Saturday, September 26, 2015

How To Catch Lehigh/Princeton If You're Not Seeing the Pope

Anything else happening today of note?

If you're not able to catch Lehigh/Princeton in person, whether due to the Pope being in town or just because you need to catch up on your wildflower collection, you can stream the game here from the Ivy League Digital Network.  Unfortunately, it is not a free service, like that of the Patriot League and NEC, so if you wish to enjoy the game this way, it will cost you a few bucks.

Ivy League Digital Network

If you're anything like me and are too cheap to spring for the $10 required, everyone's favorite radio call will be available here from Matt Kerr and Matt Markus will be reporting the pregame and sideline:

http://www.espnlv.com/

While waiting for Lehigh/Princeton to start, you can catch the first Patriot League conference game of the season, Colgate at Holy Cross:

http://campusinsiders.com/network/patriot_league/live

It also may be on your local TV.  Check your local listings.  It doesn't appear to be on in the Lehigh Valley area, unfortunately.

A familiar foe for Lehigh fans, Monmouth, faces off against Fordham at 1PM:

http://campusinsiders.com/network/patriot_league/live

Georgetown faces off against Columbia but it's behind the ILDN pay firewall:

http://www.ivyleaguedigitalnetwork.com/ivyleague/schedule

Lafayette faces off against Wagner with a 6PM start, perhaps something to catch after Lehigh beats Princeton:

http://campusinsiders.com/network/patriot_league/live/football-lafayette-at-wagner-2015-08-07

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Other games that might be of interest to Lehigh fans that aren't happening simultaneously with Lehigh/Princeton:

Valparaiso, with former Lehigh offensive coordinator Dave Cecchini as lead guy, hosts Pioneer League heavyweight San Diego at 1:30 PM:

http://espn.go.com/watchespn/index

Notre Dame/UMass is on at 3:30 PM on NBC if you want to see what a true power FBS school can do to a school that should be competing in FCS.  (Also if you want to see a little vengance for 1998.)

San Diego State takes on Penn State at 3:30 PM on the Big 10 Network in another game whose final outcome should be well determined before Lehigh/Princeton's 5:00 PM kickoff.

Lehigh's Week 2 opponent, James Madison, takes on SMU in a potential FCS vs. FBS upset.  A win by the Dukes would certainly cement them nationally as a serious national championship contender.  That game will be on ESPN3 at 7:00 PM.

http://espn.go.com/watchespn/index

Another interesting game could be nationally-ranked Liberty vs. Southern Illinois, with the Flames trying to avoid a letdown after their big win last week vs. Montana.

http://espn.go.com/watchespn/index

Something interesting to watch while having Texas A&M/Arkansas on ESPN in the background.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Game Breakdown, Lehigh at Princeton, 9/26/2015

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

It's rare that I talk about last week's opponent in this space, especially when the focus should really be on how to beat Princeton.  But Penn's 24-13 win over No. 4 Villanova was so stunning to this reporter and such a great thing for head coach Ray Priore's Quakers that it's worth mentioning here.

It was a result that seemed to even stun Penn's head coach, who earned a whopper of a first win thanks to winning the time of possession battle (holding onto the ball for more than 39 minutes on offense), benefiting from Villanova miscues (a roughing-the-punter call kept one Penn drive alive that ended in a touchdown) and making huge plays (as the Wildcats were driving to score, Penn LB Tyler Drake strip-sacked Villanova's quarterback, leading LB Donald Panicello to scoop and score a 92 yard touchdown return).

"Wow, just wow," Priore said after the game. "You know, you keep trying and trying and praying and praying. It had to happen sooner or later, right?"

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Game Preview, Lehigh at Princeton, 9/26/2015

Rarely are scouting opportunities so accessible.

Shortly after Lehigh beat Penn last weekend, there was an opportunity for a Patriot/Ivy doubleheader for FCS football mavens, and a chance for Lehigh football fans to get a sneak peek at next week's competition.

What they saw couldn't have made any Mountain Hawk fan breathe easy.

