Oct. 2, 2013
THE OPENING KICK
MATCH-UP: The Leopards look to start off Patriot League play on a positive note, hosting Bucknell on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. The Homecoming weekend matchup is the conference opener for both squads who have split the last two meetings despite Lafayette winning 10 out of the last 11 matchups.
Lafayette is coming off a much-needed bye week after a six-point loss to Penn on Sept. 21. In that game, Lafayette rallied with 14 points in the fourth quarter before a last-second, potential game-winning drive stalled near midfield.
Bucknell is 1-2 with losses to Cornell and Sacred Heart, a common opponent with Lafayette, and a win over Marist to open the season.
PATRIOT LEAGUE OPENERS: Lafayette is 16-11 in Patriot League openers, with Patriot League play first beginning in 1988 as the Colonial League and 14-9 since 1990 when the league took its current name. The Leopards have won seven of their last nine Patriot League openers (Georgetown in 2004, 2007, 2008, 2009, Fordham in 2005 and Bucknell in 2006 and 2012) with the losses coming to Georgetown in 2010 (28-24) and 2011 (14-13).
ROSS AMONG BEST: Senior wide receiver Mark Ross is in the midst of his final season, looking to continue his ascent up Lafayette's career receiving charts. He ranks first in career receiving touchdowns (21) and recently moved into fifth place for career receiving yards (2,027) and career receptions (146). Ross is currently tied with Mark Layton '11 for career receptions, needing four more catches to reach Shaun Adair '09 (148 catches) and six to pull even with Phil Ng '88 (152).
Ross had six catches for 70 yards and a touchdown at Penn, following a five-catch, 68-yard game against William & Mary. That performance snapped a streak of four games with 100 or more receiving yards. In the season opener vs. Sacred Heart, Ross reeled in 11 balls for 156 yards and a TD.
Ross needs 17 grabs and 380 yards to surpass John Weyrauch '04 (162 catches for 2,406 yards) atop both lists.
DZURIK GETS SOME REPS: Sophomore QB Andrew Dzurik got the first quality game reps of his career at Penn on Sept. 21. Dzurik was thrust into the fray when junior QB Zach Zweizig was knocked from the game at the end of first half.
Dzurik completed 12-of-22 passes for 157 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions. Against William & Mary, Dzurik threw three passes, the first of his collegiate career in a mop-up role.
PACK THE BAGS: The Leopards will take to the road for four straight games after this weekend's home contest vs. Bucknell, venturing to Princeton, Harvard, Holy Cross and Georgetown. The last four-game road swing came in the the 2011 season when Lafayette opened with games at North Dakota State, Georgetown, Penn and Stony Brook.
ON THIS DATE: Lafayette is 13-5 in games played on October 5.
TURNOVER TALES: Turnovers told the story for Lafayette in 2012. The Leopards were +4 on the season -- +15 in five wins and -11 in six losses. Lafayette has been -2 in each of its three games and its -6 for the season.
Bucknell enters week five of the season with a record of 1-2 with its lone victory coming against Marist, 27-14, in the first game of the season. The Bison are coming off a 16-0 loss to a 5-0 Sacred Heart team which topped the Leopards 26-24 in the season opener.
Bucknell returns 16 starters, nine on offense and seven on defense.
The Bison have shut down the run in three games, allowing just 70 yards per outing, but have allowed 220 passing yards per game.
Senior QB Brandon Wesley is in his fourth year as the starter and is among the all-time best at Bucknell in passing completions (1st), passing attempts (1st), passing yards (2nd) and total offense (2nd). In 2013, he is 19-of-32 for 294 yards to go along with two TD's and one INT. Wesley sat out the Sacred Heart game due to injury.
Freshman CJ Williams has emerged as the Bison's top ground threat, amassing 256 yards on 65 carries with a touchdown.
Junior LB Evan Byers earned All-Patriot League First-Team honors last season after leading the Bison with 100 tackles. He has 27 tackles in three games in 2013.
Senior Kyle Sullivan is the jack-of-all-trades for Bucknell. The veteran receiver also serves as the team's punter, punt returner and holder. He was the Patriot League Special Teams Player of the Week (9/23) after recording a career-best 60 all-purpose yards, a career-long 49-yard punt and returning a punt for a TD vs. Cornell.
Head coach Joe Susan (Delaware '78) is in his fourth season at Bucknell, holding an 11-25 record.