The common sports proverb “defense wins games” held true Sept. 5 as the football team blanked the Marist Red Foxes in what was a truly dominant performance from the Bison defense. A first quarter field goal from kicker John Burdick ’18 was all that was necessary to give the Orange and Blue a win to kick off the 2015-16 football season, which happened to be the Bison’s fifth straight season-opening win.
It seemed as if that field goal would be the only set of points for either team, with drive after drive failing to reach the end zone in the first half. When Marist did threaten on the offensive end, the Bison’s defense repeatedly stepped up, and in miraculous fashion. Not once, but twice, Bison defenders blocked Marist field goal attempts to keep their slim advantage.
When asked about his block, safety Clayton Ewell ’16 had to give the whole unit some credit.
“We got great pressure inside from our D-lineman and it took some pressure off me and gave me the chance to go make a play,” Ewell said.
For the Bison, a few offensive miscues and a first-half interception and fumble kept them from really taking command of the scoreboard early on. Despite a few errors, the Bison were in control throughout the game. They commanded possession, keeping the ball for over 36 minutes as opposed to Marist’s 24.
Going into halftime, the score remained 3-0. It was clear that the Bison would need a strategic adjustment in order to secure the game. That adjustment came, as the Bison stormed out of the locker room and took to the ground with a relentless running game in the second half. Running back CJ Williams ’17 lead the ground attack, consistently pushing the Bison down the field, towards another hundred-yard performance—133 to be exact.
“We made adjustments based off of what Marist was doing and came out and played together and as one. It was a complete team effort from top to bottom,” Williams said.
The third quarter all but sealed a win for the Bison. Williams’s consistent gains led to two close-quarter rushes into the end zone from quarterback R.J. Nitti ’17, putting the home team up 17-0, and the score would remain the same from there.
Tight end Andrew Owers ’19, who stepped up in his first game, leading the team in receptions and receiving yards, summed up the team’s performance.
“Our defense played outstanding, which is no surprise. Those guys have been doing a great job all preseason. Offensively we played well but could definitely do better, we have a lot to touch up on,” Owers said.
The Bison will look to build on this victory on Sept. 12 at home against Duquesne.