‘Cats hold off late-surging Bucknell

James Evans

The opener for the Wildcats was a wild one, but they were able to hold on in the fourth quarter at home, for a win over Bucknell, 20-14.

The biggest play of the game was a goal line stand against Bucknell by the ‘Cats defense. With only three and half minutes left in the game and ‘Nova only up six, Bucknell had four tries from inside the 10-yard line to score, including an attempt from the one yard line. However, each time the ‘Cats rose to the challenge and stopped Bucknell.

“If Bucknell had scored, we really would have found out what our offense was made of,” Coach Talley said. “We had some injuries up front [offensive line], and put some freshmen in the game, and there was a lot of burden on Terry.”

It would have seemed like Terry wouldn’t have mattered the burden though, because he tore up Bucknell’s defense for 126 yards on 25 carries and scored a one yard touchdown dive, to put the ‘Cats up 20-0 at the half.

However, what looked early to be the start of a blowout for ‘Nova quickly turned into a close game.

Leading 20-0 at the end of the third quarter, it seemed as if the ‘Cats would cruise to an easy victory. Then quarterback Marvin Burroughs made one of his two mistakes of the game when he threw an interception and Bucknell took over at the ‘Cats own 40.

The defense, which up until then had only let up one four Bucknell first downs, including only one in the first half, was not able to hold Bucknell off and Bucknell’s Daris Wilson found the end zone.

Only four minutes later, Burroughs was sacked and three plays later the Bucknell would find the end zone again as the third quarter ended.

Burroughs, who finished the game 17 for 24 and 142 completion yards, with a touchdown and interception and also rushed for 45 yards on nine carries and scored a touchdown, was not pleased with his attention.

“My play was just about first-game jitters and wasn’t as focused as it should have been,” he said.

The defense was as good as advertised, as Bucknell was able to only gain one first down in the first half. The defense was lead, by Brian Huela and Raymond Ventrone, who led the team in tackles with 11 and 9, respectively.

Senior Jamil Butler had a good start to his senior campaign, racking up seven tackles, including one sack and two tackles for a total loss of 14 yards.

Sophomore Bryan Adams also had a strong game with six tackles, including a sack and two tackles for a total loss of eight yards.

Also, sophomore Terrance Reaves made the most of his first career start in the backfield, as he had his first career interception, while contributing with five tackles.

With the pressure to perform this year, because of the pre-season recognition given by the Atlantic 10 and the National media, it might tend to bother a team, but not the ‘Cats.

“There were some emotions in the locker room, but when we got out on the field we just played,” Jamil Butler said. “It was exciting once we got out on the field. We came ready to play.”

The win against Bucknell was a good way to start the season, as the ‘Cats ended last year with a three game losing streak, all losing close games. This year, however, ‘Nova was able to win the close game.

“The game was kind of a flashback to last year, but you have to have a short memory when it comes to close games,” Terry Butler said. “The coaches said that sometimes you have to win ugly games, so tonight was just that game for us.”

The Wildcats will look to capture their first road win, as they travel to Lehigh, this week. The game will be played tomorrow at 1 p.m.