Saturday, October 22, 2016
On the last drive of the game, freshman RB Domenic Cozier ran up the middle to score his first collegiate touchdown for the Crusaders.
In between those two touchdowns, it was for the most part all Lehigh.
Lehigh's defense held Holy Cross to 281 yards of total offense and forced five turnovers - most of it coming on a couple of pass plays - and allowed the offense to to pummel Holy Cross' defense with a balanced attack. With three passing touchdowns from sophomore QB Brad Mayes and three rushing touchdowns, two of them by sophomore RB Dominick Bragalone, Lehigh would score 46 unanswered points to win resoundingly, 46-14, at Fitton Field.
Friday, October 21, 2016
It's often said that preseason publications aren't worth the paper they're printed on, and almost unusable when the actual regular-season matchup comes around.
And in the case of Holy Cross, that's especially apt.
Much of the hype around the Crusaders centered around their star QB, unofficially anointed the best quarterback in the Patriot League, senior QB Peter Pujals. Much of my writings about Holy Cross centered around what he can do, what he brings to the table, and what his weapons are.
But a left ankle injury in the first half of the Dartmouth game didn't just sideline him for that contest - it sidelined him for the season, forcing his ankle in a boot and will almost certainly have him apply for a medical redshirt for next season - unless head coach Tom Gilmore decides, against the odds, to have Pujals play this weekend if he's healed up enough.
That and a slew of other injuries pretty much wrecked anything I wrote before this past August about breaking down this Holy Cross offense. However it also, in a way, makes Holy Cross more dangerous. They won't be facing off against the regular cast of characters.
No, this isn't a list of Power 5 opponents that are suddenly going to be hosting Lehigh and Holy Cross in football the next few years.
It's a list of just a few of the many states across the country that will be carrying the TV broadcast of the Lehigh/Holy Cross clash.
It's going to be airing on something called the American Sports Network, which isn't a network in the broadcast sense but more of a network in the Internet sense: a network of interconnected stations, some over-the-air broadcasts, some local cable stations, that will be carrying Lehigh football over their airwaves.
If you live in PA, all you need to know is the game is going to air on CSN-Philly, CSN-MidAtlantic+, WHP-2 Harrisburg, WPNT-2 Pittsburgh, or WSWB-2 Wilkes-Barre. If you live somewhere else in the lower 48 states, a full list of broadcast outlets can be found here.
It adds to the tension of what is already a big game this weekend.
Thursday, October 20, 2016
In that way, Harvard was stepping into a purple hornet's nest last weekend when the nationally-ranked Crimson came to play the wounded Crusaders.
After their injury-riddled team failed to hold onto a win against Bucknell, ultimately falling 21-20, Tom Gilmore's team needed to make a stand against a really good football team in order to keep their season from a limp to the finish.
Even if they didn't win, they had to keep things close - few pundits gave Holy Cross much of a chance against the better bankrolled, historically dominant Harvard team that hadn't lost a road game a non-conference game in their last sixteen tries.
Cornered like rats, Holy Cross responded in a big way. Six sacks and a second-half shutout later, the Crusaders would notch their first win over a nationally-ranked opponent since 2009, thus turning things around at the exact right time for them and the exact wrong time for Lehigh.
Wednesday, October 19, 2016
So this is the week that North Dakota State falls.
They fell in a thrilling defensive battle at home to South Dakota State in the game for the "Dakota Marker".
It was a great game, filled with drama and showed that the Jackrabbits are worthy of everyone's attention this week. In fact, South Dakota State's effective, time-consuming drive was in many ways pulling from North Dakota State's own trademark last-second comebacks, pulling together a drive for the ages, daring them to stop them yet consistently converting 3rd and 4th downs to set up the chance to win.
But then, therein lies the tricky part. Where to rank the Bison, and where to rank the Jackrabbits?
Tuesday, October 18, 2016
In terms of national recognition, life in the Patriot League isn't always easy.
Certainly Patriot League players and fans read the preseason magazines about FCS. And last I checked, the youth of America still watch ESPN, and they see some FCS darlings in the FCS Kickoff Classic, like North Dakota State.
They tune into the college football landscape, and they see Eastern Washington upsetting Washington State, Bo Pelini coaching Youngstown State, Albany upsetting Buffalo.
Yes, the national FCS scene has their darlings, and frequently it feels like the Patriot League and their opponents are mere afterthoughts in the world where Big Sky teams are putting up big scores, Sam Houston State is beating all comers, The Citadel is dominating in the South, and the Missouri Valley Football Conference sees almost half its members in the Top 25.
And despite having junior WR Troy Pelletier and junior WR Gatlin Casey sitting at No. 1 and No. 2 in the FCS in receiving,respectively, despite a five game winning streak, and despite their emergence as a top contender for the Patriot League title past the halfway point of the season, Lehigh sits just outside the national Top 25 polls.
Respect in the Patriot League is easy to lose, and hard to earn back - and this Lehigh team seems to know how fragile that is.
Sunday, October 16, 2016
It felt a lot closer than 14 to 3 at halftime.
Sure, Lehigh had outgained Georgetown 220-64 on offense up until that point. Definitely, the Lehigh defense, which has been playing with a chip on its shoulder for most of the entire season, was playing, as they say, lights-out, and they had just come up with a big defensive stop in the red zone to keep Georgetown from cutting it from 14-7 rather than 14-3.
But a batted ball at the line of scrimmage, alertly grabbed by DE Hoya DE Hunter Kiselick, made it feel like the Mountain Hawks might rue the opportunities they had in the first hald to put away Georgetown.
After coming in for injured senior QB Nick Shafnisky, sophomore QB Brad Mayes jumped right into the fray and finished the scoring drive with a perfect pass over the middle to junior WR Troy Pelletier to make the score 14-3 Lehigh.
But after a drive that went backwards and that interception, it was Georgetown that had momentum going into halftime, and they were getting the ball back as well.
That's when the Mountain Hawks, who have defined this season so far as being a second half team, put the game away resoundingly.
"I'm pleased with how the kids responded at halftime," head coach Andy Coen said after the game. "It wasn't very pretty on the offensive side on the offensive side of the ball in the first half. The staff did a great job, got the kids rallied around, made a couple different turns of the wheel, so to speak, and really got the thing running again.