VMI rallies twice in forth, but comes up short in 21-13 loss at Bucknell

VMI rallies twice in forth, but comes up short in 21-13 loss at Bucknell

Chris Graham

vmiVMI scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter, but could not complete the comeback as host Bucknell also scored twice to secure a 21-13 win over the Keydets Saturday afternoon at Christy Mathewson Memorial Stadium in Lewisburg, Pa.

Bucknell (1-1) scored a touchdown at the 1:30 mark of the first quarter to go ahead, 7-0, but neither team could find the endzone again until the final period.

In the third quarter, VMI senior receiver Chance Knox returned a punt to the house that would have tied the game, but a holding penalty on VMI negated the play.

“Well, it was a very disappointing outcome,” VMI coach Danny Rocco said. “We certainly didn’t come up here thinking that we wouldn’t find a way to win, but Bucknell played a really good game.”

Collin Ironside threw for 220 yards and two touchdowns for the Keydets (1-1). The first TD came on a trick play, a flea-flicker on which Ironside connected with tight end Aidan Twombly for a 27-yard touchdown pass that tied the game at 7-7 in the fourth quarter.

Bucknell responded with a four-minute touchdown drive of its own to go back ahead, 14-7, with 6:22 on the clock. VMI’s ensuing possession stalled deep in its own territory, and Bucknell blocked VMI punter Jack Culbreath’s kick, the ball rolling out of bounds at the VMI nine-yard line to set up first-and-goal for the Bison.

Running back Rushawn Baker punched it in from a yard out to extend the Bucknell lead to 21-7 with 3:26 to play.

VMI’s Ivan Thorpe returned the Bucknell kickoff to the Bison 39-yard yard for a 50-yard return to set up a short field in VMI’s comeback bid. The Keydets took advantage of the opportunity as Ironside found receiver VJ Johnson across the middle for an 18-yard touchdown.

VMI failed the two-point conversion with 1:31 left in regulation.

The Keydets attempted an onside kick, but Bucknell secured the ball and managed to run out the clock for its first win of the year.

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, youtube.com/chrisgrahamAFP.