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Archive For The “Game Breakdown” Category

Five Things to Watch, Keys To the Game, Fearless Prediction: Lehigh at Bucknell, 11/9/2019

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Five Things to Watch, Keys To the Game, Fearless Prediction: Lehigh at Bucknell, 11/9/2019

We’re going to try something different this week.  No, don’t worry, we’ll still break down this week’s game and everything, but we’re just going to make it it quicker and a lot easier to read.

You can read College Sports Journal’s preview of the game here, and my mostly-football-free “Tailgate Report” here.

Below, we’re going to do a quick once-over of Lehigh’s game notes and possible injuries, then we’ll dive right into 5 things to look for with Bucknell, my Keys to the game, and the cherry on top will be my Fearless Prediction.

I called this game a “Family Reunion”, thanks to all the coaching links between Tom Gilmore, Dave Cecchini and the makeup of both coaching staffs, and in Keith Groller’s preview of the game in The Morning Call, he and Gilmore went into even more detail.

“It has been a long relationship,” Gilmore said of Cecchini. “I coached Dave’s younger brother, J.T., at Dartmouth in the mid-1990s. I coached at Dartmouth when Dave was still a player at Lehigh. Then I came here and we coached together and then he went to Harvard and I went to Holy Cross and competed against each other there up there. Then we competed again when he came back to Lehigh and I was still at Holy Cross. He did a very good job when he came back here.”

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Georgetown at Lehigh Game Breakdown and Fearless Prediction, 10/26/2019

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Georgetown at Lehigh Game Breakdown and Fearless Prediction, 10/26/2019

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

You can read College Sports Journal’s preview of the game here, and my mostly-football-free “Tailgate Report” here.

I forgot in my “Tailgate Report” to do a look at Lehigh’s game notes, so I’ll do it here.

To most fans, seeing QB Addison Shoup on top of the depth chart at quarterback was probably the biggest eye-opener as QB Tyler Monaco was the starter last week, and was in the game until the last couple of plays in overtime. 

As of the time of this writing, although some people have assured that Monaco is well enough to go, the truth is he didn’t practice the entirety of this week, so I would more characterize more as a “gametime decision” as to whether it is Monaco or Shoup under center.  It seems fair to say that Monaco will start and play if he’s able.

CB Marquis Wilson has struggled to get back to 100% from his injuries at corner, so freshman CB Brandon Spencer will be re-inserted into the starting lineup this week.

The final change to the roster is that freshman RB Zaythan Hill, who has really stepped up in Lehigh’s last two conference victories, is now listed atop the depth chart at running back.  That’s not to say we won’t see RB Rashawn Allen or RB Nate Hope II – we’ll be very likely to see them in a rotation of backs.

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Georgetown at Lehigh Game Breakdown and Fearless Prediction, 10/26/2019

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Georgetown at Lehigh Game Breakdown and Fearless Prediction, 10/26/2019

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

You can read College Sports Journal’s preview of the game here, and my mostly-football-free “Tailgate Report” here.

I forgot in my “Tailgate Report” to do a look at Lehigh’s game notes, so I’ll do it here.

To most fans, seeing QB Addison Shoup on top of the depth chart at quarterback was probably the biggest eye-opener as QB Tyler Monaco was the starter last week, and was in the game until the last couple of plays in overtime. 

As of the time of this writing, although some people have assured that Monaco is well enough to go, the truth is he didn’t practice the entirety of this week, so I would more characterize more as a “gametime decision” as to whether it is Monaco or Shoup under center.  It seems fair to say that Monaco will start and play if he’s able.

CB Marquis Wilson has struggled to get back to 100% from his injuries at corner, so freshman CB Brandon Spencer will be re-inserted into the starting lineup this week.

The final change to the roster is that freshman RB Zaythan Hill, who has really stepped up in Lehigh’s last two conference victories, is now listed atop the depth chart at running back.  That’s not to say we won’t see RB Rashawn Allen or RB Nate Hope II – we’ll be very likely to see them in a rotation of backs.

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Lehigh at Fordham Game Breakdown and Fearless Prediction, 10/19/2019

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Lehigh at Fordham Game Breakdown and Fearless Prediction, 10/19/2019

One thing has remained remarkably consistent for the last six years – Fordham has had Lehigh’s number.

It hasn’t mattered that Fordham has had Joe Moorhead, Andrew Breiner, or Joe Conlin, or whether Lehigh was gunning for a Patriot League title, or not – during that time, Fordham has done only one thing consistently, and that’s beat Lehigh.

