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Archive For The “Alek Torgersen” Category

Know Your 2017 Opponents: Penn

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Know Your 2017 Opponents: Penn

Last season, there were two iconic games that set the tone for the Lehigh football season – one a tough loss, the other a tough victory.

The first iconic moment was simply called “the Monmouth game” – the season-opening game where the Mountain Hawks started out slow, allowed the other Hawks to build up a double-digit lead, and after a furious comeback, Lehigh came up just short.  Lehigh had multiple opportunities to seize control – but didn’t.

It threatened to become the narrative that defined the season – that is, until the second iconic game, which was simply called “the Penn game”, and also broke down to a specific moment – the end of the first half.
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With 0.3 Left In First Half, Lehigh Ties Game, Then Never Looks Back, Beats Penn 49-28

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With 0.3 Left In First Half, Lehigh Ties Game, Then Never Looks Back, Beats Penn 49-28
(Photo Credits: Justin Lafleur, Lehigh Athletics)

Penn QB Alek Torgerson and the Penn offense had torn through the Lehigh defense like a hot knife through butter.  Again.

Nearing the end of the first half, the Huntington Beach, CA native lined up on a 4th and 1 play in the Lehigh red zone.  Faking the handoff to RB Tre Solomon, he instead took it himself, running through an enormous hole on the left side of the line for a 8 yard touchdown run.
The touchdown and extra point put Penn back ahead, 28-21, but with 1:14 left, and three timeouts, it wasn’t a question whether Lehigh was going to try to drive the length of the field to tie up the game, or at least try to cut the deficit a little.  Head coach Andy Coen was going to try.  Definitely.
So the experienced senior QB Nick Shafnisky took the field, knowing what needed to be done – the same thing that Lehigh’s offense had already done three times in the same half – drive the length of the field and make something happen.
But that was just it; the fans were in the stands, doubting.  They had seen this Lehigh team twice this year already, on the brink of turning things around, but coming up short.  All this Lehigh team needed was a stop against Monmouth, they said.  Nope.  All the Mountain Hawks needed was to convert that 4th down and 10 against Villanova, they said.  They got eight and a half yards.  
They had seen this last season, too.  Lehigh had the ball first and goal against Colgate, ready to tie the game near the end of a game that would have given them a chance at a Patriot League championship.  On 4th down, a few yards from the goalline, the pass would be batted down.  The Raiders won, clinching at least a share of the Patriot League championship.
Why should this critical drive be any different?  Why wouldn’t it also be a dollar short, like we had seen before?
The funny thing is, it wouldn’t be a dollar short, a stop short, a yard short, a second short.  It would get exactly the right number of yards and, with 0.3 seconds left, either a touchdown or nothing the result, the Lehigh offense did not end up getting stopped short, and in so doing seemed to do a lot more than simply tie the game.

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Lehigh At Penn Game Breakdown and Fearless Prediction: Can Lehigh Win At Franklin Field?

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Lehigh At Penn Game Breakdown and Fearless Prediction: Can Lehigh Win At Franklin Field?

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

It sometimes is tough for coaches and media types alike to preview teams that haven’t played a single down, and with the volume of Ivy League opponents Lehigh and other members of the Patriot League face, the Mountain Hawks get more than their fair share.

Last season, much was made of the fact that head coach Ray Priore and a huge hunk of brand-new staff were competing together in their very first college football game together, a fact that unquestionably helped Lehigh out in a 42-21 win over the Quakers.

This year, though, to some degree the tables are turned.

With a full year under their belts – and an Ivy League championship year, at that – the Quakers will be not at all like the inexperienced bunch that Lehigh played last year.  They’ve had one year in the system, one year knowing the expectations, one year going through the drills.

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Know Your 2016 Opponents: Penn

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Know Your 2016 Opponents: Penn

We continue the series “Know Your 2016 Opponents” a mere 9 (!) days away from the opening of the 2016 football season.

This might be a good time, for your reading pleasure, to remind you that these are modified with some more awesome Lehigh information from the originals over at The College Sports Journal.

It’s also a good time to remind you that I already have written a bunch of these:

Bucknell
Georgetown
Fordham
Holy Cross
Lafayette
Princeton
Yale

To come: Colgate, Villanova, and, of course Monmouth, the season opener on September 3rd.  And also, this preview of Penn.  Below the flip.
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Lehigh Doubles Win Total And Doubles Up Penn 42-21

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Lehigh Doubles Win Total And Doubles Up Penn 42-21

“I talked to the kids, really all week,” head coach Andy Coen said in the run-up to this weekend’s Penn game on the heels of a tough 55-17 loss to No. 10 James Madison.  “We weren’t thrilled with… everything… that happened in that game.  We didn’t put our best foot forward.”

“We got on the guys,” he continued, “and said to them: You’ve got to win.  You’ve got to make up your mind that you want to win.  You have to want to start winning games.”

At 1-1 and the experience of a tough loss still fresh in everyone’s minds, winning this weekend at home and gaining momentum going forward into the rest of the season was the theme of the week.

This Saturday, the 2-1 Mountain Hawks at the end of the afternoon had fulfilled both objectives.

Lehigh’s 42-21 doubling up of Penn wasn’t a game of perfection.  But it was a devastating Mountain Hawk offensive performance, coupled with enough big plays on defense, to get a very satisfying win for the home crowd of 6,971 on hand on a sunny, somewhat humid afternoon.
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Game Breakdown, Penn at Lehigh, 9/19/2015

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Game Breakdown, Penn at Lehigh, 9/19/2015

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

A lot has been made this week of Lehigh facing off against an Ivy team playing in their first game.  It’s a fairly unique feature of FCS and the Patriot League, where Ivy League schools are frequently a part of the out-of-conference menu and the Ivy League teams, who choose to start their football season in mid-September, need some out-of-conference teams to begin the season.

It does certainly pose a challenge in certain respects.  A team playing in their first game is freshest, less injured, and can surprise a team like it can in no other way the rest of the season – there is no game film really to study.  On the other hand, teams playing in their first game are generally also sloppy, and need time to adapt to the speed of football.  It is a double-edged sword.

In his Lehigh head coaching career, Andy Coen has been 5-4 in such games.  Generally, oddly enough, they tend to be a good barometer for the rest of their seasons.

In seven of the nine games, and every game since 2008, a win in this game has equaled a winning season for Lehigh.  A loss has equaled a losing season.

Last season, Lehigh lost a frustrating, heartbreaking game to Yale, 54-43, and finished 3-8 on the year.

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