Courtesy of Bucknell Athletics
LEWISBURG, Pa. – Penn scored four touchdowns in a 21-minute span from the end of the second quarter to the beginning of the fourth as it came back from a 7-3 first-half deficit to defeat Bucknell 31-10 in football action Saturday afternoon at Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium. The Bison defense forced three turnovers, giving it seven over the last two weeks.
Bucknell’s Brandon Wesley completed 14 of 21 passes for 118 yards, while Tyler Smith posted a team-high 37 yards on the ground. Overall, the Bison offense totaled 165 yards, 84 of which came in the fourth quarter.
Penn registered 437 yards of total offense and recorded 23 first downs. Brandon Colavita ran for a team-high 61 yards and a pair of touchdowns, while Ryan Becker completed 14 of 22 passes for 194 yards, including a 52-yarder to Ryan Mitchell that set up the Quakers’ final score. Penn’s balanced offense produced 211 yards on the ground and 226 in the air.
Penn’s Andrew Samson connected on a 34-yard field goal on its first drive, giving the Quakers an early 3-0 lead. The Bucknell defense then forced Penn to punt on its next two drives. Samson then lined up for another 34-yard field goal on the Quakers’ first possession of the second quarter, but it was blocked by Josh Eden, who blocked a pair of extra points earlier in this three-game homestand against Dartmouth.
Bucknell, which turned the ball over on downs and punted three times on its first four possessions finally got on the board with 2:34 left in the first half. Sean Rafferty intercepted a pass at the Penn 25-yard line and ran for the right corner of the end zone, but his dive came up a yard short. With four defensive linemen – Tyler Anderson, Kyle Boline, Robert De La Rosa and Eden – blocking for him, freshman Travis Friend tumbled into the end zone for his second touchdown of the season, giving the Bison a 7-3 advantage.
That lead was short-lived as 47 seconds later Penn scored a touchdown on a 12-yard pass from Ryan Becker to Conner Scott. The Quakers were working with a short field as Brad Blackmon returned Alex Eckard’s kickoff 39 yards to the Bucknell 36-yard line. Becker needed just three completions to put Penn back on top.
Penn (3-1) then broke the game open with three more touchdowns in the second half. Both of Colavita’s scores and a 12-yard run by Jeff Jack made the score 31-7 early in the fourth quarter.
Bucknell (0-5) was able to get on the board one more time as Eckard split the uprights on a 29-yard field goal, the first of his career. It capped a nine-play, 68-yard drive that featured a 48-yard pass from Wesley to fellow freshman Victor Walker.
Joseph Francis was solid on special teams for Bucknell, posting a team-high nine tackles, many coming on punt coverage. Donald Quarles recorded his first career interception and Eden recovered a fumble for the second straight contest, rounding out the list of forced turnovers for the Bison, who have not turned the ball over themselves more than once in a game all season.
Penn’s defense posted six sacks of Wesley and nine tackles for loss.
Bucknell, which wrapped up a three-game homestand against Ivy League foes with Saturday’s contest, will return to the road next Saturday, Oct. 16, at Georgetown. That contest will also signal the start of Patriot League play for the Bison.