Granted, during many of those years, Fordham has some all-time teams, with UConn transfer QB Michael Nebrich, current Arizona Cardinal RB Chase Edmonds, and a cast of terrific Patriot League players too numerous to mention.  But then again, during Lehigh’s last Patriot League title year of 2017, fourth-string RB D’Angelo Palladino ran for almost 300 yards on the Mountain Hawk defense for a 45-35 win, something the Lehigh seniors remember all too painfully well.

In a year of lowlights, last year’s 43-14 loss to Fordham for head coach Joe Conlin’s first win as Fordham head coach really stood out to me as a particularly bad loss where the Mountain Hawks seemed to completely bottom out.  I don’t often say games are over at the coin flip, but I knew Lehigh was done the second they came back from midfield.

There were some truly epic losses last season – 66-7 to Princeton stands out, of course – but you could argue that expectations against Princeton, Villanova and even Colgate were very low.  The Fordham game, however, was winnable.  It was a game between winless teams, and I predicted Lehigh would win.  “Lehigh has too much talent not to win this game,” I said in a moment of being stupendously wrong.

Of the five losses in the last six games in the series, the first few were a result of a battle between teams with equal talent, but in the last two losses, there was a serious enthusiasm deficit, and it showed.  Both Fordham and Lehigh struggled the last two years, but having attended both games, the Rams simply wanted it more.

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Lehigh at Fordham Game Breakdown and Fearless Prediction, 10/19/2019

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Lehigh at Fordham Game Breakdown and Fearless Prediction, 10/19/2019

One thing has remained remarkably consistent for the last six years – Fordham has had Lehigh’s number.

It hasn’t mattered that Fordham has had Joe Moorhead, Andrew Breiner, or Joe Conlin, or whether Lehigh was gunning for a Patriot League title, or not – during that time, Fordham has done only one thing consistently, and that’s beat Lehigh.

Granted, during many of those years, Fordham has some all-time teams, with UConn transfer QB Michael Nebrich, current Arizona Cardinal RB Chase Edmonds, and a cast of terrific Patriot League players too numerous to mention.  But then again, during Lehigh’s last Patriot League title year of 2017, fourth-string RB D’Angelo Palladino ran for almost 300 yards on the Mountain Hawk defense for a 45-35 win, something the Lehigh seniors remember all too painfully well.

In a year of lowlights, last year’s 43-14 loss to Fordham for head coach Joe Conlin’s first win as Fordham head coach really stood out to me as a particularly bad loss where the Mountain Hawks seemed to completely bottom out.  I don’t often say games are over at the coin flip, but I knew Lehigh was done the second they came back from midfield.

There were some truly epic losses last season – 66-7 to Princeton stands out, of course – but you could argue that expectations against Princeton, Villanova and even Colgate were very low.  The Fordham game, however, was winnable.  It was a game between winless teams, and I predicted Lehigh would win.  “Lehigh has too much talent not to win this game,” I said in a moment of being stupendously wrong.

Of the five losses in the last six games in the series, the first few were a result of a battle between teams with equal talent, but in the last two losses, there was a serious enthusiasm deficit, and it showed.  Both Fordham and Lehigh struggled the last two years, but having attended both games, the Rams simply wanted it more.

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Lehigh at Colgate Game Breakdown and Fearless Prediction, 10/5/2019

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Lehigh at Colgate Game Breakdown and Fearless Prediction, 10/5/2019

Lehigh and Colgate is always a big game, whether both teams are going in undefeated or, as in this case, an 2-7 team is squaring off against a 8-0 team.

In a testimony to how evenly matched both of these teams have been over the years,  no team has won more than 3 straight against the other since the inception of the Patriot League.

Colgate and Lehigh have faced off 55 times, and the overall record has been, fittingly, close, with Colgate holding a slender 30-24-2 advantage.  The last tie came in 1980, a 17-17 tie at Taylor Stadium in which Lehigh’s John Whitehead and Colgate’s Fred Dunlap faced off as head coach.  In a way, that hotly-contested tie sort-of epitomizes the competitiveness of this rivalry today.

Last year, Colgate cruised to a 48-6 victory, one of the more lopsided in the rivalry’s recent history.  This year’s edition is unlikely to be a similar outcome.

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Merrimack at Lehigh Game Breakdown and Fearless Prediction, 9/28/2019

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Merrimack at Lehigh Game Breakdown and Fearless Prediction, 9/28/2019

It’s what we do every week: copiously go over the opposing game notes and analyze the upcoming game matchup.  I’m starting to call these the “football nerd” previews because it feels like the audience for these detailed team breakdowns are other football nerds like myself. 

For Lehigh fans, there is no greater need for a “football nerd”-level breakdown of an opponent than Merrimack.  Few opponents have been as big as an unknown to Mountain Hawk fans as the school that formed right after World War II in North Andover, Massachusetts.  Helping that sense of mystery is that the Merrimack Athletics’ website offers no football game notes, and when you click on the link called “Weekly Two-Deep”, you get a two-deep from 2018.

