Penn football is seeking to follow up last week's win at Colgate with its second-straight Patriot League game, this time at Bucknell in Lewisburg, Pa. The Bison are 1-1 and should be fresh off their bye last week. Ahead of Saturday's game, The Daily Pennsylvanian's Sports staff makes their picks.
Penn 27, Bucknell 14 — Caleb Crain, Sports Editor
Last week, Penn passed its first test, as the team handled Colgate easily. The offense was humming, and the defense held firm, forcing three turnovers in the process. This week, I expect more of the same. Despite Bucknell recording a win against VMI on Sept. 9 and having a bye last week, the Quakers should be able to pull off a win here. There should be an improvement on both sides of the ball, as various units continue to find their footing. I trust that Penn can play the type of complementary football that will allow them to thrive against the Bison.
Penn 20, Bucknell 10 — Walker Carnathan, Deputy Sports Editor
After a victory over one Patriot League team in the season opener, the Quakers turn their attention to another: the Bucknell Bison. The two foes have a few things in common: they both finished 2-4 in the Patriot League last year, they tied for fourth in the conference, and at the end of the week, and they’ll both have losses to Penn on their record. The story of Penn’s opening victory was the defense, and I anticipate a similar effort this Saturday. The Red and Blue brigade nabbed a pair of interceptions while holding the Raiders to just 1.8 yards per carry on the ground, and I expect more of that dominance against a Bucknell offense that has scored just 24 total points over its first two games. The Quakers will force at least three turnovers in a suffocating defensive effort, heading into Ivy play with a crisp 2-0 slate.
Penn 23, Bucknell 17 — Vivian Yao, Sports Associate
The Quakers should win this game and keep their red hot start to the season rolling, although the score will definitely be closer than what most people will be expecting. Bucknell wide receiver Damian Harris has been playing lights out despite the team’s offensive troubles, so expect to see him being the focal point for the Bucknell offense, especially against a Penn defense with a stout run stopping unit. If the Red and Blue secondary — which let up 197 passing yards against Colgate — can shut Harris down, then the win will be theirs. If they can’t, then Penn may very well find itself on the other end of the score.
Penn 21, Bucknell 13 — Griffin Bond, Sports Associate
In the two games that Bucknell has played this year, both opponents had around 40 rushing attempts. James Madison had 261 yards and three touchdowns on 41 carries, while VMI only managed 75 yards and zero touchdowns with its 40 carries. One team defeated Bucknell, one did not. It is pretty easy to guess which one. In 2022, opponents rushed for less than 100 yards against the Bison three times. Those three games were its three wins on the year. The script is out on how to beat Bucknell. After losing running back Trey Flowers and with multiple new starters on the offensive line, the Quakers entered this season with questions in the run game. Despite only eight attempts against Colgate, junior running back Jacob Cisneros emerged as a possible solution — finishing with 65 yards, including a team-long 18-yard carry. I expect this success to continue, and the Quakers will come away with the win.
Penn 28, Bucknell 14 — Ansh Jakatimath, Sports Reporter
After a strong performance against Colgate, I have the Quakers triumphing over Bucknell this upcoming Saturday. My confidence in this prediction is largely based on the performance of Cisneros and sophomore wide receiver Jared Richardson, who stood out in last week’s contest. However, it’s worth noting that the Bison haven’t given me much reason to be objectively confident. While they recently secured a one-score victory over VMI, their previous 38-3 blowout loss to James Madison is hard to overlook. Both teams currently hold one win in their records, so I hope for a close and competitive matchup. Nonetheless, my pick remains the same: Quakers by two scores.
Penn 24, Bucknell 6 — Kristel Rambaud, Sports Reporter
Penn football has picked up right where the team left off, shaking off the cobwebs and dust of the offseason and displaying the type of defensive stability and offensive variety of last season. Junior quarterback Aidan Sayin targeted nine different receivers against Colgate, showing off a versatile offensive core that the Bucknell defense — who let James Madison put up 38 points — likely cannot keep up with. On the other hand, across two games, Bucknell has put up an average of 12 points. Up against a Red and Blue defense that got six sacks last game, the odds are not in their favor.