On Oct. 17 in West Point, N.Y., the Bison suffered an away loss at Army. It was their first matchup against the Black Knights since 1995, and their first matchup against an FBS (Football Bowl Subdivision) opponent since 2001.
It was a disappointing loss, bringing the Bison to an even 3-3 on the season after a loss at home against Patriot League rival Lehigh the week before. Even though the end result was not ideal, it was a competitive game in a very intimidating setting. Army’s home field, Michie Stadium, is a massive arena, especially compared to Christy Mathewson Memorial Stadium.
The Bison defense forced three Army turnovers before the end of the second quarter. Shortly after the opening whistle, the front line had already done damage, shaking up Army’s starting quarterback and forcing a substitution. The backup quarterback stepped onto the field and tried to test the Bison, lobbing a ball deep down the middle of the field, hoping to open up the scoring in his team’s favor.
It would result in a play that will run in the team’s highlights for years to come. Captured in a Vine entitiled “Bucknell with the sickest interception,” defensive back Connor Golden ’18 leapt into the air with his right arm extended to the sky, reaching back to snatch the ball and corralling it in his arms as he fell to the turf. It was his first of two interceptions in the half and certainly his most impressive, garnering him a mention on sports media mogul Bleacher Report.
Golden and the rest of the defense allowed the offense the opportunity to put the Bison in front. On each respective possession following Golden’s interceptions, quarterback RJ Nitti ’17 threw touchdown passes. The first was to Will Carter ’17 on a slick, quick screen pass on the left sideline. The second culminated a masterful drive from the Bison offense – which featured a conversion on fourth and 17th – with an easy toss to up-and-coming tight end Andrew Owers ’19 on a roll-out play close to the end zone. Owers would follow his touchdown up with a reception on a two-point conversion attempt.
That left the Bison up at halftime, albeit only 14-7. The slim seven-point margin proved not to be enough against an opponent as resilient as the Black Knights. With their starting quarterback still on the sideline, his replacement and the Black Knight defense took the game over. The offense battled back to tie the game at 14 apiece, before a heartbreaking 68-yard bomb down the field left the Bison in the dust, leaving the score at 21-14.
The Bison held their own throughout the game, but in the end, they were simply outplayed. Their next game is the homecoming game on Oct. 24 at 1 p.m. against Georgetown. The Bison will hope to regain their momentum after two straight losses, as well as regain their starting running back, CJ Williams ’17, who was again absent with an injury.