Saturday, September 02, 2006

Albany 17, Lehigh 16, final

I cannot recall a Lehigh game, ever, where special teams gave away the game the way this Lehigh team did today.

Two long snaps sailed over P Jason Leo's head today. One resulted in a safety, the other landed on the Lehigh 1 where the Albany offense gladly punched the ball in for the TD. 8 points off special teams, and you can add the 9 points on FGs to make up the Danes 17 points.

We managed one FG, but blew two others. In addition, a blown extra-point ultimately was the difference in the game. So you can almost add a 9th point to Albany's total, gift-wrapped to them by Lehigh.

Blame the weather all you want, but I didn't see Albany's snappers and kickers have that happen to them.

What's especially sad is that without senior LB Micah Greene's fumble return for a TD on the defense's first play from scrimmage, this game could have been worse. The offense managed one TD on the day, in the two-minute drill at the end of the first half. After that, the offense could simply not get it done in the second. They played better, but have an awful lot to work on. For all of coach Coen's work on getting the job done in bad weather and in the end of close games, this script today was sadly familiar. Let a team with less talent hang around, give them a couple breaks, and then try to get it all back with a desperation drive. Again, it wasn't to be.

I was worried about playing Albany. I knew we needed to establish ourselves and we needed to work out lots of kinks. But I didn't predict that Lehigh's special teams would break down. I didn't think our offense could only manage 9 lousy points, even in bad weather. What's especially frustrating is that the two-minute drill at the end of the first half showed a tantalizing look at what the Lehigh offense could be, where Threatt and Thomas made mincemeat of the Albany secondary to get a big TD. After that, we saw glimpses of that drive, but unfortunately only glimpses. In key situations, it was Lehigh/Holy Cross all over again. Fumbles, dropped passes, bad snaps, followed by the opposing team celebrating in the mud - our mud.

Generally I like to credit the opposing team for a job well done. I do give them credit that they were our equals offensively and defensively, though. The offense controlled the ball and the clock, and the Albany defense forced the mistakes. They then played better than us on special teams -- just like Holy Cross last year -- and that was the difference in the game. A NEC team, starting three freshmen returning kicks, was better than Lehigh's special teams.

It doesn't get any easier from here. Villanova of the A-10 looms next week, who is a better team than Albany in just about every way. Although not expected to win the A-10 this year, every A-10 team is pretty tough, and this week Lehigh didn't look like they could beat anybody.

The season is not over. Colgate proved that last year, after surviving an embarassing loss to Central Connecticut State in the first game of the year, they still went on to win the Patriot League and play in the I-AA playoffs. That team, though, went to UMass the following week and made a statement with a 17-14 win. If Lehigh ends up with their first 0-2 start since 1982, though, we won't be thinking titles. We'll be thinking survival.

Tomorrow I'll tell you what I REALLY think.

12 comments :

Anonymous said...

yes time to be concerned but not panic. Special teams f-ing blow. somehting as simple as a snap was messed up muitlple times. That shouldnt be a problem as long as Lehigh doesnt have to play in another rain game. Offense i think will be very good. 3 really good running backs. Sedale, overall was good in the rain, lets give him some credit. O line was questionable. Defense looks good but we will find if the 3-4 will work next week in normal conditions. Good game to lose. I think if they gel a little bit and Offense is as good as they should be....PL title is totally possible.

Anonymous said...

if i"m not mistaken, Colgate beat Umass at home last year

Lehigh74 said...

That is 2 games in a row a snap went over the head of the punter and was recovered inside the 5 yard line for an easy touchdown. You won't win many games, against good teams that way. We need to find a reliable long snapper and kickoff returner. Our special teams where seriouly outplayed today which is why we lost the game.

Ngineer said...

Actually 9 points came off THREE bad snaps: safety, set up of a fiedl goal, and the one yeard TD. Albany had problems with their snaps, too, BUT theirs rolled on the ground allowing the punter to at least scoop the ball up and get rid of it, though one was blocked. When the snap goes over the head..well, it's over.
I thought the defense played well--giving up almost 40 lbs/man to their huge OL. The running game looks promising. There were some very nice tough runs between the tackles. Some wide open dropped passes late by Trovatto and Thomas were crucial in the final drive that, at least, would have gotten us closer for a more reasonable FG attempt.
I still question the final attempt--47 yards, with bad footing, a wet ball and swirling wind. I think our odds on making the ten yards for a first down would have been better.
Albany is a good team. Their play last year showed that, and a lot of people were saying that the Danes were better than a lot of people around here wanted to admit.
Stony Brook gave Hofstra all it could handle the other night.
IF the team learns from this set back they'll be OK. This team can definitely beat Villanova. I saw enough talent out there today to do that job. The guys just have to execute.
Colgate got bit last year the same way and showed what one can do when 'the going gets tough.'
Yes, this was a bitter loss in the way we gave it away. I would be very concerned if Albany had thrown us around. They didn't despite their size. 'Nova got beat up tonight in Florida, so both teams will be looking for some redemption next Saturday.
I hope we get a huge turnout of Lehigh alums from all over the Philly area. Nothing can psyche the team up more than coming out and seeing more LU fans than theirs in their own house!

Anonymous said...

Lehigh loses to Albany.
Elon beats a ranked team.
Idiots.

Anonymous said...

How big a smile was on Pete Lembos's face last night?

Elon - 23 Coastal Carolina - 20
Albany - 17 Lehigh - 16

Anonymous said...

Let us not forget that the Lafayette game was lost because of a bad snap in the 1st quarter. So Lehigh has lost 2 in a row from bad snaps.
There was no rain against Lafayette. And that snap lost us the game, the Patriot League title, and a trip to the playoffs for a team that had the potential to win it all.
IF WE ARE TO BE SERIOUS ABOUT COMPETING FOR A NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP, we can't keep throwing it away!!!! A dependable snapper is needed - either make the curret one dependable or get someone else. If this type of thing keeps up, season ticket haolders are going to disappear fast!

Ngineer said...

Actually I would be shocked if Pete had a smile on his face regarding our loss. I believe he would he'd be somewhat surprised at hearing the score and feeling sorry for 'his' players that he left behind, knowing how losing that type of game feels--because it wasn't long ago.... But to think he was happy because of LU's misfortune sells you short.

Anonymous said...

A 1-3 start is likely. 0-4 is not out of the question. 2-2, quite unlikely.
The year is shot.

Ngineer said...

I'm seeing posts by either Lafayette infiltrators, or weak-kneed fair-weather fans who blanche at the first sign of adversity. The word 'fans' is also a misnomer. I know the posts are a minute sampling of the overall 'nation' but it's really silly to see such Chicken Little reactions. I don't know if Colgate experience such hysteria last year when they got beat by Central Connecticut, but got the ship righted and won the title, but for a Lehigh alum, some of these comments, after only one game, are inane.

Anonymous said...

BRING BACK LEMBO!!!! Embarrassing for the entire university to lose to a team from the NEC.

Anonymous said...

Regardless of weather, Lehigh should not be losing to Albany, although they are a solid team. For all those bring back Lembo types, let's not forgot ALL the close games they lost (such as Holy Cross last year), they should not have. I can't belive someone would actually say this year is already lost. That's the same person who will say "I told you so" if they have a very good year.