Saturday, October 01, 2016

QUICK RECAP: Record-Smashing Day At the Yale Bowl As Lehigh Beats Bulldogs 63-35

It came as a big surprise to the press box, the fact that senior QB Nick Shafnisky would not be starting versus Yale.  

Sophomore QB Brad Mayes, who had seen time on the field as a freshman, trotted onto the Yale Bowl's grass field to start the game instead.

By the time he'd left the Yale Bowl's playing field, he and the Mountain Hawks would have put their marks on a whole lot of Lehigh and Yale Bowl records.

Combined, Lehigh's and Yale's 70 points would be the most ever recorded in a half of football at the Yale Bowl.  Lehigh QB Bob Aylsworth's record 454 passing yards in the Yale Bowl, broken.   The all-time team and individual Lehigh records for passing yards in a game, broken.  All-time touchdown pass record, tied.  Most points scored by an Andy Coen-coached team, broken.

Number of extra points in a game?  Tied.  Number of passing touchdowns in a game?  Tied.  Most points allowed by Yale at the Yale Bowl?  Tied.

It was a 63-35 win that, incredibly, was still in doubt at halftime when a second half 21-7 surge would allow Lehigh to pull away and the records started to pile up, one after the other.


How Will I Watch Lehigh At Yale This Afternoon?


Not going to the game at the Yale Bowl, and you want to know how to catch today's game?

Never fear.  LFN's here.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Lehigh At Yale Game Breakdown And Fearless Prediction: Beware The Yale Bowl

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

Before we get to all the nuts and bolts of the breakdown, Yale's game notes and mascots, though, it's worth highlighting a great piece by Lehigh athletics on senior OL Brandon Short that was just released earlier today by Lehighsports.com.

"Regardless, Short's approach to every practice, every game and every opportunity to improve is the same, whether this is his last season or he returns in 2017," the article reads.  "That extra sense of urgency, which seniors often say they feel, has been there for Short ever since returning from a season-ending injury he sustained early in the 2014 season [at Yale].

"'That experience really brought things into perspective,' he said. "We always hear coaches say play every play like it's your last. I started three games as a sophomore, which got taken away in the matter of two plays. It really opened my eyes to enjoy and appreciate what I'm doing.

"Because of that injury and missing the rest of the season, Short hopes to return to Lehigh for a fifth year to earn his master's degree while continuing to play football. Several logistics still need to be figured out, but that's his goal."

Lehigh At Yale Narrative Street: The (In)Famous 2014 Game At Yale

Maybe it was the choice of senior OL Brandon Short as one of the student-athletes interviewed this Wednesday, or maybe it was the mention from junior DE Harrison Johnson that this game could be your last.

This Lehigh football team clearly remembers September 21st, 2014, the last time the Mountain Hawks went to the Yale Bowl.

It is true that it wasn't the last time the Mountain Hawks played Yale.  There's last year, too, that 27-12 dud that Lehigh put up against the Bulldogs, too.

But the loss last year to Yale at Murray Goodman isn't the reason why senior QB Nick Shafnisky is calling this another "motivational game".  It's more about the 2014 game, and the lost season for Brandon Short.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Lehigh At Yale Game Preview: Going Back To Where It All Began For Me

For one reason or another, I hadn't been back.

Since my undergraduate years, I hadn't gone to see Lehigh play Yale at the Yale Bowl.  It was either too long a trip as an undergraduate to catch the Engineers, a trip to Disney with the family interfered, or maybe I was just saving up my energy for a big conference game the following week.

No matter what it really was, it really was a bucket of excuses, with the ultimate result being I hadn't gone back, even though Lehigh had played there so often.

It feels almost criminal, even though I have driven past the stadium many times.

This weekend, for the first time since a beautiful night for football in October of 1977, I will be heading back to the iconic Yale Bowl.

And in contemplating this trip, a flood of memories returned from my first trip there - my first-ever college football game, and thus the very first inspiration for what I would end up doing the rest of my life.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

My FCS Top 25, 9/27/2016

You didn't ask for them, but here's my pick for this week's FCS Top 25.

(Photo Credit: Elon Athletics)

Let's see, are there any other teams I can curse into losses this week?

Last time I was here, I was extolling the virtues of William and Mary and Stony Brook in this space.  This week?  Um, not so much.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Lehigh 42, Princeton 28 Postgame Thoughts: The Defensive Secret To The Turnaround

(Photo Credit: Craig Shipley/The Morning Call)

What a difference two weeks makes.

At times it's hard to comprehend how desperate it felt for Lehigh fans after the Mountain Hawks' slender loss at Villanova to fall 26-21 to the nationally-ranked Wildcats.

At 0-2, after a pair of excruciating losses, a rematch with the defending Ivy League champions Penn awaited, a game that the Quakers had circled on their calendar since about December.  Following that tough test would be a Princeton team that laid 52 points on Lehigh last year and returned almost all of the skill players on the team that beat them then.

A losing record going into the Colgate seemed like a best-case scenario.

And yet, here we are after these two tough tests, and the Mountain Hawks are 2-2, with a boatload of momentum going into their game vs. 0-2 Yale next weekend.  Suddenly, 3-2 and a three-game winning streak going into an enormous game vs. Colgate seems like a real possibility.

The reason for this dramatic, and important turnaround?

The Lehigh defense, who shut out Penn in the second half and shut down Princeton in key areas of the second half as well to allow Lehigh to maintain a three-score, largely drama-free lead.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

In Offensive Showcase, Shaf Throws For 461 Yards As Lehigh Defeats Princeton, 42-28

(Photo Credit: Justin Lafleur/Lehigh Athletics)

Once upon a time, Lehigh's offense had the nickname "Air Lehigh", and players like QB Scott Semphiphelter, QB Phil Stambaugh and many other Mountain Hawk quarterbacks hucked the ball around Murray Goodman Stadium like kids in a sandlot, and posted some serious passing numbers that made the place a very fun spot to watch college football on Saturdays.

Today at Murray Goodman, senior QB Nick Shafnisky brought us back to those Air Lehigh days with a game with the same type of offensive firepower.

Pairing up with junior WR Troy Pelletier and junior WR Gatlin Casey for more than 100 yards receiving apiece, the Whitehall, PA native brought Lehigh fans back to the future with a 461 yard passing performance, coming oh-so-close to setting a Lehigh record in the process.

In the end, Lehigh fans left Murray Goodman stadium with a lot of pleasant memories about a beautiful, unseasonably warm Saturday afternoon and a resounding 42-28 win over a Princeton team that hung 50 points on them last season.  Not that winning football games at Murray Goodman stadium the past few seasons wasn't fun, mind you - but few wins evoked the sandlot quality that this game did.

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