Saturday, September 11, 2004

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Other games, 9/11/2004

Other games to follow today

In the Patriot League:
Lafayette at Georgetown. Last year, Georgetown surprised a Lafayette team and won, 17-10, in effect dashing the Leopards' hopes at any title run. Think anyone from Lafayette was circling this game on the calendar last January? This time, Lafayette is focused and prepared, and they roll. Lafayette 49, Georgetown 14.

Colgate at UMass. A rematch of the 1-AA playoffs from last year, but this time in Springfield, Mass, home of the Minutemen. With UMass' new coach, and the humiliation of last year's away playoff game STILL not quite behind them, Colgate picks up where they left off last year, and gets a key Patriot victory on the road. Colgate 24, UMass 21

San Diego at Holy Cross. Last years 47-46 OT thriller in San Diego is now brought to Holy Cross in this home-and-home. Trouble is, Holy Cross stuggled mightily against Duquesne last year, and there seems little reason to believe that they will get their offense on track against a offensively potent San Diego team that already knows their personnel. San Diego 45, Holy Cross 14

Fordham at Albany. Fordham hung real tough at A-10 foe Rhode Island last week. Albany should provide a much-needed breather for the Rams. Fordham 49, Albany 3

In the Top 25:
Northeastern at 1-A Navy. Navy supposedly is a great team, though they lost to 1-A Delaware last year (which I predicted). This year, they host N'Eastern. How I would love to pick an upset. However, I can't see the Huskies exposing Navy the way Delaware did through the passing game. Take Navy in a close game. Navy 24, N'Eastern 17

New Hampshire at 1-A Rutgers. Villanova enjoyed a win against Rutgers as early as 2002. Rutgers has been known as a moribund program over the years -- can the Wildcats pull another upset? I don't think so. After beating Michigan St. 19-14 last week, hope springs on the Raritan that the Scarlet Knights will have a good Big East year this year, and a spent UNH squad seems ripe for the picking (especially with their 3 starting QB's out). This one's not close. Rutgers 56, UNH 0

E. Kentucky at Appalachian St. The best the OVC has to offer travels down to one of the perennial SoCon contenders. Can they get it done? To do so, they'll have to score - points will be at a premium. App St. does enough to win. App St. 16, E. Kentucky 3

Hofstra at Montana. Montana/Maine last week lived up to billing as the game of the week last week, as Montana won it in the closing minutes. Hofstra, one of the doormats of the A-10, should pose no such challenge. Montana 35, Hofstra 3

S. Illinois at N. Illinois. The #1 team in 1-AA takes on one of the best 1-A mid-majors in the land, N. Illinois. Can S. Illinois hang with the big dogs? NIU's powerful offense will make things tough for them, but I think they will keep it close in the first quarters, before predictably falling. NIU 31, SIU 17

N. Colorado at Maine. Maine, already playing a "must" game, is playing a very tough N. Colorado team from the Great West. I think Maine rises to the challenge, though NCU plays a tough game. Maine 27, NCU 24

N. Arizona at Stephen F. Austin. An early battle of ranked teams that should be interesting. Is SFA for real? My thought is N. Arizona has a little extra incentive not to start 0-2, and they manage to win a tight game. NAU 38, SFA 35

Friday, September 10, 2004

Something exciting here at Lehigh Football Nation; Press Reports on Lehigh/Villanova; PBS Special; Tailgating

Premiering duing Lehigh/Villanova
We have an exciting announcement for this weekend's game versus Villanova! I have set up Blogger.Com's version of Audioblogger on LehighFootballNation. During the game I will "call in" my blog postings, summarizing the game so far at that point. The plan is to call in the posts at the end of each quarter, with my observations.

Athough not a play-by-play, it will be a first-hand, audio account by yours truly. The postings are .MP3 files, playable on your computer.

So if you're unable to go to the game, tune in here to get in insider's scoop!

Press Clippings on Lehigh/Villanova
Much ink has been spilled this week over this marquee matchup of ranked Eastern 1-AA teams, set to start at Murray Goodman at 1PM tomorrow.

