Archive For The “Mark Ferrante” Category
This weekend, Lehigh had a tough evening on the Main Line as the Mountain Hawks fell to Villanova 38-10. After jumping to a 3-0 lead, Villanova would go on 17-0 and 21-0 runs in between a Lehigh touchdown to make the evening a happy one for most of the 8,000 fans in attendance.
Unlike last week, this wasn’t one that got away – this was a more comprehensive loss. Here’s five thoughts I had after looking over the game last week.
(Photo Credit: Chris Shipley/The Morning Call)
In the post game press conference, junior QB Brad Mayes was asked about how he felt about his performance in the 38-35 loss – a game where he had a stellar statistical game, with over 400 yards passing, 4 touchdowns and 0 interceptions, but the Mountain Hawks as a team came up short.
The Tampa, Florida native definitely had a fresher memory of what he considered mistakes.
“There were some throws out there that I wish I had back,” he said. “I should have thrown for more than whatever I threw. Whether it’s putting the ball on the outside shoulder, not throwing it low, or whatever – there were some throws I left out there today. I’m going to have to sleep on it, come back next week, and try to make those throws.”
Season openers like this, where your team loses, are rarely deal-breakers when it comes to a football season. Assuming Villanova continues to surge forward and have a good year, it’s likely that Mountain Hawks fans will look back at this game as a close, hard-fought loss against a tremendous team.
But critical in that assumption is how the team reacts after a loss like this – how a team rebounds the following week, and how they work. In that sense, it should be an interesting week in the run-up to the road game at Monmouth next weekend.
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One of my favorite stories of the early Lehigh football era was the idea that Lehigh, Lafayette and Penn in the late 1800s battled for the “Championship of Pennsylvania”.
In 2017, it wouldn’t be prudent to call a game versus Lehigh and Villanova the “Championship of Pennsylvania”, thanks to the presence of Penn State, Pitt and Temple in the state.
In FCS though, Lehigh vs. Villanova, the only two STATS and Coach’s Poll Top 25 teams that are based in Pennsylvania, it could certainly be spun in that way.
Villanova, at No. 9/10, travels to Lehigh, No. 17/17, to determine who is the FCS Champion of Pennsylvania.
I like it.
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One has been here before; the other has not, at least not lately.
Over the course of the last few seasons, Villanova Stadium has hosted all sorts of games involving Top 25 teams. James Madison, New Hampshire, Richmond – all of these CAA teams have been to the Main Line, at one time or another, at the same time the Wildcats have also been in the Top 25. When it comes to hosting big football games, Villanova is no stranger to that situation.
Not so, Lehigh.
Sure, the Mountain Hawks have played a bunch of Top 25 teams over the course of the last several seasons. And last year, Lehigh returned to the Top 25 as well.
But the Mountain Hawks haven’t hosted a game like this, a Top 25 tilt between two opponents that are both in the Top 25, since the Mountain Hawks beat New Hampshire 34-27 back in 2012.
This year’s season opener represents the cumulation of the long, hard road of building a Top 25, national-caliber FCS football team. Last season was a year of a Patriot League championship, a return to national respect, and rings. And it all leads to this weekend, one of the biggest games on the Week 1 FCS National schedule that will provide a tremendous test to see how this 2017 Mountain Hawk team might turn out this season.
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(Photo Credit: Akira Suwa/Philly.com)
Writing a season preview about Villanova used to be the easiest job in the world.
Just grab your boilerplate biographical information about future hall-of-fame head coach Andy Talley, do a little Googling of the Wildcat’s next up-and-coming NFL prospects, come up with a dozen synonyms for the words “tough” and “challenge”, and the preview basically writes itself.
But this season’s task of facing Villanova is simply different than all of those other years. Talley, the only coach Villanova has ever known since restarting their football program in 1985 after a failed attempt to pull the plug on it in 1981 in the middle of spring practice, has finally retired from the head coaching ranks. While the same familiar trappings of high preseason rankings and potential NFL prospects remain, their new head coach, longtime Talley assistant Mark Ferrante, is now running the Wildcats and will be seeking his first win as a collegiate head football coach.
The three things that are certain is that the Wildcats are ranked No. 10 in the STATS FCS Top 25 Poll to start the year, that they’re ranked No. 9 in the FCS Coaches’ Poll, and that when they come and visit Murray Goodman Stadium on September 2nd at 12:30 PM, they’ll be playing Lehigh in a battle between Top 25 teams.
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