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Archive For The “Game Breakdown” Category

2018 Week 6, Fordham: Game Breakdown and Fearless Prediction

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2018 Week 6, Fordham: Game Breakdown and Fearless Prediction

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

The first point of information about the 0-5 Rams you need to know is that they are young, and rebuilding. 

Joe Conlin is their first-year head coach, and you had better believe that he and his team would love nothing better than to get Conlin’s first head coaching victory against Lehigh, a team that Fordham has beaten in four of the last five meetings between these two programs.

But the 2018 Rams are vastly different than the team that suited up QB Kevin Anderson and current Arizona Cardinal RB Chase Edmonds on their roster.  Anderson, who was a transfer from an FBS school (Marshall), had loads of experience and additionally used a redshirt year at Marshall, and Edmonds, as any reader of this blog would know, stepped in immediately as a freshman on Rose Hill and it was abundantly clear he was a generational talent running the ball.

For Fordham, this team is adopting a new philosophy under a new coaching tree.  Gone is the Joe Moorhead/Andrew Breiner tree, having finally settled down at Mississippi State.  In is Conlin, a long-time Yale assistant coach who has made stops at a ton of different great, powerful FCS college football programs, including both New Hampshire and Havard as well as the Bulldogs.

So growing pains. certainly, were to be expected, especially with a schedule that included an FBS team (UNC-Charlotte), an FCS Playoff team (Stony Brook) and a historically good CAA team (Richmond).

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2018 Week 5, Princeton: Game Breakdown and Fearless Prediction

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2018 Week 5, Princeton: Game Breakdown and Fearless Prediction

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

Princeton released their game notes earlier in the week and today added to their preview pack an interview previewing the Lehigh game from head coach Bob Surace.

Surace did make an observation about Lehigh that was worth mentioning, after philosophic about the abilities of RB Dominick Bragalone.

“You wanted to play them when Penn played them,” he said.  “After playing a Top 4 type team in Villanova, and against a Navy team that plays in a bowl game every year, you wanted to play them then, not after a bye.  Those change the outlook of everything you’re doing.”

As Lehigh fans, we do tend to forget that Lehigh has arguably played the most challenging schedule they’ve had in a decade.  Not that that’s any sort of excuse, but the truth is that in order to be considered a top team in FCS, the Mountain Hawks need to be able to compete in games like this against nationally-ranked teams like Princeton – and beat them.

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2018 Week 4, Penn: Game Breakdown and Fearless Prediction

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2018 Week 4, Penn: Game Breakdown and Fearless Prediction

(Photo Credit: Philadelphia Inquirer)

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

Penn’s game notes were out in good time, and The Philadelphia Inquirer, thankfully, still does a pretty good job in covering the Quakers in an independent way.  Both were invaluable for my analysis.

Unusually, Lehigh faces Penn this time around in a game that is not the Quakers’ season opener.  In prior years that made it tricky for the Mountain Hawks to sometimes get a full sense of what head coach Ray Priore might be doing, because there would be no true game film to study, only practice film and, if they’re lucky, an accurate two-deep.

This year, though, Penn has already had their first game, playing Bucknell in a game which they won 34-17.  It was a strange contest, basically won in the first five minutes thanks to 17 points donated to the Quakers via two Bison turnovers and a blocked punt.  Both teams would only put up 17 points the rest of the way each.

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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

By |

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.

Read more »

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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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