Thursday, October 08, 2015

Game Preview, Lehigh at Bucknell, 10/10/2015

The buzz went through the press box in the minutes before last year's game versus Bucknell that QB R.J. Nitti, the starter for the 4-1 Bison, was not suiting up at quarterback.

Almost immediately, the mood of the Lehigh folks covering the game picked up.

Without Nitti, it would mean little-used QB Trey Lauletta would be the starter in his place.  That, along with the injury to the regular starting RB C.J. Williams, what seemed originally like a close matchup between two close teams felt like a very good shot at a win for the winless Mountain Hawks and might actually get Lehigh's season pointed in the right direction.

 It didn't work out that way.

After jumping out to a 7-0 lead, Bucknell would ride a record-setting performance by WR Will Carter, who would get 3 big-play touchdowns during a stretch of 31 straight Bison points to power through to a 45-24 win over Lehigh and effectively ending any dreams of competing for the Patriot League title.

For the last two seasons, the quest for Lehigh's Patriot League title hopes have gone through a game versus Bucknell. This year is no different.  The road to any sort of Patriot League title hopes for the Mountain Hawks start this weekend in Lewisburg.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

My FCS Top 25 Vote, Week 5: 10/5/2015

If you'd like, you can check out my FCS Top 25 vote below.

This week was a huge one in the Missouri Valley conference, as two battles between ranked teams took place.

While North Dakota State beating South Dakota State might not have been surprising, the relative ease of which the Bison dispatched the Jackrabbits was, a 28-7 game that really wasn't all that close.

And Illinois State, in a true "show-me" game, at least to me, really did show that they are as advertised, beating Northern Iowa 21-13.  While controversial RB Marshaun Coprich did play for the Redbirds, his 143 yards and 2 touchdowns were instrumental in their key conference win.

These two wins cleared a logjam in my Top 10 and established two clear frontrunners in the Missouri Valley race.

Monday, October 05, 2015

Yale Came Into Our House And Pushed Us Around

In the movie Rudy, Notre Dame head coach Dan Devine gets painted unjustifiably as a bit of a jerk.

His treatment in the movie, I feel, is what prevents Rudy from being a mostly-loved movie from a near-universally loved movie.

Some people will never forgive the moviemakers, for the convenience of drama, for changing the reality of his coaching career.

Yet despite this fact, actor Chelcie Ross manages to deliver one of the iconic halftime locker-room speeches in cinema.  You're not really supposed to like him, as the movie goes, but somehow he manages this great line:

"No one, and I mean no one, comes into our house and pushes us around."

It's great because it is a universal football concept.  Bowl-eligibility, conference games, even in playing out a 3-8 season, it doesn't matter.  Nobody wants to play the game of football and get pushed around, ever, but to be pushed around at home?  Somewhere, you have to draw a line.

This weekend, Yale pushed us around.  At home.  There's no hiding it.  They weren't always pretty doing it - the Bulldogs made a fair number of mistakes in the form of penalties and turnovers.  But ultimately, they won the game because they pushed us around.

Sunday, October 04, 2015

On Cold, Dreary Homecoming, Lehigh Overpowered by Yale 27-12

It was a game that was pretty much the opposite of what Lehigh football fans would have wanted from homecoming.

People want games in Murray Goodman Stadium that are sunny and 70 degrees, with perhaps just a hint of wind.  Instead, despite the fact that a threatened hurricane never arrived, temperatures dipped into the 50s to go with some cold, gusty winds, which caused not a few people to get runny noses.

Homecoming is supposed to be a happy time, but the dark, overcast skies didn't make the game feel like a warm, welcoming place.  Though the Marching 97 tried their best, as did the Alumni band, the dreariness hung over the stadium like an unwelcome guest.

Home fans always want a win on homecoming, hopefully with exciting, crisp, vibrant execution from the guys in the brown jerseys, but again, that too would end up being the opposite of what Lehigh fans were hoping for on this afternoon.

Yale would turn over the ball three times, be penalized 11 times for 94 yards, and be limited to 200 yards passing on the afternoon.  But they would also enjoy over 200 yards rushing from RB Deshawn Salter, playing in his first career start filling in for injured RB Candler Rich, and that, coupled with plenty of mistakes on the Lehigh side, would amount to a comfortable 27-12 win for the Buldogs.

