Archive For The “Game Breakdown” Category

2018 Week 3, Navy: Game Breakdown and Fearless Prediction

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2018 Week 3, Navy: Game Breakdown and Fearless Prediction

(Photo Credit: Capital-Gazette)

It’s time to go full nerd and do a full-blown breakdown of the Navy Midshipmen.

I can’t tell you how many of these previews I’ve done where I get game notes late Friday evening, had to play games with Ivy League depth charts to try to divine game plans, and the like. 

Some schools Lehigh plays don’t have any local media anymore, so finding out more about the starting players and the like is extremely difficult.

Not so this week.  For the first time in 15 years, Lehigh plays an FBS team, but not just a regional school, say, from the Midwest – they play Navy, a school with national and international reach. 

Game notes were out early and were detailed.

The coverage of Navy football isn’t just from the local Capital-Gazettewhich continues, through tragedy, to be stellar – but from national media, too.  In fact their last two games – against Hawai’i and Memphis – were big-time affairs in the national world of college football.

There is no shortage of media about Navy football or Navy football players.  In that way specifically, it’s like a breath of fresh air.
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2018 Week 2, Villanova: Game Breakdown and Fearless Prediction

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2018 Week 2, Villanova: Game Breakdown and Fearless Prediction

(Photo Credit: Philadelphia Inquirer)

It’s time to go full nerd and do a full-blown breakdown of the Villanova Wildcats.

If there were any lingering doubts about how good No. 12 Villanova is, the Wildcats enter this game on a huge high, upsetting Temple of the AAC 19-17.

This isn’t the first time Villanova has faced Lehigh after playing an FBS opponent.

In 2016, the Wildcats traveled to Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, facing a Pitt team led by now-Pittsburgh Steeler RB James Conner on the ground.  The Wildcats fought pretty bravely in that game but eventually fell 28-7 to one of the more powerful teams of the ACC that season.

In the game against Lehigh the following week, won by Villanova 26-21, Lehigh was in the game until the very end, jumping to a 14-6 lead at halftime before the Wildcats got over their Pittsburgh hangover.

Down 21-20, head coach Andy Talley resorted to dinosaur ball, running almost every play until converting the final touchdown.  The rally, behind QB Nick Shafnisky and WR Troy Pelletier, fell about a yard short on a 4th and 10 in Villanova territory.
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2018 Week 1, St. Francis (PA): Game Breakdown and Fearless Prediction

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2018 Week 1, St. Francis (PA): Game Breakdown and Fearless Prediction

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 all of this research (and a very, very long offseason of obsessing over this game).

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

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1st Round FCS Playoffs: Lehigh at Stony Brook Game Breakdown and Fearless Prediction: The Best Lehigh Will Have Faced All Year

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1st Round FCS Playoffs: Lehigh at Stony Brook Game Breakdown and Fearless Prediction: The Best Lehigh Will Have Faced All Year

At the very least, Stony Brook will be among the best defenses that Lehigh has played against all year, if not the absolute best.

Stony Brook is ranked 21st in the FCS in total defensive yards allowed, with 316.9 per game.  This ties them with Colgate (also 21st) but is slightly behind Bucknell (294.6) and Yale (302.8) in that category.

But Colgate, Bucknell and even Yale did so with a schedule that isn’t nearly as taxing as the week-in, week-out struggle that Stony Brook had as a member of the CAA.  It’s one thing to give up a combined six points to Marist and Georgetown, as Bucknell did; it’s quite another to hold New Hampshire and Richmond to 24 points, both resulting in wins.

Stony Brook is a physical football team – the closest equivalent that Lehigh has faced this season in that department has been Yale.  Over the course of the season, they have run the ball more often than they’ve thrown it, but when they have thrown the ball, generally after setting up the run. their quarterback has amply proven that they can connect in the passing game for big plays.

It is unclear whether this will be the most complete team Lehigh has faced all season.  But if you don’t read any more of this preview, probably the best way to think of Stony Brook is as a hybrid of Yale and Villanova.  This will be a huge challenge.

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1st Round FCS Playoffs: Lehigh at Stony Brook Game Breakdown and Fearless Prediction: The Best Lehigh Will Have Faced All Year

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1st Round FCS Playoffs: Lehigh at Stony Brook Game Breakdown and Fearless Prediction: The Best Lehigh Will Have Faced All Year

At the very least, Stony Brook will be among the best defenses that Lehigh has played against all year, if not the absolute best.

