Football Hosts Penn on Homecoming Weekend in Search of Second … – Bucknell University Athletics

LEWISBURG, Pa. – Fresh off an early bye week, Bucknell hosts the Penn Quakers at Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium Saturday with a chance to start the season 2-0 at home for the first time since 2014. The Bison are looking to ride the momentum from their 21-13 win over VMI on Sept. 9.

The Quakers opened their season with a win over fellow Patriot League team Colgate last Saturday. Penn has won each of its last five games against Patriot League opponents, with three of those victories coming during a strong 8-2 2022 campaign.

The Bison are celebrating Homecoming and Family Weekend, and a plethora of celebrations, fan activities and promotions are on the agenda for Saturday. A beer garden, sponsored by Yuengling and Bucknell Dining, will be open to Bison Nation students and their parents through the end of the third quarter. Students will also receive a free Bucknell Football t-shirt while supplies last, courtesy of Geisinger.

Saturday’s game will be themed after one of the program’s most successful decades: the 90s. Fans will enjoy music, trivia, entertainment and more from the decade that saw Bucknell win its first Patriot League Championship. Two of Bucknell’s five wins over Penn also occurred in the 90s.

Additionally, a postgame fireworks show, presented by Bucknell Football Alumni and Weis Markets, will begin after the conclusion of the game.

Events & Game Promotions
• Free Yuengling beer garden for Bison Nation students (21+) and their parents
• Student/parent field goal contest ($500 cash prize)
• Bucknell Football t-shirt giveaway, presented by Geisinger (while supplies last)
• 90s themed game
• Postgame Fireworks
• Homecoming/Family Weekend

Media Notes:

When: Saturday, Sept. 23 – 3:30 p.m.
Where: Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium – Lewisburg, Pa.
Tickets: Bucknell Campus Box Office OR call 570-577-1000
Internet Video: ESPN+
Radio: 100.9 The Valley (WVLY)
Internet Radio:
Live Stats:
Follow on Twitter: @Bucknell_FB

With a victory the Bison would…
• move to 2-1 on the season
• move to 2-0 at home
• improve to 6-31 in all-time meetings with Penn
• improve to 3-7 at home against Penn
• defeat the Quakers for the first time since 1999
• move to 2-2 under Cecchini in games after a bye

Bucknell at a Glance
• Bucknell is 1-1 (0-0 PL) following its home-opening 21-13 win over VMI on Sept. 9. The Bison began the season with a 38-3 loss on the road at FBS opponent James Madison on Sept. 2.
• The Bison were picked to finish in a tie for sixth in the Patriot League based on a vote by the league’s head coaches and sports information directors ahead of the 2023 season.
• Bucknell went 3-8 (2-4 PL) during the 2022 campaign, finishing in a tie for fourth. The Bison, who were picked to finish last in that season’s Patriot League preseason poll, earned league wins over Lehigh (19-17) and Georgetown (24-21, OT) before ending the year with a victory over Marist (24-13).
• Bucknell is in its fifth season under head coach Dave Cecchini, who spent the previous five as head coach at Valparaiso. Cecchini was honored as the Patriot League Dick Biddle Coach of the Year during the four-game spring 2021 campaign.
• Bucknell returned a total of 56 letterwinners in 2023, a group that includes 23 seniors, 20 juniors and 13 sophomores. 12 seniors are three-time letterwinners.
• RB Coleman Bennett, LB Blake Leake, QB Nick Semptimphelter and OL Casey Stephenson are serving as 2023 team captains, as voted on by their teammates.
• Bucknell welcomed a host of new faces to the staff this season, including new offensive coordinator John Bear. Wide receivers coach Braelon Roberts, offensive line coach Sean Pearson, defensive backs coach Pat Clark and safeties coach McNeil Parker are all new assistants on the staff as well.

Inside the VMI Box Score
• Bucknell scored late in the first quarter and held onto a 7-0 lead until the fourth. The two teams combined for 27 points in the fourth. Back-to-back touchdowns in the final seven minutes lifted the Bison to a 21-13 win.
• In a strong defensive performance, the Bison limited the Keydets to 1.9 yards per carry, posted six sacks and eight tackles for loss. The six sacks were Bucknell’s most in a single game since the spring 2021 campaign.
• Meanwhile, the offense racked up 397 yards of offense, which were also the most since the spring 2021 season. Ralph Rucker threw for 224 yards and two touchdowns on 19-of-30 passing, becoming the first Bison quarterback to throw for 200 yards since 2019. Rushawn Baker rushed for 105 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries, and Damian Harris hauled in eight receptions for a career-high 101 yards and a touchdown. Charlie Kreinbucher grabbed his first receiving touchdown as well.
• The Bucknell defense forced five 3-and-outs in the game, and VMI punted on six consecutive drives at one point.
Jack Goheen blocked a VMI punt at the 15-yard line in the fourth quarter, setting up a three-play touchdown drive.
• The win was Bucknell’s first over VMI since 2015. It was the second time under Coach Cecchini the Bison have won their home opener.

