Archive For The “Know Your 2013 Opponents” Category
(Photo Credit: Albany Times-Union)
Lehigh football players probably don’t need to be reminded of the date, but it was November 10th, 2012, where Lehigh’s season ended last season.
It was the only blemish on Lehigh’s otherwise-stellar 10-1 season, but the 35-24 loss to Colgate cost Lehigh dear.
One loss. One loss that lost the Patriot League championship. One loss. One loss that lost them the autobid, and ultimately, a playoff spot. One loss. The difference between achieving all their goals of the season, and facing an offseason of what-could-and-should-have-beens.
Lehigh’s schedule has a fair number of interesting matchups this season, as every season. Some are challenges. Some are Ivies. Some are the regular array of Patriot League schools. Some are genuine rivals.
But for the Mountain Hawks, there is only one game that’s circled in red with the mission of revenge. November 16th, 2013. Colgate.
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Say this about Towson head football coach Rob Ambrose – he doesn’t mince words.
Sill jacked after the UConn victory, he mentioned his next opponents – Holy Cross, Towson’s next trip after the trip to Rentschler field. And inadvertently, he mentioned what he thought of last season’s Crusader squad.
“No matter how awesome the win, there’s already a mentality of ‘This was not the Super Bowl,'” Ambrose said to the Baltimore Sun. “It doesn’t matter if we play Holy Cross or the Pittsburgh Steelers. These guys will be ready because we need this game to get where we want to be.”
That might be exactly what the perception is of the Crusaders outside the halls of the Patriot League – a 2-9 team, the perceived polar opposite of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Yet Holy Cross was one of Lehigh’s toughest outs last season in Fitton field. When they played Lehigh, they didn’t resemble a 2-9 team at all.
In 2013, will Lehigh face off against the Steelers, or a team that looks like a 2-9 team?
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(Photo Credit: Deborah Kolt Photography)
If Sesame Street sponsored the 2012 Georgetown football season, unquestionable it would have been brought to you by the number 5.
5 as is in: number of wins, a 5-6 season.
But more unusually, though, 5 was also the number of quarterbacks that attempted a pass for the Hoyas last season.
An incredible run of injuries at the most important position on the field saw the Hoyas fall back to a 5-6, though they did win two out of their last three games, including their third straight over Lafayette, 20-17.
The Hoyas will always bring a strong defense to the table, as always. But this year, Georgetown’s title contention hopes most likely rest in the hands of senior QB Isaiah Kempf – and hopefully not four more quarterbacks.
A week after Lehigh plays on national TV (CBS Sports Network) against Joe Moorhead‘s Fordham squad, head coach Andy Coen will find his team, once again, making the trek to New York City to play football.
They’ll be playing Fordham’s cross-town Rival Columbia, who is led by head coach Pete Mangurian, on NBC Sports Network, as a part of the Ivy League’s conference TV package with them.
For Lehigh, it will be two big national media appearances in the media capital of the world in consecutive weeks.
And like the Fordham game, it might not be as easy as people might believe.
In 2010, Fordham limped to a 1-10 record, ending head coach Tom Masella‘s time as head coach on Rose Hill.
In the offseason, outgoing active athletic director Frank McLaughlin introduced Fordham’s next head coach, Joe Moorhead, and exclaimed to all present, “This is not a rebuilding program. We expect to be successful this coming year.”
After turning things around to the tune of a 6-5 record this past season, few would argue that first-time head coach Moorhead was indeed a large success last season, allowing the Rams to put their 1-10 season well in their rear-view mirror.
For the Rams, the challenge will now be to increase their win total again, and return to the FCS playoffs.
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In the run-up to the game versus New Hampshire, you can bet New Hampshire head coach Sean McDonnell and Lehigh head coach Andy Coen will want to talk about lots of things.
The Wildcats lead off the year against an FBS squad, Central Michigan, and the defending Patriot League champions, Colgate. They’re both very winnable games, and they’ll hope to be 2-0 going into Bethlehem off of a bye week and a tough first two games.
Lehigh will have come off opening games against Central Connecticut State, Monmouth and Princeton, and hope to have solidified all the questions going into training camp – and, hopefully, justified their ranking at No. 17 in the preseason coaches’ poll.
You can bet, though, what New Hampshire and Lehigh won’t want to talk at all about the Wildcats’s last visit to Murray Goodman Stadium.
That’s because they’d then have to talk about “the Divot”.
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Last season, as he does for the Sports Network every year, Craig Haley gave his predictions for the Ivy League.
Haley, who used to work for Princeton, made a bold prediction: that the Tigers would climb out of the Ivy League cellar after a 1-9 season, saying, for good measure, that “it seems time for the Tigers program to win more often. At least that’s what everybody thinks.”
Like some people, I chuckled to myself. Princeton? Out of the cellar? Really? (Jake Novak, of the Roar Lions blog, noted about his prediction: “Actually, NO ONE thinks that. Princeton is picked last in every other poll.”)
As it turns out, Haley’s prediction came out looking pretty good, making me very glad that I didn’t put my own reservations about Princeton’s chances in writing. (Or put Haley’s face with the caption, “What’s he smoking?” underneath it, like Roar Lions did.)
The Tigers confounded their last-place expectations and instead finished with an extremely satisfying 5-5 record, showing, for the first time, glimmers of hope that the Prince Town Tigers will finally be back in competition for the Ivy League title in 2013.
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(Photo Credit: Monmouth Athletics)
In a way, you really have to feel for the football players of the Monmouth football program.
A year ago today, Monmouth was preparing for a season where the Hawks were going to be in competition for the NEC title.
A challenging schedule beckoned, with a trip to nationally-ranked Lehigh and Rhode Island of the CAA heading to Kessler field, but there was a battle with teams like Albany, and nearby rival Wagner, for the NEC championship and an autobid to the FCS playoffs.
But many had no way of knowing that Realignmentaggeddon would hit the Hawks, having them leave their longtime home, the NEC, and in the process find the Hawks scrambling for a new conference home.
It might have even come about thanks to the Patriot League.
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“With a newly-revamped Arute Field,”, I wrote last season, “which will be able to hold upwards of 6,500 fans, Central Connecticut State will be looking to one message on their home opener against the Mountain Hawks September 8th: that they have arrived.”
This year, the Blue Devils repay Lehigh the favor, serving as the Mountain Hawks’ home opener in the first weekend of their football season on September 7th.
So what can we expect from the Blue Devils this season?