Archive For The “2017” Category

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.

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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.

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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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#Rivalry153 Lehigh Senior Spotlight

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#Rivalry153 Lehigh Senior Spotlight

Like I did last year, I compiled a list of a "greatest hits" of some of the published articles on all of the Lehigh football seniors.¬†They are below the flip.All of the players below are listed as seniors or 5th year players on the current Le…

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#Rivalry153 Game Breakdown and Fearless Prediction: Leopards’ Veteran D Will Be Tough To Crack

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#Rivalry153 Game Breakdown and Fearless Prediction: Leopards’ Veteran D Will Be Tough To Crack

We break down #Rivalry153 – and we give our fearless prediction, below the flip.

I have always felt like these Rivalry games are first and foremost about the seniors. 

It seems like for the most part, it’s the seniors who really answer the call and compete to their fullest potential in this bowl game at the end of the regular season.  Guys like Lehigh QB Nick Shafnisky last year, who won the MVP award, or Lafayette RB Ross Scheuerman, who dominated a certain game in the Bronx that shall not be named.

When you take away The Rivalry, when you take away the emotions, when you take away the craziness, the energy – what do we have?  When you look at the Xs and Os, what do you have?

Certainly, this game, like every Rivalry game, will be dictated and informed by emotion.  You can count on the fact, as a Lehigh fan, that Lafayette will play out of their minds. 

That shouldn’t stop us, though, from looking over the Leopards and seeing what they’re all about.  They will put together a gameplan to come away with victory, and though Lafayette head coach John Garrett could very well take their entire playbook up until this point and throw it in the trash, and it’s up to the Mountain Hawks to figure out a way to stop them.

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#Rivalry153 Game Preview: The Great – Yet Terrifying – Bowl Game To End the 2017 Regular Season

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#Rivalry153 Game Preview: The Great – Yet Terrifying – Bowl Game To End the 2017 Regular Season

Senior OL Zach Duffy could have chosen to talk about any number of career highs when he reflected this week in The Brown and White about his time as a football player at Lehigh.

He could have talked about building the program up from a 4-7 team into a Patriot League champion, crushing the sweet dreams of Lafayette last year in Easton in the 152nd version of The Rivalry, 45-21,
or perhaps he could have waxed philosophic about the last time Lehigh squared off against Lafayette at Murray Goodman Stadium, the time when QB Nick Shafnisky threw aside a Lafayette defender and the Mountain Hawks blew the doors out with a 49-35 win.

But that’s not what he talked about at all.

He went right at the “agony of defeat” moments instead, talking about the loss to Lafayette in 2013, the infamous “it’s supposed to suck, and it’s supposed to hurt” game where an 8-2 Lehigh team faced off against a 4-6 Lafayette squad that ended up going to the FCS Playoffs with a 5-6 record.

“We had come into that game 8-2 with some momentum,” Zach wrote.  “We knew Lafayette was a tough team, but we didn’t respect them because we thought they couldn’t be tougher than us.

“[And after the loss,] I had no option but to stagger through the families consoling our seniors because they would never play football again. I watched grown men cry because they’d never again make a game-changing play, score a touchdown or deliver those big hits we love on defense. We saw their faces, and we felt their pain. Not only were their careers over, but we also lost the Patriot League Championship to our archrivals.  Now, four years later, we’re in a similar position.”

Lehigh has played three Rivalry games since that 2013 meeting, but none of them technically had the Patriot League Championship – and an FCS Playoff berth – on the line, because Lehigh had wrapped up the autobid and no worse than a co-championship going in.  In 2013, the Mountain Hawks had everything to play for, and lost, and this season, in 2017, Lehigh is in the exact same position.

And that’s both exciting – and terrifying.

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