By William Bowman
The Daily Item
LEWISBURG -- Tyler Smith admitted the second time he touched the ball Saturday it took him awhile to get up to speed as he shot through a gigantic hole on his way to a 76-yard scoring run.
Sort of sums up the day for Smith and the Bucknell Bison.
Bucknell held on for dear life in the first half of Saturday's Patriot League game as Fordham stormed out to a 14-point lead. Then the Bison hit full speed in the final two quarters to rally for a 27-24 victory at Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium, snapping a seven-game losing streak.
Smith, who has battled injury all season, ran for a season-high 179 yards -- more than he had all year -- and scored three TDs as the Bison (2-7) outscored Fordham (5-4) 20-3 over the final 30 minutes.
"We tried to tell the guys at halftime the score doesn't count until they chase us off the field," Bucknell coach Joe Susan said. "I sensed that our opponent felt they had us beat (at halftime) and I told my guys that they don't know us very well.
"But it was a big step in terms of resilience. I feel so good for these kids."
The Bison avoided their first eight-game losing streak since 1957-58.
In a season that had seemingly slipped away, it looked Saturday like it was going to be another in a string of frustrating losses. A half a dozen times the Bison had a chance to make a play in the opening half only to see Fordham come up with the ball. So when Carlton Koonce streaked into the end zone untouched with two minutes to play in the half, putting the Rams up 21-7, the Bison looked to be in big trouble.
Bucknell's defense had been on the field for nearly 20 minutes in the first two quarters. No way it was going to hold up in the second half. And the Bucknell offense managed just 63 yards on the 26 snaps other than Smith's long TD run.