Merrimack, until recently a member of the Northeast-10 conference in Division II, announced they are going to join the NEC as a full Division I member in time for the 2023-2024 season.

“The College’s 2011 strategic plan, the Agenda for Distinction, called for Merrimack College to become a Division I institution to compete and excel at the highest level,” president Christopher E. Hopey said almost a year ago in announcing their move to the NEC. “We are pleased that our record of achievement and growth has resulted in this invitation to compete in the NEC and partner with its outstanding member institutions.”

“There’s no question we have the top tier players to be successful,” Warriors head coach Dan Curran said before the season started. “They’ve always been able to play with anyone.  What we need to do going forward is to develop more depth because injuries are going to happen. We’re not where we want to be but we’re getting there. We’re starting to see the gap between the starters and the backups get tight.”

They’ve certainly shown already that they’re not a team to be taken lightly. Besides their two overwhelming home wins against sub-Division I opponents, the Warriors led at St. Francis (PA) at halftime and took Central Connecticut State down to the wire, who came oh-so-close to upsetting FBS Eastern Michigan last week.

“Eight of our 11 opponents are Division 1 and this is by far the most competitive schedule we’ve ever had,” Curran said before the season. “We know what we’re getting into but we’ve shown we can play with the top teams and we’ll be ready.”

The Warriors head coach Dan Curran was a former University of New Hampshire fullback, who helmed the Wildcats under head coach Sean McDonnell and then-offensive coordinator Chip Kelly. His teammate was Walter Payton award-winner RB Jerry Azumah, who broke a multitude of I-AA rushing records and would later play cornerback for the NFL’s Chicago Bears.  After Azumah’s graduation, he ran for 1,000 yards in his own right his senior year and spent some time on NFL rosters professionally.

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Lehigh at UC Davis Game Breakdown and Fearless Prediction 9/14/2019

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Lehigh at UC Davis Game Breakdown and Fearless Prediction 9/14/2019

It’s what we do every week: copiously go over the opposing game notes and analyze the upcoming game matchup.  One thing that has been undoubtedly very cool about this rare West Coast game for the Mountain Hawks is how great the Aggies have been in terms of getting out game notes, cool content celebrating the 1977 Division II semifinal, and even local press (I see you, Davis Enterprise).

We live in a world where local press is dying, along with it the written word about previewing what are interesting, fun sporting matchups.  This week has been refreshingly fun, and easy to break down, thanks to all the content celebrating the first meeting, and previewing the upcoming meeting.  It’s great to see two football communities from across the country come together for a week of good-spirited competition.

A special shout-out has to go to The Davis Enterprise again for the incredible pictures of not only the Division II semifinal game but also the eerie, foggy atmosphere of the morning.  They are absolute treasures and really bring the game to amazing life.  Don’t just go to that for the pictures alone – also by all means read their extensive preview of tomorrow’s game as well.  But few pictures leave me speechless.  The five that they provided with the article did.

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Lehigh at UC Davis Game Breakdown and Fearless Prediction 9/14/2019

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Lehigh at UC Davis Game Breakdown and Fearless Prediction 9/14/2019

It’s what we do every week: copiously go over the opposing game notes and analyze the upcoming game matchup.  One thing that has been undoubtedly very cool about this rare West Coast game for the Mountain Hawks is how great the Aggies have been in terms of getting out game notes, cool content celebrating the 1977 Division II semifinal, and even local press (I see you, Davis Enterprise).

We live in a world where local press is dying, along with it the written word about previewing what are interesting, fun sporting matchups.  This week has been refreshingly fun, and easy to break down, thanks to all the content celebrating the first meeting, and previewing the upcoming meeting.  It’s great to see two football communities from across the country come together for a week of good-spirited competition.

A special shout-out has to go to The Davis Enterprise again for the incredible pictures of not only the Division II semifinal game but also the eerie, foggy atmosphere of the morning.  They are absolute treasures and really bring the game to amazing life.  Don’t just go to that for the pictures alone – also by all means read their extensive preview of tomorrow’s game as well.  But few pictures leave me speechless.  The five that they provided with the article did.

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St. Francis (PA) at Lehigh Game Breakdown and Fearless Prediction 8/31/2019

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St. Francis (PA) at Lehigh Game Breakdown and Fearless Prediction 8/31/2019

It’s what we do every week: copiously go over the opposing game notes and analyze the upcoming game matchup.

Thanks to St. Francis (PA)’s game notes, which is the source of most of this research (and a very, very long offseason of obsessing over this game).  The Johnstown Tribune-Democrat, too, had lots of good preseason content on the Red Flash I used to research.

Let’s not wait any longer, and let’s get right to this thing!

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