No. 22/23 Villanova wildcats gain control during win against the Bison

Kaelyn Long, Senior Writer

During the home season-opener hosted at Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium on Sept. 14, the Bison football team suffered a tough 45-10 loss against the No. 22/23 Villanova Wildcats.

The Wildcats’ scoring efforts were too quick and efficient for the Bison, as they scored two touchdowns in each of the first two quarters of the game. During the first quarter, the Orange and Blue had two attempts in the red zone but failed to execute. Linebacker Rick Mottram ’21 was credited with his first career interception after it was deflected by safety Brandon Benson ’21. After the catch, the Bison were forced to take a 23-yard field goal, which went wide left with 7:39 left in the quarter.

Fighting back, quarterback John Chiarolanzio ’20 found wide receiver Blais Herman ’21 on a wide-open pass, advancing the ball 59 yards into the Wildcats’ zone. The Wildcats went on to shut down running back Chad Freshnock ’20’s attempt at a first down, leaving the Bison short of a 4th and 2 at the Villanova 10.

During the second quarter, the Wildcats added two more touchdowns at the 13:19 and 5:50 mark. The herd had a chance to get on the board after linebacker Simeon Page ’21 was credited with his first sack on the year, creating a loss of nine yards for the Wildcats.

Brandon Sanders ’22 took matters into his own hands, taking over at the Wildcats 46-yard line after an eight-yard return. The Bison had another field goal attempt at the end of the quarter, this time missing wide right and preventing the Bison to get on the board before halftime. By the end of the half, the Wildcats led 28-0.

Coming out of halftime, the Bison got on the board with a 37-yard field goal by kicker Ethan Torres ’21. Quarterback Logan Bitikofer ’21 took initiative by adding a four-yard rushing touchdown during the fourth quarter’s 7:36 mark after Benson recovered the loose ball. The final score ended in a Wildcat victory of 45-10.

Offensively, the Bison took the lead in first downs (16) and passing yards (225-124). Chiarolanzio finished with 134 yards on 11-for-32 passing and Bitikofer finished with 91 yards on 12-for-22 passing. Wide receivers Herman and John McGuire ’21 led the herd in receiving yards. Running back Alex Barnard ’23 finished with 25 yards on four carries during the course of the second half.

Defensively, Mottram led the Bison with six tackles. All-American punter Alex Pechin ’20 averaged 51 yards on six punts, landing five of his six punts inside the 20, with four reaching at least 50 yards.

“Villanova was a good team and they had a lot of talented players. We needed to make more plays with the opportunities we had and change the momentum in our favor. We made too many mistakes as well and you can’t do that versus a good opponent,” Benson said. “We’re working to eliminate those mistakes and that’ll ultimately make us a better team. We showed a lot of potential throughout the game so there were some positive takeaways. We’re improving each day and we’ll be ready for league play in a couple of weeks.”

The Orange and Blue host the Princeton Tigers on Sept. 28 after enjoying their first bye week of the 2019 season.

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