Football suffers heartbreaking loss after a tough fourth quarter

Kaelyn Long, Senior Writer

On Oct. 26, the Bison football team fell just short in the fourth quarter against the Lafayette Leopards, losing by a score of 21-17. The team now sits at 1-2 in Patriot League play and an overall record of 1-7. The Leopards tallied two unanswered touchdowns to solidify their lead late in the game. Linebacker Rick Mottram ’21 led the Bison defense, finishing with a career-best 16 tackles, two sacks and his second career interception. Quarterback Logan Bitikofer ’21 finished with two touchdown passes to wide receiver Brandon Sanders ’22, while running back Jared Cooper ’22 rushed a career-best 103 yards. This was Cooper’s first career 100-yard rushing performance.

The Bison were able to cash in on their first drive of the game on a five-play 75-yard drive that lasted less than two minutes. Cooper was able to rip off a big 40-yard run that set up a 16-yard touchdown pass from Bitikofer to Sanders.

The Orange and Blue picked up their first lead of the game during the second quarter. Taking possession at their own 47-yard line, Cooper once again broke free to advance the herd 17 yards.

The seven-play scoring drive was capped off by another touchdown pass from Bitikofer to Sanders.

With 13:33 left in the second quarter, the Bison regained possession at the Leopard 40-yard line. The Bison faked a 49-yard field goal and instead, All-American punter Alex Pechin ’20 threw a four-yard pass to defensive linemen Sean Naiman ’20 to pick up a first down on a 4th and 2.

Despite the successful trick play, the Bison were forced to settle for a 26-yard field goal attempt that was no good. Going into halftime, the Bison led 14-7.

During the third quarter, the Bison extended their lead to 17-7 after kicker Ethan Torres ’21 converted a  28-yard field goal. This field goal came after a 10-play, 59-yard drive by the Orange and Blue, lead by wide receiver Dominic Lyles ’22 who had two catches for 54 yards.

In the fourth quarter the Bison struggled to close the door on Lafayette. The Orange and Blue failed to take advantage of Mottram’s interception at the Lafayette 35-yard line, giving the Leopards the ball at their own five-yard line after a short punt. The Bison later fumbled the ball at their own 45. Four plays later, the Leopards scored the go-ahead touchdown to make the score 21-17. The Bison were unable to mount another scoring drive as the Leopards kept the Bison from crossing midfield during their final two drives.

“Going into the fourth quarter, everyone was excited to have an opportunity to win another Patriot League game. We had the mentality that we just needed to keep doing what we were doing for 15 more minutes to win,” Mottram said. “It was very disappointing to give up two quick touchdowns and lose a close game, but we’re excited that we still have three more opportunities this year.”

Bitikofer finished with 17 of 33 passes for 159 yards and two touchdowns. Sanders totaled 66 yards on eight receptions, while Lyles totaled 57 yards on three receptions. Mottram and linebacker Gerrit Van Itallie ’21 also each achieved the 100th tackle of their collegiate careers. Mottram currently has 114 while Van Itallie has 101.

The Bison will rest for their second bye week of the season and then return to league play at home against Lehigh on Nov. 9 at 1 p.m.

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