Archive For The “Villanova” Category

2018 Week 2 Lehigh Players of the Week And Report Card: Villnanova

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2018 Week 2 Lehigh Players of the Week And Report Card: Villnanova

It’s a lot less fun to go through the “Players of the Week” and report card after a loss, but it’s still got to be done. 

Last week’s somewhat humbling 31-9 defeat comes at a point of the season where it’s more of a learning experience than a death blow to the season, and also came against one of the very best teams in all of FCS.

It wouldn’t surprise me to see Villanova win the CAA this season.

In any event, here we go.
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2018 Week 2 Lehigh Players of the Week And Report Card: Villanova

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2018 Week 2 Lehigh Players of the Week And Report Card: Villanova

It’s a lot less fun to go through the “Players of the Week” and report card after a loss, but it’s still got to be done. 

Last week’s somewhat humbling 31-9 defeat comes at a point of the season where it’s more of a learning experience than a death blow to the season, and also came against one of the very best teams in all of FCS.

It wouldn’t surprise me to see Villanova win the CAA this season.

In any event, here we go.
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2018 Week 2, Villanova: Game Breakdown and Fearless Prediction

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2018 Week 2, Villanova: Game Breakdown and Fearless Prediction

(Photo Credit: Philadelphia Inquirer)

It’s time to go full nerd and do a full-blown breakdown of the Villanova Wildcats.

If there were any lingering doubts about how good No. 12 Villanova is, the Wildcats enter this game on a huge high, upsetting Temple of the AAC 19-17.

This isn’t the first time Villanova has faced Lehigh after playing an FBS opponent.

In 2016, the Wildcats traveled to Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, facing a Pitt team led by now-Pittsburgh Steeler RB James Conner on the ground.  The Wildcats fought pretty bravely in that game but eventually fell 28-7 to one of the more powerful teams of the ACC that season.

In the game against Lehigh the following week, won by Villanova 26-21, Lehigh was in the game until the very end, jumping to a 14-6 lead at halftime before the Wildcats got over their Pittsburgh hangover.

Down 21-20, head coach Andy Talley resorted to dinosaur ball, running almost every play until converting the final touchdown.  The rally, behind QB Nick Shafnisky and WR Troy Pelletier, fell about a yard short on a 4th and 10 in Villanova territory.
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2018 Week 2, Villanova: Weather Report and Getting Your Tailgate Ready (Including Burger and Drink of the Week)

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2018 Week 2, Villanova:  Weather Report and Getting Your Tailgate Ready (Including Burger and Drink of the Week)

Seeing as that I put the two-deep analysis on the shelf (because there was no change from last week to this week), let’s get to the more important things about this weekend – the specific happenings happening around the football game, which includes tailgating, special promotions, and other fun stuff like “Drink of the Week” and “Burger of the Week”.

Like last week, the weather report this Saturday is ideal for viewing and playing football.

As of today the forecast calls for cloudy weather and a high of 72 during gametime, with a 20% chance of some possible showers.  Like last week, there is some precipitation forecast for the night before, which should have Murray Goodman’s turf, again, in perfect shape for football.
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Lehigh Will Need A Bad Memory, And A Great Memory, As They Head to Monmouth Next Weekend

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Lehigh Will Need A Bad Memory, And A Great Memory, As They Head to Monmouth Next Weekend

(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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The Missed Opportunity: Lehigh Falls to Villanova, 38-35, In A Winnable Game

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The Missed Opportunity: Lehigh Falls to Villanova, 38-35, In A Winnable Game

(Photo Credit: Kyle Craig/Lehigh Valley Live)

Head coach Andy Coen would hear nothing of moral victories in the post game press conference.

“I thought we had every opportunity to win this football game,” Lehigh’s frustrated head coach said.

“When you go through this stuff,” he said, flipping through the pages of the post-game statistics packet, “you’re going to see a lot of mistakes.  You see it with some young guys, guys in their first game, but we had some guys that where it was just out of character.”

It was a game where neither side looked like they were in mid-season form, though you could see the quality shine through offensively on both sides at different times.  So the outcome hinged on mistakes, and who made fewer of them – and that team was Villanova.

That shouldn’t take away from the offensive fireworks on both sides.

There was the tremendous blocking up front that set up a great rushing day for Villanova RB Matt Gudzak, who ran for 145 yards and 2 touchdowns, and an effecient all-purpose yardage of a day for Wildcat QB Zach Bednarczyk, who went 17 for 23 passing and scored three touchdowns, two through the air and on the ground.

And there was the electricity of junior QB Brad Mayes repeatedly connecting with senior WR Troy Pelletier, senior WR Gatlin Casey, and the newest starter in the receiving corps, junior WR Luke Christiano.  Mayes went 33 for 49 passing for 406 yards and 4 touchdowns, and some of them were a sight to behold.

Yet it would boil down to mistakes – a pass here with too much mustard, a dropped reception there, a missed assignment there – and Lehigh simply made too many of them to beat a quality Top 10 ranked team at home.

“After the game, and we all got in our circle,” coach Coen said, “and I just told them all, you guys need to look into your mirror, and see how you feel about what you did or didn’t do right.  They were a very good football team, and I give them a lot of credit – they were very fast, and very physical.  This was an opportunity for us to beat a very good Villanova team, and also an opportunity to beat someone from the CAA, which I thought would be very important for us.  We didn’t get it done.”

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QUICK RECAP: Lehigh Comes Close, But Can’t Get Final Stop, Lose 38-35 to Villanova

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QUICK RECAP: Lehigh Comes Close, But Can’t Get Final Stop, Lose 38-35 to Villanova

Lehigh fell behind 21-7 and 28-14 in the first half, and battled back in the second half to give themselves a shot to win, but for the second straight year the Mountain Hawks came close but couldn’t close the deal, falling 38-35 to Villanova at Murray …

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How Will I Watch Villanova At Lehigh This Afternoon?

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How Will I Watch Villanova At Lehigh This Afternoon?


Not going to the home opener?

First of all, what’s wrong with you?

OK.  So your bicycle is in the shop, it’s the Pee Wee Soccer quarterfinals, or some other very good reason has arisen where you can’t make it to Murray Goodman for the game.

Never fear.  LFN’s here.

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Villanova at Lehigh Game Breakdown and Fearless Prediction: Who Will Be Pennsylvania’s FCS Champion?

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Villanova at Lehigh Game Breakdown and Fearless Prediction: Who Will Be Pennsylvania’s FCS Champion?

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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Villanova at Lehigh Game Narratives: Excitement High In Bethlehem For Top 25 Matchup

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Villanova at Lehigh Game Narratives: Excitement High In Bethlehem For Top 25 Matchup

It’s different when you’re returning champions.

That much was clear when sifting through all the preseason print pieces and videos covering the Lehigh Mountain Hawks.

Expectations return – you’re no longer the “hunter”, as head coach Andy Coen explained, you’re the “hunted”.

Managing those expectations has been almost as important for this Lehigh football team as the regular conditioning and X and O’s drills of camp.

The common thread with the many print and video pieces and the many interviews is a sense of maturity and a businesslike ethic around this team, especially amongst its leadership.
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