BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Two teams looking to get back on the winning track meet Saturday at Goodman Stadium as Lehigh hosts Bucknell on Healthcare Workers Appreciation Day, presented by Lehigh Valley Orthopedic Institute. The Mountain Hawks are looking to stop a five-game slide and with a victory against the Bison would improve to 2-1 in the Patriot League heading into the bye week. Lehigh’s defense allowed just three points in the second half at Cornell, but an interception return touchdown helped the Big Red rally for a 19-15 win. Sophomore Gaige Garcia paced the Lehigh offense with 162 rushing yards and a touchdown in his first career start. Bucknell is looking for its first win of the season. The Bison forced five turnovers but fell 29-9 at Yale last weekend.
With two of Lehigh’s top three running backs not available against Cornell, sophomore Gaige Garcia made the most of his first career start, establishing career highs with 25 rushes and 162 yards. Garcia broke off an 82-yard run, Lehigh’s longest play from scrimmage this season and later scored the Mountain Hawks’ lone touchdown on a 13-yard run in the second quarter. Garcia delivered Lehigh’s first 100-yard rushing game since Zaythan Hill last year at Fordham. He leads the Mountain Hawks with 419 rushing yards and is tied for the team lead with three touchdowns.
Lehigh has finished with a negative turnover margin for in seven of the last eight seasons, a trend the Mountain Hawks will look to reverse this fall. The Mountain Hawks were minus-9 during the 2021 season, with nine takeaways via five interceptions and four fumble recoveries. Lehigh has won the turnover battle five times in in 32 games under Tom Gilmore, with two of those games coming in the last two weeks. The Mountain Hawks have nine takeaways over their last four games and were plus-2 against Fordham and plus-1 at Cornell to improve to minus-4 on the season. Lehigh was plus-2 last year at Bucknell with three interceptions in its 38-6 win.
There are a number of connections between the coaching staffs at Lehigh and Bucknell. Most notably, Lehigh head coach Tom Gilmore and Bucknell head coach Dave Cecchini served as defensive and offensive coordinators together at Lehigh from 2000-2002, first under Kevin Higgins, and then Pete Lembo. They led their respective units on Patriot League championship teams in 2000 and 2001. Defensive coordinator Mike Kashurba coached at Bucknell in 2012 and 2013. On the Bison side, Cecchini is a former All-America receiver for the Brown and White. Bucknell assistant coaches Jason Miran and Vinny Giacalone both enjoyed stints at Lehigh during their coaching careers.
Bucknell enters Saturday’s game still looking for its first win of the 2022 season. The Bison forced five Yale turnovers last Saturday at the Yale Bowl but still came up on the short end of a 29-9 score, which dropped Bucknell to 0-6. The Bison are 0-2 in the Patriot League with losses to Lafayette and Holy Cross and have lost 13 straight games dating back to last season. Rushawn Baker was a bright spot for the Bison at Yale as he ran 20 times for 113 yards and the lone Bucknell touchdown. Baker leads Bucknell with 345 rushing yards this season. Ethan Grady has seen most of the action at quarterback, completing 47 percent of his passes for 609 yards with two touchdowns and five interceptions. Brent Jackson leads the Bucknell defense with 62 tackles, an interception and five pass breakups. Ben Allen has contributed 46 tackles and 2.5 tackles for loss. Four of Bucknell’s five takeaways at Yale were interceptions.
Lehigh has played Bucknell more times than any opponent other than rival Lafayette. The Mountain Hawks and Bison meet for the 86th time with Lehigh holding a 49-33-3 advantage. Lehigh has won 20 of the last 24 games, winning 15 straight before back-to-back Bucknell wins in 2013 and 2014. Last year’s Lehigh win in Lewisburg snapped a two-game winning streak for Bucknell.
Saturday’s game kicks off just after noon from Goodman Stadium. Tickets are still available and can be purchased at LehighTickets.com or by calling 610-7LU-GAME during business hours.
The Mountain Hawks will have their bye next weekend and will then return to action at three-time defending league champion Holy Cross on Saturday, Nov. 5. Game time is set for noon from Fitton Field.
|Date:||October 22, 2022|
|Stadium:||Goodman Stadium/16,000/Natural Grass|
|Lehigh’s record:||1-6 overall, 1-1 Patriot League|
|Bucknell’s record:||0-6 overall, 0-2 Patriot League|
|Series:||Lehigh leads 49-33-3|
|Television:||Service Electric Network with Mike Zambelli and Doug Heater|
|Radio:||Fox Sports Radio 94.7 FM and 1230 AM and with Matt Kerr, Lance Haynes and Matt Markus beginning at 11 a.m.|
|Internet:||Video on ESPN+
Audio at LVFoxSports.com
|Key Stats:||•Lehigh rushed for a season-high 190 yards at Cornell last week, while the Mountain Hawks’ pass defense yielded a season-low 202 yards to the Big Red.
•The Mountain Hawks lead the Patriot League in sacks with 18 and have averaged three sacks per game over their last five outings.
•Lehigh went 31-6 with two Patriot League titles from 2000-02 when Tom Gilmore and Dave Cecchini served as the Mountain Hawks’ defensive and offensive coordinators, respectively.
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