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Archive For October 17, 2015

Your Lehigh Bye Week Viewing Guide

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Your Lehigh Bye Week Viewing Guide

Did you think you would get off easy on watching college football simply because it’s Lehigh’s bye week?First of all, it gives you time to catch up on watching ESPN’s College Football Gameday, where you can see the Lehigh flag that frequently makes an …

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My FCS Top 25 Vote, Week 6: 10/12/2015

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My FCS Top 25 Vote, Week 6: 10/12/2015

If you’d like, you can check out my FCS Top 25 vote below.

People around the country are starting to understand that James Madison is a pretty damn good FCS football team.

At 6-0, they bear little resemblance to the team that squeaked by 3-8 Lehigh last season.  The lowest offensive point total they put together in a game was 38 – versus Stony Brook, who could be a playoff team.  QB Vad Lee is firing on all cylinders, just showed up in Sports Illustrated’s Faces in the Crowd, and the Dukes faithful may be getting a look from College Football Gameday in a few weeks.

After they made mincemeat of Lehigh in Week 2, I knew they were good.  But I didn’t really know how good until they got into the league portion of the schedule.  They pounded Towson 51-30 last weekend, and they will in all likelihood go 7-0 after their trip to 2-4 Elon this weekend.  I’ve had them at No. 1 the past three weeks or so, and they’ve amply justified my pick.

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Lehigh Accepted the Challenges So That They Could Feel Victory

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Lehigh Accepted the Challenges So That They Could Feel Victory

You don’t have to be a militaryphile to love football.  But to love football, it helps to have an appreciation for the military.

I remember once, long ago, on this blog I made an incorrect reference and quote in regards to the Vietnam war.  Then-head coach Pete Lembo, a pretty good military historian as well as a pretty good college football head coach, wrote me to clarify almost immediately.  He was right; I was wrong.

One of the most iconic military personalities was General George S. Patton, the controversial yet beloved World War II soldier that was an amazing figure.  He also provided this quote, applicable to both the military and football:

“Accept the challenges so that you can feel the exhilaration of victory.”

I pulled out this quote from General Patton because it seems particularly apropos in regards to this Lehigh football team this week.
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Lehigh Changes Helmets and Changes Trajectory, Defeats Bucknell 21-10

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Lehigh Changes Helmets and Changes Trajectory, Defeats Bucknell 21-10

The first surprise was Lehigh’s uniforms.

Heading out of the locker room, the Mountain Hawks did not come out in their usual gold helmets, whie jerseys and brown pants.

Instead they came out with the white helmets unveiled in the Bronx – white helmets with “Lehigh” in brown on the sides.  They matched the rest of the uniform extremely well – not the pinstripes that were worn in Yankee stadium, but all-white jerseys and all-white pants with brown numerals.  White socks and white shoes completed it.

It seemed to have been unveiled today by coach Andy Coen to usher in a new team, and  a new, fresh start.

But the best part of the afternoon was that, whatever the reason, the new uniforms worked.

After an early touchdown, the Lehigh defense would only allow a field goal the rest of the way to the Bucknell offense – without two of its top playmakers.  When preserving a two-score lead, the Lehigh offense grinded the Bison defense into so much burger meat with a 17 play, 54 yard drive that caused Bucknell head coach Joe Susan to need to burn all three of his timeouts just to get the ball back.

It was enough to come out of Lewisburg with an enormous Patriot League win going into the Mountain Hawk bye week.

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How To Watch Lehigh at Bucknell If You’re Not Going

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How To Watch Lehigh at Bucknell If You’re Not Going

If you’re not able to catch the Bucknell game in person,  you can stream the game here from the Patriot League Digital Network.  It’s a 1:00 PM start and it’s the only available video broadcast of the game.  The link is below:Patriot Lea…

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Game Breakdown, Lehigh at Bucknell, 10/10/2015

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Game Breakdown, Lehigh at Bucknell, 10/10/2015

We break down the Bucknell game – and we give our fearless prediction, below the flip.

The rivalry between Lehigh and Bucknell could not be more strange.

The Mountain Hawks hold a 44-31-3 advantage in the series and have played each other on-and-off for the last 127 years.  But Lehigh, relatively speaking, has dominated since the NCAA established Divisions in 1978.

Since both Bucknell and Lehigh were reclassified as Division I in 1978 and started competing in Division I-AA together, Lehigh holds a 27-9-1 advantage.

But any good Lehigh fan will point out, though, the last two years have see two of those nine losses.

And both weren’t just losses – they were butt-whoopings I don’t need to go over again, a humbling 48-10 loss to Bucknell in 2013 and a bad 45-24 loss last season.  Then again, Bucknell is 16-5 in their last 21 games, so it’s not like they only has success against Lehigh.