Stony Brook is ranked 21st in the FCS in total defensive yards allowed, with 316.9 per game.  This ties them with Colgate (also 21st) but is slightly behind Bucknell (294.6) and Yale (302.8) in that category.

But Colgate, Bucknell and even Yale did so with a schedule that isn’t nearly as taxing as the week-in, week-out struggle that Stony Brook had as a member of the CAA.  It’s one thing to give up a combined six points to Marist and Georgetown, as Bucknell did; it’s quite another to hold New Hampshire and Richmond to 24 points, both resulting in wins.

Stony Brook is a physical football team – the closest equivalent that Lehigh has faced this season in that department has been Yale.  Over the course of the season, they have run the ball more often than they’ve thrown it, but when they have thrown the ball, generally after setting up the run. their quarterback has amply proven that they can connect in the passing game for big plays.

It is unclear whether this will be the most complete team Lehigh has faced all season.  But if you don’t read any more of this preview, probably the best way to think of Stony Brook is as a hybrid of Yale and Villanova.  This will be a huge challenge.

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1st Round FCS Playoffs: Lehigh at Stony Brook Game Breakdown and Fearless Prediction: The Best Lehigh Will Have Faced All Year

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1st Round FCS Playoffs: Lehigh at Stony Brook Game Breakdown and Fearless Prediction: The Best Lehigh Will Have Faced All Year

At the very least, Stony Brook will be among the best defenses that Lehigh has played against all year, if not the absolute best.

Stony Brook is ranked 21st in the FCS in total defensive yards allowed, with 316.9 per game.  This ties them with Colgate (also 21st) but is slightly behind Bucknell (294.6) and Yale (302.8) in that category.

But Colgate, Bucknell and even Yale did so with a schedule that isn’t nearly as taxing as the week-in, week-out struggle that Stony Brook had as a member of the CAA.  It’s one thing to give up a combined six points to Marist and Georgetown, as Bucknell did; it’s quite another to hold New Hampshire and Richmond to 24 points, both resulting in wins.

Stony Brook is a physical football team – the closest equivalent that Lehigh has faced this season in that department has been Yale.  Over the course of the season, they have run the ball more often than they’ve thrown it, but when they have thrown the ball, generally after setting up the run. their quarterback has amply proven that they can connect in the passing game for big plays.

It is unclear whether this will be the most complete team Lehigh has faced all season.  But if you don’t read any more of this preview, probably the best way to think of Stony Brook is as a hybrid of Yale and Villanova.  This will be a huge challenge.

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Holy Cross at Lehigh Game Breakdown And Fearless Prediction: Which Crusader Team Will Lehigh Get?

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Holy Cross at Lehigh Game Breakdown And Fearless Prediction: Which Crusader Team Will Lehigh Get?

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

The old Forrest Gump saying that seems particularly apt about this matchup this weekend is: “Life is like a box of chocolates.  You don’t know what you’re going to get.”

So as it goes with Holy Cross, whose offensive outputs in every game this year have been: 20, 20, 51, 26, 7, 36, 0, 7, 24, and 42.

Three games scoring less than 10 points; three games scoring more than 30 points, and four games scoring between 20 and 29 points – that defines inconsistency.

In their high-scoring games, the ingredient that has seemed to help Holy Cross score points in bunches are the same thing that helped Lehigh so much this week: turnovers.

In Holy Cross’ two most impressive wins – against New Hampshire and against Fordham – in both games, the sequence “Holy Cross touchdown, get ball back after a turnover, Holy Cross touchdown” played a huge part in their wins.  Once they got up by two scores, it was a hill that neither opponent could climb.

It is that sequence, in my opinion, that needs to be avoided at all costs.
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Lehigh at Bucknell Game Breakdown and Fearless Prediction: Will Homecoming Spell Doom Again For Lehigh?

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Lehigh at Bucknell Game Breakdown and Fearless Prediction: Will Homecoming Spell Doom Again For Lehigh?

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

In my preview, I spent a lot of time talking about Lehigh, but let’s take a minute to try to get inside the heads of this Bucknell team this weekend.

