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Archive For The “Ed Mish” Category

#Rivalry154 Game Breakdown and Fearless Prediction: Lehigh vs. Lafayette

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#Rivalry154 Game Breakdown and Fearless Prediction: Lehigh vs. Lafayette

All season I have done a statistical breakdown of Lehigh’s opponent, position by position.  As a change of pace, I’m going to do something different this week with the “Game Breakdown” and do a head-to-head comparison of both teams – doing a stat breakdown of both teams still, but doing more of a “Tale of the Tape” to compare both squads to see who might reign supreme in this huge football game.

Something that sometimes gets lost in The Rivalry is the importance of seniors on both sides.  For so many of these seniors, it’s not only their final college football game, it is also their final time wearing a football helmet and a jersey.  I’ve found that seniors find it in themselves to play the best games of their careers.  So seniors in the starting lineup are of great weight to me.
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#Rivalry154 Game Breakdown and Fearless Prediction: Lehigh vs. Lafayette

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#Rivalry154 Game Breakdown and Fearless Prediction: Lehigh vs. Lafayette

All season I have done a statistical breakdown of Lehigh’s opponent, position by position.  As a change of pace, I’m going to do something different this week with the “Game Breakdown” and do a head-to-head comparison of both teams – doing a stat breakdown of both teams still, but doing more of a “Tale of the Tape” to compare both squads to see who might reign supreme in this huge football game.

Something that sometimes gets lost in The Rivalry is the importance of seniors on both sides.  For so many of these seniors, it’s not only their final college football game, it is also their final time wearing a football helmet and a jersey.  I’ve found that seniors find it in themselves to play the best games of their careers.  So seniors in the starting lineup are of great weight to me.
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2018 Week 4 Players of the Week and Report Card: Penn

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2018 Week 4 Players of the Week and Report Card: Penn

Can you tell that I haven’t really wanted to finish this report card for last week’s game?

Like a teacher a hour before pacing break, I didn’t want to go through the film, the grades, and the play-by-play of the Penn game, but eventually, I did, even though it wasn’t exactly pretty.

The true hope with this report card, more than usual weeks, is that it’s seen as a springboard to getting to the season that all folks associated with Lehigh will want.  With nationally-ranked Princeton looming ahead this week, it takes on added importance.

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2018 Week 3 Lehigh Players of the Week and Report Card: Navy

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2018 Week 3 Lehigh Players of the Week and Report Card: Navy

I’ve never done one of these before after Lehigh’s played an FBS opponent. 

That’s because the last FBS opponent Lehigh played was in 2003, when the Mountain Hawks lost to UConn 35-17.

The Lehigh Football Nation blog was in its first year of existence back in 2003, and undoubtedly I wrote about it – but it’s not currently in the archives here at Blogger, because I archived those first two years offline. 

What I can tell you about that UConn game was that Lehigh faced off against a future NFL player in QB Dan Orlovsky and that QB Chad Schwenk got hurt late in that game, which made it his final game in a Mountain Hawks uniform and effectively threw the rest of that season in some turmoil.

Fortunately turmoil doesn’t seem to be a part of the report card today.

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2018 Lehigh Football Spring Preview: The Defense

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2018 Lehigh Football Spring Preview: The Defense

According to the FCS record books for 2017, there are 123 Division I schools listed in the team statistical Rankings. 

Out of 123 teams, Lehigh was ranked 119th in total team defense, allowing 477.7 yards per game.

And the defensive numbers don’t get much better the more you look.

Rushing defense, 117th.  Passing yards allowed, 89th.  Team sacks, 118th.  Red zone defense, 103rd. 

Total sacks in 12 games: 10, or 0.8 per game.  Total interceptions in 12 games: 4, or 0.25 per game.  Total takeaways: 13, or a little over 1 per game.

Though the final defensive numbers from 2017 are unable to be sugar-coated, nobody involved with Lehigh’s defense is running away from the facts this spring.  In fact, they feel they are better than this.

“When you hear so much about your defense not being good,” defensive coordinator Craig Sutyak said this week, “you start to believe it, and I think our kids started to believe it too the last couple of years.  But we’re not going to beat ourselves.  We’re going to have faith in ourselves, faith in the guys next to us, and we’re going to continue to grow as a unit.”

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2018 Lehigh Football Spring Preview: The Defense

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2018 Lehigh Football Spring Preview: The Defense

According to the FCS record books for 2017, there are 123 Division I schools listed in the team statistical Rankings. 

Out of 123 teams, Lehigh was ranked 119th in total team defense, allowing 477.7 yards per game.

And the defensive numbers don’t get much better the more you look.

Rushing defense, 117th.  Passing yards allowed, 89th.  Team sacks, 118th.  Red zone defense, 103rd. 

Total sacks in 12 games: 10, or 0.8 per game.  Total interceptions in 12 games: 4, or 0.25 per game.  Total takeaways: 13, or a little over 1 per game.

Though the final defensive numbers from 2017 are unable to be sugar-coated, nobody involved with Lehigh’s defense is running away from the facts this spring.  In fact, they feel they are better than this.

