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Archive For The “C.J. Williams” Category

Know Your 2016 Opponents: Bucknell

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Know Your 2016 Opponents: Bucknell

Today’s “Know Your 2016 Opponents” series continues with the team that is predicted by College Sports Journal to finish 5th in the Patriot League: Bucknell.

Bucknell was picked to finish 5th in the Patriot League, but does that mean Lehigh fans should look past the Bison?  Hardly.

By a wide margin, the Bison had the best defense in the Patriot League last season, and just two years ago, walloped Lehigh 45-24 and didn’t even need two injured starters at QB and RB to do it.

Someone has to be picked 5th in the Patriot League, and according to the College Sports Journal, that team is Bucknell.  But they could certainly win it all.

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Game Breakdown, Lehigh at Bucknell, 10/10/2015

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Game Breakdown, Lehigh at Bucknell, 10/10/2015

We break down the Bucknell game – and we give our fearless prediction, below the flip.

The rivalry between Lehigh and Bucknell could not be more strange.

The Mountain Hawks hold a 44-31-3 advantage in the series and have played each other on-and-off for the last 127 years.  But Lehigh, relatively speaking, has dominated since the NCAA established Divisions in 1978.

Since both Bucknell and Lehigh were reclassified as Division I in 1978 and started competing in Division I-AA together, Lehigh holds a 27-9-1 advantage.

But any good Lehigh fan will point out, though, the last two years have see two of those nine losses.

And both weren’t just losses – they were butt-whoopings I don’t need to go over again, a humbling 48-10 loss to Bucknell in 2013 and a bad 45-24 loss last season.  Then again, Bucknell is 16-5 in their last 21 games, so it’s not like they only has success against Lehigh.

One more interesting fact is that this weekend’s Lehigh/Bucknell game is occurring when both Lehigh and Bucknell are on “pacing break” this weekend.

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Game Breakdown: Bucknell at Lehigh, 10/11/2014

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Game Breakdown: Bucknell at Lehigh, 10/11/2014

We break down Bucknell after the flip.

One thing that is worthy of mention about last year’s game, and may have gotten lost in all the talk of “revenge”, was the element of surprise.

Head coach Joe Susan, facing off against a then-Top 25 team, had just re-introduced QB Brandon Wesley to the staring lineup the prior week, and also unveiled a brand-new offensive attack against Lehigh as well, meaning that the game film head coach Andy Coen saw from the prior week against Dartmouth was essentially worthless.

Surprise doesn’t excuse the outcome, from a Lehigh perspective – not at all – but it’s worthy of mention that Bucknell’s pistol formation and offense shouldn’t be taking anyone by surprise this week.  It also means that nobody should be reading too much into Bucknell’s loss at Bryant last week, either.

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Game Preview: Bucknell at Lehigh, 10/11/2014

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Game Preview: Bucknell at Lehigh, 10/11/2014

It didn’t really need to be mentioned by head coach Andy Coen and the coaching staff, because everyone already knew.

They all remembered last year’s beatdown by Bucknell at Lewisburg, 48-10.

Many of them, even the sophomores, remember the pain of that day.

300 yards rushing by the Bison.  QB Brandon Bialkowski‘s broken collarbone.  Five turnovers.  130 yards receiving for Bison sophomore WR Will Carter.

They also remember the humiliating exclamation point: sophomore RB C.J. Williams‘ hurdle over Lehigh’s secondary, getting an emphatic touchdown to put the icing on the cake.

Sometimes the pain of losses of games gone by can seem distant, unconnectable, by the playing members of a football team.  There is no way for these players to imagine how it felt in 1997 for the Mountain Hawks to lose to the Bison, for example, the last time a Lehigh team had lost to Bucknell in football before last season.

But last year’s loss was so raw, so emphatic, and so emotionally charged that nobody on this team could have possibly forgotten how it felt to go in there and lost that badly, that comprehensively.

There was no need for coach Coen to invoke revenge in a fiery post-practice speech.  They know.
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Know Your 2014 Opponents: Bucknell

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Know Your 2014 Opponents: Bucknell

You might have been forgiven for overlooking them last year.

