Bison football fails to keeps pace with Princeton

Kaelyn Long, Senior Writer

The Bison football team continued its tough non-conference schedule against the defending Ivy League champions, the Princeton Tigers. The Bison suffered a 56-23 loss against the Tigers on Sept. 28 at Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium. Quarterback Logan Bitikofer ’21 set a new career-high of 268 yards on 28-for-42 passing. He also added two touchdown passes and ran for one more throughout the course of the game.

The Orange and Blue started the game off strong, scoring at the 6:57 mark of the first quarter after making a stop on 4th and 1. Defensive lineman Roger Mellado ’21 and linebacker Gerrit Van Itallie ’21 combined for the tackle on fourth down, giving the Bison the ball at midfield.

Bitikofer was the playmaker behind the nine-play, 50-yard scoring drive, which was then capped by wide receiver John McGuire ’21. This was McGuire’s first touchdown catch of his career. McGuire got his toes in bounds in the right corner of the end zone to secure the score. The Tigers responded with a touchdown after a successful fourth-down stop at the Bison 40-yard line. The Bison defense went on to hold the Tigers to only 79 yards on offense and one touchdown in the first quarter.

The Tigers took their first lead at the 12:54 mark of the second quarter, yet the Bison were able to find the end zone two drives later on a seven-play, 80-yard drive. Bitikofer finished off the drive with a one-yard quarterback keeper. Running back Chad Freshnock ’20 contributed to this drive with a 15-yard catch, while wide receiver Dominic Lyles ’22 dodged multiple tackles during his 54-yard catch and run, setting a new career-high. Lyles finished with 108 receiving yards on eight catches.

The Tigers dominated the rest of the game as they scored six more touchdowns. The Bison added one more field goal and a touchdown before the game came to a close. The Orange and Blue’s touchdown came from wide receiver Connor Holmes ’23, finding the end zone with a 15-yard touchdown catch from Bitikofer at the 5:44 mark of the fourth quarter. Despite being outlasted by the Tigers, the Bison’s 398 yards of total offense stands as their season-high.

Team highlights included running back Jared Cooper’s ’22 65 rushing yards and 23 yards on returns. Freshnock finished with 48 rushing yards. Linebacker Rick Mottram ’21 had a game-high 11 tackles, while Van Itallie finished with a career-best 10 tackles. Defensive linemen Clay Myers ’21 contributed the Bison’s only sack of the game. Kicker Ethan Torres ’21 set a new career-long with a 38-yard field goal during the third quarter.

“We had some good actions that we can build off of going into the rest of the season, especially in Patriot League play,” Bitikofer said. “Our team is really excited to start the Patriot League schedule against Holy Cross this weekend; it’s a good opportunity to get our first win of the season.”

Next up for the Orange and Blue is its Patriot League home opener against Holy Cross on Saturday, Oct. 5 during Homecoming weekend at Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium.

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