Morning Call:
Lehigh Still has a Long Way to Go
Graziani is just now getting his turn
Philadelphia Inquirer:
Wildcats' young offensive line could be a concern at Lehigh
Express-Times:
Early Showdown in Division 1-AA
Brown & White:
Next Challenge for Hawks: Villanova
No David and Goliath

The Morning Call Article on "Graz" is worth a second look. After battling for the starting spot in the spring, he looks to be a fixture in the front seven this year hopefully.

Your intrepid reporter has digested out the important bits and reprinted them here for your enjoyment:

''Considering how close the competition for quarterback was through the preseason, several media types and probably more than a few in the crowd of 7,116 thought that Lembo would lift Borda at halftime on Saturday...."

[Yes, that includes us here at LFN.]

"We’ll all know after Saturday if our small private school can hang with the big boys in Division I-AA. But right now, just the numbers are intimidating enough to make any Hawk’s Nest junkie drop their pompons in disappointment."

[He could be talking about LFN here, no doubt... but I will be at the game, virtual pom-pom's and all.]

''We were out of sync a lot and that made Mark's job a lot tougher,'' Lembo said. ''There were times when we probably should have gotten rid of the ball quicker than we did and there were other times when protection broke down and routes weren't run the way we wanted them to.

''I'm sure that when we look at the tape and find that whether it's Borda, our strong side tackle or our Z-receiver that everybody made their share of mistakes and we have a lot of work to do.

Lembo said he never considered a change. ''I wanted to see what he could do,'' Lembo said. ''You're not going to come in and set the world on fire in your first game. I don't want Mark looking over his shoulder and worrying about making mistakes.''

''I would have expected a better performance from our offensive line, especially in some one-on-one matchups,'' Lembo said. ''But their defensive line was very good, too. That's a Patriot League-quality unit with a lot of experience. I guess time will tell whether we didn't play that well up front or if they really have some legitimate guys.''

'Borda accepted blame for several of the sacks and other hits he took during his release.''A couple of those I probably hung on the ball too long trying to make sure the receiver was there,'' he said. ''Some other times maybe someone came off the corner and I didn't see them. I'll watch the tape and I'll try to get it squared away.... We stuck with it. We have a lot of senior leadership on this team and they didn't let you think about getting down on yourself. They gave speeches at halftime and told us to keep our heads up because Stony Brook came to play.''

''Mark's good in that he doesn't get too high or too low,'' Lembo said. ''I give him credit for being patient with himself and the rest of the offense. Other guys got frustrated, but not Mark.''

''My feeling is that if we had just run the ball on every down, we probably would have had more yardage and more first downs,'' Lembo said. ''But it was important to give Mark a chance to take reps behind center and sprint out and do some things. It was a learning experience.''

“While the game plan changes week to week based on the opponent, the methods of preparation and attention to detail does not change,” Lembo said. “Our offensive personnel understand that we must execute better. I am confident they will focus and work hard to improve as the season progresses.”

“On defense, we can’t give up any big plays and we need to cause some turnovers. Offensively, we have got to move the chains and be productive in the red zone,” Lembo says. “We must eliminate the penalties we had last week because Villanova can really tee off in long yardage situations.”“A big play or two on special teams would help our cause, too,” Lembo said.

Lembo on Villanova:

"It's neat to have two schools this highly ranked,with such great traditions and located just an hour apart getting together,'' Lembo said. ''They're a very good football team. I'd compare them to UConn in terms of talent level of a recent opponent, especially on defense. We're going to have to play a very, very good game and make few mistakes to beat them. They were sensational defensively against Bucknell.''

"From what I've seen on tape, I think this defense is one of the top couple units in the country," Lembo said. "I think many of their players are comparable to the guys we saw at UConn last year and Furman a couple years ago."

Some serious respect from Lembo on the Villanova defense. Clearly the challenge is for our "O" line to contain them.

Interesting notes from Andy Talley:

Villanova coach Andy Talley said that he was pleased with how his offensive line looked in last week's season opener, but that given all of the new faces thrown out there against Bucknell, the Wildcats kept their play-calling conservative.

