Saturday, October 04, 2008

Lehigh 24, Cornell 25, Final

"Oh, no!"

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.

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!"

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

this game was disgusting the way the defence let down the lehigh nation letting up the touchdown with 10 seconds left. the "d" just didnt show up for the great offensive preformance.

Anonymous said...

This defense has kept this team in the game all year, and last for that matter. Three interceptions and the offense couldn't capitalize. We didn't deserve to win this game, we where outplayed again!

Anonymous said...

Another nail in Andy's coffin. The off-season can't come soon enough.

Anonymous said...

The defense had interceptions, some timely stops, never blitz but on EVERY first down the O coordinator calls that dumb pass to the flat, on second down the off tackle run. Andy HELP US to understand what is the coaching philosophy for LEHIGH

Anonymous said...

This is all about coaching. It's not the players' fault the defensive coaching staff calls for blitzes that are picked up by the other team, or that we can't run a successful screen. It's not Cribbs' fault he's four or five inches shorter than the receiver who caught the winning TD. Cribbs -- bless him -- was in the right spot and a half an inch away from a remarkable pass breakup.

This isn't about one play -- it's about missed opportunities in the first quarter, some bad reffing (two missed fumbles, some phantom penalties, etc.), but especially questionable play calling on offense and defense.

The defense is decent against the rush; it's still rotten against the pass -- and has been for the past few years. I don't think it's the kids on the field. Coen needs to make some changes in the staff. If this inconsistency continues in the PL season, heads need to roll -- that would send a message to the team, fans and Sterrett that he's serious about winning.

And Chuck, while Clark is improving -- no INTs or really bad sacks this week; he did play well -- he's still got to be careful throwing into traffic. He has an incredible upside -- I love how he throws hard on the run.

ngineer said...

This loss was a kick in the gut. It will truly tell us the measure of this team as to how well they play next week. Football is all about overcoming adversity. A game like this can get in the players' heads. It is up to the coaches to get their attention real quick for Fordham. Lehigh left a lot points on the table today. But the team played better today than at Princeton. The differences between the teams on this schedule are minimal..it's the intangibles that determine wins versus losses.

Anonymous said...

The "Intangables" in this case are clearly the coaching. Not putting the kids in a position to win the game by calling 2 screens in a row, not having the kids prepared by calling dumb time outs, being out coached with creative play calling, not geting the ball in #2 hands to make plays more often, lack of confidence in his QB back by not letting throw the ball in the middle of the field, etc. etc. how many times are we going to hear about "next week"? cut your losses now and get rid of the coach......

Anonymous said...

The play calling is terrible. How many screen plays will the offense run?

Anonymous said...

What happened to this power running game Coen was supposed to be bringing here? I never liked that idea in the first place, but wasn't that supposed to be his MO? They still have far more success through the air than on the ground. And the defense is just a joke. Wait till Holy Cross comes out firing the fall downfield. And we though last year's loss was horrendous.

Anonymous said...

Coen's a desperate man who doesn't know how to "right the ship!" he's throwing all the crap against the wall he can, hoping some of it sticks. He must be reading this board becuase he at least tried to throw the ball, but the short passing game might make the numbers look better but does not do enough to concern the secondary. We had all of the time in the world to throw the ball down the field and we only did a few times. So much for "Air Lehigh" how about "Air Cornell" 400+ yards. I cant help but to wonder what the Alums are saying after "Alum Day" wittnesing this coaching staffs ongoing lackluster performances!

Anonymous said...

Most of the comments on these boards are to quote Shakespeare, " A tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing".
How many of you have played, coached above the primary school level? There is much to critique, but do it from knowledge not uninformed rants.

Anonymous said...

I would venture to say that many people on this board played longer than your offensive coordinator!
open your eyes before your mouth Shakespeare...

Anonymous said...

The previous post was inserted by a halfwit. What does that trite overused phrase "You never played the game" have to do with anything? I never occupied the Oval Office and I'm quite aware we have two morons competing for the office. You sir, are part of that illustrious company.

It was due to the complaints of similar non-athletic fans that we got ourselves into this mess. For years I had to listen to the old farts in the expensive seats whine on about Lembo never running the ball and passing too much. They wanted to see Lehigh grind it out. Now the games are indeed a real grind. Be careful what you wish for. Real men of genius.

