkhami (Sr., 6-2, 270) - Valuable reserve with 12 tackles this season
DE 9 Samuel Oyekoya (Sr., 6-3, 235) - 8.5 sacks is most by a Bison since 2004
Mike LB 58 Patrick Joyce (Sr., 6-1, 210) - 38 career tackles in 31 games, played mainly on sp. teams in 2012
Sam LB 12 Beau Traber (Sr., 5-11, 220) - Preseason All-Patriot League selection
SS 37 Lee Marvel (So., 6-0, 205) - Avg. 7.0 tackles over last 3 games
CB 4 Donald Quarles (Sr., 5-7, 175) - 5 pass breakups vs. Lafayette tied for most in FCS in 2012
FS 26 Matthew Steinbeck (So., 6-0, 205) - 3rd nationally in INTs per game (.60)
Whip DB 36 Jordan Dudas (So., 6-0, 195) - 17 tackles in first 7 games, 19 tackles last 3 games
CB 21 Joseph Francis (Sr., 5-11, 205) - Expected to play in 44th consecutive game

With a Victory over Bryant, Bucknell Would ...
• ... win its season finale for the first time since 2009.
• ... finish the season 3-3 against non-league competition.
• ... win its final home game of the season for the first time since 2009.
• ... defeat a first-time opponent for the first time since beating Robert Morris in 2008 in first-ever meeting between the two squads.
• ... help head coach Joe Susan reach double figures in victories at Bucknell.

About the Game
Bucknell will wrap up both its 2012 schedule and its home campaign Saturday against first-time opponent Bryant. The Bulldogs enter the contest in the midst of a four-game winning streak after starting the season 0-6. The Bison will be looking to end the season with two victories in their final three games after dropping a 10-3 decision at Georgetown last Saturday. Bryant's football program, which was launched by the university in 1999, will be making its first trip to Lewisburg. The Bulldogs played at the Division II level through 2007 before making the jump up to Division I. Bryant then had to go through a four-year transitional phase, but is now a full-fledged NCAA Division I institution. The Bulldogs have finished with a 7-4 record in three of the last four years. They have averaged nearly 32 points per game during their winning streak, although three of their four wins have been by just a field goal. No strangers to close games, the Bison have played six games decided by a touchdown or less in 2012. They will be aiming to win their season finale for the first time since 2009. Prior to the game, Bucknell will honor its 19 seniors during Senior Day ceremonies.

Bucknell vs. Bryant Series Notes
• First meeting.
• Bryant started a varsity football program in 1999.
• Bryant moved up to Division I in 2008 and began a four-year transitional phase.
• Bryant is a full-fledged Division I athletic program for the first time in 2012-13.

Inside the Georgetown Box Score
• Bucknell's defense limited Georgetown to 10 points, marking the fewest points scored by a Bison opponent in a loss since 2000.
• Bucknell and Georgetown attempted a combined five field goals and kickers were not successful on three of them.
• Bucknell registered a season-low 168 yards of total offense, including just 48 in the first half.
• Georgetown had a 15-2 edge in first downs in the first half.
• Bucknell P Ryan Gutowski broke the Bison career record for punts (previously 207) on his second kick of the game. He finished the contest with 213 career punts.
• Bucknell held an opponent scoreless for an entire half for the first time since shutting out Fordham in November 2011.
Evan Byers posted his team-high fourth double-figure tackle game for Bucknell.
• Bucknell was 0-for-13 on third and fourth downs.
• Georgetown snapped a four-game losing streak to the Bison and kept the chance at a .500 record for the season alive.
• Bison RB Tyler Smith completed a 39-yard pass to Josh Brake in the third quarter. It was Smith's fourth career completion.
• Bucknell DB Matthew Steinbeck intercepted his sixth pass of the season and returned it 39 yards. He moved into a tie for seventh place on the Bison single-season interception list.
• Georgetown had to punt on a fourth-and-goal from the Bucknell 43-yard line late in the first half. Two holding calls and a pair of sacks backed the Hoyas up from the original line of scrimmage (10-yard line).

