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Archive For November 24, 2017

1st Round FCS Playoffs Game Preview: Lehigh at Stony Brook: Playoff Return To Long Island For First Time Since ’99

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1st Round FCS Playoffs Game Preview: Lehigh at Stony Brook: Playoff Return To Long Island For First Time Since ’99

I remember the last game Lehigh played on Long Island; I was there. 

It also happened to be a FCS Playoff, or back then, I-AA Playoff, game. 

It wasn’t against Stony Brook, who finished their very first season in I-AA that year with a 5-5 record and a win over St. John’s (NY), 28-6.

It was against a team that used to be the biggest college football program on Long Island – an East Coast independent, Hofstra, that was led by head coach Joe Gardi.  Like Stony Brook, Hofstra had transitioned to I-AA football, but they had done so much earlier, and even with the challenge of scheduling as an independent, had developed into a playoff team quickly.

Hofstra used to have a national presence on the football stage.  Jets fans marveled at the diminutive WR Wayne Chrebet, and fell in love with his story – the local boy who led the Dutchmen in receiving, but only was on the Jets because he hustled his way into a tryout.  Legend has it that the security guard at Jets training camp stopped him on the Hofstra campus, not believing that he could possibly be a NFL wide receiver at 5 foot 10 – despite his success on that same field.

That was a big part of the story of Hofstra’s football program, and 1999, when Lehigh played the Dutchmen in Long Island might have been Hofstra’s peak not only as a football program but as an athletic program.  Since then, Stony Brook has passed Hofstra in about every measurable way, but in 1999, Hofstra, who was still looking for a football conference after the Patriot League would still not offer them an invite, loomed as Lehigh’s opponent.

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1st Round FCS Playoffs Game Preview: Lehigh at Stony Brook: Playoff Return To Long Island For First Time Since ’99

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1st Round FCS Playoffs Game Preview: Lehigh at Stony Brook: Playoff Return To Long Island For First Time Since ’99

I remember the last game Lehigh played on Long Island; I was there. 

It also happened to be a FCS Playoff, or back then, I-AA Playoff, game. 

It wasn’t against Stony Brook, who finished their very first season in I-AA that year with a 5-5 record and a win over St. John’s (NY), 28-6.

It was against a team that used to be the biggest college football program on Long Island – an East Coast independent, Hofstra, that was led by head coach Joe Gardi.  Like Stony Brook, Hofstra had transitioned to I-AA football, but they had done so much earlier, and even with the challenge of scheduling as an independent, had developed into a playoff team quickly.

Hofstra used to have a national presence on the football stage.  Jets fans marveled at the diminutive WR Wayne Chrebet, and fell in love with his story – the local boy who led the Dutchmen in receiving, but only was on the Jets because he hustled his way into a tryout.  Legend has it that the security guard at Jets training camp stopped him on the Hofstra campus, not believing that he could possibly be a NFL wide receiver at 5 foot 10 – despite his success on that same field.

That was a big part of the story of Hofstra’s football program, and 1999, when Lehigh played the Dutchmen in Long Island might have been Hofstra’s peak not only as a football program but as an athletic program.  Since then, Stony Brook has passed Hofstra in about every measurable way, but in 1999, Hofstra, who was still looking for a football conference after the Patriot League would still not offer them an invite, loomed as Lehigh’s opponent.

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FIRST LOOK: 1st Round of FCS Playoffs: The Stony Brook Seawolves

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FIRST LOOK: 1st Round of FCS Playoffs: The Stony Brook Seawolves

By now, you know that Lehigh has drawn Stony Brook as their first round opponent in the FCS Playoffs.

Let’s get more familiar with them by starting with the basics.

Stony Brook is a member of the CAA, the same FCS football conference that gives use Villanova, Delaware, New Hampshire, and James Madison.

They’re located near Oyster Bay on Long Island, in Stony Brook, New York, and were established as a part of the SUNY University system in 1957.  Since then, they have grown and expanded in leaps and bounds as a research University, and also collaborate with Lehigh on certain initiatives, most recently with their computer science departments to research machine learning.

Their nickname is the Seawolves – which is apparently a real thing – and football-wise they finished 9-2 with their very challenging CAA schedule.

They are ranked No. 11 in the country in the FCS coaches’ poll and No. 12 in the country in the STATS poll.

Oh yeah – they also gave a 9-1 FBS team a major scare in the first week of the season.

Read more »

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FIRST LOOK: 1st Round of FCS Playoffs: The Stony Brook Seawolves

By |

FIRST LOOK: 1st Round of FCS Playoffs: The Stony Brook Seawolves

By now, you know that Lehigh has drawn Stony Brook as their first round opponent in the FCS Playoffs.

Let’s get more familiar with them by starting with the basics.

