Archive For The “Randall Lawson” Category
Head coach Andy Coen admitted that an onsides kick caught him a bit off guard.
It was not a situation that Lehigh Mountain Hawks folks were very familiar with, to be honest. Since joining the Patriot League back in 2001, the Hoyas had lost every single time they made the trip to Murray Goodman Stadium by a margin of more than 20 points.
Having cut the margin to 27-21, on the brink of possibly beating Lehigh in Bethlehem for the first time in the modern era, Georgetown head coach Rob Sgarlata rolled the dice, and attempted an onsides kick with 14:55 to play in the game.
But junior LB Evan Harvey saw the onsides kick the whole way, and expertly grabbed the ball with both hands and fell down on the ball.
It was plays like that that won the game.
You can, and should, say a lot of good things about freshman QB Brad Mayes, who looked fantastic in spots throwing 18-of-24 for and 214 yards in his first-ever collegiate start. You can, and should, say a lot of good things about freshman RB Dominick Bragalone, who racked up 169 net yards on the ground and was difficult for the Georgetown defense to contain. But alone, that’s not won the game for Lehigh on Saturday. It was a lot of little things done right, like fielding that onsides kick, that won it, and in so doing kept Lehigh’s Patriot League title hopes alive.
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|Senior SS Randall Lawson (Morning Call)|
Lehigh’s defensive numbers in 2014, as I mentioned before, leave a lot to be desired.
And when you look at the secondary, it’s the same story.
Out of 121 FCS teams, Lehigh ranked 110th in pass defense, and if you watched the unit last year, you also saw too many big plays allowed by the defense, too.
The silver lining, though, is that Lehigh only graduates two players in the secondary, DB Jason Suggs and DB Jamil Robinson, so the returning starters all have a years’ experience under their belt in defensive coordinator Joe Bottiglieri‘s defensive system.
This spring has also posed some challenges for the Lehigh staff, as there are a lot of secondary players on the shelf with injuries, making it a challenge for the remaining players.
If the records and numbers determined the outcome, they probably wouldn’t bother playing the football game.
Lehigh, at 1-5, faces off against Fordham, the 12th-ranked team in the nation, who sits atop the Patriot League at 6-1.
Fordham boasts one of the top offenses in the nation – that part’s pretty much known by everyone – but what few people realize is their defense, for the most part, has also been stellar.
Three weeks ago, on Friday night TV against the defending Patriot League champions, Lafayette, you probably heard or saw the four-minute stretch where QB Michael Nebrich helped score three straight touchdowns to put the game, basically, out of reach. What you didn’t maybe stop to think about is that the Rams stopped the Leopards on three quick, straight drives, allowing that offense to bowl over the Lafayette defense.
So don’t play the game, the stats and highlights seem to say. Fordham’s too good. Don’t even bother.
But you can guarantee that this Lehigh team will still line up on Saturday, and they still believe that they can win this game. And this week, after Lehigh’s first win of the season, belief is not hard to come by on this team.
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There have been times this season that Lehigh has been agonizingly close to winning games they have ended up losing.
It’s as if they’ve been stuck with bad karma; that they’ve been oh-so-close to winning, but some bad karmic event keeps them out of the victory column.
Against the Big Red on homecoming this weekend, the Bad Karma seemed to be at Schoellkopf Field for Lehigh once again.
A well-defended pass bounced into the hands of Cornell WR Collin Shaw set up one Big Red touchdown. and a low snap to punter junior P Austin Devine set up another, making a 17-0 Mountain Hawk become a very slim, thin-feeling 17-14 spot for Lehigh.
But then just like that, the Lehigh offense seemed to have finished with its bad karma, with senior RB Rich Sodeke leading the charge to set up one big touchdown, and scoring the final exclamation point on Lehigh’s first win of the season.
It all added up to a satisfying return to winning for the Mountain Hawks.
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In my first edition about Lehigh’s spring football season, I take a look at one of the parts of the team that I’ll be watching closely when the Brown vs. White game gets played on April 19th: the secondary.
While one might naturally start one’s focus on Lehigh’s spring season on the offense, and the reps that rising sophomore QB Nick Shafnisky will be taking, I’d argue that it’s equally as important to focus on the battles happening in the Mountain Hawk secondary.
For the first time in a long time, it’s not a foregone conclusion as to whom will be starting come September.
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