Football falls to Fordham, finish 3rd in PL

Stephen Olick-Sutphen, Senior Writer

On Saturday, Nov. 23, the Bison football team traveled to the Bronx to face Fordham in their final Patriot League game of the year. The Bison defense played a big role against Fordham, scoring both Bison touchdowns. Ultimately falling by a score of 31-14, the team finished with an overall record of 3-8 overall and 3-3 in Patriot League play, earning them third place.

The Bison’s defense was incredibly dominant in the first half, accounting for two touchdowns and a forced fumble. Rick Mottram ’21 returned a fumble for a Bison touchdown, while Micah Dennis ’22 collected a pick-six. Gerrit Van Itallie ’21 was another defensive leader who recorded a team-high 10 tackles. Along with these tackles, Van Itallie had two sacks and two pass breakups.

Looking to build momentum, the team stepped up in the second quarter, limiting Fordham to only 50 yards in the first half. Offensively, the Orange and Blue were unable to put points on the board, yet they still led Fordham 14-10 going into the second half.

Despite the Bison failing to score any points on offense, several players contributed to the attack. Logan Bitikofer ’21 completed 28 of 50 passes for 250 yards. John McGuire ’21 and Dominic Lyles ’22 combined for 116 receiving yards.

“The Fordham game was a great example of how far the defense came since the beginning of the season. Being able to score two defensive touchdowns, let alone in the same quarter, really brings momentum for the rest of the game,” Michael Caruso ’20 said. “Schematically, there was not a whole lot of elements that were different from last year, but I believe that everyone bought into what our new coaching staff wanted out of each and every player, and we all worked extremely hard to be the best defense we could be.”

The team ultimately finished third overall in the Patriot League, their best finish since 2014. The Orange and Blue will now turn to developing players in the spring season and attempt to fill roles now vacated by the senior class.

“A big reason why we had the best conference finish since 2014 was because the new coaching staff did an unbelievable job in emphasizing to do the little things right, and the team responded tremendously,” Caruso said. “I think that can be seen this season at our hard-fought win at Colgate, the defending league champions, who the senior class has not beaten since we arrived here.  I know that next season is going to be an even better Bison football team.”

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