"You didn't really see a wide open, go get 'em offense," Talley said this week.

That will change tomorrow at Lehigh, Talley suggested, because it has to. Lehigh also knows how to score. Villanova's line was a concern going into the season, and now it is a bigger one.
"We are a little uneasy up front," Talley said.


Talley is uneasy because his most experienced lineman, senior tackle Mike Roseman, has an unexplained medical condition that has him overheating as soon as he starts practicing. Two other starters are back, but one has moved from tackle to guard. A redshirt freshman just back from an injury will start in Roseman's place tomorrow, after a walk-on started against Bucknell. One true freshman already has been thrown out there as a backup.

The Wildcats used more play-action than usual, Talley said, and kept their backs in more to protect Burroughs. Lehigh does more stunting than Bucknell, which won't be anything new to the Wildcats veterans. They see it all the time in the Atlantic Ten.

The view from the nest here is very interesting. Is Talley really going to open up the offense against the Engineers? He may have to, if he is genuinely worried about his offensive line. My take on it is, although the Wildcat "O" line is inexperienced, they had a very good day overall against Bucknell last week (despite some lapses). Talley appears to be concerned about Lehigh's potent front seven.

If I were Lehigh, I wouldn't fall too much for this smokescreen. The "D" line will still have to work hard stop the Villanova offense.

"This is a game that is (between) two very fine academic institutions," Villanova coach Andy Talley said. "It's also terrific for Eastern Pennsylvania football and Pennsylvania football, in general. You have the best I-AA team with the best winning percentage in Lehigh against little, old Villanova, just trying to make it's way up to the stadium and seeing whether we can play those guys."

Don't buy that.

[You're not kidding - LFN.]

Finally, some player quotes from Media Day:

“Obviously we are excited about the opportunity to play a highly nationally ranked team,” [Jason] Morrell said. “The atmosphere at Goodman Stadium should be amazing on Saturday. As far as the mindset going into this week of practice, we are as focused as we are every week; at the same time we realize the importance of this game and understand we need to work much harder than last week in order to compete with Villanova.

“I know that the Lehigh faithful are going to be extremely fired up for this game as we will be. All I would say to the fans is that their involvement in the game is crucial. When 13 or 14,000 people are cheering their hearts out, it gives us a huge advantage as well as getting the team intense and excited.”

"We do have an offense," snapped [Jon] Guynes, Lehigh's tough two-year starter at outside linebacker. "Our offense has been very good in the past. It was Borda's first start and everything. There's an upside to our offense.

"We know our quarterback's going to get that rust off this week."

"For being one of the top teams in the A-10 and ranked among the top 10 in the nation, it's kind of a playoff-caliber game," Lehigh linebacker Anthony Graziani of Pen Argyl said.

"Their skill players are some of the best we'll see this season... "We're going to have to contain them... I know Villanova's defense may be ranked No. 1 in the country right now," Graziani said. "It's definitely a little bonus to us to try to outplay their defense."

"No offense to Coach Lembo," Guynes said, "we always feel like defense wins the game anyway. "We're not going out there saying it's our defense against their defense for macho reasons. They have a lot of speed and talent on offense. We have to go out from the first snap and be physical from the first play of the game."

"Graz"'s comments are pretty standard from Mountain Hawks over the years. OG Jason Morrell's comments seem poised to get a Lehigh/Colgate or Lehigh/Lafayette atmosphere in Murray Goodman this Saturday (which hopefully will be the case).

But LB Jon Guynes, sure, um, has a way with words. Pretty outspoken! Defending the offense, and the defense usually "wins the game anyway"... sounds like the ultimate outspoken general... from World War II.. George S. Patton!

How does Jon "Patton" Guynes sound?

Action item and Must-see TV
WLVT
If you live within the broadcast signal of PBS station WLVT, this Sunday there is a bit of must-see TV at 7:00PM. It's a show called "The Lehigh-Lafayette Legacy" From the WLVT website, it's "a chronicle of the nation's most played college football rivalry. This new documentary features personal stories from players, coaches and families who have left their mark on this historic rivalry."

