Archive For The “D.M. Balliet” Category
What a win it was.
The consensus from anyone on the Lehigh side was that the 0-2 Mountain Hawks needed a win. Any win. And it wasn’t going to be easy, against last year’s Ivy League champs, out for vengeance.
And then it happened – the sort of half of football that makes all the loss experiences worth it, the type of tale of redemption after the disappointment of being so close to tasting victory and possible national recognition, only to have it taken away by a few yards in a game of inches, or a drive where the defense couldn’t get that one final stop.
Suddenly, all the narratives that defined the first two losses were overturned. Times when the offense were stopped short became touchdowns. The defense became a Steel Curtain. The win was as definitive as it was season-affirming. It was difficult to find much to criticize in Lehigh’s 49-28 victory over Penn that had spent all offseason plotting their vengeance against the Mountain Hawks, yet Lehigh still did that to them.
And that’s the big, looming danger of this week: that the Mountain Hawk hangover from the win, from the party, from the exhilaration of the flipping of narratives, is so great that Lehigh gets blown off the line of scrimmage early by a talented Princeton team that most certainly has that capability, and had it on display at home last week vs. Lafayette.
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Rarely are scouting opportunities so accessible.
Shortly after Lehigh beat Penn last weekend, there was an opportunity for a Patriot/Ivy doubleheader for FCS football mavens, and a chance for Lehigh football fans to get a sneak peek at next week’s competition.
What they saw couldn’t have made any Mountain Hawk fan breathe easy.
What they saw was a dominating performance by the Tigers, a 40-7 walloping that had local sportswriters like Brad Wilson of the Express-Times dig down deep to describe the depth of the blowout. “If Frank Tavani had seen Saturday’s train wreck of a 40-7 loss to Princeton by his Lafayette football team coming,” he wrote, “he’d have done everything in his power to derail the Leopard Express from proceeding down the track to Disaster City.”
In Wilson’s defense, the depth of the completeness of the win over Lafayette was hard to adequately describe. Princeton only allowed six first downs in the first half, and only let up a meaningless touchdown with five minutes to play to allow Lafayette to avoid a shutout. On offense, Princeton would rack up 573 yards of offense, including more than 300 on the ground, against what was thought to be Lafayette’s strength this season, the defense. Special teams? Princeton 2/2 on field goals. Lafayette 0/1.
Based on this great statistical performance, and watching the replay, what to make of Lehigh’s chances against the same squad this weekend that seemed as dominant as the national championship Princeton football teams of 100 years ago?