Friday, October 03, 2014

Your Bye Week Patriot League Viewing Guide And Fearless Predictions

Its a bye week, but that doesn't mean the college football world stops.

Four Patriot League games are happening this weekend, including one tonight, on Friday.

Lafayette heads up to the Bronx to take on Fordham in a nationally-televised tilt on CBS Sports Network (check to see if your local cable company carries it).

It's a huge early game that will put the winner in the driver's seat for the title, and the loser squarely behind the eight-ball in terms of a Patriot League championsip.

Thursday, October 02, 2014

LFN Look Back: How Lehigh Boosters Helped Beat Lafayette In 1902

Only one football coach ever led both Lehigh and Lafayette to victories in the Rivalry.

In 1898, suffering through Parke Davis' final season, the head coach that had led Lafayette to the heights of natonal prominence brought in four different coaches to find a way to beat Lehigh in their second meeting at the end of the season.

One of those great football minds Davis brought in was Dr. Sylvanus P. Newton, a former Penn football player, Phi Beta Kappa scholar and expert football strategist.

Dr. Newton played a critical role for Lafayette in a slushy ice bowl in 1898, using the talents of their kicker, Ed Bray, and an ingenious way to deliver free kicks.

"Captain Best, the holder, and Bray, the kicker, scraped away the four inches of slush and snow so the ball could be placed on the ground for an attempt," the book Legends of Lehigh/Lafayette tells us.  "The visibility [on the 35 yard field goal] was so poor that the crowd at first was silent, not knowing exactly what had happened.  Several minutes later, the word spread that the kick was good, and the crowd exploded for the amazing feat (or foot) of Ed Bray”.

The use of Newton's placement kick - his own invention - “made such an impression upon those in charge at Lafayette that he was invited to be their coach the following fall,” Francis March wrote in the book Athletics at Lafayette College.

Monday, September 29, 2014

LFN 101: Course Name: How To Win

You are what your record says you are.

So yes, Virginia, Lehigh is 0-4.

It is also true that the Mountain Hawks have been right in the thick of three of the four games they've played, vs. Monmouth, James Madison, and Yale - three good teams, and squads with very strong skill players on offense.  It is easy to imagine an alternate-universe Lehigh, despite the well-publicized struggles, being 3-1.

With this reality, when senior DT Tim Newton is quoted as saying that "I felt it today. It's there," when it came to getting over the hump and into the win column, he's absolutely right.  "I felt like we just need that one little kick to get us over it. But it wasn't there. We obviously weren't able to finish the game," he continued.

Fortunately, "finishing games" is a chapter of my 27 part series on "How To Win Football Games," something that might be of use to any football player, or fan, that might want to call on my decades of experience of observing different Lehigh teams and what it takes for those teams to turn losses into wins.

Because the season is nowhere near over.  There's not any extra breathing room anymore, and it's not ideal to wait until your first league game in two weeks to figure out how to win, but the truth remains that with the right work and the right attitude, Lehigh can win.

Even if it looks right now that the Mountain Hawks could finish 0-11.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

On The Sixth Try, Monmouth Finally Sails Past Lehigh, 28-21

Taylor Jackson/Asbury Park Press
Monmouth was 0-5 versus Lehigh in their history going into this weekend's game.

Even with athletes like WR Miles Austin, WR Chris Hogan and a lot of other very good players, beating the Mountain Hawks was something that every Monmouth player was unable to achieve in their careers.

They had come agonizingly close before - losing games on last-second fumbles, and blocked punts advanced for 1st downs - and talked internally about playing all four quarters, about not getting worn down at the end of the game.

This Saturday, they were not worn down as QB Brandon Hill would get 40 of his 390 passing yards on the Hawks' final drive, none bigger than his 19 yard rifle to WR Eric Sumlin for the game-winner.
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