In addition, if you wish to contibute to WLVT online, click on the link above. It takes you to the WLVT webpage, with a Lehigh/Lafayette scoreboard! You can contribute money, and it will show up on the scoreboard. Make sure Lehigh beats Lafayette.... [again].

On LehighSports.Com there is the official release from the university on this documentary:
Documentary to profile Lehigh/Lafayette rivalry

Finally, a word on... tailgating
The Brown and White had this piece the other day concerning the tailgating practices of... some... Lehigh students this past weekend.
Tailgating signals the beginning of football

If this piece doesn't bring you back to your wild, carefree of Lehigh tailgating, really, nothing will. And was that guy really shotgunning a Coke? Somehow, I doubt it.

However, on line in the piece bothered me:

Next weekend, the drama continues before a home game against Villanova University. Tailgates should be crazy once again. Maybe this time, my friends and I will make it to the game.

Lehigh Football Nation has a name for fans like you, the Pat O'Brien's of the football world. "Gigli's". Yes, named after Ben Affleck's academy-award winning movie, these Affleck wannabes "go" to all the sporting events, but don't ever quite actually make it into the stadium. As long as they're seen, that's all that matters.

Enough words hyping up the game!
Bring on Villanova!

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Lehigh's Poll Numbers; Lehigh/Villanova Preview

If it's Wednesday...
that means it's time for Lehigh Football Nation's fearless preview of the Villanova game.

Up a spot in the national polls
In the only 2 national polls that were updated this week, Lehigh gained slightly. It seems like voters did not penalize the Mountain Hawks too badly for not blowing out Stony Brook as many fans had predicted. Whew!

Any Given Saturday: #19
The Sports Network: #22

Game notes available
The game notes are available for this Saturday's titanic clash at Murray Goodman.

Lehigh's Notes
Villanova's Notes

Lehigh Injury Report
Note: It is Lehigh Football Nation's policy to report injuries that are "questionable" and above.
TE Pete Morelli (questionable)
OT Tom Toth (questionable)
WR Greg Petrosky (questionable)
DB Brannan Thomas (doubtful)

Of the injuries, OT Tom Toth's could potentially be the most damaging. Behind him on the depth chart is freshman OT Jimmy Kehs, or possibly OT Rob Sandie could fill in.

Preview of Lehigh/Villanova
First, The Sports Netowrk's take on the game:
Week 2 in 1-AA

No. 8 Villanova (1-0) at No. 22 Lehigh (1-0), 1:00

The Wildcats and the Mountain Hawks each have plenty of questions after the first game. Villanova appeared to be on its way to an easy win over Bucknell until the offense gave the ball away on three second half possessions. The Bison came back from a 20-0 deficit to cut Villanova’s lead to 20-14, and literally came within inches of taking a lead on the Wildcats. Lehigh had to overcome offensive struggles of its own in a 25-2 win against Mid-Major Stony Brook. Lehigh moved the ball on the ground in the second half and pulled away, but the offensive effort left plenty to be desired. Both Villanova’s Marvin Burroughs and Lehigh’s Mark Borda are under pressure to perform, especially early in the season. Both quarterbacks unseated last year’s incumbent in fall practice, and now have to prove themselves on the field. Burroughs had a better first outing than Borda, but both had a mixed bag of good plays and ineffectiveness. I saw Villanova’s defense firsthand, and came away extremely impressed. Something tells me that, by the end of the year, the offense will catch up a bit and the Wildcats will be a team to avoid come playoff time. Villanova has more speed and talent on both sides of the ball, and would probably win a series between the two pretty easily. But the Brown and White know how perfect they must be out-of-conference if they need an at-large playoff berth, and will play with motivation to prove themselves in this game. Lehigh finds a way to score just enough points, and pulls off the upset in a close contest. Final Score: Lehigh 14, Villanova 13

So the Football Network has us winning this game, eh? Well, let's do the analysis and find out, shall we?

