Football starts with two wins for first time since 2008

By Greg Stevenson

Senior Writer

After two consecutive seasons in which the Bison football team notched one victory apiece, the first big goal for the 2011 squad was reaching the multiple-win mark. Behind an opportune defense and a balanced offensive attack, the Orange and Blue needed only two games to surpass their win total from 2009 and 2010, with a wire-to-wire victory over the Marist Red Foxes, 28-14.

The Bison scored the first two touchdowns of the contest just four minutes apart. On their second series of the game, receiver Victor Walker ’14 hauled in a 26-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Brandon Wesley ’14 with three minutes left in the first quarter.

Only one minute into the second period, Wesley found Frank DeNick ’12 from 18 yards out for a touchdown. The Orange and Blue started the drive with a short field thanks to a 42-yard interception return by Bryce Robertson ’12 all the way to the Marist 43-yard line.

“Winning the turnover margin is critical to our success,” head coach Joe Susan said. “It is something we preach and practice. We are learning how to create turnovers. The ball is the program.”

Trailing by two touchdowns, the Red Foxes turned up the pressure on the Bison, finding the end zone once just before halftime and again midway through the third quarter. Despite the comeback, Tyler Smith ’13 ran a touchdown between the two Marist scores to maintain the lead.

“When you jump out to a 14-0 lead, the best teams will methodically put their opponent away,” Susan said. “We had our chances to do this and wound up being up by only six at one point. It creates a totally different dynamic. We have to learn, as a team, that when an opponent is backed up that we must maintain momentum.”

The Bison regained the momentum quickly after the second Marist touchdown with two crucial defensive stops. On the opening drive of the fourth quarter, the Orange and Blue pushed the Red Foxes back six yards, forcing them to punt the ball away.

After regaining possession, Marist fumbled away another scoring opportunity when Robert De La Rosa ’12 stripped the ball and Samuel Oyekoya ’13 recovered it.

The Bison offense capitalized on the Marist turnover, as Jeremiah Young ’13 rushed for eight of his career-high 70 yards for the clinching touchdown late in the fourth quarter.

Playing in front of a crowd of over 3000, the Orange and Blue kept their perfect home season alive, extending their record to 2-0 in Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium.

“We want to thank everyone who came out and supported the team this weekend,” Susan said.

Heading into their first road contest of 2011 tomorrow at 6 p.m., the Orange and Blue face Cornell, a team that has not yet played this season. After two straight wins to open the season, the Bison coaching staff isn’t changing anything.

“Our prep for Cornell will be no different than our other games,” Susan said. “It is their first game, so we must deal with the potential of unknowns. But, if we don’t make a big deal of travel, playing on the road is not much of an issue.”

 

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