The drought is over: Lehigh football defeats Bucknell for first win in two years


After a losing streak lasting more than two years, Lehigh football turned on the jets against Patriot League rival Bucknell and secured a 38-6 win, marking their first since Oct. 26, 2019. 

The Mountain Hawks had scored a total of 49 points on the season before Saturday’s outburst.

The teams were evenly matched for the game, as Bucknell entered with a record of 1-7 (0-4 in conference play).

Lehigh was 0-8 (0-3 in conference play).

Saturday’s matchup started slow, with both teams struggling to turn their successful first downs and productive yardage into points.

The game was put into motion when junior wide receiver Tommy Lewis made a crucial punt block, which gave Lehigh a first down at the Bucknell nine-yard line.

A second-quarter interception quickly gave possession back to Bucknell, who then capitalized on a Lehigh penalty and kicked a field goal to make the score 3-0.

The Mountain Hawks took advantage of good field position, and sophomore quarterback Dante Perri made a crucial pass to junior wide receiver Johnny Foley and another to sophomore Eric Johnson. 

After a flag was thrown on first and goal, senior running back RaShawn Allen rushed for a touchdown and junior kicker Dylan Van Dusen kicked the extra point, giving Lehigh a 7-3 lead.

This marked Lehigh’s sixth touchdown of the year, after starting the first six games without one

Lehigh’s momentum continued as freshman defensive back DJ Lawrence intercepted the first pass of his college career.

On the next possession, sophomore running back Jack DiPietro slipped out of the backfield before catching a screen pass and bursting off the line of scrimmage for a 44-yard gain.

Bucknell blocked Perri during his attempt to rush for a touchdown, but Lehigh responded with a handoff to DiPietro for a rushing touchdown, followed by Van Dusen’s extra point, which put Lehigh up 14-3. 

“14-3 was a good place to be,” DiPietro said. “It was really big for our momentum, and as you saw, we didn’t look back.”

Lehigh kept up the pressure with sophomore defensive lineman Ben Murphy intercepting Bucknell in the second quarter.

Not long after, junior running back Zaythan Hill broke free for a touchdown followed by another extra point kick by Van Dusen, giving Lehigh a 21-3 lead.

As the second quarter came to a close, Bucknell quarterback Nick Semptimphelter made a long pass to freshman Mason Muir, placing the Bison in field-goal range.

Bucknell sophomore Ryan Schatzel converted the field goal, making it 21-6.

Lehigh’s defense stepped up, limiting the Bison to just zero points the rest of the game. 

“We just had to pick each other up, with defense playing our game and not making mental mistakes,” sophomore linebacker Mike DeNucci said. “That’s the way it has to be.”

As the second half was underway, Lehigh’s offense kept up the pace with a field goal from Van Dusen, a touchdown by Hill and a touchdown by DiPietro, solidifying its first win of the season.

“I’m proud of them,” coach Tom Gilmore said. “It says a lot about the team. We had a tough start, and we kept fighting back and wound up having the best offensive day that we’ve had all year.”

Lehigh returns home against Georgetown on Nov. 13 at 12:00 p.m.

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