One more interesting fact is that this weekend’s Lehigh/Bucknell game is occurring when both Lehigh and Bucknell are on “pacing break” this weekend.

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Game Preview, Lehigh at Bucknell, 10/10/2015

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Game Preview, Lehigh at Bucknell, 10/10/2015

The buzz went through the press box in the minutes before last year’s game versus Bucknell that QB R.J. Nitti, the starter for the 4-1 Bison, was not suiting up at quarterback.

Almost immediately, the mood of the Lehigh folks covering the game picked up.

Without Nitti, it would mean little-used QB Trey Lauletta would be the starter in his place.  That, along with the injury to the regular starting RB C.J. Williams, what seemed originally like a close matchup between two close teams felt like a very good shot at a win for the winless Mountain Hawks and might actually get Lehigh’s season pointed in the right direction.

 It didn’t work out that way.

After jumping out to a 7-0 lead, Bucknell would ride a record-setting performance by WR Will Carter, who would get 3 big-play touchdowns during a stretch of 31 straight Bison points to power through to a 45-24 win over Lehigh and effectively ending any dreams of competing for the Patriot League title.

For the last two seasons, the quest for Lehigh’s Patriot League title hopes have gone through a game versus Bucknell. This year is no different.  The road to any sort of Patriot League title hopes for the Mountain Hawks start this weekend in Lewisburg.

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My FCS Top 25 Vote, Week 5: 10/5/2015

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My FCS Top 25 Vote, Week 5: 10/5/2015

If you’d like, you can check out my FCS Top 25 vote below.

This week was a huge one in the Missouri Valley conference, as two battles between ranked teams took place.

While North Dakota State beating South Dakota State might not have been surprising, the relative ease of which the Bison dispatched the Jackrabbits was, a 28-7 game that really wasn’t all that close.

And Illinois State, in a true “show-me” game, at least to me, really did show that they are as advertised, beating Northern Iowa 21-13.  While controversial RB Marshaun Coprich did play for the Redbirds, his 143 yards and 2 touchdowns were instrumental in their key conference win.

These two wins cleared a logjam in my Top 10 and established two clear frontrunners in the Missouri Valley race.

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Yale Came Into Our House And Pushed Us Around

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Yale Came Into Our House And Pushed Us Around

In the movie Rudy, Notre Dame head coach Dan Devine gets painted unjustifiably as a bit of a jerk.

His treatment in the movie, I feel, is what prevents Rudy from being a mostly-loved movie from a near-universally loved movie.

Some people will never forgive the moviemakers, for the convenience of drama, for changing the reality of his coaching career.

Yet despite this fact, actor Chelcie Ross manages to deliver one of the iconic halftime locker-room speeches in cinema.  You’re not really supposed to like him, as the movie goes, but somehow he manages this great line:

“No one, and I mean no one, comes into our house and pushes us around.”

It’s great because it is a universal football concept.  Bowl-eligibility, conference games, even in playing out a 3-8 season, it doesn’t matter.  Nobody wants to play the game of football and get pushed around, ever, but to be pushed around at home?  Somewhere, you have to draw a line.

This weekend, Yale pushed us around.  At home.  There’s no hiding it.  They weren’t always pretty doing it – the Bulldogs made a fair number of mistakes in the form of penalties and turnovers.  But ultimately, they won the game because they pushed us around.
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On Cold, Dreary Homecoming, Lehigh Overpowered by Yale 27-12

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On Cold, Dreary Homecoming, Lehigh Overpowered by Yale 27-12

It was a game that was pretty much the opposite of what Lehigh football fans would have wanted from homecoming.

People want games in Murray Goodman Stadium that are sunny and 70 degrees, with perhaps just a hint of wind.  Instead, despite the fact that a threatened hurricane never arrived, temperatures dipped into the 50s to go with some cold, gusty winds, which caused not a few people to get runny noses.

Homecoming is supposed to be a happy time, but the dark, overcast skies didn’t make the game feel like a warm, welcoming place.  Though the Marching 97 tried their best, as did the Alumni band, the dreariness hung over the stadium like an unwelcome guest.

Home fans always want a win on homecoming, hopefully with exciting, crisp, vibrant execution from the guys in the brown jerseys, but again, that too would end up being the opposite of what Lehigh fans were hoping for on this afternoon.

Yale would turn over the ball three times, be penalized 11 times for 94 yards, and be limited to 200 yards passing on the afternoon.  But they would also enjoy over 200 yards rushing from RB Deshawn Salter, playing in his first career start filling in for injured RB Candler Rich, and that, coupled with plenty of mistakes on the Lehigh side, would amount to a comfortable 27-12 win for the Buldogs.
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