Saturday, November 19, 2011

Lehigh 37, Lafayette 13, Final

This year, I had the good fortune to attend my 23rd  "Rivalry", the most-played  rivalry in college football with 147 meetings.

And as a Lehigh fan, I was immensely pleased with the outcome.

And yet, I cannot recall a stranger edition of this game in my experience.

To the seniors who played in this historic game, it was a shining moment in their football season - something they had wanted to do since they came to Lehigh in the first place.

But I don't think anybody thought it would go down like this.

BEAT LAFAYETTE!!

It's gameday, and it's time to BEAT LAFAYETTE!!!!

Should Lehigh win, they will give themselves the opportunity to be seeded - if the cards fall exactly right.

Below the flip, here's what to look for, should that happen.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Breaking Down the Boys of Easton: The 147th Meeting

It's "Rivalry Week", the games of Beirut have been going strong (around both Bethlehem's and Easton's campuses), and there's a rival to defeat on what is scheduled to be a clear, beautiful, late November day.

Below the flip, see Lafayette broken down, as well as my "Keys to the Game" - and, of course, the "Fearless Prediction".

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Game Preview: The 147th Meeting Between Lehigh and Lafayette

(Photo Credit: File Photo/The Express-Times)

It's tempting, if you're a Lehigh fan, to look ahead.

After all, no matter what happens on Saturday, Lehigh will be playing football again after the 147th meeting between Lehigh and "that school in Easton".

There's a school of thought to close up the playbook, play not to lose, and find a way to keep the injuries down, rather than play an entire football game.

But this is not going to happen on Saturday.  For "The Rivalry" is a season unto itself.  It means a lot more than playoff position or bragging rights.

And this Lehigh team knows that the Leopard team that lines up against them is 0-0 in this season, and so are they.  They've won one championship; and they have two more to go.  Another championship is for the taking this Saturday.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Flashback: November 18th, 1961: Lehigh 17, Lafayette 14

In 1961, fifty years ago this week, Lehigh was dominating, and Lafayette was struggling.

The "Packers", as the Brown & White called them then, were 6-2 going into the traditional rivalry game at the end of the year. There was no postseason berth - and no "Middle Three" championship, as Rutgers had beaten both the Leopards and Packers - but Lehigh was No. 2 in the Lambert Poll behind Amherst, and a resounding win over their arch-rivals could make them the No. 1 team in the East.

The Leopards, on the other hand, suffered through an "rather disastrous" 2-5-1 season in 1961, according tothe Brown & White, only squeaking by Muhlenberg and tying Temple in the "Mud Bowl", their only other victory came against Tufts - which seemed, though, to portend a tougher game for Lehigh than the records might show.

And it certainly was one for the ages.  With hall-of-fame head coach Bill Leckonby on the sidelines, Lehigh would avert a certain tie and eke out a win in dramatic fashion - that would result in the 1961 Lambert Cup.

Flashback: November 25th, 1911, Lehigh 11, Lafayette 0

It would be past the days of George B. Walbridge and Charles "Babe" Reinhart, but the shadow of the talent level of those Walter Camp All-Americans for Lafayette would help continue Lafayette's dominance over Lehigh in the early 1900s.

"Lehigh, that time honored rival of Lafayette, to-day mourns over the remains of colors trampled in the mud and marred beyond recognition by eleven Maroon and White warriors," told the Lafayette student paper after their 11-0 shutout of Lehigh.

From the span of 1896 (the only year Lehigh didn't play Reinhart's Lafayette team, due to an eligibility dispute) to 1911, the Maroon and White would put a serious hurt on the Brown and White, winning 16 contests to 5.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Rivalry

The yearly struggle between Harvard and Yale, in a contest otherwise known as "The Game", might be older.

The annual tilt between Ohio State and Michigan, pushed incessantly on ESPN, might be better known to the casual college football fan.

And the "Civil War" between Army and Navy every December might have its own special day on the calendar.

But nothing touches "The Rivalry" to end all rivalries between Lehigh and Lafayette.

No two schools have played each other more often. 

No rivalry (with a small "r") can touch the sheer intensity of the fans on both sides, at once infused with an unmistakable eastern Pennsylvania flavor, yet also representative of two private institutions of higher learning where academics rule the roost.

Others have their "Game". Others have rivalries, with a lower case "r".

But Lehigh and Lafayette have "The Rivalry", the one which all others are measured against.

Monday, November 14, 2011

My FCS Top 25, 11/14/2011

Below the flip, see my Top 25 for this week.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Sunday Word: Goal

(Photo Credit: Matt Smith/The Express-Times)

"Goals".  Such an easy term to grasp.  It's used in almost everyone's life in some form or another.  Set a "goal" for yourself, and achieve it.

Every person this year who put on a uniform in a Patriot League school had as a "goal" to win the Patriot League.  (Yes, even Fordham, whose wins didn't technically "count" towards the league title, used it as a goal, too.  Per head coach Tom Masella, they were very much aware what their place in the standings would be.)

But only the guys in Brown and White would achieve that "goal" this year.

On the field and after the game this Saturday, there was a lot of talk about "goals".  It's important to note, however, that winning the Patriot League championship was only one "goal" of many.

The next "goal" - having a senior class that has not lost to "that school in Easton" - is the next achievement they are looking to accomplish.
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