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Bucknell Finishes What it Started Last Season, Beats Lehigh 45-24

Fifteen minutes before the game was about to start, ESPN Radio announcer Matt Kerr told the radio-listening public that 4-1 Bucknell would not only be missing their starter quarterback, QB R.J. Nitti, but would also be without the services of their star running back, RB C.J. Williams.

You might be forgiven if that made you think that Lehigh's chances of getting their first win, and avenging last season's loss to Bucknell in Lewisburg, would be much greater.

It didn't turn out that way, however, as backup QB Trey Lauletta stepped right up into the void and had the game of a lifetime against Lehigh's beleaguered defense.

After Lehigh scored the game's first touchdown, Lauletta and the Bucknell offense helped create the the next 31 points for the Bison, and when Lehigh finally settled down and cut the deficit to one score, Lauletta would find WR Will Carter for a back-breaking touchdown to win the game for the Bison.

"Embarassing" is what Lehigh head coach Andy Coen told ESPN radio sideline reporter Matt Markus it was.


Murray Goodman Stadium has seen some great Lehigh wide receivers on its field, including some that have been on NFL rosters, like WR Horace Hamm and WR Ryan Spadola, and plenty of other great receivers, too, like WR Jake Drwal and WR Lee Kurfis.

This Saturday though, Carter outperfomed them all.

Carter had 246 yards receiving, which was a Goodman stadium record and something that Spadola, Kurfis, and Hamm had not done on Lehigh's home soil.

Lauletta had a career day, completing an efficient 15 for 20 passing day for 313 yards and 4 TDs.

“Trey played a really smart game,” Bucknell head coach Joe Susan said. “He didn’t try to do anything he can’t do.  It is rewarding for this group to come back with a win like this. They did a great job keeping their composure when Lehigh came back. It was a team victory.”

On the flip side, coach Coen didn't single out anyone as to why Lehigh fell to 0-5 for the first time since the 1960s.

"It's never just one guy," Coen said.  "If it was one guy screwing up all time, we could fix that.  We just don't play enough in concert with each other."

A good amount of Bucknell's damage came on the three touchdowns passes to Carter that came from Lauletta - strikes of 69, 78, and 77 yards respectively, or 224 of his 246 yards.

"The last one was a double move," Coen said.  "He jumped the first route, but you can't do those things.  On another, a guy was out of position, and he just ran down the field, a fast guy."

The Mountain Hawks jumped out to a 7 point lead when sophomore QB Nick Shafnisky pitched a ball to freshman WR Troy Pelletier on a pretty 19 yard run, but that score was the exception rather than the rule in a rough first half that saw Bucknell score 24 unanswered points.

Setting up one of the scores was a Shafnisky interception, which Bucknell promptly turned into points with a 1 yard plunge by RB Matt Del Mauro.

Shafnisky would have flashes of good play, but would be hampered by four interceptions, two which would be converted into touchdowns.

"We turned the ball over five times," Coen said.  "One was a fake punt, but we can't have four interceptions in any football game and hope to win."

After Coen "lit into" his team at halftime, Bucknell got the ball to start the second half, where Lauletta found Carter on a bubble screen, and he was off to the races, making the score 31-7.

The Mountain Hawks did try to respond in the second half starting to look like a team that could overcome a big deficit.  Down by three touchdowns and three 2-point conversions, Lehigh found some momentum and made it a game, scoring 17 straight points in the second half.

A short FG by junior PK Ryan Pandy and an 8 yard TD run by freshman RB Chris Leigh later, after Shafnisky completed some timely passes to senior WR Josh Parris, senior RB Rich Sodeke and senior WR Derek Gaul, he called his own number and scored a touchdown, making it a one-touchdown game with 6 minutes left to play.

But then Carter's third big-play TD reception squashed any hopes of a dramatic Lehigh comeback.

The players seemed to be kicking themselves about missed opportunities.

"We recovered a fumble at their 14 and we didn't score," senior WR Derek Gaul said. "That hurts. That's where good teams win ballgames when they take advantage of things like that. We just have to put it together."

"Coach always tells us to play the way we're capable of playing," senior LB Isaiah Campbell added. "Nobody is Superman. I feel like a lot of guys, they don't take the coaching the way they need to. They try to jump balls, jump routes, go in a gap that's not theirs trying to make a play. It turns around and bites them in the butt. I feel like if everybody just does what they're coached to do and they don't try to be Superman, things will work out better."

"You have to find a way to rise above it," Coen said.  "We do good things at times.  But we're not [winning], and it's my responsibility to get us better, and I take that responsibility very seriously."

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