The Bison, along with every other team in the Patriot League, are still mathematically alive for at least a share of the Patriot League title.  But considering that mathematical window closes the second Colgate beats Georgetown (or, barring that, Lafayette), it’s more realistic to say that the Bison are playing for pride, and the future, this Saturday.

Not that that’s going to make things any easier this weekend – Fordham, in similar circumstances, beat Lehigh 45-35 last weekend.

And something that has to be remembered is that for every team on the schedule, beating Lehigh is a huge goal.  Along with Colgate, Lehigh’s perennial success makes opponents just that much more focused during Lehigh week to take them down, and all the better if the Mountain Hawks are 2-6.

Even worse for Lehigh, this game comes on Bucknell’s homecoming, which will add some extra juice to the Bison for this matchup.  In 2013 on homecoming, it was Bucknell that beat Lehigh 45-23 that really started to change expectations for the Bison football program.

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Lehigh At Fordham Game Breakdown and Fearless Prediction: Will Edmonds and Anderson Play?

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Lehigh At Fordham Game Breakdown and Fearless Prediction: Will Edmonds and Anderson Play?

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

A key element to this week’s game is the status of Fordham QB Kevin Anderson and RB Chase Edmonds.  It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that Fordham is a different team with or without one or both of them.

Edmonds was held out in the second half of a blowout loss to Colgate, only eight yards short of the Patriot League all-time rushing record, while Anderson left the Lafayette game with an ankle injury, and hasn’t returned since.

Some speculation exists on the Fordham board that Anderson was suspended for the Georgetown game last week.  If it is true that Anderson was suspended, and not hurt, the interesting part of that aspect is that there is historic precedent.

“Eagle-eyed followers of Lehigh Football Nation may have noticed last week that Fordham did not suit up their regular starter, QB Kevin Anderson, versus Georgetown,” I wrote in last year’s preview of the Fordham game.  “The official story is that the Boca Raton, Florida native sat out the game due to a “violation of team rules”.  No further explanation was given, but judging by the game notes, Anderson is still listed at No. 1 on the depth chart, and every public indication is that it was a one-game suspension.  So barring any eleventh-hour revelations, Anderson is almost certain to be the starter this weekend.”

If the official story is that Anderson was suspended for a “violation of team rules” – which, by a incredible coincidence, happened in two consecutive years in the exact weekend of the Georgetown game – it means two things.  First, it means that Georgetown is the luckiest team in the Patriot League to miss Kevin Anderson twice.  Second, it means that Kevin Anderson is starting on Saturday.

I don’t know if Kevin Anderson and Chase Edmonds will absolutely start on Saturday.  But I’m going to write this preview as if they are, because, frankly, I’m convinced they’re starting.  Sometimes, things are exactly how they look.
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Georgetown At Lehigh Game Breakdown and Fearless Prediction: A Lehigh Show-Me Game

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Georgetown At Lehigh Game Breakdown and Fearless Prediction: A Lehigh Show-Me Game

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

Like many college football fans, I was surprised to see Maryland start out the season strong with a 3-1 record.

Their lopsided loss to Ohio State has taken some of the shine of the Terps early season, but if they can scrape three more wins against the likes of Northwestern, Indiana and  Rutgers, they could be looking at a bowl bid and a successful, surprising season.  (After the game this weekend, Maryland takes on Northwestern at 3:30 PM on ESPN2, incidentally.)

It’s easy to pull for the Terps if you’re a Georgetown or Lehigh fan.

First, former Lehigh head coach Pete Lembo is special teams coordinator, tight ends coach and assistant head coach to Maryland skipper D.J. Durkin.  Lembo, a former Georgetown lineman, was head coach from 2001-2005, going 44-14 over that stretch and leading the Mountain Hawks to two Patriot League championships in 2001 and 2004.  He happened to also be skipper during Lehigh’s last two home FCS playoff games at Murray Goodman Stadium as well: vs. Hofstra (2001, Win) and vs. James Madison (2004, Loss).

The second reason to pull for the Terps, though, is their kicker.

Terps PK Henry Darmstadter was recently profiled in The Washington Post as having taken a very unlikely path to Big 10 football: through a three year football odyssey with Georgetown.

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