Villanova (or "Vanilla-ova" as I like to call them) is primarily a basketball school which plays in the Big East (like our Patriot League's own Georgetown). They play in the Atlantic 10 football scholarship football conference, and was conference quad-co-champion in 2001 (where, oddly enough, they didn't qualify for the 1-AA playoffs). In 2002 they made a deep run in the 1-AA playoffs as an at-large team, only falling to McNeese St. in the semifinals. Their performance that year earned them the Lambert Cup (given to the best-performing Eastern 1-AA football team). And did I mention that they upset 1-A Rutgers that year in September, 37-19, in a game that wasn't even that close?

In 2003, they finished a disappointing 7-4 after starting the year with six straight wins (including an upset of 1-A Temple in September, 23-21). This illustrates precisely how dangerous the Wildcats are in the month of September.

In 2004, they are ranked #8 in the country after beating Bucknell at home 20-14 to start the year. The Wildcats found themselves up comfortably 20-0 in the third quarter, when three straight turnovers caused Villanova to nearly completely unravel. The Bison rang up two quick touchdowns, and got all the way to the 1 yard line of the Wildcats before Villanova made a goal-line stand that ended up preserving the win.

Andy Talley, Villanova's coach, is entering his 20th year at the helm of the Wildcats. He built the modern-day Villanova football program from scratch in 1985, picking up the pieces of a program that disbanded in 1980. Starting in Division III in 1985, in 1987 he led Villanova in their first Atlantic 10 conference year. Two years later, Villanova was A-10 co-champion. Think this guy knows how to coach, or what?

Three Villanova NFL Alumni you might know? NFL Hall of Fame defensive end Howie Long; Falcons WR Brian Finneran; and Eagles RB Bryant Westbrook, all coached by Talley. Oh yeah, he knows his stuff all right.

Offense
Sophomore QB Marvin Burroughs is the leader of the Vilanova offensive unit. Last week, he had a great statistical day, 17 for 24, for 142 yards, 1 rushing and 1 passing TD - if you conveniently forget his fumble and interception in Villanova territory that directly led to 2 Bucknell TDs and made Wildcat fans squirm in their seats last week. But don't let that fool you one iota. Burroughs is a talented kid that can beat you in the short passing game and the running game as well.

Burroughs appears to be primarily a mobile quarterback with a good understanding of the short passing game. Therefore, pursuit is key.

Senior RB Terry Butler will anchor the running attack. Last week he rushed for 124 yards and one TD (and one fumble). Though he didn't show it last week, he can catch the ball out of the backfield, and is an extremely good running back. RB Martin "Moe" Gibson is also not to be taken lightly - he's not only a rushing option, he also catches many passes out of the backfield. FB Phil DiGiacomo is primarily a blocker out of the backfield for Butler.

The OL is a solid, yet inexperienced, line. Last week against Bucknell they had a great first half, and didn't have many penalties against them.

Leading the receiving corps is senior wideout J.J. Outlaw. He will be Burroughs' prime target and will have to be public enemy #1 of the Lehigh defensive backs. Last week he hauled in 9 passes for 62 yards. TE Anthony Wright is also a prime target, having hauled in 3 passes last week as well.

Defense
As competent as the offense is, the real strength of Villanova lies in its defense. With four preseason all-A-10 selections in defense, it will be a real test of the Lehigh offense to produce against a unit that only let up 178 yards of *total* offense against Bucknell.

Anchoring the big, talented defensive line are senior ends Terence Taylor and all-A10 Jamil Butler. Sandwiched in between the ends are 2 juniors, Darrell Adams and Matt Costantino.

Butler is one of those all-around defensive ends like DE Bruce Smith in the NFL. He's the type of end that does so much more than most ends -- making tackles, recovering fumbles, and being an all-around force -- not to mention rushing the QB and recording sacks. The short story is he's one of those players that you need to be aware of at all times.

Linebacker features rising sophomore Bryan Adams (1 sack last week) and junior Brian Hulea (team-leading 11 tackles), along with "rover" sophomore Terrance Reaves, who scored a key interception last week. (A rover is a player which shifts between DB and LB.)