Saturday, October 03, 2015

Not At Homecoming? Really? Watch the game here:

If you're not able to catch the Yale game in person - really?  You can't? -  you can stream the game here from the Patriot League Digital Network.  It's a 12:30 start and will be the same broadcast that's available over the air on SE2 in the Lehigh Valley, with Mike Zambelli and Mike Yadush on the call.

Patriot League Digital Network

If you're in the car and you have a phone, don't tear through your data plan - listen to Matt Kerr and Tom Fallon on the call, with Matt Markus reporting the pregame and sideline.  It's a simulcast of what's local in the Lehigh Valley on AM 1230 and AM 1320:

Last night saw three games of interest to Lehigh fans: Princeton remained undefeated by outlasting Columbia in a Nor'Easter, 10-5, Colgate nearly blew a 14 point lead but held on to beat Cornell 28-21, and Georgetown got trounced by Harvard 45-0.

Played at the same time today as Lehigh/Yale is Albany/Holy Cross (1:00 PM), which is available on Campus Insiders:

Also Bucknell plays a tough game at VMI, which is available on ESPN3:

Lafayette faces off against Fordham with a 6:00PM start, definitely a double-scouting opportunity to catch after Lehigh beats Yale:


Other games that might be of interest to Lehigh fans that aren't happening simultaneously with Lehigh's homecoming:

ESPN3 has a multitude of great games this afternoon and evening that have lots to do with the world of  FCS:

There's two FBS upset possibilities:

Liberty at Georgia State (3:30 PM)
Eastern Kentucky at Kentucky (7:30 PM)

Some great Missouri Valley matchups, including the matchup of the week:

Indiana State at Missouri State (3:00 PM)
Youngstown State at South Dakota (3:00 PM)
Southern Illinois at Western Illinois (4:00 PM)
North Dakota State at South Dakota State (7:30 PM)

And a bunch of other matchups involving Top 25 teams:

Sam Houston State vs. Stephen F. Austin (4:00 PM)
Wofford at Mercer (6:00 PM)
South Carolina State vs. Furman (7:00 PM)

On broadcast TV, Penn State will destroy Army at the same time Lehigh is beating Yale (noon), but there's a chance to catch William and Mary face off against Delaware on the NBC Sports Network at 7:00 PM.

Friday, October 02, 2015

Game Breakdown, Yale at Lehigh, 10/3/2015

We break down the Yale game - and we give our fearless prediction, below the flip.

All week everyone's been tracking the progress of a potential superstorm, hurricane Joaquin.  While the main concern, of course, is the safety of everyone in the hurricane's path, people are also wondering whether the storm will be affecting the game this weekend in the form of wind or rains.

It turns out, if the tracking goes the way the majority models are indicating, that Lehigh's 12:30 game at Murray Goodman might not only escape the rain, but there might not be any showers to speak of.

In the latest hour by hour at, the forecast actually only has modest showers in the morning, ending by 11:00 AM (just in time for tailgating), and remaining partly cloudy all the way until 4:00 PM on Saturday, an absolute perfect window for the football game and Goodman stadium homecoming activities.

In short, it's increasingly looking like the storm will either move very slowly through the Caribbean,  or take a sharp right turn and head so far out to sea that the worst of the winds of the storm will miss the Lehigh Valley completely.  Though the situation is still serious along the Eastern shore, at Murray Goodman it is actually, against all earlier odds, looking like good weather.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Game Preview, Yale at Lehigh, 10/3/2015

“The past is the past and we aren’t concerned with it. We have learned from our mistakes, and we are ready to move on.”

That was freshman RB Micco Brisker, who told this to The Brown and White this week in regards to last week's game versus Princeton.

It's a good attitude to have going into this weekend's game versus Yale.

It would be easy to complain about injuries, or the officials, or unlucky bounces of the football last week.  But to this team's credit, that wasn't what the discussion points were about in the weekday media sessions.  It was about owning those mistakes, and moving on.

“We need to cut out mental mistakes like penalties and missed assignments on the field, as well as win the turnover margin by forcing more turnovers defensively and preventing them from happening offensively,” said junior LB Colton Caslow this week.

This weekend Lehigh will be looking to move on, actually, from two different games, one from last weekend, where it felt like the Mountain Hawks' own mistakes cost them the game, and a game a year ago, in which Lehigh lost two 21 point leads and lost a marathon of a game, 54-43, to the same opponents they face at homecoming this year, Yale.

Homecoming is always a big weekend for Lehigh football, but a win for Lehigh this weekend would likely mean a lot more than just making the alumni happy.  It would mean "moving on" to league play with the slate finally cleaned - officially, this time.