Stony Brook is a member of the CAA, the same FCS football conference that gives use Villanova, Delaware, New Hampshire, and James Madison.

They’re located near Oyster Bay on Long Island, in Stony Brook, New York, and were established as a part of the SUNY University system in 1957.  Since then, they have grown and expanded in leaps and bounds as a research University, and also collaborate with Lehigh on certain initiatives, most recently with their computer science departments to research machine learning.

Their nickname is the Seawolves – which is apparently a real thing – and football-wise they finished 9-2 with their very challenging CAA schedule.

They are ranked No. 11 in the country in the FCS coaches’ poll and No. 12 in the country in the STATS poll.

Oh yeah – they also gave a 9-1 FBS team a major scare in the first week of the season.

Read more »

Read more »

Down by Double Digits, Halftime Speech Sparks Lehigh’s #Rivalry153 Rally As Lehigh Wins 38-31

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Down by Double Digits, Halftime Speech Sparks Lehigh’s #Rivalry153 Rally As Lehigh Wins 38-31

For the first time all season, it was a dark, wet day for a Lehigh football game.

It was not at all ideal for the more than 15,000 fans, and countless tailgaters that made it to the tailgates but not in the stadium, partying and tailgating outside the gates of Murray Goodman.

It was also not at all ideal for Lehigh’s high-powered passing game, and during a disastrous second quarter with three turnovers, it felt like the wheels were coming off the Mountain Hawks’ chances at successfully defending their Patriot League title.

It seemed like everything that could go wrong, was actually going wrong.  Three fumbles resulted in three Lafayette recoveries.  A third down conversion incompletion by Lafayette QB Sean O’Malley became an unexpected first down, thanks to an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that kept their drive alive.  A 14-7 first quarter lead became 17 unanswered points, leading to a 24-14 deficit against the best defensive team in the Patriot League.

In this most important of football games for many of the Lehigh faithful, it seemed like they were losing it by shooting themselves in the foot.

Then halftime happened, and everything changed.  More rain, and worse weather, did not deter Lehigh from their goal.   And a couple of Rivalry legends were made in the process.
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Down by Double Digits, Halftime Speech Sparks Lehigh’s #Rivalry153 Rally As Lehigh Wins 38-31

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Down by Double Digits, Halftime Speech Sparks Lehigh’s #Rivalry153 Rally As Lehigh Wins 38-31

For the first time all season, it was a dark, wet day for a Lehigh football game.

It was not at all ideal for the more than 15,000 fans, and countless tailgaters that made it to the tailgates but not in the stadium, partying and tailgating outside the gates of Murray Goodman.

It was also not at all ideal for Lehigh’s high-powered passing game, and during a disastrous second quarter with three turnovers, it felt like the wheels were coming off the Mountain Hawks’ chances at successfully defending their Patriot League title.

It seemed like everything that could go wrong, was actually going wrong.  Three fumbles resulted in three Lafayette recoveries.  A third down conversion incompletion by Lafayette QB Sean O’Malley became an unexpected first down, thanks to an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that kept their drive alive.  A 14-7 first quarter lead became 17 unanswered points, leading to a 24-14 deficit against the best defensive team in the Patriot League.

In this most important of football games for many of the Lehigh faithful, it seemed like they were losing it by shooting themselves in the foot.

Then halftime happened, and everything changed.  More rain, and worse weather, did not deter Lehigh from their goal.   And a couple of Rivalry legends were made in the process.
Read more »

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What To Look For On Sunday For the FCS Playoff Pairings

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What To Look For On Sunday For the FCS Playoff Pairings

Lehigh are the Patriot League Football Champs, and will be playing in the 1st round of the FCS playoffs.

The FCS Playoff Bracket is going to be revealed on ESPNU at 11:00AM on Sunday on a selection show.  The team will be watching the selections live at the Goosey Gander to find out who they will play, and where.

The chance that Lehigh will host a home playoff game appears to be very slim.  Though record is technically not in consideration for whether a team will host a first-round game, other considerations (the lack of lights, no Noon playoff starts) make it difficult if not impossible to host a playoff game at Murray Goodman unless temporary lights are brought in.

Being that’s the case, it seems very likely that Lehigh will be playing somewhere on the road in the 1st round.  Below the flip, I will give the bracket predictions of the experts and three things I think you should watch for during the selection show.
Read more »

Read more »

What To Look For On Sunday For the FCS Playoff Pairings

By |

What To Look For On Sunday For the FCS Playoff Pairings

Lehigh are the Patriot League Football Champs, and will be playing in the 1st round of the FCS playoffs.

The FCS Playoff Bracket is going to be revealed on ESPNU at 11:00AM on Sunday on a selection show.  The team will be watching the selections live at the Goosey Gander to find out who they will play, and where.

