Football punches their ticket to the Patriot League Championship

Leah Fogelsanger, Sports Co-Editor

The Bison travelled to Goodman Stadium to take on the Lehigh University Mountain Hawks this past Saturday, April 3. The Bison were originally scheduled to play the Holy Cross Crusaders, but due to a last minute cancellation, they had to come up with a new game plan three days prior to competition. Not only was there limited time, but with Lehigh being the only other team in the southern division the Bison had a must-win game in front of them.

The Orange and Blue won the coin toss; they elected to defer the ball to the second half. From the first kickoff, it was a defensive battle. Lehigh started by driving down the field and into the Bison’s red zone, but the Bison defense managed to force a field goal attempt. Lehigh’s kicker shanked it wide right so the score remained 0-0.

The Bison then had their own chance to drive down the field. After turning the ball over on downs, the Bison offense managed to get into the opposition’s redzone and come away with a field goal from senior kicker Ethan Torres ’21. The Bison defense managed to hold for the remainder of the half, giving Torres another opportunity to make the score 6-0 in favor of the Bison going into halftime.

The third quarter, although scoreless, was dominated by the Bison offense. The Bison came out after the half and managed to stay on the field for almost 10 minutes. The defense, well rested, was able to make short work of the Lehigh offense heading into the fourth quarter.

The fourth quarter proved to be a nail biter. Both teams took turns trying to drive the field and score to no avail. A key special teams turnover by linebacker Ryan Brida ’21 set the Bison offense up with great field position, but the Mountain Hawks stood firm. After a failed attempt at converting a fourth and inches, the Bison turned over the ball on downs. The game would be decided by the Bison Defense. The first play of the drive was marked by a Bison sack on the quarterback from freshman defensive end Mike Bright, Jr ’24 .

The following play, Gerrit Van Itallie ’21 added a sack of his own to seal the win for the Bison. Van Itallie was also recognized by STATS as an honorable mention FCS defensive player of the week.

“Well, this whole season has been crazy honestly. I’m just proud of how well our guys have dealt with all of the adversity. Preparing for a season we didn’t even know was going to happen all summer, fall, and this winter. All of the hard work is starting to pay off. This weekend was proof of our team’s resilience. No one was ever worried when Lehigh made a play or we were backed up in our own red zone. There was a swagger and confidence that we’d lacked in the past. I’m excited to get after it these next couple of weeks and get a chance to go out on top with a Patriot League Championship with my guys,” Van Itallie said.

With their win over Lehigh, the Bison punched their ticket to the Patriot League Title game against whoever wins the northern division of the league. We look forward to covering their continued success and wish them the best of luck in the Patriot League Title Game!

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