Bucknell Claims Defensive Battle Over Mountain Hawks, 6-0
04/10/2021 | 12:30 PM
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BETHLEHEM, Pennsylvania – Lehigh made another strong defensive attempt but the Mountain Hawks’ offense was stalled for the second game in a row. Two long Bucknell scoring drives resulted in field goals when the bison Lehigh missed a 6-0 setback at Goodman Stadium on Saturday. The Mountain Hawks allowed only 239 yards from offense, keeping Bucknell out of the end zone despite being on the field defensively for almost 37 minutes.
The defeat drops the Mountain Hawks to 0-2 in the spring season, while Bucknell (2-0) takes the Patriot League South Division title with his second league win in as many weeks.
“It’s always tough without the result you want, but I was really proud of the way our kids played in extremely difficult conditions today,” said Lehigh’s head coach Tom Gilmore. “They came out and played very hard, with a lot of effort. We made some mistakes that cost us, but it wasn’t due to poor performance. We didn’t get the result in the end, but I’m really proud of how our boys persevered. They fought to the end and improved across the board. “
On a day when Lehigh recognized his senior class, senior linebacker Pete Haffner led the defensive with 11 tackles. Freshman Corey Melzer added eight on his Lehigh debut. Freshman cornerback LaTreil Wimberly faced Bucknell wide receiver Brandon Sanders and limited the reigning Patriot League offensive player of the week to three receptions for 24 yards. Wimberly finished with four tackles and two pass breakups.
Lehigh received the opening kick and moved the ball well on his opening kick. The first game of the game saw runner-up quarterback Cross Wilkinson with junior Austin Dambach for 26 yards. The Mountain Hawks moved 67 yards over 12 games to the Bucknell 10-yard line but went away with no points after runner-up Dylan Van Dusen missed a field goal far to the right.
“We moved the ball well at times,” said Gilmore. We didn’t convert on the third down, which was a real killer. The story of the game was that we only had six O-Linemen available today and only two newbies. It really put us in a difficult position which is why I’m so proud of what the guys have done. We came out and we moved the ball, we just couldn’t stop things. “
Bucknell chewed 8:42 after the second quarter o’clock as part of the game’s first scoring drive. The bison marched 68 yards in 16 games. Lehigh’s defense stiffened in the red zone, but a 26-yard field goal from Ethan Torres gave Bucknell a 3-0 lead at halftime.
The bison extended his lead on the opening drive of the second half, with a 15-play, 75-yard drive extended by a 15-yard foul for jumping that negated a Bucknell punt. Torres joined on a 24 yard field goal to extend the bison lead to 6-0.
Lehigh’s defense continued to play its part by completing two Bucknell quarter-down attempts in the fourth quarter and keeping the bison off the board after Mountain Hawk made lengthy Bucknell drives wrong.
Gallery: (4-3-2021) Football vs. Bucknell, 04/03/21
The Mountain Hawks drove into bison territory on their first drive of the fourth quarter, but a sack on the third down resulted in a punt. A fourth downstop from TyGee Leach in the sophomore year brought Lehigh the ball back 1:22 and there were no time outs, but Dambach fell a yard behind a first down to a fourth and long game.
Wilkinson finished 17 of 28 for 167 yards and was fired five times. Dambach was his top target with four catches for 65 yards in his first action of the season. Tight end Alex Snyder caught three passes for 36 yards. Lehigh ran for 23 yards. Junior Rashawn Allen won 32 on 10 carries while Zaythan Hill ran 11 yards three times in his sophomore year.
A week after Bucknell quarterbacks Logan Bitikofer and Tarrin Earle both had big games against Lafayette, Lehigh limited the duo to a combined 22 of 34 for 147 yards. Dominic Lyles led the bison with 14 catches for 103 yards.
Gerrit Van Itallie led the Bucknell defense with seven tackles and one sack.
“Our inexperience sometimes catches up with us, especially on special teams, but it wasn’t a lack of commitment there,” said Gilmore. “Weird things happened to the wind today and some other things, but I really see a lot of positives from that with our team.”
The Mountain Hawks travel to Lafayette next Saturday for the 156th meeting of the most played rivalry in college football. Game time is set for 12:30 p.m. at Fisher Stadium in Easton, Pennsylvania. The game will be televised on Service Electric Network and ESPN + and audio coverage will be available on Fox Sports Radio 1230/1320 AM and 94.7 FM Allentown and LVFoxSports.com.
ADDITIONAL POINTS … Lehigh recognized his 11 seniors before their final game at Goodman Stadium: Divine Buckrham, Evan Chadbourn, Jack Dean, Chris Fournier, Pete Haffner, Nate Norris, Jorge Portorreal, Addison Shoup, Erik Slater, Matt Solomon and Zac Troxell … The both teams combined to go 2 for 24 on the third down … Bucknell only turned 1 in 14 while Lehigh 1 out of 10 … Bucknell had the only snack of the game with a muffed punt … newcomer Trevor Harris had Lehigh’s lone sack … Lehigh played that last time in a no touchdown game on October 9, 1976 when Lehigh lost 3-0 to Bucknell … Time of possession Bucknell favored 36: 43-23: 17 … newcomer Jackson Wiles (guard) and Donovan Thomas (Safety) made their first career starts.
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