The Orange and Blue football squad brought its up and down 2012 season to a close with an exciting 24-21 victory on Nov. 17 against Bryant. Although the Bison failed to match their win total from last season with a 3-8 record, the team was able to win two of its final three contests and provide much promise moving forward into next season.
The offense, led by Brandon Wesley ’14 who passed for 200 yards and two touchdowns on 18-26 passing, had a time of possession advantage, 35:57-24:03, allowing them to control the pace of the game. The offense had three scoring drives of seven plays or more.
“I believe that in the last game of the season, the offense was just playing inspired and really wanted to send the seniors out with a win,” fullback Terna Ityokumbul ’13 said. “The coaches gave us a great plan, and we went out and executed it. I think the seniors got more vocal in the last week, which really showed the younger guys how important this last game was to them.”
Despite dominating the time of possession, the Bison never led by more than a touchdown until halfway through the fourth quarter when they extended their lead to 24-14 on a 10-yard touchdown pass from Wesley to running back Tyler Smith ’13, who finished the game with 101 all-purpose yards. The touchdown was set up by an interception by Joseph Francis ’13 that gave the offense great starting field position at the Bryant 13-yard line. Bryant responded quickly with a touchdown of their own on a 40-yard pass from quarterback Mike Westerhaus to receiver Jordan Harris.
After the Bison went three-and-out on their next possession with just over six minutes remaining in the game, Bryant drove deep into Bison territory, reaching the Orange and Blue 25-yard line. The defense was able to hold Bryant on fourth down and nine. Still, Bryant had a chance to receive the ball again with two minutes remaining, but they were flagged for a roughing the kicker penalty on punter Ryan Gutowski ’13, which sealed the win for the Bison.
On defense, the Bison were able to hold Westerhaus to just 13-28 passing and sacked him four times. Safety Jordan Dudas ’15 led the team with 10 tackles, and Evan Byers ’15 record nine (three for loss) and 1.5 sacks. Byers finished the season with 100 tackles.
On offense, Wesley’s most chosen target was Victor Walker ’14, who finished with seven catches for a season-high 97 yards. Smith, who finished with 76 yards rushing and 25 receiving, ended an impressive collegiate career with 3,991 total yards and 20 touchdowns.
While the Bison struggled at times this season, the team showed in the final weeks that there is much promise moving forward to the 2013 campaign.
“The ups and downs that the team went through this year will only make the team more mentally tough for next year,” Ityokumbul said. “As long as this team is able to learn from the things that this past year’s team did well, and change the things that we weren’t able to do as well, they should be successful and serious competitors in the Patriot League next year.”