Friday, October 25, 2013

CFB Week 9 Lehigh Fan Viewing Guide

It's that time of the week where I share with you your weekly Lehigh fan viewing guide for Week 9 of the college football season.  Why go to website after website when all the information you need is right here?

If you are not able to attend the game this weekend at Bucknell you can follow the game from the following sources:


Online Streaming: Patriot League Network (free)

Radio:   ESPN Radio 1230 and 1320

Internet:  Lehighsports.com/ESPNLV.com

After the game, there are a boatload of important games, most which are available via live streams!

Game Breakdown: Lehigh at Bucknell, 10/26/2013

We break down the Bucknell game - and we give our fearless prediction, below the flip.

When most people think of Bucknell, they tend to think of basketballs, not footballs.

Part of that comes from their upset of Kansas in the NCAA Tournament, the, um, SECOND most talked-about Patriot League upset over a legendary hoops program in the NCAA tournament.

But that's not to say that the folks down Lewisburg way don't care at all about football.

If there is an underrated stadium in the Patriot League it's Christy Matthewson Stadium, named after the hall-of-fame pitcher.  Built in 1924, it was originally named Memorial Stadium to honor all the Bucknellians who had "fought in war", either the Civil War or World War I, and had a "Christy Matthewson Memorial Gateway" in the front to honor the late pitcher, who had recently died from tuberculoisis complications stemming from his time in war.

While Lewisburg isn't, shall we say, a metropolis, it's not out of the realm of possibility that the stadium, which seats 13,100, could approach sellouts once again if Lehigh, Lafayette and Bucknell could both be in the title hunt at the same time.  The Bison have proved this with Sojka Pavillion, as their establishment of a perennial mid-major powerhouse in hoops have provided lots of sellout crowds.

Game Preview, Lehigh vs. Bucknell, 10/26/2013

"After the halftime speech, this team pulled together and had the will to win this game. They overcame their mistakes. They got back down to it, and did what they needed to do to will this game into the win column. Players stepped up and made plays. Others shook off a rough first half and really stepped up in the second to show the nation what they are capable of doing."

No, those aren't the words of the Sunbury Daily Item sportswriters after Bucknell's 17-14 win over Dartmouth this weekend.

This was a part of my "Sunday Word" after Lehigh, back in 2010,  rallied from a three-score deficit to beat Harvard, 21-19 and - in retrospect, a sentiment shared by myself and head coach Andy Coen, for starters - kicked off the amazing success on the field that the Mountain Hawks have enjoyed ever since.

It's too early to say yet if Bucknell's win, where the Bison defense shut down the Big Green and allowed the Orange and Blue offense to score 17 unanswered points, will have a similar effect on the guys out in Lewisburg, PA.

But there's some indications out in central PA that the Bison are starting to put things together.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

LFN Players of the Week, Lehigh vs. Georgetown, 10/19/2013

(Photo Credit: Chris Shipley/The Morning Call)

Below the flip, enjoy this week's "LFN Players of the Week" for the Georgetown game.

You'll notice that there's a lot of nicknames below after last weekend's 45-24 win over Georgetown.

Grambling Forfeit and Protest Puts Spotlight On Plight of HBCUs

(Photo Credit: Shreveport Times via USA Today)

If you're reading this blog, chances are you've enjoyed some college football at some point during this 2013 season, either in person, at an FCS school like Lehigh, or maybe on TV, watching someone like QB Johnny Manziel play in front of 100,000 stadium fans.

If you're like most casual fans, though, you don't think about the number of days it takes for these players to get to gameday and to compete: hot practices in the summer heat, countless hours in the weight room, the training regimen it requires.

This last week, student-athletes at a very small Division I university in Louisiana had looked around at the environment surrounding themselves in regards to their program and facilities and said: enough.

Grambling's situation this season, which led to the strike that caused them to forfeit Jackson State's homecoming game last weekend, is a complicated one.  It's hard to summarize neatly in 500 words or less.

That's because Grambling's problems don't begina and end in the locker room.

Monday, October 21, 2013

My Vote for the FCS Top 25, 10/21/2013

My vote for the FCS Top 25 for the week ending 10/21/2013 follows below the flip.

But first, check out this great picture from New Hampshire of OL Ricky Archer and OL Joe Coccia celebrating what may have been the most thrilling game of the weekend, a thrilling 29-28 win by New Hampshire over Villanova that featured a tie and two lead changes in the final two minutes.  (Photo Credit: John Tully/Concord Monitor)

From the article:
The season’s playoff hopes were about dead after Villanova (4-3) scored two touchdowns in a span of 46 seconds to take a 28-21 lead with 1:09 left in the game. But UNH got a 35-yard kickoff return from RS Dalton Crossan, plus 15 yards on a late-hit personal foul, to take over at the 50 with 1:02 on the clock. New Hampshire survived a fumble on an attempted hook-and-ladder play, got a pair of catches from RB Chris Setian for 24 total yards, and then QB Sean Goldrich (21-for-28, 236 yards, touchdown) turned a broken play into a 4-yard touchdown scramble to pull his team within one, 28-27, with just under 14 seconds remaining.
That put the pressure on head coach Sean McDonnell to decide whether or not to go for two. He said that offensive coordinator Ryan Carty “was pretty adamant” about going for the win. 
“And I just felt, too, that if we were going to win it, we were going to win it there,” McDonell said. “Just felt like the momentum was there and I thought maybe they’d be a little bit on their heels.” 
It turned out that Villanova was ready for Setian, but the senior captain bulled to the game-winning conversion anyway, capping a stellar day – career-high 88 yards on 12 carries and three catches for 28 yards.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

My Game in the "Stands" At Goodman One to Remember

It wasn't a typical Lehigh weekend for me as I headed to Murray Goodman.

With my family, including my mother and father visiting Murray Goodman stadium for the first time in a long time, I spent most of the game experiencing most of the game in a place where I haven't been in a while: the "stands".

When you cover a team, it's a bit too easy sometimes to take refuge in the press box, hermetically sealed from the rest of the fans out in the fresh air.  Too often, too, that's what I do: plop in the press box, not to emerge until after the clock reads zero.

This time around, though, I had the incredible experience once again to enjoy most of the game in the stands, thanks to my family, and it couldn't have been a better one, thanks to the best efforts of the other fans.

The picture above was taken on my phone, from where I was sitting on Saturday.

Lehigh Puts Pedal to Metal, Beats Georgetown 45-24

The term being bandied about the season in regards to the 2013 Mountain Hawks was the "Cardiac Kids".

Every week, the Mountain Hawks would fall behind.  Every week, there would be hiccups, issues, and heart-stopping moments, but most often would end up in Lehigh victories.

Most fans wondered: Could it be possible, would it be possible, for Lehigh to put the pedal to the metal against an opponent, to surge to a huge lead, go for he jugular early, and never look back?

This Saturday, the Mountain Hawks answered.

Lehigh scored the most points they'd scored in the first half since 2002, scoring on seven of their eight drives of the first half and narrowly missing the eighth.  They'd cruise to a 38-3 halftime lead before the second stringers would make the final score look a lot closer.

In short, it was exactly what most of the 9,866 fans in attendance were looking for in the first Patriot League conference game of the season.  Never trailing.  Making the game's outcome not be in doubt early.  Winning.
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