Robertson '12 beaks interceptions record as football dominates Fordham

By Eric Brod

Senior Writer

Behind five turnovers and 204 rushing yards from Tyler Smith ’13, the football team clinched a winning season with a 21-0 win at Fordham this past Saturday. With this victory, the team improved to an overall season record of 6-4, its highest win total since 2006.

Two of the team’s five turnovers were interceptions by Bryce Robertson ’12, giving him 12 for the season. Roberston leads the nation in interceptions this season and now has passed Gene Luccarelli for the most interceptions in program history. 

The Orange and Blue broke a scoreless tie midway through the first quarter when Smith punched the ball in from two yards out. The score capped a five-play, 71-yard drive in which Smith accounted for all 71 yards, 64 on the ground with one seven-yard catch. After their next drive stalled off a Fordham fumble on the kickoff, Derrick Palmer ’14 forced a fumble that set up the Bison’s second score of the game. On the ensuing drive, quarterback Brandon Wesley ’14 hit Victor Walker ’14 for a 35-yard gain, and Jeremiah Young ’13 finished off the drive with a one-yard touchdown run for his second score of the season late in the first quarter.

The Bison held their 14-0 lead into the fourth quarter with Fordham facing a fourth and goal on the Bison five-yard line. The defense was able to force an incomplete pass by Fordham quarterback Ryan Higgins. On the very next play, Smith broke off a career-long run of 52 yards. The run set up Smith’s second score of the game, giving the Orange and Blue a 21-0 lead with less than six minutes left.

“Tyler is a very strong runner and has become a lot more confident in our offensive system,” head coach Joe Susan said. “He is much more patient in the run game and knows how to set up his runs as a game goes on. Tyler’s success is tied into the continued development of our offensive line, fullback and tight ends. We have had the same starting offensive line for nine straight games.”

Robertson’s second interception of the game at the Bison 15 yard line helped preserve the shutout as the Bison clinched their sixth victory of the season.

The Bison ground game dominated the contest, accounting for 250 of the team’s 346 yards. Wesley completed six of 11 passes for 80 yards.  The Bison now have a plus-28 turnover margin.

“We work to stop the run. If we are successful at doing this our opponent will have to rely on the passing game,” Susan said. “We pressure the passer and force him into making decisions in a shorter time period.”

Looking for their first seven-win season since 2004, the Bison will travel to Colgate Saturday to wrap up its 2011 campaign.

“Our challenge defensively is to stop one of the better run teams in the patriot league, if not in FCS football,” Susan said. “Offensively, we have to continue to improve our run game and apply it to their defensive schemes.”

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