If you heard the radio call by Matt Kerr, the voice of Lehigh on the radio (and you can still hear in on lehighsports.com), his call summed it up best.
Up 24-19 with under 10 seconds to play, at the Lehigh 20 yards line, all Lehigh needed to do is stop the Big Red for one play.
Never mind the play of sophomore QB J.B. Clark, who acquitted himself well in his third game as a starter. Never mind the play of the defense, which bended but didn't really break for thirty-three minutes and about thirty seconds of the thirty-three minutes and thirty-seven seconds that the Cornell offense had the ball. Never mind the punt returned for a touchdown by sophomore DB Jarard Cribbs at the end of the first half.
Never mind any calls from the referee. Never mind the disorganization on special teams at the end of the first half that led to the missed extra point. Never mind the fumble.
Never mind the good, or the bad. It comes down to one play.
One play to learn how to win. One play to give Lehigh a much-needed victory. One play for a player to step up and make a play. One play for the coaching staff to put the defense in the position to make a play, to maximize the chances to win.
But just like last week, this Lehigh team did not learn how to win today. Cornell QB Nathan Ford put a ball up for grabs in the corner of the right end zone - and WR Jesse Baker, both feet well in bounds, reached up over his right shoulder and made the catch.
For the second straight week, Lehigh lost the game on the very last play.
On paper, this game wasn't a must-win. While it's fun for Lehigh fans and trustees to celebrate the wins over the Ivy League, Lehigh can certainly survive the loss of this game, no matter how sick it makes me feel.
But Lehigh is going to have to learn how to win next weekend. Defending league champion Fordham is coming to town, and a loss in that game will probably be the death knell to any sort of playoff hopes or hopes for a ticket to the FCS playoffs.
And it's not going to be easy by any stretch of the imagination. Fordham is going to be coming into Murray Goodman fresh off a bye week and their backs firmly against the wall in the league, having lost last weekend to Colgate in the closing seconds of the game.
This team is clearly getting better. There is genuine reason for optimism. Clark played very well and very nearly won the game. He's getting some chemistry with his senior receivers, senior WR Mike Fitzgerald and senior WR Sekou Yansane. Senior LB Tim Diamond had his typical great game, with 11 tackles, several near-interceptions, and a real questionable pass interference call that kept the game-winning drive alive. Sophomore WR Craig Zurn made an incredible pancake block on the punt return for a touchdown - had he not made it, Cribbs would almost certainly have not made it to the end zone.
But it's Diamond's helmet chucked about 30 yards, into the far right part of the end zone, that summed up this game. It's the Lehigh defensemen, their helmets off, obviously devastated, kneeling at midfield after the game.
That and: "Oh, no!"