Archive For The “Game Recap” Category
Penn QB Alek Torgerson and the Penn offense had torn through the Lehigh defense like a hot knife through butter. Again.
“It’s a game of inches,” head coach Andy Coen said after the Mountain Hawks had just fallen to nationally-ranked Villanova on a hot, humid, thick September evening. “I just told these two guys walking across the field here (senior LB Colton Caslow and junior WR Troy Pelletier), it really is a game of inches. We were this close to beating a very good football team.”
Death by boa constrictor does not come quickly. It comes when the snake puts light pressure on the circulatory system of its prey, seriously disrupting the blood flow and causing the bloodflow system to go haywire, eventually causing cardiac arrest.
That’s a fairly accurate description of how the game flow went in Lehigh’s asphyxiating opening-day loss to Monmouth, 23-21.
With visions of Lehigh’s potent offense in their heads, most of the 4,828 fans in attendance thought they might see the type of offensive show they enjoyed the last time Lehigh played a football game at Murray Goodman stadium, something like the 49-35 win over their bitter Rivals Lafayette, for example.
Instead they saw the Monmouth boa constrictor slowly wrap itself around the Mountain Hawks and squeeze the life away, possession by possession.
All the Rivalry games are memorable in their own way for everyone in attendance, from the seniors playing in their last game to the kids playing on the grass embankment.
The there will be four plays that will be remembered the most, the four plays that defined this game for Lehigh and really demonstrated how tough this team was in 2015, and how tough they might be in 2016.
Most importantly, though, was the fact that Lehigh finally was able to chuck aside any doubts about winning a big game.
Wins against Lafayette are always important for the many Lehigh fans in the near-16,000 people who attend these games. But winning this particular game was doubly important for this Lehigh squad that seemed to almost desperately need the win in order to demonstrate to the fans in the Valley who they are, who they were, and where they’re headed.
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With all the offense, with all the touchdowns, with all the passing yards by junior QB Nick Shafnisky, all the rushing yards from freshman RB Dominick Bragalone, all the plays, all the yards of offense gained, and allowed, it came down to five yards.
1st and goal at the five. A minute to play. Five yards from the end zone, five yards from the opportunity to come from behind and make the score 49-48, and then to have freshman PK Ed Mish trot out and attempt the game-typing extra point, to tie the score for the seventh time on the afternoon, or possibly try a two-point conversion to get the win. Five. Yards.
It came down to four shots from five lousy yards.
The game was a thriller. A classic. Both Colgate, who would clinch a share of the Patriot League championship today, and Lehigh, who wouldn’t, were incredibly evenly matched. Every time Colgate scored, Lehigh responded with a touchdown of their own, never trailing by more than a score, but never leading, either.
It was a street fight down to the last minute. To the last five yards. And Colgate won that street fight. Since they stopped the Mountain Hawks from getting those last five yards, they are now the champs.
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(Photo Credit: Justin Lafleur/Lehigh Athletics)
“I’d never seen it,” head coach Andy Coen said, adding a “whew” for good measure.
He was referring to a very strange play this Saturday, a play that happened in Lehigh’s favor that felt like the decisive play of the game.
Down 25-21, and senior P Tim Divers readying to punt, speedy Monmouth CB Tevrin Brandon blocked his punt – the ball deflecting almost straight up, then falling back down to earth behind the line of scrimmage, where alert senior FB Zach Hayden kept calm, grabbed the ball out of the air, and started to go for the first down marker.
He did more than get enough yards for the first down. He rumbled 37 yards, thus turning the momentum of the game completely on its head.
Two plays later, senior QB Brandon Bialkowski hit senior WR Lee Kurfis with a 40 yard dagger to make the score 28-25.
It would be a death blow from which Monmouth wouldn’t recover.
“I’ve been coaching and playing a long time,” Coen said, “and I’ve never seen a blocked punt picked up by one of our own guys and run for a first down, which ends up being the biggest play of the game.”
It looked pretty grim – so grim, in fact, that many of the announced attendance of 6,386 had already left the stadium by th beginning of the 4th quarter.
Central Connecticut State, behind a monster offensive performance by RB Rob Holloman, was methodically beating up the Lehigh defense.
There the Blue Devils were, driving to start the 4th quarter, a Lehigh facemask penalty keeping their drive alive, and finally reaching 1st and goal at the Lehigh 9.
It was the end of that drive, unbeknownst to all, that would be the difference between winning and losing their home opener.
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After the weatherman promised a mostly sunny day on November 10th, the day of the Patriot League championship game at Murray Goodman stadium, there was instead a gray haze that persisted throughout the football game.
Like the weather, the game was also a story of the unexpected.
Few thought the Colgate offense would be held to just 35 points, after creaming Lafayette for 65 points the previous week. Many also were surprised that Lehigh could only manage 90 rushing yards against the No. 7-ranked rushing defense in the Patriot League.
The grey weather didn’t affect the outcome. It didn’t affect the passing game, the running game, or the kicking game.
But on a damp, strange, overcast day in November, the magic ran out for Lehigh. The undefeated Mountain Hawks fell in a war on Saturday, 35-23, busting up a season that almost seemed predestined to be Lehigh’s from the outset.
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On a perfect homecoming afternoon, the South Mountain skyline something right out of a fall landscape painting, the stage was set for a perfect Lehigh victory – something that Mountain Hawk fans have been looking for all season.They didn't get that…