Career Highs Set vs. Georgetown
Demetrius Baldwin-Youngblood: tackles (4)
Patrick Joyce: tackles (6)
Tracey Smith: tackles (7)
Kyle Sullivan: punt returns (3), punt return yards (32)

Evan Byers Facts
• At least six tackles in every game in 2012
• Team-high four double-figure tackle games (at Delaware, vs. Cornell, vs. Fordham, at Georgetown)
• Tied for 48th nationally in tackles per game (9.1)
• At least 0.5 TFL in nine straight games
• Has led team in tackles seven times in 2012
• 91 tackles are most by a Bison since Greg Jones (101) and Travis Nissley (93) in 2009 • 28 more tackles than second place on team (Beau Traber - 63)

Most Tackles in a Season (since 2000)
1. Kevin Ransome (2003) - 116
2. Vince Ficca (2000) - 102
Dorian Petersen (2006) - 102
4. Greg Jones (2009) - 101
5. Virgil Rush (2004) - 97
6. Travis Nissley (2009) - 93
7. Evan Byers (2012) - 91

First-Time Opponent
Saturday's game against Bryant will mark the first time the Bison are playing a first-time opponent since it traveled to Robert Morris in the second week of the 2008 campaign.

Recent First-Time Opponents (since 2000)
Sept. 10, 2005 at Stony Brook (Stony Brook 21, Bucknell 18)
Oct. 1, 2005 vs. Marist (Bucknell 27, Marist 7)
Sept. 13, 2008 at Robert Morris (Bucknell 17, Robert Morris 14)

Bucknell vs. Northeast Conference
Bryant is the first opponent from the Northeast Conference (NEC) for the Bison this year. The last time Bucknell faced an NEC foe was the 2011 season opener against Duquesne. The Bison are 12-5 (10-5 vs. Duquesne, 2-0 vs. Robert Morris) all-time against current NEC members.

Season Finales
• Bucknell has lost both of its season finales under third-year head coach Joe Susan, but the Bison are still an impressive 6-3 in their final game of the season over the last nine years.
• Two of the three losses during that stretch came as part of 1-10 campaigns in 2005 and 2010.
• Twice (2008 & 2009) in the last four years Bucknell defeated a ranked opponent to close the season.
• The last time the Bison played a non-league foe in their season finale was 2004 (at Duquesne).
• Bucknell is 49-66-11 all-time in its final game of a season.
• Bucknell has won three consecutive home season finales (2006, 2008, 2009).
• Bucknell has not played its season finale at home since 2009.

Quick Hitters
• Bucknell has faced three nationally ranked opponents this year (No. 13 Delaware, No. 21 Harvard, No. 7 Lehigh).
• The junior (69) and senior (66) classes have combined for 135 of Bucknell's 141 points.
• 44 of Bucknell's last 51 points have come in the second half.
• Six of Bucknell's 10 games have been decided by a touchdown or less.
• Georgetown's 10 points were the fewest for a Bison opponent in a Bucknell loss since a 2000 contest vs. Holy Cross, which the Crusaders won by a 10-9 score.
• Bucknell's 29 sacks this year are its most since it posted 32 in 2001.
• Bucknell's defense has had at least one interception in seven straight games and 19 of 21 over the last two years.
• Bucknell has scored points in a program-record 74 consecutive games (old record: 72 games from 1996 to 2002).
• Bucknell saw its streak of three consecutive games with a 100-yard rusher come to an end last week at Georgetown.

Senior Day
Saturday's contest against Bryant will mark the final game in the careers of the Bison seniors. Nineteen seniors will be honored on the field prior to the game during Senior Day ceremonies: Amir Afkhami, James Carson, Joseph Francis, John Gallagher, Nick Gatto, Devin Gordon-Hamm, Ryan Gutowski, Josh Haywood, Terna Ityokumbul, Patrick Joyce, Stefen Laukien, Robert Owoyele, Samuel Oyekoya, Brandon Pinnock, Donald Quarles, Tyler Smith, Troy Steinhilber, Beau Traber, Jeremiah Young. Sixteen of the 19 seniors are listed first on the depth chart this week.

Another Interception for Steinbeck
• Sophomore S Matthew Steinbeck registered his team-high sixth interception of the season last week at Georgetown.
• Steinbeck ranks third nationally in interceptions per game this season (0.60).
• Steinbeck is tied for seventh on Bucknell's single-season interceptions list.
• Steinbeck is one of just three Bison in the last 15 years to post an interception in four consecutive games (Nate Musselman - 1997, Bryce Robertson - 2011).
• Steinbeck has 158 interception return yards in 2012, the second-highest single-season total in program history.

