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Bucknell Freezes Out Leopards

Oct. 29, 2011

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EASTON, Pa. - Amid wintry conditions at Fisher Field, Bucknell forced seven turnovers and beat Lafayette 39-13 on Saturday night in Patriot League football action.

Bucknell tailback Tyler Smith carried 42 times for 212 yards and two touchdowns for the Bison who snapped a nine-game win streak by Lafayette in the series. The last Bucknell victory prior to Saturday was Oct. 13, 2001, by a point in Easton.

The Lafayette offense never really got moving, rushing for 26 yards on 26 carries while throwing for 103 yards. On the other side of snowy Fisher Field, Bucknell racked up 299 yards and six offensive scores to go along with an interception return for a touchdown.

After Bucknell forced a three-and-out on the game's opening possession, the Bison drove into Lafayette territory led by Smith. On first down from the Leopards' 43, Smith carried around the left side, was met by Evan McGovern and fumbled the ball. The loose ball was recovered by Darius Safford at the Lafayette 28.

Lafayette elected to throw the ball on the first two plays, setting up a 3rd-and-1 on the 37-yard line. Quarterback Andrew Shoop took a deep drop and fired a 43-yard pass over the middle to Kyle Hayes.

Two running plays and an incompletion forced Lafayette into a 4th-and-10 from the 20-yard line. Because of the conditions, the Leopards kept the offense on the field and Shoop (7-20-2 for 103) connected with Mark Ross down the right hashmark for a 20-yard touchdown pass. An issue with the hold on the extra point made Shoop, the holder, try to throw the ball toward the endzone, but the pass fell incomplete, giving the Leopards a 6-0 lead with 8:39 left in the first quarter.

Bucknell (5-4, 2-2) tied the game in the second quarter with Drew Orth field goals of 20 and 28 yards that capped lengthy drives (10 plays for 58 yards over 5:21 and 9 plays for 44 yards over 5:26). The second boot came with 10:39 left in the half.

The turnover bug bit Lafayette on the ensuing kickoff. Jet Kollie returned the ball 15 yards before being stripped by Evan Byers who also recovered the ball. Four Smith rushes totaling 22 yards preceded Brandon Wesley's (4-8-0 for 48) five-yard pass to Josh Eden for the score. Bucknell led 13-6 at halftime.

Three straight punts started the second half before another turnover pushed Bucknell ahead 19-6. Sean Rafferty picked off a Shoop pass and returned it 12 yards for a touchdown. With two and a half minutes left in the third quarter, Lee Marvel knocked the ball away from Shoop and the Bison took over near midfield.

The Leopard defense forced a punt, but Darius Safford muffed the catch and the Bison were in business at the Lafayette five. Smith pounded it in from two yards out. The two-point conversion failed and Bucknell led 25-6 one minute into the fourth quarter.

Lafayette showed signs of life on the next drive, using seven plays to cover 73 yards in three and a half minutes. Ryan O'Neil (5-8-1 for 63 yards) connected with Ross for a seven-yard score and Lafayette was within eight.

The next two plays were a microcosm of the game. O'Neil was picked off at the Leopards' 33. The following play Smith took the hand off and blew through the Lafayette defense in for a 33-yard TD. The Bison added one more touchdown in a drive that resulted from a fumble with Wesley running in from two yards away to put the final at 39-13.

Defensively, Tyler McFarlane made 11 tackles followed by Ben Eaton with 10 and Leroy Butler nine for the Leopards. Bucknell had seven players with five or more tackles led by Robert De La Rosa and Beau Traber with six apiece.

Lafayette (3-5, 0-2) will host Colgate on Senior Day on Nov. 5 at 6 p.m.


The College Hill campus received four-plus inches of snow on Saturday and the field was cleared prior to and throughout the game using tractors and by hand with shovels. It is though that the last time Lafayette played a home football game with snow was 1958. Lafayette last played in snow in 2002 at Colgate.

The Leopards, who were coming off a Fordham win in which they had 260 rushing yards, had a season-low 26 rushing yards vs. Bucknell. The Bison have forced a combined 13 turnovers the last two weeks.