Anonymous said...

Have you noticed what Lembo is doing for Elon. Fantastic! Good luck to Pete to make the playoffs and run deep. He was a great head coach, but many Lehigh fans just didn't "get it". Lembo's offense is rolling in the South. UNFORTUNATELY, not South Mountain!

Anonymous said...

let's bounce back

arbiter said...

Does anybody have the real inside story on why Lembo left? Was he forced out? He had a lot of enemies but most of them were morons who do not know a red dog from a Red Bull. Or was he just not given much internal support?
The fact that so many morons were cheering when he left shows how dumb many Engineer fans are.

Anonymous said...

ARB all i know is the real irony of the story would be if Coen gets fired and then a couple weeks later Lembo picks up his second Eddie Robinson award for the nations best FCS coach. Both things seem very very possible right now.

Anonymous said...

Lembo is doing well at Elon and his former offensive line coach, John Power has done very well at Ball State as their offensive line coach. They are now in the Division I top twenty five. Did he get an interview for the head coaching position here when Lembo left?

Lance44 said...

I realize that the defense gave up a TD at the end of the game but how you can blame them for this loss is beyond me. When 3 INT's and the offense can't capitalize on those INT's than I think your frustration is pointed in the wrong direction. When I defense gets that many INT's you expect the offense to get some points.... Even a field would have gave them the win...

ngineer said...

Lembo was leaving when the right opportunity came along. Elon, with full scholarships in one of the marquee conferences in the country, was in need of serious rebuilding. A great, no-lose opportunity. Turn it around, and he'll be one his way to an FBS school soon. After five years, his time here was limited, regardless of what people think. At such a young age, no way he'd be staying here 30 years. Pete's approach was based upon the type of players he had. Coen has made it a priority to get bigger and stronger in the trenches since that is where we lost our close games to Delaware, James Madison, etc and not being able to run the ball when we had a lead in the fourth quarter. The problem appears, though, throughout the PL, that the ability to recruit against the Ivy and scholarship conferences is getting tougher with the PL schools losing a majority of their games to them. The kids fought very hard. Unfortunately some mistakes left points on the table (missed PAT, fumble deep in the red zone, dropped pass in the endzone). Don't give up on this team yet. I don't think the players have. Fine line between 3-1 and 1-3.
FWIW, Higgins was 22-21-1 in his first four seasons before going on the amazing and spoiling run that began in 1998-2001. Higgins' fourth season was 4-7 with six of the losses being by one score (and a blowout at the hands of Colgate, 61-28). This team has talent, and some very promising freshmen. Part of football is overcoming mistakes, just like life. I think we need to realize that this is small college football and not the NFL where people immediately call for 'heads to roll' the moment there is rough water.

Anonymous said...

The problem with Lembo IMO was he couldn't recurit. He could sure coach, hence why Lehigh had such a great year during his first year. He couldn't keep the program up beacuse of bad recuriting. Coen has shown that he is able to recurit, hopefully with time he can coach these talented underclassmen to some victories.

Anonymous said...

Lembo's last year sure as hell looks better than any of that great recuiter Coen's years.

Anonymous said...

Lembo can't recruit!! Last I looked 13 starters are left over from Lembo. 90% of rushing yards are by Lembo recruits and 85% of pass receptions are Lembo recruits. Also the kicker. Where are the Coen recruits, most seem to quit.

Anonymous said...

Even if it was true that "Coen can recruit" which is very questionable considering his lack of personality. How long do you think that's going to last given his horrible record, and our aging facilities?

Please name me a few standout players that Coen has recruited?

The only ones I see are the Lembo leftovers, that Coen cant take credit for!

I know give it time.........

The time is now, start the search now, the writing is on the wall....

Anonymous said...

Coen just finished his 2nd recruiting class. This last class was ranked #1 in the PL by some. There were even a few standout freshman last year. Yea of course alot of the starters are Lembo's guys because they are the JRs and SRs now. Kennedy/Cribbs are sophomores starting at CB. Coen has also beefed up the OL/DL in his recruiting classes. Time will tell on whether or not Coen can recruit.