Interception Return Yards (Season)
1. Bryce Robertson (2011) - 184
2. Matthew Steinbeck (2012) - 158
3. Kevin Eiben (2000) - 150

NCAA FCS Interception Leaders (2012)
1. Ben Ericksen (Illinois State) - 7
2. Brooklyn Fox (Eastern Kentucky) - 6
Steven Godbolt (Tennessee State) - 6
Matthew Steinbeck (Bucknell) - 6

Interception-Free Stretch for Wesley
Bucknell junior QB Brandon Wesley has not thrown an interception since the Harvard game more than a month ago. He has attempted 119 consecutive passes without throwing a pick.

Three Straight 1,000-Yard Passing Seasons
Jim Given: 1985 (1,105), 1986 (2,167), 1987 (1,518)
Don McDowell: 1997 (1,177), 1998 (1,443), 1999 (1,362)
Brandon Wesley: 2010 (1,699), 2011 (1,446), 2012 (1,581)

Brandon Wesley's 200-Yard Passing Games by Year
2010: 3 (Dartmouth - 201, Cornell - 267, Fordham - 228)
2011: 3 (Cornell - 267, Georgetown - 200, Lehigh - 208)
2012: 3 (Lafayette - 239, Harvard - 227, Colgate - 208)

Two 1,000-Yard Rushers?
Bucknell senior running backs Tyler Smith (1,823) and Jeremiah Young (996) are on the verge of being the first pair of Bison teammates to both be over 1,000 career rushing yards since Daris Wilson and Blamah Sarnor in 2004. Wilson, who ranks sixth on Bucknell's all-time rushing list, finished that campaign with 2,041 yards on the ground, while Sarnor had 1,610.

Oyekoya Strong on the Line
• Senior DE Samuel Oyekoya has had two sacks in a game twice this season (Marist, Fordham) and both have been Bison victories.
• Oyekoya now has 16.5 career sacks, listing him tied for eighth on the program's single-season sack list with Bruce Keltie (1978-80).
• Oyekoya's 8.5 sacks this season are the most by a Bison since future NFL player Sean Conover collected 10.5 in 2004.
• Oyekoya is listed tied for ninth on Bucknell's single-season sacks list.

Offensive Line Change
Bucknell started the same five guys on the offensive line the first nine games of the season. The first change to the unit occurred last week at Georgetown when sophomore Nevin Hagman sat out due to injury and freshman Ramy Kased replaced him. Six different players have now started on the offensive line in 2012: two freshmen, three sophomores and one senior.

100 Tackles Race
Five current Bison defenders have more than 100 career tackles. How will the leaderboard look after Saturday's game vs. Bryant?

Career Tackles - Current Bison
1. Beau Traber - 143
2. Joseph Francis - 128
3. Evan Byers - 125
4. Ryan Morgan - 122
5. Derrick Palmer - 112

Smith Uses Arm Instead of Legs
Senior RB Tyler Smith connected with WR Josh Brake on a 39-yard pass last week at Georgetown. It was Smith's fourth career completion.

Tyler Smith's Career Pass Attempts
Oct. 30, 2010 vs. Lafayette: 33-yard TD completion to Victor Walker
Nov. 6, 2010 vs. Fordham: 31-yard completion to Brandon Wesley
Sept. 24, 2011 at Princeton: incomplete pass
Oct. 8, 2011 vs. Lehigh: incomplete pass
Sept. 29, 2012 vs. Cornell: incomplete pass
Oct. 27, 2012 vs. Colgate: 55-yard completion to Brandon Wesley
Nov. 10, 2012 at Georgetown: 39-yard completion to Josh Brake
Totals: 4-7, 158 yards, 1 TD

Milestone Watch
Evan Byers needs 9 tackles to become first Bison with 100 stops since Greg Jones in 2009.
Brian Regan is 37 kickoff return yards shy of 10th place on program's single-season list.
Victor Walker needs 202 yards to move into top 10 on program's career receiving yards list.
Victor Walker needs 7 receptions to move into top 10 on Bucknell single-season reception list.
Jeremiah Young is 4 rushing yards shy of 1,000 in his career.