Saturday, September 18, 2010

Lehigh 35, Princeton 22, Final

It's hard to say that this was a "back against the wall" sort of win when you're only in Week Three of the season, but you got the impression that maybe, just maybe, this Lehigh team of 2010 learned how to win this Saturday.

Folks might concentrate on a rough half offensively.  Junior QB Chris Lum struggling mightily in the first half - 3 for 11 - despite a foot injury that would force him out of the second half.  A blown coverage that led to a picture perfect pass from Princeton QB Tommy Wornham to WR Trey Peacock made what could have been a dominating defensive Mountain Hawk first half into, instead a slender 1 point lead at halftime.  There was fierce punishment from both Princeton's and Lehigh's defenses: which led to not a few players getting sidelined.

But with sophomore QB Michael Colvin at the helm and the quintessential bend-but-don't-break defense, Lehigh slowly, surely extinguished the Tiger threat.  Banged up, in front of a Princeton team that wouldn't go away, the Mountain Hawks would prevail.  (more)




"I think Princeton’s a good football team," head coach Andy Coen said in the post game press conference. "They are going to win some games. I think this is a really nice, quality win for our guys, certainly not perfect by any stretch, but we did what we needed to do."

What was striking about this game was any number of "here we go again" moments that, in other games, would have been momentum killers.  The 80 yard pass to Peacock.  A fumble by senior RB Jay Campbell inside the Lehigh 20.  An ill-advised pass by Colvin into a sea of black and orange by Colvin to close the first half.  Any number of Princeton drives, with the Tigers newly-installed hurry-up offense, which seemed to be doing a good job advancing the ball.

But Lehigh really stuck together, kept picking themselves up and making one big play after another.  Two interceptions by senior CB Jarard "Main Man" Cribbs, which led to 10 huge Lehigh points.  While Princeton's fast-break offense was settling for field goals - five of them - in the red zone, Lehigh made it a perfect 6-for-6 in the red zone, with four of the scores being touchdowns.  It would be the most points Lehigh has scored against Princeton since 1986, the Brown & White's 48-28 win in the final game against the Tigers in Taylor Stadium.

"Our motto for the season is to finish," Cribbs told Keith Groller of the Morning Call in the post-game press conference. "We're in so many close games and our 4-7 team last year definitely would have gave this game up. We would have handed it over to them and they would have walked out of here with a win. But everybody stepped up and said 'we really need this one.' Everybody had to believe in each other, do the right technique, and [good] things would be done."

Cribbs was so happy about finishing, he gave coach Coen a chest bump after the victory.  "I told him I would do it after the game.  Last year, when I tried it I fell down, so now that I lost the weight, I was actually able to stay up this time," coach Coen said.

"We wanted to see how far he could get up there," Colvin added.

No play was bigger than senior RB Jay Campbell's left-handed heave, however - that settled softly in the hands of senior TE Alex Wojdowski for a 18 yard strike where Woj stretched to hit the pylon.  While Princeton was not technichally out of the game after Lehigh's 27-18 lead - the Tigers would lated cut it to a 27-22 deficit after the last of PK Patrick Jacob's field goals - after Campbell's perfectly-executed fake, the momentum was Lehigh's, and they weren't going to let it go.

"Michael Colvin came in and made some nice throws, but none were as nice as Jay's," kidded coach Coen. "Jay has an awesome quarterback rating for his career now. He's 2-for-2 with two touchdowns," coach said of the Lehigh running back with the 581.2 quarterback rating.

"I was happy to get my first touchdown pass, and it couldn't have happened to a better receiver than Woj," Colvin said in the post-game interview.  "Woj's been our most solid player on our team for three years now, so I was just happy to do it."
 
Colvin, with an effecient 10-for-14, 128 yard game passing, with no turnovers after the first half interception, did a fine job pitching in relief.  Campbell, with 79 yards and the TD pass, came up huge.  Woj, wth 4 catches, 79 yards, 2 TDs and a 2-point conversion for good measure, had a field day receiving and played huge to cement the Lehigh win.  Junior LB Mike Groome (11 tackles), junior LB Colin Newton (11 tackles), and senior LB Al Pierce (11 tackles) led a tremendous defensive effort as well.

"The first game with [LB Troy Taylor] going down and me stepping up, it was a big game for me personally," Groome told Michael Lore of the Express-Times. "Now it’s on my shoulders because I have to make plays and lead the defense."

And what was striking about the win was that it was done with a ton of dings to Lehigh players: senior OL Will Rackley, senior CB/KR John "Prez" Kennedy, senior OL Troy McKennasenior DE Billy Dokouslis, and junior LB Tanner Rivas all were sidelined at some point by injury.  This win was done against a tough Princeton team with players going down all afternoon, without the quaterback that won an intense three-way preseason battle, with a potential NFL draftee not at 100%, with a huge part of the defense and special teams not totally himself.  This game was a war - really - and Lehigh came out on top.