After all, Lehigh always beat Bucknell.  It was what they did.

The last time the Bison beat the Mountain Hawks anywhere, RB Rich Lemon was their star back, and Monica Lewinsky was still welcome in the Bill Clinton White House.

But for a fifteen year stretch, the Bison couldn’t beat Lehigh with a ten-point head start.

So you might have been forgiven for not making the trip to Lewisburg fully anticipating No. 16.

Except that, on October 26th, 2013, Bucknell changed the narrative.

Bucknell didn’t just beat heavily-favored, nationally-ranked Lehigh in their own house.  They put on the type of beating that left Lehigh fans absolutely stunned, a 48-10 stampeding that will not soon be forgotten by either side.

Bucknell used to be another name on the Patriot League schedule for Lehigh to beat.  Now?  Their name is circled, a critical game in early October that will be a pivotal game for both sides in the Patriot League title race.
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Lehigh Stampeded by Bison, 48-10

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Lehigh Stampeded by Bison, 48-10

(Photo Credit: Bucknell Athletics)

16 years is a long time to wait for Bucknell to get a league victory over Lehigh.

And on Saturday, the Bison took out 15 years of frustrations on a Lehigh team which was on the back foot from the opening kickoff and never really got back on the right foot.

There’s really no other way to describe it: it was a nightmare for the Brown and White.

Freshman RB C.J. Williams stampeded the Lehigh defense for 154 yards, and the Bison would rack up 309 total rushing yards, in a stunning 48-10 win over the Mountain Hawks.
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Game Breakdown: Lehigh at Bucknell, 10/26/2013

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Game Breakdown: Lehigh at Bucknell, 10/26/2013

We break down the Bucknell game – and we give our fearless prediction, below the flip.

When most people think of Bucknell, they tend to think of basketballs, not footballs.

Part of that comes from their upset of Kansas in the NCAA Tournament, the, um, SECOND most talked-about Patriot League upset over a legendary hoops program in the NCAA tournament.

But that’s not to say that the folks down Lewisburg way don’t care at all about football.

If there is an underrated stadium in the Patriot League it’s Christy Matthewson Stadium, named after the hall-of-fame pitcher.  Built in 1924, it was originally named Memorial Stadium to honor all the Bucknellians who had “fought in war”, either the Civil War or World War I, and had a “Christy Matthewson Memorial Gateway” in the front to honor the late pitcher, who had recently died from tuberculoisis complications stemming from his time in war.

While Lewisburg isn’t, shall we say, a metropolis, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that the stadium, which seats 13,100, could approach sellouts once again if Lehigh, Lafayette and Bucknell could both be in the title hunt at the same time.  The Bison have proved this with Sojka Pavillion, as their establishment of a perennial mid-major powerhouse in hoops have provided lots of sellout crowds.
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Game Preview, Lehigh vs. Bucknell, 10/26/2013

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Game Preview, Lehigh vs. Bucknell, 10/26/2013

“After the halftime speech, this team pulled together and had the will to win this game. They overcame their mistakes. They got back down to it, and did what they needed to do to will this game into the win column. Players stepped up and made plays. Others shook off a rough first half and really stepped up in the second to show the nation what they are capable of doing.”

No, those aren’t the words of the Sunbury Daily Item sportswriters after Bucknell’s 17-14 win over Dartmouth this weekend.

This was a part of my “Sunday Word” after Lehigh, back in 2010,  rallied from a three-score deficit to beat Harvard, 21-19 and – in retrospect, a sentiment shared by myself and head coach Andy Coen, for starters – kicked off the amazing success on the field that the Mountain Hawks have enjoyed ever since.

It’s too early to say yet if Bucknell’s win, where the Bison defense shut down the Big Green and allowed the Orange and Blue offense to score 17 unanswered points, will have a similar effect on the guys out in Lewisburg, PA.

But there’s some indications out in central PA that the Bison are starting to put things together.

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