“When you hear so much about your defense not being good,” defensive coordinator Craig Sutyak said this week, “you start to believe it, and I think our kids started to believe it too the last couple of years.  But we’re not going to beat ourselves.  We’re going to have faith in ourselves, faith in the guys next to us, and we’re going to continue to grow as a unit.”

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Dominick Bragalone Goes Into Monster Mode As Lehigh Is One Win Away From Title

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Dominick Bragalone Goes Into Monster Mode As Lehigh Is One Win Away From Title

It has been a most unusual season for Lehigh.

Starting the year off at 0-5 and getting swept in their out-of-conference schedule, the Mountain Hawks were in danger of having their season go off the rails.

But two things have come together over the last five football games that have put Lehigh on the brink of back-to-back championships.

The first is the late blooming of the Lehigh defense, which kept battling every week since the low point of the September 30th loss to Wagner to do the job in four of their five Patriot League conference games. 

The second is the development of junior RB Dominick Bragalone into a bellcow running back, a back who has to be in the conversation for Patriot League offensive player of the year.

In five Patriot League games, Bragalone has run for 863 yards in 5 games, rushing for 11 touchdowns and adding two more receiving touchdowns as well. 

The South Williamsport, PA native certainly wasn’t unknown before this week – after all, as a freshman and a sophomore, he had already rushed for 1,000 yards in consecutive seasons.  But this year, where he’s amassed 1,200 yard rushing and an FCS-leading 16 rushing touchdowns, he’s gone into full Monster Mode, and Lehigh fans are loving every minute of it.
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Lehigh Position Analysis: Skill Positions (QB, RB, WR, K, RS)

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Lehigh Position Analysis: Skill Positions (QB, RB, WR, K, RS)

Spotlight On: QB Brad Mayes

Rightfully, much of the focus of Lehigh’s football coverage this offseason has been on the offense.  That makes sense; after all, Lehigh ranked near the top of every receiving and rushing category in 2016.

Yet most of that coverage has been on guys that have been on preseason FCS all-American teams (senior WR Troy Pelletier, junior RB Dominick Bragalone) or probably should have been on more of them (senior WR Gatlin Casey).

Oddly, the focus on those all-League caliber players have shifted the focus from what could be the most important transition from the 2016 offense to the 2017 offense – the transition to a new starting quarterback.

Certainly, junior QB Brad Mayes was no ordinary understudy for the Lehigh Mountain Hawks last season.

Though technically he did back up QB Nick Shafnisky, he showcased his obvious talent multiple times last year, most notably breaking a Yale Bowl record with 524 passing yards and scoring 6 passing touchdowns in a 63-35 win over Yale.

Much press has rightfully gone to the receivers and running backs, but the direction of the 2017 football season might come down to the play of the quarterback whose number switched from No. 14 to No. 4 this season.

“I think Troy and Dom are outstanding players and they deserve all the recognition they’ve been getting,” Brad told me.  “And I’m excited to play alongside those guys, because that makes my job that much easier.”
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Lehigh At New Hampshire Game Narrative Street: UNH Remembers Last Year’s Loss To Colgate

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Lehigh At New Hampshire Game Narrative Street: UNH Remembers Last Year’s Loss To Colgate

In order to understand how UNH will be looking at this weekend’s game against Lehigh, you need to go back to the narrative of last week.

And then, you need to go back to the narrative from last year.

But first, let’s start with last week, where the Wildcats were not only battling their Rival Maine in the “Battle for the Brice/Cowell Musket”, they were battling to keep their playoff dreams alive.

The Wildcats, who had qualified for the FCS playoffs for twelve consecutive years, had fallen behind their bitter Rivals Maine, 14-7 at halftime.

With both teams at 6-4. it must have had the feel of a playoff game as well as a Rivalry game.  The winner would likely have a good shot at a playoff game; the loser would likely be out.

And the starter, sophomore QB Trevor Knight, was out of the game with a foot injury.  The backup, senior QB Adam Riese, would have to be the trigger guy to rally the Wildcats to the win.
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QUICK RECAP: Lehigh Are Patriot League Champs, Claw Back And Earn Title 20-13

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QUICK RECAP: Lehigh Are Patriot League Champs, Claw Back And Earn Title 20-13

Bucknell hardly made it easy.

The Bison jumped out to a 7-0 lead, and made the lead 13-7 on the backs of touchdowns by RB Joey DeFloria and RB Chad Freshnock.

With a chance to build on their lead, though, Lehigh’s defense stopped Bucknell again, and again, and again.

The Lehigh Mountain Hawk defense, led by heroic performances by senior LB Colton Caslow (11 tackles) and senior LB Pierce Ripanti (10 tackles), forced two turnovers that became a field goal by sophomore PK Ed Mish and a critical stop on Lehigh’s doorstep that preserved Lehigh’s Patriot League Championship.

It was a fitting place, in a fitting game, for Lehigh to take this elusive Patriot League championship and to allow Lehigh to finally crash an FCS Playoff party they had been denied five years ago.  They overturned their loss to Lafayette here in 2013.  They overturned their 4th-and-5 at Colgate last year by a sophomore CB Donavon Harris interception that preserved the slender 7 point lead.

It was tough as hell, but Lehigh got their, um, stuff together, and won the damn championship.
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