Archive For The “Shane McNeely” Category
“These next ten games shape what we are, and this next one is absolutely huge,” New Hampshire head coach Sean McDonnell said in the CAA teleconference before their home opener against Lehigh this weekend. “We got to win this battle. We got to get ready for this really good Lehigh team.”
It’s hard enough preparing for a week of football, but hearing that cannot make head coach Andy Coen or any of the players in the Lehigh football program very happy. They’re not going to be sneaking up on anybody.
In addition to the revenge factor, Lehigh will be playing at 3:30 PM in the afternoon under the lights at Cowell Stadium. It’s the first time lights have made their appearance at Cowell stadium, making it, sorta, the first Wildcat “night game”.
And as you can see, UNH players had some “lightness” about it today.
UNH couldn’t be more motivated for the game, their home opener, this weekend. Which makes my breakdown all the more important.
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Ever think that, sometimes, it takes all the stars to align for an upset victory?
In Lehigh’s 34-27 win over New Hampshire last season, it felt like that could have been the case.
The Wildcats were a young team with somewhat dampened expectations, coming to Murray Goodman stadium to try to find themselves. Meanwhile, Lehigh, fresh off one of the most improbable Mountain Hawk wins ever, their 29-28 win over Princeton, had momentum and confidence to spare.
While Lehigh is expected to lose to supposedly “full-scholarship” teams from the CAA, everything seemed to align – the weather, the home game, and a Wildcat team that was still a work-in-progress.
But the stars aligning for Lehigh last year, however, makes for a much steeper challenge in 2014.
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It’s pretty remarkable how routine it’s all getting.
To Lehigh watchers, this come-from-behind 34-27 victory resembled all the others. They’d seen this movie before.
Fall behind early, by double-digits if possible. Regroup. Mount a comeback. Make huge defensive stops. Win.
For the fourth straight game, Lehigh came from behind to win.
For the third time this season, Lehigh overcame a double-digit deficit to win.
It’s as if all of Lehigh Nation simply expects the Mountain Hawks to fall behind in the first half, and recover in time to win. You could feel it in the crowd of nearly 9,000 people at Murray Goodman Stadium. Amazingly, down by 16, the game never felt out of reach.
But this particular come-from-behind win was different in one very important respect.
In beating the 7th-ranked New Hampshire Wildcats this weekend, the Mountain Hawks finally got to silence the critics across the country saying they haven’t played anyone tough, can’t beat anyone tough, and won’t beat anyone tough.
They did. They can. And now, they have.
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(Photo Credit: John Doyle/Foster’s Daily Democrat)
“I think we just need to get better coming out in the second half,” said UNH senior OL Seamus O’Neill in their win over Colgate two weeks ago. “We need to focus on playing the entire game. When we’re up on someone we need to keep our foot on the pedal.”
Sound somewhat familiar?
One of the more interesting subplots going into this weekend’s game is how New Hampshire, thus far the ultimate first-half team, does against Lehigh, thus far the ultimate second-half team.
What I truly like about the Wildcats, though, is their game notes, which are extensive and easy to get to. There’s also the matter of their video preview as well, which was equally as valuable to me.
Let’s break these guys down.
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