Holy Cross capitalizes on Bison turnovers to win League opener

Brittany Willwerth, Staff Writer

The Bison football team fell to Holy Cross 20-0 on Sept. 9 in their second game of the year. After beating Marist on Sept. 2, the Bison sought to build upon the momentum on their home field to open Patriot League play, but they could not wholly repeat the productive offense they displayed in their previous game. It was the first time the Orange and Blue had been shut out since September 2013.

Despite the loss, team captain Ben Richard ’18 tallied his 100th solo tackle in the matchup and is just nine tackles shy of hitting the 200 mark for his career. Joe Lauro ’19 recorded his 100th career tackle and led the Bison with eight tackles in the contest.

Despite these impressive defensive efforts, the Crusaders capitalized off of multiple turnovers by the Orange and Blue to pull away with the win. After the Bison fumbled the opening kickoff, multiple penalties pushed the Crusaders out of field goal range, but they were able to complete a 20-yard pass to set up a two-yard touchdown.

Striving to fight back, Aaron Brown ’20 intercepted a pass tipped by Bryan Marine ’19, putting the Bison on the 45-yard line with a little over 10 minutes left in the quarter. On fourth and four at the Holy Cross 23-yard line, Matt Muh ’18 attempted a pass to Jack Horan ’18, but was unable to convert.

After the Orange and Blue tallied another fumble, Holy Cross started their drive on the Bison 44-yard line. The Bison defense was able to fend off a touchdown, as Chanse Riley ’19 had a pair of tackles and a pass breakup to help limit the Crusaders to a 25-yard field goal. In similar fashion, after Muh was sacked on the first drive of the second quarter, the defense again forced a field goal.

One of the Bison’s lone offensive bright spots in the first half was a 30-yard run by Chad Freshnock ’20. Freshnock kept the drive alive with a fourth down reception, but John Burdick’s ’18 41-yard field goal attempt went wide.

As Holy Cross was driving down the field mid-third quarter, Abdullah Anderson ’18 and Blake Fletcher ’20 rattled the Crusaders by sacking an opposing player, ultimately allowing Jon Fox ’20 to step in front of a pass for an interception. However, the Bison again sputtered on offense, allowing Holy Cross to gain good field position and run for their second rushing touchdown of the day.

The Bison found modest offensive success in the fourth quarter, putting together an 18-play drive, but were still unable to sniff the end zone. A reception by Andrew Podbielski ’18 on fourth and two kept the drive alive, but the Bison rushing attack was ultimately stifled at the goalline.

“The Holy Cross game was a game that I think we needed. Nobody likes to lose but in our case we can use it as a humbling experience,” Richard said. “I know that our guys will respond during practice this week by working harder than they really thought they ever could.”

The Bison look to bounce back on Sept. 16 in Williamsburg, Va. against William & Mary.

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