Penn at a Glance
• The Quakers opened their season with a 20-6 win at Colgate and have now started three consecutive seasons 1-0. Penn scored touchdowns on either side of halftime to pull away, and its defense posted six sacks. The Quakers limited the Raiders to 60 rushing yards. The offense went 3-for-4 in the red-zone and totaled 276 yards of total offense.
• Penn was picked to finish third in the Ivy League Preseason Poll behind Yale and Princeton. The Quakers finished in a tie for second in 2022 with an 8-2 (5-2 IL) record. The Quakers had the No. 2 rushing defense in the nation last season.
• Fifth-year defensive backs Jaden Key and Kendren Smith, along with junior kick returner Julien Stokes, were named to the Phil Steele Preseason All-Ivy First Team. Eight others were named Second Team honorees.
• The Quakers returned just three of their 10 First and Second Team All-Ivy honorees from 2022.
• Penn is under the direction of head coach Ray Priore, who led the Quakers to Ivy League titles in 2015 and 2016. He owns a career record of 43-28 in his eight seasons.

The Bucknell/Penn Series
• Saturday marks the 37th all-time meeting between Penn and Bucknell. The series began back in 1895 when the Bison traveled to Penn for the first game of Bucknell’s 10th season. It was the first game the Bison played with a head coach (Bill Young), and the Quakers claimed a 40-0 victory. It was one of just two losses on the Bison schedule that year.
• Penn claimed the first 14 games in the series before Bucknell finally captured a 28-21 victory in 1966. The Bison also defeated the Quakers the following year in 1967.
• 18 of the first 19 meetings took place in Philadelphia.
• Bucknell’s three most recent wins came in 1987 (32-24 in Lewisburg), 1997 (20-16 in Lewisburg), and 1999 (23-16 in Philadelpia). Bucknell also took Penn to doubles overtime in Lewisburg in 2004.

The Last Meeting with the Quakers
• Most recently, Penn defeated Bucknell 30-6 in Lewisburg on Sept. 18, 2021.
• The two teams sat tied at 6-6 midway through the second quarter before Penn pulled away with 24 unanswered points.
• Bucknell’s six points were scored on a four-yard rush by Danny Meuser, who accounted for 30 yards during the 15-play, 83-yard drive. Meuser ran for 90 yards on 21 carries in the game.
• Penn held a 483-222 advantage in total offense, passing for 273 and rushing for 210. Bucknell committed the only turnover in the game, an interception in the third quarter.
• The loss came during the third week of the Bucknell season and on Family Weekend.

Bison in Homecoming Games
• Bucknell is 45-48-5 all-time in Homecoming games. The Bison fell to Lafayette on Homecoming last season after defeating Cornell during their 2021 Homecoming game.
• Bucknell and Penn met on Homecoming Weekend in 2006, where the Quakers claimed a 34-24 win.

Inside the Bucknell Depth Chart
• Bucknell’s projected starters on offense have made a combined 86 starts.
• Bucknell’s projected starters on defense have made a combined 147 starts.
• On offense, four seniors, four juniors and three sophomores are expected to start.
• On defense, four seniors, six juniors and one sophomore (CB Roman Pearson) are expected to start.
• 17 Bison have made at least 10 career starts. Five have started 20 games or more: OL Ethan Pitzel (23), WR Damian Harris (23), LB Blake Leake (22), DL Connor Carretta (22) and DL Tyler Alston (20).
• Five Bison have starting streaks of 10 or more games in a row: Leake (19), Robinson (18) Harris (14), S John Schlendorf (12), and DL Tyler Alston (11).
• Five Bison, Harris, Leake, Robinson, Schlendorf and Vyas, started all 11 of Bucknell’s games in 2022.
• Only seniors P Ruben Anderson and Alston have played in all 28 of Bucknell’s games over their four years. Leake has missed just one appearance during his career.
• Of the junior class, Schlendorf, Robinson and S Alex Smith Jr. have played in all 24 of the team’s games over three seasons.
• Four Bison, Ohnegian, Jones, Rucker and Weatherly, have made their first career starts this season. In 2022, seven players each made their first career start. Two were juniors, two were sophomores, and three were freshmen. In 2021, a staggering 30 players each made their first career start. The total of 30 represented just over 34 percent of that team’s roster.

Milestone Watch
Tyler Alston needs 9 tackles to reach 100 for his career.
• Coleman Bennett needs 89 kick return yards to reach 1,000 for his career.

Milestones Met Last Week
Rushawn Baker reached 1,000 rushing yards for his career.
John Schlendorf reached 100 tackles for his career.

