Archive For The “Princeton” Category
One of the great things about being a student of Lehigh history is, no matter how dark your current timeline is, there is probably a time when the school had encountered something even darker.That is where I found myself this weekend, in a deep funk af…
It’s time to go full nerd and do a full-blown breakdown of the Princeton Tigers.
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.
After a long, long weekend without Lehigh football, the Mountain Hawks this Saturday head to Princeton, New Jersey for a 1:00 PM date to play the Princeton Tigers.
If you can’t make it to the game, the game is available in two ways.
If through your cable service you subscribe to NBC Sports Philadelphia, you can watch the game live on that station. Additionally, you can stream the game through the NBC Sports Live App.
If you don’t subscribe to NBC Sports Philadelphia, the game will also be streamed though the pay streaming service ESPN+.
ESPN+ requires a monthly subscription of $4.99/month also carries a lot of college football games during the course of the season (including all the Ivy League home games), so it might be worth your while.
With a subscription, if you have a Roku box in your home, you can stream ESPN+ directly to your TV from there. If you have the ESPN App on your phone and Chromecast, you can bring it up on your phone and push the “Cast” button to have it stream directly on your TV. Or you can navigate here on your desktop in a Chrome browser and use the “Cast” button from there.
Of course that solution works even better when you pair it with the local radio broadcast, either off your old-fashioned radio, streamed through TuneIn or just simply going to the LVFoxSports.com webpage and listening that way. Matt Kerr, Lance Haynes and Matt Markus are on the call this Saturday.
What a difference two weeks makes.
At times it’s hard to comprehend how desperate it felt for Lehigh fans after the Mountain Hawks’ slender loss at Villanova to fall 26-21 to the nationally-ranked Wildcats.
At 0-2, after a pair of excruciating losses, a rematch with the defending Ivy League champions Penn awaited, a game that the Quakers had circled on their calendar since about December. Following that tough test would be a Princeton team that laid 52 points on Lehigh last year and returned almost all of the skill players on the team that beat them then.
A losing record going into the Colgate seemed like a best-case scenario.
And yet, here we are after these two tough tests, and the Mountain Hawks are 2-2, with a boatload of momentum going into their game vs. 0-2 Yale next weekend. Suddenly, 3-2 and a three-game winning streak going into an enormous game vs. Colgate seems like a real possibility.
The reason for this dramatic, and important turnaround?
The Lehigh defense, who shut out Penn in the second half and shut down Princeton in key areas of the second half as well to allow Lehigh to maintain a three-score, largely drama-free lead.
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(Photo Credit: Justin Lafleur/Lehigh Athletics)
Once upon a time, Lehigh’s offense had the nickname “Air Lehigh”, and players like QB Scott Semphiphelter, QB Phil Stambaugh and many other Mountain Hawk quarterbacks hucked the ball around Murray Goodman Stadium like kids in a sandlot, and posted some serious passing numbers that made the place a very fun spot to watch college football on Saturdays.
Today at Murray Goodman, senior QB Nick Shafnisky brought us back to those Air Lehigh days with a game with the same type of offensive firepower.
Pairing up with junior WR Troy Pelletier and junior WR Gatlin Casey for more than 100 yards receiving apiece, the Whitehall, PA native brought Lehigh fans back to the future with a 461 yard passing performance, coming oh-so-close to setting a Lehigh record in the process.
In the end, Lehigh fans left Murray Goodman stadium with a lot of pleasant memories about a beautiful, unseasonably warm Saturday afternoon and a resounding 42-28 win over a Princeton team that hung 50 points on them last season. Not that winning football games at Murray Goodman stadium the past few seasons wasn’t fun, mind you – but few wins evoked the sandlot quality that this game did.
Never fear. LFN’s here.
We break down the Princeton game – and we give our fearless prediction, below the flip.
Something of note this week that I forgot to mention in my Narrative Street and my Game Preview is the fact that the two opponents that Lehigh lost to earlier in the year, Monmouth and Villanova, are doing extremely well. Both teams’ only losses have come to FBS programs, and both schools acquitted themselves very well in both circumstances.
2-1 Monmouth was never out of the game vs. Kent State, falling 27-7 to the Golden Flashes in a game after Kent State was stunned by fellow FCS member North Carolina A&T in four overtimes, 39-36. The Hawks largely kept Kent State’s offense in check and kept them in the game, and their star defensive player, DB Mike Basile, had an eye-popping 16 tackles and a blocked kick.
If Monmouth can upset heavily-favored and nationally-ranked Charleston Southern this weekend in their home opener, the Hawks would go to 3-1 and would most likely get strong consideration in many peoples’ Top 25 votes. It would also make Lehigh’s loss to them to start the season sting a little less.
Nationally-ranked Villanova, also 2-1, lost their season opener to Pitt, most notably holding the Panthers to a lower point total on defense (28) than both Penn State (42) and Oklahoma State (38). After their win over Lehigh, the Wildcats impressively dispatched Towson 40-21 at home to maintain their No. 19 ranking nationally.
Villanova will be facing off against Lafayette in Easton this weekend, their first trip there in more than 90 years, and seem like prohibitive favorites to win there Saturday night. If they do, Lehigh’s “schedule strength” won’t be harmed very much by their presence on the schedule.
I hinted at this #NarrativeStreet in yesterday’s Game Preview, but the narrative that keeps jumping to the forefront in the run-up to the game this weekend is the “disaster” – head coach Andy Coen‘s words – of last year’s game at Princeton.
There were other losses in the 2015 Lehigh football season.
There was James Madison, where the eventual playoff-bound Dukes impressively blew the Mountain Hawks out of the water, 55-17. The 59-42 loss to Fordham where QB Nick Shafnisky was lost to injury right before halftime. The Colgate game. The Yale game.
But there was something about the loss at Princeton that really got under coach Coen’s skin that was different than the other losses – an anger at the way it happened, the way that things seemed to come apart in the second half after matching the Tigers score-for-score in in the first half.
All the narratives seem to point to last year’s “disaster”, and hoping that the team has learned from it.
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What a win it was.
The consensus from anyone on the Lehigh side was that the 0-2 Mountain Hawks needed a win. Any win. And it wasn’t going to be easy, against last year’s Ivy League champs, out for vengeance.
And then it happened – the sort of half of football that makes all the loss experiences worth it, the type of tale of redemption after the disappointment of being so close to tasting victory and possible national recognition, only to have it taken away by a few yards in a game of inches, or a drive where the defense couldn’t get that one final stop.
Suddenly, all the narratives that defined the first two losses were overturned. Times when the offense were stopped short became touchdowns. The defense became a Steel Curtain. The win was as definitive as it was season-affirming. It was difficult to find much to criticize in Lehigh’s 49-28 victory over Penn that had spent all offseason plotting their vengeance against the Mountain Hawks, yet Lehigh still did that to them.
And that’s the big, looming danger of this week: that the Mountain Hawk hangover from the win, from the party, from the exhilaration of the flipping of narratives, is so great that Lehigh gets blown off the line of scrimmage early by a talented Princeton team that most certainly has that capability, and had it on display at home last week vs. Lafayette.
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Today’s “Know Your 2016 Opponents” series continues with the team that is predicted by College Sports Journal to finish 4th in the Ivy League: Princeton.
Lehigh’s visit to Powers Field at Princeton Stadium last fall wasn’t a whole lot of fun for the Mountain Hawks. In fact, it was one where head coach Andy Coen felt like Lehigh made too many mistakes to win.
But what really stood out to me was Andy’s response to a question I had – whether he felt like the Mountain Hawks needed to play the perfect game to win on that thick, hot, humid evening.