South grad Bragalone rushes for 86 in Lehigh’s win over Bucknell

BETHLEHEM (AP )–Playing its second consecutive nationally ranked opponent, the Bucknell football team had a chance to prevent No. 21/24 Lehigh from clinching the Patriot League title on its home field Saturday at Goodman Stadium, but the first-place Mountain Hawks prevailed over the Bison by a 20-13 score. Bucknell (3-6, 2-2 PL) had two potential game-tying drives in the fourth quarter, but was unable to convert on either.

Lehigh (8-2, 5-0 PL) still has one more game remaining in the regular season (Nov. 19 at Lafayette), but Saturday’s win secured its 11th Patriot League title, and its first since 2011. The Mountain Hawks will be the Patriot League’s representative in the NCAA FCS Playoffs.

South Williamsport grad Dominic Bragalone led Lehigh’s rushing game, rushing for 86 yards on 17 carries.

Bucknell was led on the offensive end by R.J. Nitti, who was 17 for 26 for 228 yards. Will Carter had four catches for 120 yards for his eighth career 100-yard outing, while Joey DeFloria had 28 carries for 119 yards and a touchdown, marking his fifth 100-yard game this season.

Mark Pyles led the Bison with seven tackles, while Abdullah Anderson was all over the field with three tackles, including two sacks, and a pair of pass breakups.

Nick Shafnisky finished 18 for 37 for 264 yards and one touchdown for Lehigh, which won its eighth consecutive game. Troy Pelletier had a game-high eight receptions for 110 yards.

Bucknell led or was tied for the first 43:14 of the game, but entered the fourth quarter trailing 20-13. The Bison offense controlled most of the fourth quarter as Bucknell had the ball for nearly 12 minutes in the period.

The Bison opened the fourth quarter in the midst of a 17-play, 71-yard drive, putting Bucknell at the Lehigh four-yard line. The drive concluded with the Bison going for it on fourth-and-goal from inside the Mountain Hawks’ five-yard line with a chance to tie the score with a touchdown.