The short story: This front seven is tough, no doubt about it, with few weak points.

In the defensive backfield, there are a lot of DBs in Talley's "big nickel" type of defense. Seniors Kinsley Echemandu, Jeremy Morgan, and Raymond Vatrone will feature prominently. Last week, they held QB Darius Wilson to 99 yards in the air. Granted, Bucknell is a triple-option team, but that's a great job by the secondary in any league.

Keys to the game
1.Getting the job done in the trench. The way that the Lehigh offense will get on track is if the offensive line gets the job done by giving Borda time to throw and opening holes for RB Eric Rath. They will have to do a better job than we have seen so far.
2.Pursuit against Burroughs. The "D" line has a real opportunity to make Burroughs run for his life against an inexperienced offensive line. The key to winning this game involves rushing Burroughs into making bad decisions, and capitalizing.
3.Field position, and converting in the red zone. All signs point to a defensive battle, and this is where P Kyle Keating can make a huge difference, pinning the Wildcats deep in their zone whenever possible. And once in the red zone, Lehigh needs to come away with points whenever possible.
4.Turnovers. Turnovers could be the key in this game. In a defensive battle, one extra field goal can make the difference, and it very will might here.

Fearless prediction
Hearing what I heard last weekend about the Lehigh offense, I don't believe that Lehigh's "O" as a team has what it takes at this point in the season to advance the ball against one of the Atlantic 10's best defenses. I beleive that Lehigh's defense will again make a vailant effort to keep the game close, but ultimately Villanova will come out on top.

If the Lehigh offense can score three touchdowns against this Villanova defense, I think Lehigh will win the game. Unfortunately I don't think we will be able to do that.

Villanova 17, Lehigh 7

Monday, September 06, 2004

Are you ready for some drama?; Lehigh/Stony Brook Game Balls

Are you ready for some drama?
Lehigh Nation is experiencing some drama this week. The message boards are abuzz with concern about the offense (though, oddly, none gives the defense as much credit as they deserve IMO). The talk is, Keating, Conner, or Borda? all over again. Should a change be made? Or should Borda remain the starter?

First, the game summaries from the local news:
Morning Call (Allentown)
Lehigh Stumbles, but Stays Upright, in 25-2 Win
Express-Times (Easton)
Lehigh Defense Puts Clamps on Stony Brook
Lembo Sticks with Borda as QB
LehighSports.Com (Lehigh)
Lehigh's Defense Shines in Season Opener
Brown & White (Lehigh)
Hawks Stifle Stony Brook in Season Opener

Choice quotes:
"Lehigh's season opener against Stony Brook Saturday at Goodman Stadium was not televised. Count that as one of the positives on a day when many among the Mountain Hawk faithful needed to search for good things to say about a 25-2 win that was as uncomfortable as the late-summer humidity.

"Maybe it was just the usual first-game snafus. Maybe it was that Stony Brook was much better than people expected, and maybe patience will be required for a Lehigh team that is young at numerous spots. But this was not one that will go down among the greatest wins in the program's storied 121-year history.

"Head coach Pete Lembo said you could take either ''the-glass-is-half-empty or half-full'' approach to analyzing this one.Those choosing the half-full approach will look at a defense that picked off five Stony Brook passes. Neal Boozer-Gallman returned one 98 yards for the day's most memorable play. It was the second longest return in school history."

"Time after time, they stopped Stony Brook on a short field," a proud Lehigh coach Pete Lembo said of his defense. "This could have been shutout. I'm very pleased with how the defense played."

"I don't feel like he ever got down [about Borda's performance]. Mark's pretty good that way," Lembo said. "He wasn't going to come in and play the perfect game. I give him credit for being patient with himself."

"You're not going to come in in your first game and set the world on fire," Lembo said. "We've got a lot of kinks to work out with the first unit. We were off-schedule a lot and out of sync a lot."

Mountain Hawks coach Pete Lembo gave his new quarterback a vote of confidence -- albeit a tentative one -- following Borda's rough debut Saturday as Lehigh's starter.

