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Archive For The “DOTW” Category

Princeton At Lehigh Game Preview: Hoping "The Hangover 4" Doesn’t Hang Over Mountain Hawks

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Princeton At Lehigh Game Preview: Hoping "The Hangover 4" Doesn’t Hang Over Mountain Hawks

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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Lehigh At Penn Game Preview: "Our Kids Remember", Priore Says, That They "Tattooed Us Real Good"

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Lehigh At Penn Game Preview: "Our Kids Remember", Priore Says, That They "Tattooed Us Real Good"

(Photo Credit: Pat Goodridge/Daily Pennsylvanian)

“[We’re] trying not to over-plan for Lehigh,” Penn head coach Ray Priore said in his first Penn coaches’ teleconference of the year.  “And the kids are very focused.  We got off to last years’ start 1-3, our first loss was to Lehigh, and they tattooed us pretty good up there, so our kids remember that…

If there was any doubt that the Penn players had somehow forgotten the way they kicked off the Ray Priore era – that they had forgotten that humbling beginning to their Ivy League championship season from last year – any doubt of that was easily erased by the easy way that “so our kids remember that” uttered from Priore’s lips at the press conference.

College football head coaches generally don’t like their opponents lying in wait for them for months upon months upon months.  They prefer to sneak into town competing as lightly-regarded underdogs, preferably playing a “scrappy, fundamental game” (whatever that means), and escaping town with a character-building win and then heading home on the bus.

Head coach Andy Coen and the rest of the Mountain Hawks will definitely not have that luxury heading down to Franklin field this weekend.  They’re going to have a riled-up, laying-in-wait Quaker team that are favored to repeat as Ivy League champions.

“Our kids remember that.”


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Lehigh At Villanova Game Preview: The Cherry On Top For Andy Talley

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Lehigh At Villanova Game Preview: The Cherry On Top For Andy Talley

Villanova is listed as No. 22 in the STATS Top 25 poll this week, and No. 19 in the Coaches’ poll.  Lehigh, as has been the case since 2014, is unranked.

Additionally, since resuming play against the Wildcats in the modern era in 2004, Lehigh is 1-4 against Villanova.

So, simple matter for Lehigh to put the Monmouth loss behind them and kick off the rest of the 2016 football season with a win, right?

Not exactly.

That the Villanova game this Saturday will be a big challenge appears to be something head coach Andy Coen, junior OL Tim O’Hara and the rest of the Mountain Hawks are quite aware, but that doesn’t mean that anyone will be backing down.

“The message we’re going to have is don’t get on the bus unless you think you’re going to win the game,” Coen said.  “So, we’re looking forward to it.”
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Lehigh At Villanova Game Preview: The Cherry On Top For Andy Talley

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Lehigh At Villanova Game Preview: The Cherry On Top For Andy Talley

Villanova is listed as No. 22 in the STATS Top 25 poll this week, and No. 19 in the Coaches’ poll.  Lehigh, as has been the case since 2014, is unranked.

Additionally, since resuming play against the Wildcats in the modern era in 2004, Lehigh is 1-4 against Villanova.

So, simple matter for Lehigh to put the Monmouth loss behind them and kick off the rest of the 2016 football season with a win, right?

Not exactly.

That the Villanova game this Saturday will be a big challenge appears to be something head coach Andy Coen, junior OL Tim O’Hara and the rest of the Mountain Hawks are quite aware, but that doesn’t mean that anyone will be backing down.

“The message we’re going to have is don’t get on the bus unless you think you’re going to win the game,” Coen said.  “So, we’re looking forward to it.”
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Game Preview Lehigh at Fordham, 10/24/2015

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Game Preview Lehigh at Fordham, 10/24/2015

The enormity of the challenge of Lehigh’s 2015 football schedule was evident to everyone looking at the schedule.

“October 10th, at Bucknell.  October 24th, at Fordham”.

In August, every Lehigh fan wants to be an optimist.  They want to believe that this is the year that they win a Patriot League champions.  They look at the entirety of the schedule, and say, “Yeah.  We could win that one.”

But even the biggest optimists looked at this two-game stretch, at Bucknell, and at Fordham, and had to pause, and perhaps exhale.   “Number Two and Number One in the league last year,” they think.  “On the road.  And Fordham, a Top 15 team for the last two years, who has gone to the FCS playoffs for two straight years, with a returning Jerry Rice award-winner in RB Chase Edmonds.”

Lehigh defied their preseason expectations by beating Bucknell 21-10 two weeks ago, setting up an extremely meaningful game in the Bronx this coming weekend for this young Mountain Hawk team.
The optimists from the summer are still here.  They already saw one tough road win against the Bison.  Though it’s going to be a huge challenge, they also see the potential for another.

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Game Preview, Lehigh at Bucknell, 10/10/2015

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Game Preview, Lehigh at Bucknell, 10/10/2015

The buzz went through the press box in the minutes before last year’s game versus Bucknell that QB R.J. Nitti, the starter for the 4-1 Bison, was not suiting up at quarterback.

Almost immediately, the mood of the Lehigh folks covering the game picked up.

Without Nitti, it would mean little-used QB Trey Lauletta would be the starter in his place.  That, along with the injury to the regular starting RB C.J. Williams, what seemed originally like a close matchup between two close teams felt like a very good shot at a win for the winless Mountain Hawks and might actually get Lehigh’s season pointed in the right direction.

 It didn’t work out that way.

After jumping out to a 7-0 lead, Bucknell would ride a record-setting performance by WR Will Carter, who would get 3 big-play touchdowns during a stretch of 31 straight Bison points to power through to a 45-24 win over Lehigh and effectively ending any dreams of competing for the Patriot League title.

For the last two seasons, the quest for Lehigh’s Patriot League title hopes have gone through a game versus Bucknell. This year is no different.  The road to any sort of Patriot League title hopes for the Mountain Hawks start this weekend in Lewisburg.

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