Charles Nailen/The Hoya Sophomore running back Kim Sarin pulls away from a defender. The Hoyas could not match Bucknell in their final game, falling 45-16.

With two slotbacks, one fullback and a mobile quarterback, the Bucknell backfield pounded away at Georgetown on Saturday, earning 349 rushing yards in a 45-16 win.

In their final contest of the season, the Hoyas (4-8, 1-6 Patriot) committed three turnovers and were outscored 24-3 in the first half. Last year against the Bison, the Hoyas fell into a 17-0 hole by halftime but managed to claw their way out and won the game in the final seconds, 32-31.

“They had the option going,” Georgetown Head Coach Bob Benson said. “It took us a while to get used to it. I wasn’t surprised that we were down at the half.”

Georgetown’s defense came into the game allowing 134.5 rushing yards per contest, though junior fullback Blamah Sarnor almost single-handedly surpassed that mark for the Bucknell Bison. Sarnor led all rushers with 122 yards on 19 carries. Senior slotback Tim Johnson and junior quarterback Daris Wilson finished second and third, gaining 68 yards on eight tries and 54 yards on 13 tries, respectively. Johnson and senior wideout Albert Marquardt each contributed two touchdowns.

“We knew we had to run the football,” Bucknell Head Coach Tim Landis said. “That was the key of the game.”

The Bison (6-6, 4-3 Patriot) outgained the Hoyas in total offense, 532 to 342. It was Georgetown’s worst defensive effort since a season opening loss to Lehigh in 2002 – partially attributable to the Hoyas’ inability to register sacks.

Junior quarterback Drew Crawford went 18-of-36 for 218 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Junior running back John Sims had just 81 yards on 17 carries after a record-setting performance against Davidson a week ago.

“[Bucknell] threw the ball very effectively off play action,” Benson said. “We struggled in the red zone . [and] dropped some very big passes.”

Bison freshman Dorian Petersen earned Patriot League Freshman of the Week honors for his efforts in just his second career start – 11 tackles, including four solo.

Bucknell opened the game strong, forcing Georgetown to punt on the opening drive.

“We’ve struggled late in the season,” Landis said. “But we set a goal for ourselves. We thought it was important for our defense to get an early stop . and [Georgetown] went three-and-out. It gave us confidence.”

Freshman slotback Ed Cortez responded with two runs of 16 and 26 yards, the key plays of Bucknell’s first scoring drive of the afternoon. Georgetown sophomore placekicker Michael Gillman made a 24-yard field goal after the Hoyas stalled inside the Bison 10-yard line.

Fumbles and offensive miscues marked the rest of Georgetown’s first half performance, as Bucknell tacked on two more touchdowns and a field goal before the intermission.

Georgetown kicked off the second half with what could have been the turning point of the game. Gillman’s kick was fielded by sophomore Dante Ross, who fumbled the football after getting outside the 20-yard line. The Hoyas recovered, but not until after one of the referees had inadvertently blown his whistle. Bucknell kept the ball and Sarnor broke free for 55 yards one play later, leading to another touchdown. Up 31-3, the Bison spent the rest of the game trading scores with the Hoyas – once in the third quarter and again in the fourth – to finalize the margin at 45-16.

Senior wideout Luke McArdle, who sat out last weekend against Davidson with a shoulder injury, earned 151 yards on the afternoon. cArdle caught nine passes for 99 yards and ran back two kicks and one punt. He finished the regular season atop the Division I-AA all-purpose yards list with 184.6 yards per contest, and is the only Hoya who will see postseason play. McArdle will participate in the first annual Football Network/Division I-AA All-Star Classic on Dec. 30 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Benson lauded the team’s seniors, crediting them with drastic improvement in one year of independent football and three years of Patriot League play. Though they were unable to exit with a victory, the seniors led the team through tough transition seasons.

“[The loss] gives us more incentive, more drive to do better next year,” Benson said.

The Hoyas will look to junior offensive linemen Ryan Goethals and Frank Terrazino to lead them in 2004, though Benson declined to speculate further on who else might be captain next year.

In other Patriot League news, Colgate finished the season undefeated, surviving a scare Saturday from Holy Cross. The No. 7 Raiders (12-0, 7-0 Patriot) pulled out a 45-38 victory and advanced to play host to No. 5 Massachusetts (10-2, 8-1 Atlantic 10) on Saturday in the first round of the NCAA Division I-AA playoffs.

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