But most importantly, it seemed like Lehigh learned how to score some points when it counted, to clamp up and not make mistakes, and win the damn game.  More than anything else about this game, it's that fact that might be the most important takeaway for Lehigh and the many games in the season left to come.

14 comments:

ngineer said...

Not pretty, but a good win. Yes, this team learned to win when 'crunch time' arrived. The past few years, we would have ended up with another 'close loss.' Hopefully, some momentum going to UNH.

Anonymous said...

Now let us make sure we say how bad the coaching was. How despite making numerous adjustments for injuries, they had no part in being able to win. How the tailback pass really worked in spite of the staff. How Colvin's TD pass should have been an interception TD, as it would have been last two years and would have been a coaching error.

Anonymous said...

Attendance was disappointing - just 8000 on a beautiful day.

Agree with the other posters - the players came back from an adverse position and won. Proud of them.

Don;t think anybody else in the PL win on Saturday, correct? Colgate was idle.

Anonymous said...

One good call, which Coen would have never made.

I think the credit goes to the players who made plays and stepped up.

Colvin deserves big tim credit, as does the O line.

If Lumb didnt get hurt, would they left him in after a first half performance of 3-11? Probably......

Put the crdit where it belongs and that is the athletes on the field. Agree Coach C a big plus!

I didnt think coaches and relatives read this crap!

Why do some people just want to get something started like that after a nice win?

Anonymous said...

the OL took control in the 2nd half, Princeton got no surge up front. The OL made a lot of people look good. I think the way the league is Lehigh can win it all, certainly 5 or 6 more wins. Attendance needs to improve over the 6400 yesterday.

ngineer said...

Yes, attendance was under 6400. Pathetic on a gorgeous day like that. I think you see the same all around in the PL at this point. A new 'culture' has occured wherein most of our students would rather be doing something else rather than cheering on their fellow students. Higher academics? A lot more international students who have no interest in US football? Look at the pathetic attendance in basketball. The self-centered generation into their gizomos, texting, etc. as opposed being focused on the community. The times they have a-changed. On top of that is four years of mediocrity that has to be overcome.

Anonymous said...

Not just the students. The demographics of Bethlehem seem to have changed as well. Bethlehem is no longer a town of football-loving steel workers.

Anonymous said...

Try winning 10 of eleven or eleven of eleven and going to the playoffs if you want the fans in the stands. Its not the changing culture it's winning ball games. What a bunch of crap.

ngineer said...

So a great portion of those who attended Lehigh's games ten years were just a bunch of front-runners? Sad observation.

Anonymous said...

Ok so you are telling me that if you continually put a bad product on the field, that you will have more than the loyalest of fans? What you will get are the 6000 loyal fans still and yes the other 6000 will be front runners that dont want to watch a losing team. In fact many of those that were very loyal to LU don't want to make the trip, nor spend Saturday after Saturday watching loss after loss. Winning brings excitement and rejuvenates the long time supporters and brings the kids and even new people that want to see whats happening on the mountain. You act like it's a new concept. The sad observation is that you are either an ostrich burying your head in the sand, or really don't quite get the correlation between winning, losing and attendance. I know you think you are a know it all and that every statement you make is profound. Ive seen you here for many years. The fact is if you can't see the forest through the trees, I don't see how my statement shoud elicit any response from you at all.

Anonymous said...

It's about time someone puts this guy in his place!

Great "Observations!"

The "Know it all" thing has gotten very old the past few years.

It's one thing to have an opinion, it's another to think that only your's is the right one.

Anonymous said...

thanks bro he's a prick

ngineer said...

My aren't we self-righteous? I did not say your 'observation' was wrong. I said it was 'sad'. Lehigh has had many a mediocre season over the past decades and still drew an average of 7-10,000 fans both at Taylor and, later, at Goodman (with many visitors not bringing many along).
1982, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987,1988,
1989 was a horrible stretch of mediocrity, yet I don't recall seeing such small crowds, except if the weather was bad. The past two weekends, the weather was perfect. The team was 1-0 and playing the national champion two weeks ago. The students were on campus. I believe under same circumstances 25 years ago, a lot more than 8,300 would have shown up. I don't believe there is just 'one' reason. Society is very different with families having weekend activities out the kazoo and so many more distractions for the students. I am expressing a concern over seeing some great traditions fading. Yes, the football has to upgrade with the competition, but unless the PL makes a change we won't see one. They are ostriches, my friend.

Anonymous said...

Did anyone notice how few fans Villanova had at their game against Lehigh at Goodman - they're only an hour away!! Also, Princeton brought few fans for only being 1 1/2 hours away. We had more fans at the Drake game in Iowa than either of those schools did at their games at Lehigh.