Saturday, November 08, 2008

Lehigh 33, Colgate 34, final

In a season with excruciating losses, it was certainly fitting that Lehigh would have the ball under two minutes to go with yet another chance to win a game just to fall short.

Yet just like the other four excruciating close losses this year, the nuts and bolts of the defeat came long before the fateful moment.

"It just came down to that we made too many mistakes," coach Coen said after the game. "Obviously extra points, you've got to start right there. That obviously hurts; that changes the flow of the football game. Penalties in the first half, turnovers in the first half, giving them the ball on a short field. You can't make mistakes like that, and we've been making too many of them during the course of the season. You add them up in one point games, and it's tough."

What was equally as frustrating - if not more so - was that for four quarters, Lehigh hung strong with the 24th-ranked team in the country.

Rallying from a 21-6 second-quarter deficit, the Mountain Hawks showed a lot of toughness after rattling off 27 straight points to take a 33-21 lead. Keeping in mind that senior RB Matt McGowan was on the sideline in street clothes with an ankle injury, sophomore QB J.B. Clark found senior WR Sekou Yansane for a 27 yard touchdown pass over the middle and threaded the needle for another 58 yard completion that set up a 6 yard touchdown run by senior FB Adam Watson to cut the deficit to one by halftime.

Coming out from halftime, Lehigh played their best football of the year. After stuffing Colgate on their first drive with senior DL Brian Jackson and senior DB Brendan VanAckeren stopping Colgate QB Greg Sullivan six yards short of the sticks, Clark, Watson and the Lehigh offense went right at the Raider defense, keeping them off balance with big runs and setting up two big touchdown passes to senior WR Mike "Cris Carter" Fitzgerald, one of 23 yards and another of 39 yards where he beat his man perfectly and came down with the grab.

"When they had [Watson] running, that's when I thought they really had us off balance," Colgate head coach Dick Biddle said. "That's what concerns me more than anything when people can run the ball against us."

After the second Fitzgerald TD, Colgate responded with what could have been a championship-saving drive. Starting on their own 27, the Raiders kept after the run and used the ground game to embark on a 9 play, 73 yard drive. Sullivan threw a ball up for grabs in the end zone between two defenders, and 6'6 WR Pat Simonds found a way to come down with the ball in a play where it looked like senior DB Quadir Carter may have come down with the ball at the same time.

"We felt like if we could get it to one score that we'd have a chance," Biddle said. "We've done that a lot. We've won four or five games on the last drive. Our kids believe they can do it. This is a tough football team that hangs in there."

Lehigh wouldn't score a point the rest of the way. Lehigh's best chance to score came after their first drive of the 4th quarter stalled on the 25 yard line and senior P/K Jason Leo's 45 yard kick would have plenty of leg, but would sail wide right.

The defense would hold Colgate to a punt, but rather than let a Jacob Stein punt dribble into the end zone, an attempted return was muffed. Lehigh recovered, but started a drive at the 5 yard line that went nowhere.

After Lehigh's punt to the 47 yard line, Colgate again embarked on the type of drive they've been thriving with all year. Sticking with the gameplan that got them there, they mixed the pass and run well. With a 3rd-and-5 from the Lehigh 7 yard line, Sullivan found Simonds in the end zone on an inside slant, getting the ball past the one-on-one pass coverage by a Lehigh linebacker.

If there was ever a game to sum up a frustrating 2008 for the Mountain Hawks, it would be without a doubt this one, the sixth loss on the Lehigh football season in nine games.

A boatload of young talent, clearly able to play sixty minutes with some of the best teams in the country.

But not consistent enough to clean up the mistakes that championship teams - and Rivarly-winning teams - don't make. If there's one thing I'm hoping for, it's that in the last two important games of the year, this team will learn how to do clean up those mistakes.

13 comments :

Doug H said...

How in the world did Jason Leo become an All-American???? He is a decent punter but the only good punter kicker I see out there is the kicker for Florida State who can both placekick and punt great.... For 3 years, Leo has been inconsistent and still Coen sticks with him... It is a little late in the year now so I guess he is what he is... thankfully he's a senior and Coen will be forced to move on.. if Coen is around... Special teams as a whole have been lousy all year with no return game.. As Florida proved last night, that rugby kick can be easily blocked by speed rushers... Having no kicking game cost us the Colgate game and hurt momentum in other games this season.. A good effort by Clark and the offense who had a decent day without their workhorse runner...

Let's see if they can end the season on a high note by winning the last couple of games including finally beating that team from Easton..

the last indian said...

I give a lot of credit to the Lehigh players, but they are ill served by their coach I am afraid. I hope you keep him for a long time. While we love Eachus, 'Gate missed Jordan Scott.
I don't know what Coen said to Biddle at the end of the game, but clearly coach Biddle was not pleased after meeting a mid field.

Anonymous said...

Hopefully he was asking for a job!

Anonymous said...

That 4th QTR - 4th and 2 play calling was atrocious. It may have cost someone a job.

Anonymous said...

330 plus yards passing.. Over 60% of passes completed.. 4 touchdowns and no interceptions .. With only two or three players on offense who (in my opinion) are worth a darn.We better start realizing what Lehigh has at quarterback and the future potential. This kid doesn't get the recogntion that his play deserves. With his numbers this year, Lehigh will be lucky to keep him around. Rumor is that a few FBS schools are knocking on the door.On another note, make an extra point. There's a highschool kicker in Easton who hasn't missed one all year.Special teams have been absurd. Can we please just beat that school in Easton a couple weeks from now!!!

Anonymous said...

To the last poster. Please elaborate on the few FBS schools knocking on Clarks door. Isn't that an NCAA violation? or are you his Dad? Besides with Lum in the fold, he probably won't play next year or maybe even next week for that matter.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the above post. It would be an NCAA violation on the part of the interested schools. The rumors are absolutely not true. Plus, why would Clark even consider leaving? As far as the comment about him possibly not playing next week; that is rediculous. Barring a total collapse it looks as if this will be our quarterback for the next three years.

Anonymous said...

No way does Lum stand around on the sidelines to watch this for 2 more years. I would be more concerned with loosing him!

Still not impressed with Clark's decsion making, and when we need a big drive (the last 2 on Saturday) we come up short.

The second last drive. Three incomplete passes in a row.

Anonymous said...

I would probably consider leaving if I was Lum too. Who would want to sit on the bench for two more years. We hear he has talent, however Clark is the second leading passer in the Patriot League as a sophomore. Tough to overlook that.

Anonymous said...

Lum could play in many better leagues than the patriot league, tough to overlook that. Getting him was a gift due to injury. The kid is vastly superior to the competition. Hopefully you will be able to see this soon. I would get him some snaps against Bucknell. Games dont mean anything the rest of the way.

Anonymous said...

I read Lehigh Football Nation everyweek(blogs included).However, I rarely put my two cents into the blogs.Today when I began scrolling through these opinions, I had no choice but leave a comment. Although I think Clark has great talent, has had a great first season for Lehigh, and is one of the only bright spots this season; you cannot put him in the hall of fame yet! That being said, I think it is shocking that someone is actually calling for a quarterback change. How can you say this kid Lum deserves to be in a better league when he couldn't even beat out two of his own at Lehigh? Let's all try to be a little more realistic on this blog. That is all. Let's not give up on this team!There are two more games left.

Anonymous said...

to all these clark haters? where is the running game helping him out against colgate?

dannyb said...

In my opinion, if LUM was better than the starter LUM would be starting. But Clark is a D1 potential. I think he is better than LSU's Jarred Lee