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Previewing the Patriot League: Bucknell

by Mike Watts
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Bob Ahrens | WFUV Sports

Blocked field goal at 0:00 was a highlight of Fordham's 2013 season

This is the fourth of seven articles that preview the 2014 Patriot League. They are in the inverse order of the preseason poll voting by Patriot League football head coaches and sports information directors, who did not include their own school in the selections. Fordham was included in the preseason poll for the first time since introducing scholarships in 2010.

2013 Record: 6-5 Overall, 3-2 Patriot League
2013 Meeting: Fordham 23, Bucknell 21 (Bronx, NY)
Head Coach: Joe Susan (5th season, 26-28)

The Bucknell game may have been the most thrilling of the 2013 season for Fordham, which didn’t seem possible after a last second win over Temple in week three. After recovering a victory formation kneeling play fumble, the Bison drove for a game winning field goal try to end Fordham's perfect season bid after 9 weeks. The kick was blocked as time expired by Jordan Chapman and Ian Williams extending Fordham's perfect run to 10-0.

The Bison follow the lead of head coach Joe Susan – providing a hardnosed brand of football that is focused on winning in the trenches and dominating in the run game. My interviews with him have been my favorite of the past two media days.

Susan’s results aren’t particularly awe inspiring (two games below .500 in five seasons), but the way he runs his program should be the envy of the Patriot League. He loses long-time starter Branden Wesley this year, but has a crop of strong tailbacks (CJ Williams was especially impressive last year) to sustain the offense. Wesley’s absence due to injury allowed RJ Nitti to better prepare for the full time gig, and he will certainly be helped by two preseason all-Patriot League selection on the offensive line (Lonnie Rawles and Julie’n Davenport).

Evan Byers, Demetrius Baldwin-Youngblood, and Matthew Steinbeck are key returners defensively, all named to the preseason all-conference team. Byers and fellow linebacker Lee Marvel stood out in particular against Fordham a year ago. As expected, the Bison were stingy on run defense, allowing a microscopic 2.9 yards per carry.

In our preseason interview, Joe Susan tells WFUV which NFL coach was most interested in last year’s exciting finish at Jack Coffey Field and what to expect in 2014.

Hear interviews with senior Lee Marvel and coach Joe Susan from Patriot League Media Day on July 31 below.

WFUV is the home of Fordham Rams football all season long. Listen live on 90.7FM or WFUVSports.org for with exclusive coverage including Monday Night Quarterback and pre and postgame interviews with head coach Joe Moorhead.

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Head Coach Joe Susan Linebacker Lee Marvel