"I don't want him looking over his shoulder," Lembo said.

For that reason, Lembo said he never even considered making a quick quarterback change in Saturday's 25-2 victory over Stony Brook -- despite an ugly first half that had Lehigh clinging to a 3-0 lead at intermission.

"I wanted to give him a chance to see what he can do," Lembo said.

That's also why it's a good bet Borda will remain as Lehigh's starter this coming Saturday for the school's first-ever showdown with perennial Division I-AA power Villanova at Goodman Stadium.

"You saw glimpses of Mark," said Rath, who was playing his first college game in two years. "It was his first game, too. You can look amazing in practice and come out on the game field and look terrible. You can look terrible in practice and come out on the game field and look great. It's football, you get that.

"Our passing game, it's going to come along, guaranteed."

The view from the Nest
First and foremost. What matters the most in this game is that we won. Period. Lehigh Football Nation can certainly forgive some struggles this week in a game we won. Had we lost (and a couple of plays going one way or another might have made that happen), it would have been different.

But Lehigh was sloppy today in all aspects of the game. Despite a great defensive day, there were no less that 4 personal fouls called against the defense that kept Stony Brook drives alive. That needs to be fixed.

Also, special teams had a great day against the Seawolves' kicking unit (one safety, one blocked FG, and a blocked punt). However, three missed FG by freshman kicker Matt McNeils is a concern. To be completely fair, all three were just about 40 yard attempts.

On offense, it is no secret that QB Mark Borda struggled this past weekend. But how much of that was Borda's fault, and how much was a team breakdown?

Every member of the offense in general seemed out-of-sync, with the exception of RB Eric Rath. The 'O' line in particular, tabbed by me just a few days ago as one of the great strengths of this team, simply did not do their job in protecting Borda evidence by the fact that they gave up 5 sacks to the Seawolves. Since Borda was running for his life all day, he made some bad passes and made some bad choices. Furthermore, Borda was unable to get a rhythm going because of six holding or procedure penalties (one in the red zone, and another which negated a 9-yard Borda run).

They say that the "O" Line doesn't get enough credit when the offense is doing well. Well, in this case, they must shoulder a good part of the blame of the offensive struggles this week.

One thing keeps going through my mind - if they struggled so mightily this week, how will they do against 2 top-flight 1-AA defensive players up front next week, Jamil Butler and Bryan Adams?

In addition to the "O" Line struggles, Borda's should-be top two targets, TE Adam Bergen and WR Gerran Walker, dropped at least 4 passes among them. (Walker also had a penalty called against him for illegal procedure.) And of the other receivers, nobody stepped up as the next go-to guy with the starters struggling.

Again, Borda does not get a pass on making some bad mistakes. Throwing 2 interceptions to DB Chad King, is troubling to me since Borda should have been aware of King's whereabouts at all times, being that King is the Seavolves' best player. You can't force the ball in over talented DBs, even if they're from a non-scholarship school.

After doing the analysis, one thing becomes clear. As a Lehigh fan, you can't say that having Keating as the QB would instantly have solved Lehigh's problems. Therefore, here at Lehigh Football Nation, I stand by Lembo's decision to name him the starter against Villanova.

That's not to say that Borda, or the rest of the offense for that matter, deserve a pass for their ugly performance this weekend. What I hope is that the "O" guys get their heads together for next week. Especially that "O" Line which I still think is one of the best in the Patriot League.

Game Balls
This week's game balls go to:
Senior DB Neal Boozer-Gallman (98-yard INT for a TD, 3 tackles, TFL of the punter)
Senior LB Anthony Graziani (8 tackles, 1/2 sack, 1 TFL)
Senior DE Tom Alfsen (9 tackles, 2 sacks, 4 TFL)
Junior DB Kaloma Cardwell (8 tackles, 1 INT, 1 TFL)
Soph RB Eric Rath (190 all-purpose yards, 1 TD)

Coming up this week:
Lehigh/Villanova Preview; National Rankings; Tailgating

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