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Lehigh/Stony Brook Preview

Every day is like Saturday
I've decided to write up my previews on Wednesdays this year. The decision was made largely because there's plenty of preview pieces on Friday and Saturday in the internet-sphere, and since I can, why not be first?

But first...
In Lehigh's game notes, they release their two-deep for this weekend, and there are surprises, primarily among them the fact that Mark Borda has been tabbed as the starter. So, finally, Lehigh fans will be able to see what this rocket-armed QB is able to do. Lehigh Football Nation will eagerly be looking to see how he does.

The other bombshell is that sack leader Royce Morgan is the *backup* to junior Josh Cooney. Huh? Is Morgan 100%? Or did Cooney has such a great camp? Again, this week Cooney's performance will be something to watch.

And also...
Thursday evening, Villanova plays Bucknell in an early tilt with 2 future Lehigh opponents. You might want to do a little scoreboard-watching on that to see what Lehigh has in store.

My prediction on the game? I think it's going to be an offensive show, but Villanova always plays extremely well in September, and I think it will be too much for Bucknell on the road.

Villanova 52, Bucknell 35

Game Notes
The game notes from Lehigh and Stony Brook have been released by both schools:
Lehigh Game Notes
Stony Brook Game Notes

In addition the following press releases/pieces came out:
Seeking Upward Mobility (New York Newsday)
Mountain Hawks Kick off Season against Stony Brook (Lehighsports.com)

Interestingly, nowhere in either game notes is it mentioned that the mascots of both teams (Seawolves and Mountain Hawks) are fictional animals. It could very well be the first time in NCAA history that two fictional animal mascots do battle on the gridiron.

(To be fair, Seawolves could refer to the Seawolf Submarine, and the Mountain Hawks could refer to the hawks who live in the sanctuary situated close to South Mountain.)

About Stony Brook
SUNY-Stony Brook has been a Division 1-AA school since 1999, when the Northeast conference (NEC) made the jump to 1-AA from Division II. Their football program has been in place for 21 years, and have only had one head coach, Sam Kornhauser.

Stony Brook is looking to upgrade its football program. Currently in the need-based scholarship NEC, they have recently had a brand-new football stadium built, and with scheduling Lehigh and Hofstra this year, it looks like the Seawolves want to see how far they need to go to be able to compete with some of the better teams in 1-AA. Their game against Lehigh is their first-ever against a nationally-ranked 1-AA opponent.

In the Newsday piece, it is implied that schools like Stony Brook are rapidly becoming extinct - namely, need-based 1-AA programs that don't offer scholarships. (Siena, the opponent originally scheduled to play this weekend, dropped football last year.) Stony Brook not only wants to test their seniors against some of the elite teams of 1-AA, they may be looking to upgrade in the future to scholarship 1-AA football. The fact that they are redshirting some freshmen points to the fact that Stony Brook may want to upgrade sooner rather than later.

Where might they go? If the CAA raids the A-10, they could find a home in a brand-new A-10 "lite". Or they might push the NEC to start offering scholarship football.

Competition
Stony Brook last year played at Georgetown. The Hoyas handled the Seawolves easily, coasting to a 49-21 victory in a game that was 36-13 at half. Although the Seawolves are now a year older and a year wiser, seeing this score has got to make even the most cynical Lehigh fan see that Stony Brook doesn't seem to have the same talent level as a mid-echelon team in our league.

Offense
The Seawolves have one thing going for them - consistency. They have much of their team back from last year, with very few graduating seniors. So the main cogs of the offense and defense have worked together and know what to expect from each other. Compared to Lehigh's largely new-look team, this might be a minor concern.

The Seawolves don't have a TE set. They play a 4 wideout run-and-shoot type of offense. This could mean a long day for the Seawolves offensive line if they're as overmatched as I think they are.

On offense, Stony Brook boasts a competent senior QB and RB. QB T.J. Moriarity is an accurate passer who knows how to rack up passing yardage, though he had 3 interceptions in the Georgetown game last year. He also is a rushing threat with 300 yards and 6 TDs last year.

RB Clinton Graham is a competent runner in the NEC, racking up 12 TDs and 6 100 yd+ rushing games last year (though, tellingly, only 74 yards against Georgetown).

Moriarity's favorite targets are wideouts Londre Blocker (7 TDs, 2 100-yd receiving games), Josh Anderson (1 TD), and Khalfani Alleyne. Blocker seems like the most talented of the three wideouts, so he would be a concern.

The 'O' line should not be as skilled as other Patriot League competition. Against Georgetown last year the Seawolves seemed to have blocking problems against a "D" Line that was not among the best in the Patriot League.

Defense
The Stony Brook "D" Line boasts 4 returning starters, including all-NEC DE David Bamiro. Bamiro last year had 13 tackles for loss (though, again, tellingly against the Hoyas, he was largely kept in check with 2 tackles.) NG Bryan Karp is also a good player (with 14 tackles for loss).

At LB, ILB Eddie Cobinah (100 tackles) and OLB Mike Mounter (50 tackles, 7 for loss) are featured. Mounter is a decent pass-rusher and Cobinah is a decent presence up the middle. They performed fairly well in the Georgetown game.

DB Chad King returns this year after being on the disabled list most of last year. He seems to be an exciting player (with a couple long interception returns for TDs in his career), and should be someone that Borda needs to be aware of at all times.

Special Teams
King returns kicks, and returned a two kickoffs and a punt for TDs in his college career. The Seawolves have a true freshman kicker in Sean Forman. It remains to be seen how well he will do.

Keys to the game
1.Show up. That doesn't mean just show up, and win. It means show up, and show the coaches what you can do as a team.
2.Borda leading the offense. Borda is finally getting his chance at leading the offense. A great game against Stony Brook might just make you the starter against Villanova, if you show Lehigh Football Nation that you've got what it takes to lead the offense.
3.QB pressure. With 5 linemen and no TE sets, the "D" needs to put consistent pressure on Moriarity. If given time to throw, he and Graham are talented enough to put points on the board.

Fearless Prediction
I think Lehigh, playing at home, and playing an overmatched team, rolls. What Lehigh fans will be looking for is dominance on both sides of the ball with the brand-new offense and defense.

Lehigh 63, Stony Brook 13

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