Football suffers setback at Villanova, looks ahead to Patriot League play

Justin Schaumburger, Contributing Writer

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The Bison football team suffered a 49-7 loss on Sept. 22 against No. 14 Villanova.

The Wildcats came out strong, opening the game by scoring four unanswered touchdowns. The Bison were unable to recover and failed to put points on the board until the 7:56 minute mark in the second quarter, when Logan Bitikofer ’21 scored his first career rushing touchdown on a one-yard quarterback sneak.

The Orange and Blue struggled to generate momentum and were only able to muster 128 total yards of offense. This performance included just 87 passing yards and 41 rushing yards. The offense also struggled to stay on the field for long drives, converting only 15 percent (two out of 13 chances) of their third downs in the contest.

While the defense struggled to contain the Wildcats’ offense, which had 609 total yards on the day, the Bison still managed to force three turnovers, bringing their season total to 11 takeaways. Conner Romango ’21 led the way for the Bison with a career-best 12 tackles (nine solo) and Simeon Page ’21 contributed a team-best 1.5 sacks and three tackles for losses.

“It was a tough loss. They were a very good team but we were disappointed with the outcome,” Page said. “The game helped us to make some much-needed adjustments and we are very excited for this next week. I think we have a great game plan going forward.”

Another bright spot for the Bison included an incredible performance from preseason All-American punter Alex Pechin ’20. Pechin averaged a career-best 51 yards on nine punts. He managed to pin the Wildcats inside the 20-yard line four times. Pechin had five punts of at least 50 yards and a booming 71-yard punt that was downed at the 2-yard line.

Looking to improve from a tough start to the season, head coach Joe Susan believes one of the keys is to limit the turnovers.

“The most important thing we have to improve is our turnover margin. In four games we have created 11 turnovers, we have matched that by turning the ball over eleven times,” Susan said. “As we move into league play this must improve.”

The Bison will return to action in their Patriot League opener on Sept. 29 as they travel to Worcester, Mass. to take on Holy Cross.

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