Posted: October 24, 2009
LEWISBURG, Pa. – Junior JB Clark threw for 327 yards, including 124 to sophomore Jake Drwal as Lehigh remained unbeaten in Patriot League play with a 35-16 victory over Bucknell on Saturday afternoon at Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium. Clark completed 24-of-37 passes and threw one touchdown while Drwal caught nine of those passes as the Mountain Hawks offense totaled a season-best 461 yards. With the win Lehigh improves to 2-0 in league play (2-5 overall) while Bucknell falls to 3-4 overall and 1-1 in the Patriot League. The Mountain Hawks have now beaten the Bison 12 straight times, including six consecutive times in Lewisburg.
“This feels much better than last week that’s for sure,” Lehigh head coach Andy Coen said afterwards. “I thought we had a great plan coming in and certainly with the way JB (Clark) played that made the offense go right from the start.” He continued, “Our receivers made plays, we ran the ball with some success and our defense continues to play well. We’ll enjoy this one tonight.”
Following a 41 yard return by junior Craig Zurn on the opening kick-off Lehigh started its initial drive from the Bucknell 41-yard line and proceeded to march down the field and score on freshman Mike Colvin’s first career touchdown. The big play on the drive came when Clark hit freshman James Flynn for a 27-yard gain on a fourth down play. The ensuing extra point was missed however, and Lehigh was in front 6-0 with 11:49 remaining in the first quarter. The teams traded possessions throughout the rest of the quarter but were unable to score and after 15 minutes the Mountain Hawks retained their 6-0 lead.
Lehigh scored for the second time on the afternoon with 6:25 left before halftime when Clark powered his way into the end zone from one-yard out. The Mountain Hawks were stuffed on third-and-goal but lined up quickly, snapped the ball to Clark and he found the end zone. The ensuing extra point was blocked but freshman tight end Jamel Haggins snatched the ball out of mid-air and scored for two points making it 14-0.
“That was huge in terms of momentum,” Coen explained. “A very heads-up play by Jamel to not only grab the ball but to get it in the end zone. That really kept the momentum on our side and gave us a lift.”
Bucknell responded with an 81-yard drive which took seven plays and ended on Marcello Trigg’s 17-yard scamper. That made it a 14-7 game with only 2:02 to go but that was plenty of time for Lehigh as the Brown and White went to work from its own 40-yard line. After missing on his first two pass attempts of the drive, Clark hit Craig Zurn for a 14-yard gain and a first down and then he connected with Jim Potocnie for a 15-yard gain to the Bucknell 31. An 11-yard pass to Drwal put Lehigh inside the red zone and following a six yard run by Jaren Walker that set the Mountain Hawks up with a first-and-goal from the five, Clark found Alex Wojdowski for another Lehigh touchdown and a 21-7 halftime advantage.
Powered by Clark’s 209 yards passing Lehigh out gained the Bison 263 to 153 in the opening half and ran 20 more plays than its counterpart. Drwal finished the half with five receptions for 76 yards while Flynn caught three passes for 68 yards. Freshman Zach Barket carried the ball eight times for 33 yards and as a team the Mountain Hawks totaled 54 yards on 21 rushes. Troy Taylor led the Lehigh “D” with six tackles while sophomore Andrew Knapp added four.
Trigg completed seven-of-ten passes for 98 yards and also rushed for 18 more, while Marlon Woods and Shaun Pasternak each caught two passes. Greg Jones led the Bucknell defense with seven stops, while Casey Williams totaled five.
Bucknell scored the first points of the second half when Drew Orth drilled a 26-yard field goal with 6:05 left on the third quarter clock. The Bison drove to the Mountain Hawks’ nine-yard line but Lehigh captains Matt Cohen and BJ Benning sacked Trigg on second down for a nine-yard loss forcing Bucknell to settle for the three points. Lehigh responded with a ten-play drive that covered 54-yards and ended with a one-yard scoring rush from freshman Zach Barket. That score made it a 28-10 game with 2:18 remaining in the third.
Walker added to the Lehigh lead with a two-yard rush at the 12:50 mark of the fourth that pushed the Mountain Hawks’ advantage to 35-10. A 43-yard pass from Trigg to Pasternak with 10:49 remaining in the contest cut Lehigh’s lead to 35-16 but the Mountain Hawks kept the ball on the ground from that point forward and the defense held Bucknell in check.
Clark completed passes to eight different players with Drwal hauling in nine and Flynn, De’Vaughn Gordon and Wojdowski each catching three. Barket finished with a career-best 77 yards and the one score on the ground, while Walker added 45 yards rushing and his one score. On defense for Lehigh senior linebacker Taylor made seven stops and junior safety John Veniero totaled five. As a unit the Mountain Hawks defense totaled three sacks and four tackles-for-loss.
“I felt very comfortable out there today,” Clark commented. “The receivers did a great job of getting open and making plays and the entire offense was really in sync.” He added, “It’s been a rough-go up to this point of the season but hopefully we can take what worked well for us today and continue to build on it as we move forward.”
Trigg threw for 216 yards and one score for the Bison with six of those passes going to Pasternak who finished with 127 yards receiving. Trigg also led Bucknell with 22 yards on the ground. Greg Jones led the Bison “D” with ten stops with Bryce Robertson finishing with nine.
The Mountain Hawks return to action next Saturday when they travel to Hamilton, New York for a showdown with the nationally ranked Colgate Raiders at Andy Kerr Stadium. Kick-off is set for 1:00 and all of the action will be shown live on WFMZ-TV as well as Fox College Sports Atlantic and Lehighsports.com with Steve Degler and Mike Yadush ’93 on the call. Matt Kerr, Kody Fedorcha ’00 and Matt Markus will call the game on radio, which airs live on ESPN Radio 1230 and 1320 AM with the pre-game show getting underway at noon.
Mountain Hawks Football Post-Game Extra
EXTRA POINTS … with their three sacks on Saturday, the Mountain Hawks have now registered at least one in every game this season … freshman Mike Colvin left the game in the second quarter with a leg injury … Saturday was Bucknell’s Homecoming … freshman Jake Peery kicked his first career extra point on Lehigh’s third touchdown just before halftime … Drwal’s career-best 124 yards receiving were the most since Sekou Yansane totaled 132 last season at Harvard … Saturday marked the second time in his Lehigh career that junior JB Clark threw for 300+ yards in a game. The first occurred last season versus Colgate … Lehigh is now 2-0 in the Patriot League for the second time under Andy Coen and the first time since 2006.