Leopards Begin Patriot League Stretch Run
Oct. 18, 2016
| Lafayette at Bucknell
|Gameday Info||GoLeopards.com Gameday|
|Date||Saturday, Oct. 22, 2016 at 1:00 p.m.|
|Location||Lewisburg, Pa. | Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium|
|Tickets||Lafayette Athletics Ticket Office|
|Game Notes||Lafayette | Bucknell|
|TV|| Lafayette Sports Network (MASN 2, RCN 4/8, 1004/608 HD, WBPH-60)
Play by Play: Gary Laubach
Analyst: Mike Joseph
Sideline: John Leone
|Satellite Radio|| HSRN: Sirius 204, XM 146
Play by Play: Gary Laing
Analyst: Mike Walker
Gary Laubach, Mike Joseph, John Leone
|Live Stats||Bucknell Live Stats|
|Social Media||Twitter & Facebook|
The Match-up: Lafayette travels to Bucknell for a 1 p.m. kick off on Saturday. The Leopards are looking to register their first Patriot League victory, taking on a Bison squad in a game that can be seen nationally on MASN2.
Mrazek Moves Up: With nine catches at Army, junior WR Matt Mrazek continued his ascent up Lafayette's top 10 for career reception list. Mrazek has 121 career grabs, and with nine at Army he surpassed Jeremy Burkes '04 (120) for the ninth spot. He needs seven more to take over eighth place (Ross Scheuerman '15, 128). Mrazek has 18 catches over his last two games. In terms of career receiving yards, Mrazek needs 240 to crack the top 10.
Mrazek made 11 catches for 109 yards and three touchdowns (all career highs) vs. Holy Cross, the first time since 2014 that a Lafayette player had 11 or more catches (Ross Scheuerman, 11/8/2014 at Colgate). It was the second three-touchdown performance of the season for Mrazek, who achieved the feat in the season opener at Central Connecticut State. His eight touchdown catches on the season rank him fourth in the nation. He leads the team with 51 receptions for 539 yards.
Mrazek was the team's wide receiver MVP in 2015, despite missing the final three and a half games after fracturing his clavicle. In the abbreviated season, he led the team in receiving yards (495) and was second with 44 catches.
Hey, Bro...: Offensive assistant coach Luke Chiarolanzio knows the opposing quarterback slightly better than most opposing QB's. Bucknell freshman John Chiarolanzio, Luke's younger brother, is listed as Bucknell's potential starting QB. In the second half vs. Colgate, he came on in relief of Matt Muh, who had started four straight games. Big brother Luke was a two-time All-Patriot League selection who started 40 straight games at Lafayette from 2011-14.
Limiting Penalties: Lafayette ranks first in the nation for fewest penalties per game (3.86), third for fewest penalties (27), fourth for fewest penalty yards per game (37.0), and 10th for fewest penalty yards (259).
It's a trend that started in 2015, as Lafayette ranked 11th in the nation in penalty yards (455) and total penalties (54), 12th in penalty yards per game (41.4) and 14th in the NCAA in penalties per game (4.91).
Under Center: Senior Drew Reed's head injury forced him to miss all but one series vs. Holy Cross and the entire Fordham game. He returned to start the game at Army, completing 21-of-36 for 205 yards with two interceptions.
In Reed's absence, classmate Blake Searfoss completed 33-of-45 passes for 280 yards and four touchdowns vs. Holy Cross, setting career highs for completions, passing yards and touchdowns. He had a 300-yard passing game at Fordham in the fifth start of his career, completing 25-of-41 for 325 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions.
Last Time Out: Army rushed for 537 yards in a 62-7 final in West Point. It was the Leopards first game against an FBS opponent since 1997. Fifteen different players carried the ball for Army's triple-option attack.
Young Bucks: Lafayette has seen 10 freshmen or sophomores start a game in 2016. Overall, 34 players make up the senior (13) and junior (21) classes while sophomores (23) and freshmen (28) account for 51 of the team's 85 players.
Reed In the Record Books: Drew Reed is climbing Lafayette's career passing charts. His 557 career completions rank him third all-time and his 6,134 passing yards place him fifth (needing 244 yards to move into fourth place). He is the school record holder for single-season completion percentage (72.5% in 2013) and is second in career completion percentage (65.6%).
The Tennessee native was the Patriot League Rookie of the Year runner up and a finalist for the Jerry Rice Award (top FCS freshman) in his freshman season of 2013 when he threw for 1,887 yards, 17 touchdowns and five interceptions in eight games. In his first career start, he completed 21-of-22 at Holy Cross for 283 yards and five touchdowns, setting a school single-game record for accuracy while completing his final 20 passes (a Patriot League record). He was the first ever player to win the Patriot League Offensive Player of the Week and Rookie of the Week honors in the same week (doing it twice).
Ouch: In the span of one quarter against Holy Cross, Lafayette lost two of its marquee players when senior QB Drew Reed was knocked from the game with a concussion and junior LB Brandon Bryant left with a knee injury. Reed missed the entire Fordham game. Bryant, an All-Patriot League selection in 2015, is out for the season with knee ligament injuries that require surgery. He was 23rd in the nation in total tackles (114) last season, leading the Patriot League while finishing sixth in the nation in solo tackles per game (6.5).
Senior DL Matt Rothrock is missing the 2016 after suffering a preseason foot injury. He plans to apply for a medical redshirt to return for the 2017 season. Freshman Tre Jordan played in four games, starting two at free safety before sustaining a shoulder injury vs. Villanova that requires surgery.
Bucknell comes into the weekend with a 2-4 overall record and a 1-1 clip in Patriot League competition. The Bison opened the season with a 26-10 win over Marist before dropping the next three to Duquesne (30-19), Cornell (24-16) and VMI (23-17 in 3 OT). Bucknell opened Patriot League play with a 21-20 win over Holy Cross on Oct. 9 before losing a 27-7 decision vs. Colgate.
The Bison were 4-7 overall in 2015 and ended with a 1-5 mark in sixth place in the Patriot League standings. Wins came over Marist, Cornell, VMI and Lafayette.
Bucknell returned nine starters on offense and 11 on defense while welcoming back 21 letterwinners.
Lafayette leads the all-time series 52-35-6, but the Bison hold a two-game win streak. Bucknell is Lafayette's second most-played rival as Saturday's match-up represents the 94th meeting. The first get-together was Nov. 30, 1883, a 59-0 Leopard victory in Lewisburg. The most recent outing was a 35-24 Bucknell win in Easton.
Junior Joey DeFloria leads the team's rushing attack, garnering 623 yards on 128 carries for six touchdowns. Freshman Chad Freshnock, who was the conference rookie of the week in week one, has 65 carries for 277 yards and a pair of scores.
The quarterback situation is up in the air for the Bison. Junior Matt Muh has started the last four games, but was replaced by freshman John Chiarolanzio in the second half of the Colgate game. Muh is completing 57 percent (76-of-134) of his passes for 847 yards and four TD's. Chiarolanzio was 11-for-19 for 139 yards and a touchdown. Senior R.J. Nitti also figures in the mix, playing in two games while completing 19-of-41 for a TD and an INT.
Defensively, junior MIKE LB Ben Richard leads the team with 54 tackles, including 9.5 tackles for loss. Richard was a 2016 Preseason All-Patriot League selection after a second-team honor in 2015. Senior FS Bret Berg has 50 tackles on the season for a defense that is surrendering 360 yards per game.
Bucknell is coached by Joe Susan (Delaware '78) who is in his seventh season at the helm in Lewisburg. He holds a 30-42 record at the school and a 40-42 overall record.