The chance that Lehigh will host a home playoff game appears to be very slim.  Though record is technically not in consideration for whether a team will host a first-round game, other considerations (the lack of lights, no Noon playoff starts) make it difficult if not impossible to host a playoff game at Murray Goodman unless temporary lights are brought in.

Being that’s the case, it seems very likely that Lehigh will be playing somewhere on the road in the 1st round.  Below the flip, I will give the bracket predictions of the experts and three things I think you should watch for during the selection show.
Read more »

Read more »

QUICK RECAP: Lehigh Rallies from 24-14 Deficit, Ends Up Patriot League Co-Champs With Thrilling 38-31 Win over Rivals

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QUICK RECAP: Lehigh Rallies from 24-14 Deficit, Ends Up Patriot League Co-Champs With Thrilling 38-31 Win over Rivals

As in most meetings of The Rivalry, there were a lot of ill Lehigh fans wandering around the stands at halftime.

Not all of that illness is football-related, but the folks who live and die by this team were as well.
Down 24-14, victims of three first half fumbles, two of which were converted into Lafayette touchdowns, it almost fell like the wheels were coming off the Lehigh bus.  The energy in the stands was lacking.
The narratives were writing themselves – a young Lehigh team that made too many mistakes to win a big football game.  A team that more often than not couldn’t get out of their own way enough to win a big game.  Only the win against Colgate, with all of those overturned touchdowns for the Raiders, would Lehigh have come from behind to win.
But in the second half, something happened.
Despite a Lafayette kickoff return for touchdown, the Mountain Hawks exploded for 344 yards of offense  and scored 24 points on offense in a variety of ways, none more spectacular than junior QB Brad Mayes‘ 41 yard bomb to senior WR Gatlin Casey to give Lehigh the lead with 7:49 to play.
In addition, Lehigh’s defense emerged to put the hammer down on the Lafayette offense as well, with sophomore FS Riley O’Neil leading the charge with some big hits and senior DE Tyler Cavenas forcing Lafayette’s young signalcaller, QB Sean O’Malley, into some missed throws.  Lafayette’s offensive output was only 24 yards the entire second half.
Slowly, the momentum that was all Lafayette’s started to turn.  By the end, no Lehigh fan felt ill anymore.
On a cold, wet, rainy Rivalry Saturday, a slick football no impediment, Lehigh came together just in time to rally to take the lead on Lafayette and ultimately win, 38-31.  In a way it’s the perfect microcosm of their season in one game: start sloppy, and it seemed like, maybe, this thing was going to go off the tracks.  
But just in time, everything came together, and as a result, Lehigh are Patriot League Champions and will be practicing on Thanksgiving.

Read more »

Read more »

QUICK RECAP: Lehigh Rallies from 24-14 Deficit, Ends Up Patriot League Co-Champs With Thrilling 38-31 Win over Rivals

By |

QUICK RECAP: Lehigh Rallies from 24-14 Deficit, Ends Up Patriot League Co-Champs With Thrilling 38-31 Win over Rivals

As in most meetings of The Rivalry, there were a lot of ill Lehigh fans wandering around the stands at halftime.

Not all of that illness is football-related, but the folks who live and die by this team were as well.
Down 24-14, victims of three first half fumbles, two of which were converted into Lafayette touchdowns, it almost fell like the wheels were coming off the Lehigh bus.  The energy in the stands was lacking.
The narratives were writing themselves – a young Lehigh team that made too many mistakes to win a big football game.  A team that more often than not couldn’t get out of their own way enough to win a big game.  Only the win against Colgate, with all of those overturned touchdowns for the Raiders, would Lehigh have come from behind to win.
But in the second half, something happened.
Despite a Lafayette kickoff return for touchdown, the Mountain Hawks exploded for 344 yards of offense  and scored 24 points on offense in a variety of ways, none more spectacular than junior QB Brad Mayes‘ 41 yard bomb to senior WR Gatlin Casey to give Lehigh the lead with 7:49 to play.
In addition, Lehigh’s defense emerged to put the hammer down on the Lafayette offense as well, with sophomore FS Riley O’Neil leading the charge with some big hits and senior DE Tyler Cavenas forcing Lafayette’s young signalcaller, QB Sean O’Malley, into some missed throws.  Lafayette’s offensive output was only 24 yards the entire second half.
Slowly, the momentum that was all Lafayette’s started to turn.  By the end, no Lehigh fan felt ill anymore.
On a cold, wet, rainy Rivalry Saturday, a slick football no impediment, Lehigh came together just in time to rally to take the lead on Lafayette and ultimately win, 38-31.  In a way it’s the perfect microcosm of their season in one game: start sloppy, and it seemed like, maybe, this thing was going to go off the tracks.  
But just in time, everything came together, and as a result, Lehigh are Patriot League Champions and will be practicing on Thanksgiving.

Read more »

Read more »

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