Lehigh rides strong second half to defeat Bison football

Patrick Dempsey, Sports Co-Editor

The Bison football team fell to Lehigh 45-17 in Bethlehem, Pa. on Nov. 3. This matchup featured two teams at the bottom of the Patriot League. The loss brought the Bison to 1-8 for the year and 1-3 in conference play.

With more than 4,000 fans in attendance, the Bison looked to turn in their best performance. Unfortunately, the Bison were unable to generate consistent momentum.

The Mountain Hawks took a 7-0 lead nine minutes into the game on a 27-yard touchdown rush. Their four-play, 65-yard scoring drive came off a Bison punt returner’s fumble at Lehigh’s 35-yard line. Despite picking up a few first downs and moving the ball from their own 40-yard line to Lehigh’s 15-yard line on the ensuing drive, the Bison came away with nothing as their 31-yard field goal attempt sailed wide right.

In the second quarter, the Bison took advantage of a short Mountain Hawk punt and drove 34 yards in four plays, with the final one being a nine-yard touchdown pass from Tarrin Earle ’22 to running back Jared Cooper ’22. This score came with 7:06 minutes left in the first half, with a blocked extra point leaving Lehigh with a 7-6 edge.

Lehigh’s offense on the next drive went down the field in 10 plays for 80 yards to put up another score to extend their lead to 14-6. After the Bison’s next drive stalled, Lehigh came back again to score another touchdown to take a 21-6 lead with 49 seconds remaining in the first half.

A 44-yard kickoff return from Bryan Marine ’19 set the Bison up with good field position. Wide receiver Alan Butler ’19 made a standout diving catch on the next play and was downed at Lehigh’s one-yard line. Butler went on to make a short touchdown catch with 14 seconds left in the half. The Bison converted a two-point conversion and went into halftime down 21-14.

The Bison had a difficult time scoring in the second half of the game. Earle, the third quarterback to start a game for the Bison this year, showed signs of promise in his first career start, completing 17 of 40 total passes for 174 yards and two touchdowns. However, in the second half, Earle only completed 4 of his 20 pass attempts after completing the first half with 13 of 20 passing.

While the Orange and Blue struggled offensively, Lehigh continued producing touchdowns. The final score was 45-17, in favor of the Mountain Hawks.

Safety Joe Lauro ’19 was busy all game long, recording a team high 11 tackles (nine solo). Defensively, the Bison forced two turnovers. Cornerback Sterling Deary ’22 picked off a pass while linebacker Sam Chitty ’20 recovered a fumble forced by Marine in the third quarter.

“Coming off of Lehigh, there are a few positives to take away. Of these, the most important are recognizing our mistakes, mistakes that are very fixable,” Chitty said. “Another positive includes giving a lot of the young guys on the team valuable experience.”

The Bison will next travel to Washington, D.C. to play Georgetown on Nov. 10.

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