Posted: November 10, 2007
LEWISBURG, Pa. – Lehigh bounced back in a big way from last weekend’s tough loss with a 38-10 defeat of Bucknell at Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The Mountain Hawks used a stifling defense that held Bucknell to a miniscule eight total yards in the second half and a strong rushing attack to win their tenth straight game versus the Bison and even their record at 5-5 on the season. Lehigh racked up 238 yards on the ground, led by freshman Jaren Walker’s 94 yards, while senior Sedale Threatt added 78 and three scores. Bucknell falls to 2-8 overall with the loss and 0-5 in Patriot League action.
Bucknell received the opening kick off and after gaining a first down in Lehigh territory, fumbled the ball on the very next play and junior linebacker Tim Diamond scooped it up and raced 58 yards for a touchdown putting the Mountain Hawks ahead 7-0 with 13:09 left on the first quarter clock.
“I liked the way the game started, I thought we came out with the intensity we needed to,” head coach Andy Coen said afterwards. “That touchdown from Timmy was exactly what we needed. It gave the whole team a real shot in the arm.”
The Mountain Hawk defense again came up big as they stuffed the Bison on a fourth-and-one giving Lehigh the ball at its 27-yard line. From there the Mountain Hawks executed a crisp 14-play drive that ended when Threatt scored from one-yard out to give the Brown and White a 14-point lead with 2:42 left in the quarter. That score made it three consecutive weeks that Threatt rushed for a touchdown since moving to his hybrid quarterback/wide receiver position. The two teams then exchanged fumbles on consecutive plays and as the clock expired Bucknell had the ball in Lehigh territory.
The Bison cashed in on the Lehigh turnover as Terrance Wilson scored on a four-yard rush to cut the Mountain Hawks lead in half with 12:24 left in the opening half. Bucknell made it a four-point game when Will Carney booted a 37-yard field goal with 2:31 left, giving the ball back to Lehigh with a chance to add to its lead just before intermission. The Mountain Hawks had their sights set on the end zone as they were executing their two-minute drill, but Chris Bokosky threw a late interception ending the Lehigh drive and sending the teams into halftime with the score 14-10 in favor of Lehigh.
Lehigh gained 123 yards in the opening half, including 36 on the ground by Walker which came on nine carries. Threatt added 20 yards rushing and also caught one pass for seven yards. Mike Fitzgerald was the team’s leading receiver with two catches for 20 yards, while Bokosky completed six-of-ten passes for 74 yards. Junior Brian Jackson and sophomore B.J. Benning both had five tackles in the opening 30 minutes.
The Bison gained 174 total yards led by Wilson’s 36 rushing yards and his 39 passing yards. Ryan Smith added 28 yards rushing, while Shaun Pasternak caught one pass for 31 yards. Ryan Slater led the Bison with six tackles. Bucknell controlled time of possession in the first half with a 19:05 to 10:55 advantage, while Lehigh was called for the lone penalty.
“I said to the kids at halftime when are we going to end the mistakes?” Cone questioned afterwards. “We were pretty straight-forward with them at halftime. I thought they did an excellent job of responding. That’s the type of effort and execution we have been looking for in that second half.”
After receiving the opening kickoff of the second half, Lehigh marched down the field and put together another solid drive that featured a steady diet of running in a variety of ways. The Mountain Hawks handed the ball off to Walker, they used Threatt as an option quarterback who pitched it to wide receivers and Threatt also ran the ball himself. Lehigh got within the Bucknell five and after being stopped on two straight plays faced a fourth-and-goal from the one-yard line. Rather than attempt a field goal the Mountain Hawks lined up and Threatt barreled his way into the end zone for his second score of the game to put the visitor in front 21-10.
Lehigh got the ball back on Bucknell’s first punt of the afternoon and again executed a solid drive that mixed and matched the pass and the run. After Threatt gave a great second effort on a crucial fourth down play, the Mountain Hawks were whistled for holding, pushing them back ten yards. It did not matter however as Bokosky hit Fitzgerald on the very next play and the junior tip-toed his way down the sideline and dove into the end zone for his second score of the season. That made it a 28-10 game with 57 ticks left in the third quarter.
With 9:51 left in the game Lehigh all but sealed the win as Threatt completed the scoring hat trick with a brilliant play-action option roll out that resulted in a 29-yard touchdown and featured a series of jukes and stiff arms. That put the Mountain Hawks in front by 25 points.
Lehigh wound up with 382 yards of total offense, including the 238 on the ground. Bokosky threw for 136 yards on a 13-of-20 showing, with his favorite target being Fitzgerald who caught three passes for 37 yards. Junior Nick Johnson hauled in three passes as well in his return from injury, while Walker and Threatt both caught two passes. Bucknell finished the day with 182 yards, but only eight in the second half. Ryan Smith led the Bison with 32 yards rushing, while Bumpers picked up 23 yards on three carries.
Lehigh returns to action next weekend when the Mountain Hawks play host to archrival Lafayette in the 143rd meeting of college football’s most played rivalry. Kick off is set for just after 12:30 from Goodman Stadium. The game is officially sold out, but will be shown live on WFMZ-TV, Fox Sports Net Pittsburgh and Fox College Sports Atlantic as well as Lehighsports.com with Steve Degler, Marty Horn ’86 and Troy Hein on the call. The game will also be broadcast live on ESPN Radio 1230 and 1320 AM as well as Lehighsports.com with Matt Kerr, Kody Fedorcha ’00 and ESPN Radio’s Matt Markus providing the commentary.
EXTRA POINTS … Saturday’s game was one of only two Lehigh contests this season that was not televised … Bucknell honored its senior class prior to the game, which consisted of 15 players and three former players who now assist the program as student assistants … Jaren Walker enters the final week of the season as Lehigh’s leading rusher. If that stands following the Lafayette game, he will become the first true freshman to lead the Mountain Hawks in rushing since 1985 when Lee Blum led the Brown and White with 714 yards … Fitzgerald’s touchdown catch was the first for a Lehigh receiver since Fitzgerald caught a 15-yarder in the opening half versus Holy Cross … Threatt’s three rushing touchdowns were a career-high … with a win next weekend Lehigh will sew up its tenth consecutive winning season, which would tie the Patriot League record set by Colgate.