Georgetown (1-8, 0-4) at Bucknell (4-5, 1-3) – Nov. 11th 12 P.M. Christy Mathewson Stadium Lewisburg, PA
Live Streaming – Patriot League Network
If Georgetown-Lafayette last week didn’t quite reach high enough on the ugly meter, Georgetown-Bucknell Saturday could ramp things up a peg or two. The Hoyas head to Central Pennsylvania with their offense in complete disarray. Any positive momentum the “O” was riding when Gunther Johnson (50% comp, 153 ypg, 4 TDs 4 INTs) took over as the starter is long gone. The Arizona transfer is coming off his worst game since taking over as the starter (76 yards 4 INTs) so confidence at this point could be an issue. While Bucknell’s defense is not as good as previous editions (25.5 ppg allowed, 3rd in PL), it’s still more than capable of shutting down the Hoya’s “O”. With virtually no rushing attack the Hoyas best chance to put up points is on big plays and short fields. Johnson can’t afford to miss on any opportunities to connect with Michael Dereus downfield. Georgetown has proven incapable of going on lengthy drives all season.
Like Georgetown, Bucknell continues to have issues on offense in league play. After Matt Muh’s subpar performance against Lehigh’s porous defense, Bison Head Coach Joe Susan is once again turning the offense over to Joe Chiarolanzio (111 ypg 4 TDs 5 INTs). The lack of production through the air has been an issue for the last 2+ seasons. What’s made this year’s offense especially weak is the lack of a rushing attack (53.3 ypg, 120th in FCS). Freshnock was able to break loose (174 yards 3 TDs) last week against Lehigh (who hasn’t?) and Joey DeFloria is expected to play after battling an injury in recent weeks so there is some reason for optimism heading into the weekend. Even with DeFloria and Freshnock in the backfield Bucknell’s offensive line must deal with a very capable Hoya front 7. BU must pay special attention to Hoya DE is Khristian Tate. The sophomore is making a strong case (10.5 TFL, 5.5 Sacks, 2 FF) for All-League honors.
This game really comes down to Bucknell’s offense being slightly better than Georgetown’s. With the return of DeFloria and the added emotion of being at home on Senior Day, the Bison should have the upper hand. The key will be avoiding turnovers, a big problem all season, and getting the DeFloria/Freshnock duo rolling. This game likely won’t be 7-0 but it still won’t rack up any points on aesthetic scoreboard.
Prediction: Bucknell 17 Georgetown 10
Colgate (5-4, 3-1) at Lafayette (3-6, 3-1) – Nov. 11th 12:30 P.M. Fisher Stadium Easton, PA
Live Streaming: Patriot League Network
First place is on the line this Saturday when red hot Colgate rolls into College Hill to face Lafayette. The Red Raiders are coming off their bye week so they enter this crucial late season showdown well rested. Prior to their bye Colgate outscored their 3 league opponents by a whopping 101 points, 123-22. Grant Breneman’s emergence at quarterback has made a world of difference for the Raider offense. The “O” was a no go the first 4 games of the year but since the Cornell game in late September the unit has been extremely impressive due to its balance (181 ypg rushing, 166 ypg passing). Colgate has still remained a run first team as they’ve rushed the ball 170 more times than they’ve aired it out. Lafayette’s staunch defense (7.5 ppg allowed in PL play) will easily be facing their toughest test since the non-conference portion of the schedule.
The most “obvious observation” in this game is stating that Lafayette must score to win (9.5 ppg in PL play). The Leopard’s anemic offense reached a new level of futility last week against Georgetown but amazingly their lone TD was good enough to capture a 7-0 win. The main issue remains a rushing attack that currently ranks 122nd (25 ypg) in FCS. The Leopards have played 9 games and their leading rusher DeSean Brown has 123 yards! The reality is, Lafayette has struggled to run the ball since Ross Scheuerman last suited in 2014. As a result of the anemic ground attack freshman QB Sean O’Malley has had to carry the entire offense while playing behind an offensive line that continues to struggle. If the Leopards want to keep their title hopes alive O’Malley needs to make timely throws and avoid big mistakes. Colgate’s front 7, led by Pat Afriyie, will put a lot of pressure on the Leopard signal caller. The key is surviving the rush and get the ball in the hands of his talented pass catchers. If Lafayette can put up 17+ points they might have a chance.
While on paper this is a huge game in the race for Patriot League Championship there’s a sense it will be rather anticlimactic because Colgate has proven to be the much better team to this point of the season. The fact that Lafayette is competing for the league title in Mid-November alone is a tremendous accomplishment for 1st year Head Coach John Garrett. Look for Colgate to win a methodical battle and ensure they’re playing for at least a share of the league title in the final week.
Prediction: Colgate 27 Lafayette 10
Holy Cross (4-6, 3-2) at Lehigh (3-6, 3-1) – Nov. 11th 12:30 P.M. Goodman Stadium Bethlehem, PA
Live Streaming – Patriot League Network
Arguably, the two most inconsistent teams in the Patriot League this season square off on Saturday when the Crusaders invade the Lehigh Valley to take on the Mountain Hawks. Despite all the ups and downs, Lehigh is still two victories away from clinching at least a share of the Patriot League Title and its second straight playoff appearance. The Mountain Hawks are coming off a throttling of Bucknell which was easily their most complete game of the year. Lehigh was able to force 4 turnovers and the defense gave up the fewest total yards (342) and points (21) all season in the win. The “D” will need to carry the momentum and positive mojo over to this week if they want to hold down the far more potent Crusader offense. Peter Pujals is likely the best quarterback Lehigh has faced this season. The 5th year senior is coming off a great performance against Fordham where he demonstrated the ability to efficiently carve up a defense with his arm (175 yards, 2 TDs) and his legs (82 yards).
Holy Cross is trying to end their season on a 3 game winning streak which would likely give them a 2nd place finish in the final Patriot League standings. The Crusaders have shown quite a bit of fight on both sides of the ball under Interim Coach Brian Rock in recent weeks. Holy Cross showed their potential early in the year before falling into a bizarre malaise that ultimately cost Tom Gilmore his job. As their season comes to an end this week (week 12 bye), the team that started the year seems to have reappeared, at least to a point. The Crusaders put forth a very good performance against Fordham last week in a dominating 42-20 win. The win meant there was a 62 point turnaround from last year’s train wreck (54-14 loss) at Yankee Stadium. Holy Cross unleashed a rushing attack (354 yards) that had not been seen since 2013. Coming off such a performance, Gabe Guild, Miles Alexander and Peter Pujals have to be licking their chops as they set to face the 119th ranked (249.5 ypg allowed) rush defense in FCS.
Lehigh thumped Holy Cross 46-14 last year in Worcester in a game that Pujals didn’t play in. After reversing the 2016 Fordham debacle last week on the road, one of the all-time great Crusader’s quarterbacks has to be eyeing a final measure of revenge to close out his college career. Lehigh’s offense will put up points as usual but their defense will once again prove it’s not championship material. Pujals gets the last laugh against the Mountain Hawks.
Prediction: Holy Cross 47 Lehigh 31