LEWISBURG - Bucknell shut down Lafayette's rushing game in Saturday afternoon's Patriot League opener.
As for the Leopards' passing attack? Well, that was another story altogether.
Lafayette senior quarterback Andrew Shoop threw for 278 yards and a touchdown as the Leopards left Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium with a 20-14 victory.
"Obviously we didn't play our best football," said Bison coach Joe Susan, whose team fell to 1-2 with the loss despite outgaining the Leopards (365-289). "I thought they did a good job keeping us off-balance with what they do defensively."
Bucknell recorded a touchdown on quarterback Brandon Wesley's 12-yard scamper late to complete the scoring. The Bison got the ball back at their own 20 with 2:04 left to play, but they couldn't score as they posted just one first down before turning the ball over on downs.
"That game could have gone either way at the end," Leopards (3-0) coach Frank Tavani said. "We had tons of opportunities. I'm probably most disappointed in not doing anything with great field position."
Bucknell was also undone by three turnovers and a missed 32-yard field goal. Wesley threw two picks and fumbled away another possession when he was hit by Leopards cornerback Darius Safford.
But Wesley also accounted for 315 total yards, 239 through the air. He hit tight end Nick Gatto for one score and ran in the Bison's other touchdown.
"That's (Wesley's) demeanor," Susan said. "He handles the shortcomings better than we do as a staff."
Lafayette, which never trailed, led 7-0 after the first quarter and 17-7 at halftime. Shoop, who was 22 for 34, completed a 24-yard pass to Greg Kessel down the right seam and then hit Rodney Gould by the left sideline for a 17-yard completion on Lafayette's second drive. Three plays after Gould's catch, Kessel punched it in from a yard out to open the scoring.
"The fact of the matter is, we got the 'W,' but as an offensive unit I'm disappointed," said Shoop, a Danville graduate who estimated that he had at least 100 family and friends in the stands Saturday. "I left a lot of things out there today. I have to be better. At the end of the day, we did the things we needed to do."
Following a 46-yard field goal by the Leopards' Ryan Gralish to make the score 10-0 in the second quarter, Wesley got the Bucknell offense on the move. The junior quarterback shook off an attempted sack and ran for 45 yards to the Lafayette 24. Four plays later, Wesley found Gatto on a slant in the end zone.
Other than Wesley's 76 yards rushing, Bucknell had very little success on the ground. The rest of the team accounted for just 50 yards rushing.
"We knew up front, as long as our defensive line could handle their offensive line, there was no scheming necessary," said Lafayette senior defensive lineman Jason Marshalek, a Montoursville graduate who had two tackles on the day. "We knew we had to stop the dives and the quarterback runs."