Bison Award Winners
• WR Damian Harris was named an honorable mention for Patriot League Offensive Player of the Week after the VMI game, and LB Brad Jamison was an honorable mention for Patriot League Defensive Player of the Week.
• The Bison returned one All-Patriot League player, OL Ethan Pitzel (2nd Team in ’22). DL Tyler Alston and K Matt Schearer were both voted to the 2023 Preseason All-Patriot League Team. Coleman Bennett was a 2021 Preseason All-League honoree as a return specialist.
• The Bison graduated three All-Patriot League players following the 2022 season: LB Ben Allen (2nd Team in ’22), S Brent Jackson (2nd Team in ’22), and CB Gavin Pringle (2nd Team in ’22 and ’19, 1st Team in ‘S21).
• In 2022, Bennett was named an Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholar by the publication Diverse: Issues in Higher Education. The award recognizes undergraduate students of color who have excelled in the classroom as well as on the athletic fields.
• Last week, Bennett was named Bucknell’s 2023 nominee for the William V. Campbell Trophy, which is awarded by the National Football Foundation to player with the best combination of academics, community service, and on-field performance. Bucknell and Dayton are the only schools that have had a Campbell Trophy semifinalist each of the past 17 years.
• Six Bison were named to the 2022 CSC Academic All-District Team: Ben Allen, Connor Carretta, Brent Jackson, Ethan Pitzel, Jonathan Searcy and Aneesh Vyas.
• Bucknell returned two of its three Academic All-Patriot League honorees from the 2022 season: Bennett and Pitzel.
• In March, 50 Bucknell football players were named to the Patriot League Academic Honor Roll for achieving a 3.2 GPA or higher. The Bison led all Patriot League teams in the category.

Head Coach Dave Cecchini
Dave Cecchini, one of the all-time great wide receivers in Patriot League history who has since gone on to achieve tremendous success in the coaching ranks, was named the 27th Bob Odell Head Football Coach at Bucknell University on February 6, 2019.
• Cecchini was voted as the 2021 Spring Patriot League Dick Biddle Coach of the Year for guiding the team to a spot in the Patriot League Championship Game. In addition, he was selected as a finalist for the Eddie Robinson Award, presented by STATS to the FCS Coach of the Year, for the second time in his career.
• In his first season at the helm, Cecchini led the Bison to a third-place finish in the Patriot League, their highest placement since they were the 2014 runners-up. Their Patriot League victories came over defending champion Colgate (32-14), rival Lehigh (20-10) and Georgetown (20-17); two of their three league losses came by a touchdown or less.
• In 2017 while at Valparaiso, Cecchini was a finalist for the American Football Coaches Association’s FCS National Coach of the Year and the STATS FCS Coach of the Year awards; he was also voted as the Pioneer Football League Coach of the Year and the AFCA FCS Region 4 Coach of the Year.
• Since arriving at Bucknell, Cecchini’s players have combined to earn 20 All-Patriot League First/Second Team awards as well as one First Team All-American.

Inside the 2023 Schedule
• This is the 138th season of football at Bucknell. The Bison played their first-ever game in 1883 and have played continuously since 1887.
• The Bison opened the 2023 slate against FBS opponent James Madison, which tied for first place in the Sun Belt East Division during its inaugural season in the conference with an 8-3 (6-2 SBC) record.
• After hosting VMI for the home opener on Sept. 9, the Bison remain at Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium to face Penn, which is coming off its winningest season in more than a decade. It marks the 44th time in the last 45 seasons that Bucknell has had an Ivy League program on the schedule.
• Bucknell’s other non-league games include Cornell on Oct. 14 and Marist to close out the regular season on Nov. 18.
• Bucknell opens Patriot League play on the road at Lafayette on Sept. 30. The Bison will play host to reigning league champion Holy Cross, Lehigh and Georgetown.
• Bucknell’s 2023 opponents went a combined 58-64 last season. They are off to a combined 15-13 record this season.

Facility Upgrades
• Thanks to the support of the Pascucci family, Bucknell’s new artificial turf practice field was broken in last preseason camp. Offering additional training and practice space for several men’s and women’s teams, the new field provides even greater training opportunities for a variety of programs beyond the ones that call Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium home.
• The stadium’s new state-of-the-art video board made its debut in 2021, greatly heightening the fan experience at home events.
• Currently under construction is The Pascucci Team Center which, upon completion, will include a new strength and conditioning center, locker rooms, and a team meeting and event space.
• In recognition of Pascucci’s historic commitment to both financial aid and athletics, the area of campus that includes the stadium and the Christy Mathewson Gates was named the Pascucci Family Athletics Complex.
• The picturesque Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium was dedicated in 1924 and was known originally as Memorial Stadium as a tribute to Bucknell’s numerous war veterans. The stadium underwent a major renovation in 1989, and at that time it was rededicated to honor the iconic Christy Mathewson, who was a three-sport star and model student-athlete during his playing days at Bucknell.
• Bucknell is 256-183-10 all-time at Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium.

How to Follow the Bison
• All of Bucknell’s games this season, with the exception of the season finale at Marist, will be broadcast on ESPN+.
• All of the Bison’s games will be broadcast on 100.9 The Valley (WVLY). The broadcast will also be available for internet streaming on
• Bucknell is active on Twitter (@Bucknell_FB) and Instagram (Bucknell_FB). Interact with the team using the hashtags #ACT and #rayBucknell.

Up Next
• Bucknell hits the road for its Patriot League opener at Lafayette on Saturday, Sept. 30. The Bison are 5-5 over the last 10 meetings with the Leopards.

Source link

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top