Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Players of the Week and Press Roundup, Princeton at Lehigh

(Photo Credit: Kevin Mingora / The Morning Call / September 15, 2012)

Below the flip, find my choices for Players of the Week, and a list of the recaps of the game from around the internet.



This week's LFN Players of the Week awards go to:

Offense: Senior WR Ryan Spadola (7 catches, 102 yards)

Offense: Senior QB Mike Colvin (21/34 passing, 276 yards, 0 INTs, 57 yards rushing)

Defense: Senior DT Sajjad Chagani (6 tackles, 1 sack, 1 blocked extra point, big 4th down stop that was my play of the game)

Defense: Junior LB Nigel Muhammad (12 tackles, 8 solo tackles, 4 1/2 tackles for loss including 2 sacks)

Special Teams: Junior P Tim Divers (9 punts, 40.1 average, one 56 yard punt with wind, only 1 touchback)

Underclassman: Sophomore TE Dylan Colgate (2 catches, 33 yards, incl. game-clinching catch at end of game)

Congratulations to the winners!

For the press roundup, this could have been the best covered Princeton/Lehigh game in history.

Official Recap: No. 13/16 Mountain Hawks hold off Princeton, 17-14

Senior QB Michael Colvin is an outstanding leader and has shown a lot of leadership but it has really come to the forefront now that he’s playing all the time,” head coach Andy Coen said. "He’s made his fair share of mistakes, and he’d be the first one to tell you, but he’s shown a great ability to put them behind him. For him to do that, after struggling for four series in a row was impressive.   The pass to sophomore TE Dylan Colgate was the biggest play of the game. It’s not a primary read for Mike but he did a great job finding Dylan in that situation and ultimately won the football game for us.”

Sports Network: Lehigh, Colvin Keeps Finding Ways to Win


 "Going into each of these games, I'm going to get a cloud look with a man over the top, but I know that's going to open up other areas for other guys to make plays," senior WR Ryan Spadola said. "So far this season, we've had guys do that and going forward we have enough talent where guys will continue to do that as well."

One thing Colvin, Coen and Spadola could all agree on is the fact that despite playing poorly, there is much more room for improvement.

"We are still looking for that perfect game," Spadola said. "We have spurts where our offense and defense will be clicking together, but we've yet to do that throughout entire game. So, going into these next couple of games, that's what we are most looking forward to."

Morning Call: Lehigh Holds Off Princeton 17-14
Morning Call: Princeton vs. Lehigh Photo Gallery

 "The first half was a very, very good half," Coen said. "It's going to be a process for these guys and we took great strides in the first half and when we ran out for the second half, I was thinking it was going to continue."
Except it didn't.

Due to poor field position that forced Lehigh to begin drives at their 4 and 8 in the third quarter, the Mountain Hawks grew conservative and never could build momentum.

With the home side of a crowd of 7,346 growing restless, Lehigh couldn't gain more than 13 yards on any of first five drives in the second half.

Express-Times: Lehigh Escapes with 17-14 Win against Princeton
Express-Times: Princeton vs. Lehigh Photo Gallery

“It’s a tough position to be in but we have to win on sudden change,” Lehigh senior DT Sajjad Chagani said. “Short field or not, we can’t let them score in that situation. We talk about playing for the guy next to us. If a guy messes up, we have to have his back.”

“We’re finding ways to win," Coen said. "Winning helps you find ways to win. We’ve been tested here and our kids have answered the test and that’s the positive thing. We can’t hurt ourselves like we did. It’s a testament to our kids that they’re finding a way to win.”
Brown & White: Lehigh spoils Princeton's season opener for third time

More than 7,300 fans packed the stands to cheer Lehigh to its third win of the season. The win is definitely cause for celebration as it marked Lehigh’s third time spoiling Princeton’s season opener. Additionally, history was made today, as senior Ryan Spadola became one of only three wide receivers in Lehigh history to reach 3,000 career yards. This game also marked his 14th career 100-yard receiving game.

But despite all of the cause for celebration, this was not Lehigh’s best game of football. The offense had a very strong first half but looked sluggish in the second, placing most of the heavy lifting on the shoulders of the defense. Luckily, the defense was ready to work and carried Lehigh to their win.

Princeton Town Topics: Princeton Football Makes Valiant 2nd Half Rally in Opener But Still Falls Short

Senior RB Akil Sharp exemplified the progress in the tale of two halves as he ended the afternoon with 79 yards rushing and two touchdowns after getting just 15 yards on 10 carries in the first half.

“I think we were just coming together as a team” said Sharp. “Just like what coach was talking about, we came out in the second half and the team was really believing. From there, as a team we got our blocks down. We started to get on the same page.”

Sophomore QB Conner Michelson, who got the starting nod after a preseason battle with classmate sophomore QB Quinn Epperly and freshman QB Kedric Bostic, acknowledged that the Tiger offense needed to give defense a rest.

“The offense started to click better, we saw from the first half that we needed to get the team going,” said Michelson, who hit on 14-of-30 passes for 103 yards in his first college start.

The Princetonian: A Tale of Two Halves

Just how did the Orange and Black mount its comeback in the second half? Other things aside, two things stood out - the defensive front seven and the offensive running game.

While the front seven was certainly active during the first half, the defensive pressure ramped up in the second half. The Mountain Hawks, with a comfortable lead, started to run the ball much more in the second half, presumably in an effort to burn clock. The run defense clamped down, coming up with several big stops on third down. The pass defense was notably improved in the second half as well. Despite Lehigh passing the ball much less, the front seven was able to get up in the face of Mountain Hawks quarterback Michael Colvin, including a notable incomplete pass on third down that was blocked at the line of scrimmage by senior DT Caraun Reid. However, credit must also be given to the secondary. Princeton did not give up as many big passing plays as in the first half.

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