What they saw was a dominating performance by the Tigers, a 40-7 walloping that had local sportswriters like Brad Wilson of the Express-Times dig down deep to describe the depth of the blowout.  "If Frank Tavani had seen Saturday's train wreck of a 40-7 loss to Princeton by his Lafayette football team coming," he wrote, "he'd have done everything in his power to derail the Leopard Express from proceeding down the track to Disaster City."

In Wilson's defense, the depth of the completeness of the win over Lafayette was hard to adequately describe.  Princeton only allowed six first downs in the first half, and only let up a meaningless touchdown with five minutes to play to allow Lafayette to avoid a shutout.  On offense, Princeton would rack up 573 yards of offense, including more than 300 on the ground, against what was thought to be Lafayette's strength this season, the defense.  Special teams?  Princeton 2/2 on field goals.  Lafayette 0/1.

Based on this great statistical performance, and watching the replay, what to make of Lehigh's chances against the same squad this weekend that seemed as dominant as the national championship Princeton football teams of 100 years ago?

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

My FCS Top 25 Vote, Week 3, 9/21/2015

If you'd like, you can check out my FCS Top 25 vote below.

A question FCS voters frequently get is: How to rank FCS over FBS upsets?

Bascially, the same questions plaguing rankings on the FBS side ("Is Jacksonville State simply a really, really good FCS team?  Or is Auburn really bad?) cuts the other way in the FCS world.

Jacksonville State almost beat Auburn.  But the meaning of that close shave is still undetermined.  Auburn didn't look like much last week after being dominated by LSU.  What if the Tigers finish under .500?  How will Jacksonville State's close shave look then?

With Furman's upset over UCF 16-15, we have another opportunity to play the game of "how good is this team, really?"  Furman's in my Top 25, barely, mostly on the back of their upset win against a team that quite recently was seen as a quality mid-major in the FBS world.  But the Paladins are 1-2, though with one of the toughest schedules in FCS.  So, again: How good was the win?

Monday, September 21, 2015

Romp At Home Shows "Back To The Future" for Lehigh Offense

It is not my favorite movie by a longshot, but this week my family and I watched Back to the Future, the seminal Robert Zemeckis coming-of-age movie starring Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd.

I've always felt it's an OK, meh movie.  It seems to rely on gimmicks and time gags ("What's a rerun?") to get its yuks, and it has no business being as beloved as it remains to this day.  My wife and my son loved it, as they have their own minds and, in our family, you're allowed to like what you like without criticism.  I watched it, happy they were happy, and amused.

In the back of my mind while watching Christopher Lloyd attach the cable to the tower clock, I was worried about Penn.

The consequences of a loss in this game to the 2015 season would have been severe.  The Mountain Hawks were already coming off a rough 55-17 loss to James Madison, one where criticisms of the team, the coaches, and players were starting to be heard.  A 1-2 start heading into two tough out-of-conference games versus Princeton and Yale could have the Mountain Hawks staring down a 1-4 start going into conference play.

Instead, Lehigh would crack 40 points at home in a 42-21 win over Penn, scoring six touchdowns and for the most part controlling the game in a way that wasn't seen in a while at Murray Goodman Stadium.

With a three touchdown win and the Mountain Hawks dropping 40 points at home, are we... Back to the Future?

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Lehigh Doubles Win Total And Doubles Up Penn 42-21

"I talked to the kids, really all week," head coach Andy Coen said in the run-up to this weekend's Penn game on the heels of a tough 55-17 loss to No. 10 James Madison.  "We weren't thrilled with... everything... that happened in that game.  We didn't put our best foot forward."

"We got on the guys," he continued, "and said to them: You've got to win.  You've got to make up your mind that you want to win.  You have to want to start winning games."

At 1-1 and the experience of a tough loss still fresh in everyone's minds, winning this weekend at home and gaining momentum going forward into the rest of the season was the theme of the week.

This Saturday, the 2-1 Mountain Hawks at the end of the afternoon had fulfilled both objectives.

Lehigh's 42-21 doubling up of Penn wasn't a game of perfection.  But it was a devastating Mountain Hawk offensive performance, coupled with enough big plays on defense, to get a very satisfying win for the home crowd of 6,971 on hand on a sunny, somewhat humid afternoon.
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