Yet the Bison took control from the get-go in the second half and never looked back.
Brian Regan gave the Bison a spark with a kick return to near midfield to open the second half. The drive ended with a Sean Cobelli field goal to make it 21-10. Sean Sellers sacked Fordham QB Ryan Higgins to stop the next drive and this time quarterback Brandon Wesley hit Smith for a 26-yard TD pass to make it 21-17.
"It was critical for us to come out and get points early," Susan said. "The more doubt you can put into your opponent, the better you are."
Smith was hurt early in the season opener against Marist and entered Saturday's game with 151 yards rushing, 37 yards receiving and a touchdown in five games. Saturday he ran for 179 yards and two scores and caught three passes for 29 yards and another score.
"Tyler Smith can take it to the house and when you have a guy like that it's so important," Susan said.
Said Smith: "I'm just happy with came a with a win. Especially after the last couple of weeks. The team has just worked so hard. It's great to see it finally pay off."
One play after the Bison got to within four, Jordan Dudas drilled Higgins, forcing a fumble that Samuel Oyekoya recovered. This time the Bison drove it to the 1, but a Smith run was stuffed on fourth-and-inches.
"That was my call and it was the wrong one," Susan said. "We should have gone with a sneak, but even if we missed it, we were going to leave them with a big field."
The Bison did just that and when Kyle Sullivan returned a punt 10 yards and then 15 more were tacked on after a penalty, Bucknell was back in business. Two plays later Smith swept the right side untouched for a 14-yard score to give the Bison their first lead at 24-21.