WORCESTER, Mass. – Bucknell quarterback C.J. Hopson rushed for 189 yards and a touchdown on 29 carries, to lead the Bison to a 23-17 victory over the 13th-ranked Holy Cross football team at Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium. Even with the loss, the Crusaders clinched the 2009 Patriot League title outright, thanks to Lehigh’s 27-21 victory over Lafayette. Holy Cross falls to 9-2 overall and 5-1 in the Patriot League, while Bucknell finishes the year at 4-7 overall and 2-4 in the conference.
After a scoreless first quarter, the Bison opened the scoring on a 13-yard touchdown run by Tyler Smith. Hopson then scored on a four-yard rush to put Bucknell ahead 14-0. The Crusaders came back with a 13-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Dominic Randolph (Amelia, Ohio) to sophomore tight end Alex Schneider (Inner Grove Heights, Minn.), to make the score 14-7 at halftime.
Junior placekicker Rob Dornfried (Berlin, Conn.) booted a 23-yard field goal in the third quarter, before a 30-yard field goal by Bucknell’s Drew Orth made the score 17-10. Sophomore tailback Eddie Houghton (Toronto, Ontario) then scored on a two-yard run early in the fourth quarter, to tie the score at 17-17.
Holy Cross moved across midfield again on its next possession, before the drive stalled following a holding penalty. After a punt, the Bison drove 80 yards in eight plays, with Smith scoring a touchdown on a nine-yard run. Following a missed extra point, Bucknell led 23-17 with 1:40 remaining. The Crusaders were then able to drive down to the Bison 24-yard line on their final possession, before time ran out, allowing the Bison to claim the victory.
Randolph completed 29 of 48 passes on the day for 271 yards, while Schneider caught seven passes for 54 yards. Junior strong safety Anthony DiMichele (Sto Rox, Pa.), led the Holy Cross defense with 12 total tackles, including one tackle for loss.
As the 2009 Patriot League champion, Holy Cross will advance to the NCAA football championship subdivision playoffs. The Crusaders will learn who they will play on Sunday, Nov. 22, during the NCAA selection show between 3:00 and 3:30 p.m. on ESPNews.