Football clinches season-opener for third year in a row

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Cooper Mead

Senior Writer

The football team won its season-opening game for the third year in a row with a 27-14 victory over Marist on Sept. 7 at Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium.

The team was led by the impressive play of quarterback Brandon Wesley ’14, who completed 12 of 16 passes for a combined 176 yards and two touchdowns. The Bison running game was led by Matt DelMauro ’16, who rushed 20 times tallying 83 yards. In addition, CJ Williams ’17 ran the ball for 42 yards and a touchdown. Wesley contributed another 51 yards on 11 carries, which helped give the Bison a balanced offensive front marked by 177 rushing yards and 176 passing yards.

The Bison began the game with a quick punt but then began an offensive assault on the Marist defense marked by scores on five consecutive drives. Derek Maurer ’15 began scoring with a 38-yard field goal, the first of his career. The next three touchdowns were scored on drives of more than 70 yards, beginning with a drive marked by a 45-yard pass from Wesley to tight end Josh Lebo ’15. With the ball at the Marist 26-yard line, the Bison completed two crucial 3rd-and-1 tries and a short pass, placing the Bison in position for a three-yard pass to Travis Friend ’14 for the touchdown.

The Marist offense retaliated with a 74-yard drive. It totaled 14 plays and ended with a three-yard touchdown pass, bringing the score to 10-7.

The next Bison possession ended in a touchdown and was marked by hard-nosed running by Williams. The drive was 14 plays and 75 yards with Williams accounting for 26 yards on seven carries. This helped the Bison gain valuable yardage and run 6:58 off of the game clock.

The last Bison score of the half began with 2:16 to play on the Bison 22-yard line. On the third play of the drive, Wesley connected with Josh Brake ’15 for a 66-yard touchdown pass down the left sideline, ending a promising offensive half for the Bison.

“I thought we came out with a lot of confidence in our preparation, and it showed in the first half,” Jeff Goyette ’14 said. “There are still some things that we need to work on, but it’s always great to open our season with a win.”

The Bison stagnated offensively in the second half with five consecutive punts on short drives of no longer than five plays.

Led by Evan Byers ’15, who finished the contest with 12 tackles, one sack, and a recovered fumble that helped solidify the win for the Bison, the defense showed great resilience. In addition, Tajh Turner ’14 caught an important interception deep in Marist territory that led to a Bison field goal.

The Bison win moved Wesley past Scott Auchenbach ’90 as the Bison all-time leader in total offense and puts him 154 yards behind Auchenbach’s mark of most career passing yards (5,256). Team-wise, the Bison’s record moved to an all-time 8-1 record against Marist.

The Bison have a one week break before facing a tough Cornell squad at Ithaca, N.Y. on Sept. 21.

“We came out and had a pretty good first half but there are still a lot of things we as a team need to work on,” Friend said. “It definitely was a good feeling to get the first win out of the way, and we’ll use this bye week coming up to prepare for Cornell and just take it one game at a time.”

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