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Archive For November 10, 2015

My FCS Top 25 Vote, Week 10, 11/9/2015

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My FCS Top 25 Vote, Week 10, 11/9/2015

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

It was a crazy week no matter how you look at it, with four Top Ten teams falling from the ranks.

But none was more shocking than 3-5 Mercer upsetting 6-2 Chattanooga, 17-14.

The Bears, who only resumed football three years ago, have only offered football scholarships over the last two years, which makes the upset just that much more stunning of a team that was considered the prohibitive favorite from the SoCon this season.

Mercer’s three wins came against non-scholarship Stetson, under-scholarshipped Austin Peay, and winless East Tennessee State, themselves in their first season resuming football.

The Bears’ first win against a fully-funded school symbolized the craziness of last weekend’s scores.

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Big Part Of Lehigh Title Run Is Offensive Line Resurgence

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Big Part Of Lehigh Title Run Is Offensive Line Resurgence

Going into last weekend, most people thought that Holy Cross might pose a problem for the Mountain Hawks defensively.

The Crusader defense had shut out two opponents, contributing to wins over Lafayette two weeks ago, 42-0, and a CAA team, Albany, 37-0.

How would Lehigh’s offensive line do against Holy Cross’ defensive front?

Once the dust had settled on Saturday, the answer was: “just fine, thanks for asking.”

The Mountain Hawks did an awful lot of things right on offense last week, jumping out to a 41-10 halftime lead, carving out 543 offensive yards and executing 83 offensive plays.  But the foundation for that offensive explosion came from a vastly improved performance on the offensive line.

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With Title Hopes On The Line, Lehigh Explodes For a 51-38 Win Over Holy Cross

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With Title Hopes On The Line, Lehigh Explodes For a 51-38 Win Over Holy Cross

From the first two plays of the game, the Mountain Hawks seemed like they were going to dictate the terms of the rest of their 2015 season.

It started with a slicing kickoff return from freshman KR Mike Gies, who saw some huge holes and got things started with a 39 yard return.

The very next play freshman QB Brad Mayes, again looking more like a senior than an underclassman, found senior WR Derek Knott who lost his defender on a double move, and then turned on the afterburners for a 61 yard touchdown.

It was that sort of half, and that sort of day for the Mountain Hawks, who put the pedal on the gas and didn’t let up until they had secured a very satisfying victory.
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Game Breakdown, Holy Cross at Lehigh, 11/7/2015

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Game Breakdown, Holy Cross at Lehigh, 11/7/2015

We break down the Holy Cross game – and we give our fearless prediction below the flip.

If you look at the statistics, you might think that this game may be a barn-burner.  In the Crusaders’ last three games, they’ve put up more than 30 points each time.  Lehigh has eclipsed 30 point in their last two games as well.

If it does end up being a high-scoring affair, it may end up echoing a Holy Cross/Lehigh game that took place twenty-four years ago, and is considered by many to be the most exciting non-Lafayette-related football game ever played at Murray Goodman Stadium.

In 1991, Holy Cross was a Division I-AA powerhouse.  Though Gordie Lockbaum had graduated much earlier, the Crusaders’ scholarship athletes kept Holy Cross’ 34 game winning streak over I-AA opponents alive.  Lehigh, also ranked nationally, was the best chance for Holy Cross to be upset in many years.

Both had some of the top offenses in I-AA.  And in front of 14,055 fans, both teams treated the fans in attendance to an incredible show.

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Game Preview, Holy Cross at Lehigh, 11/7/2015

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Game Preview, Holy Cross at Lehigh, 11/7/2015

“We didn’t execute as well as we wanted coming out of the half,” he said. “In the past we may have crumbled a little bit, but we kept fighting. We kept working through the adversity.”

You might think these were the words of someone from Lehigh this weekend, perhaps Mountain Hawk head coach Andy Coen or freshman QB Brad Mayes.

The words were not theirs, however. They were the words of Holy Cross junior QB Pete Pujals after their thrilling 34-33 win over Bryant.

Holy Cross comes into this weekend’s game at Lehigh with an identical record as the Mountain Hawks, 4-4.  Like Lehigh, they are playing to finish the season strong and force their way into a playoff conversation by winning their last three games to finish at 7-4.

Listing to Holy Cross’ post-game press conference from last week, you can pluck many more words from Pujals and head coach Tom Gilmore that could have been taken from Lehigh’s.  “Believing”.  “Character.”  “Finding a way to win.”

The Crusaders will definitely be another test as to how far Lehigh has come this season.

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My FCS Top 25 Vote, Week 9, 11/3/2015

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My FCS Top 25 Vote, Week 9, 11/3/2015

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

Pity Dartmouth.

The Big Green and Harvard, whom I’ve had in my Top 25 all season, played a game last Friday that was as great as a game between Top 25 teams can be.

For 3 1/2 quarters, Dartmouth controlled the game, up 13-0 and the Big Green’s defense, somewhat surprisingly, completely smothering Harvard’s potent offense.

Then, in the span of about six and a half, Harvard, amazingly, pulled out the win.

One touchdown pass to WR Seitu Smith, one Dartmouth fumble and another touchdown throw from QB Scott Hosch to RB Justice Shelton-Mosley, and Harvard took their first lead of the game with 36 seconds left in the game.

It was a great game to watch, and amply showed that both teams were worthy of Top 25 status, but it is impossible, as a neutral fan, to not feel for the Big Green, who had them right there.

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A Door Opens To A Possible Championship For Lehigh Football

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A Door Opens To A Possible Championship For Lehigh Football

One thing was known going into the game this weekend: Lehigh’s chances at playing for a share of the Patriot League championship were in the hands of others.

Fordham, the undefeated leaders of the Patriot League, were in control of their own destiny.  If they won their last three games, they would win the Patriot League, and there was nothing that this young Mountain Hawk team could do about it.  At best, they would be second place.

This weekend, Colgate upset the Rams 31-29 in Hamilton, and thus opened the door for a co-championship.

If Lehigh beats Holy Cross this upcoming weekend, travels to Hamilton and beats Colgate, and returns home and beats Lafayette in the 151st meeting of The Rivalry, Lehigh will at least win a share of the Patriot League championship.

That’s something to celebrate.
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Lehigh Does the Little Things In Order To Survive Georgetown Rally, 33-28

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Lehigh Does the Little Things In Order To Survive Georgetown Rally, 33-28

Head coach Andy Coen admitted that an onsides kick caught him a bit off guard.

It was not a situation that Lehigh Mountain Hawks folks were very familiar with, to be honest.  Since joining the Patriot League back in 2001, the Hoyas had lost every single time they made the trip to Murray Goodman Stadium by a margin of more than 20 points.

Having cut the margin to 27-21, on the brink of possibly beating Lehigh in Bethlehem for the first time in the modern era, Georgetown head coach Rob Sgarlata rolled the dice, and attempted an onsides kick with 14:55 to play in the game.

But junior LB Evan Harvey saw the onsides kick the whole way, and expertly grabbed the ball with both hands and fell down on the ball.

It was plays like that that won the game.

You can, and should, say a lot of good things about freshman QB Brad Mayes, who looked fantastic in spots throwing 18-of-24 for and 214 yards in his first-ever collegiate start.  You can, and should, say a lot of good things about freshman RB Dominick Bragalone, who racked up 169 net yards on the ground and was difficult for the Georgetown defense to contain.  But alone, that’s not won the game for Lehigh on Saturday.  It was a lot of little things done right, like fielding that onsides kick, that won it, and in so doing kept Lehigh’s Patriot League title hopes alive.
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