Skip to main content

Lehigh/Colgate: The Patriot League Championship Game; Press; Polls

Lehigh/Colgate: The Patriot League Championship Game
Here's something to whet your appetite for what I'm calling the "Patriot League Championship Game": Lehigh versus Colgate, in South Bethlehem, this Saturday.

Lehigh coming into this game has won their last 5 contests, and is nationally ranked at #12 in The Sports Network's weekly poll. At 6-1, they are 2-0 in the Patriot League, their only loss coming to Villanova 22-16 in early September. In their last 5 games, their offense has averaged 38 points a game amd the defense has been giving up less than 17 points a game.

QB Mark Borda has won Patriot League Offensive Player of the week for 3 consecutive weeks, including last wek where Lehigh beat Bucknell 40-17 in a game where Borda passed for 5 TDs.

Coach Lembo was not happy with the execution in the game, however, with poor kicking, 4 fumbles, and too many penalties. After the game, he held a closed-door meeting with the players where he reportedly laced into the team. Not much was said to the press about the Colgate game this week by Lembo, but it was definitely the undercurrent for the tirade and the mood after the game. "I have no complaints about [Mark Borda's] attitude, his work ethic or his ability to run the offense. But he needs to play better, overall, next week than he did this week in order for us to win.''

Colgate, on the other hand, is ranked #18 in the Sports Network Poll, is 5-2 overall and 2-0 in the Patriot League. Their two losses have come on the road to UMass (30-20) early in September, and to Yale (31-28) on a last-second field goal on October 2nd.

Colgate is coming off their third straight victory, a 41-7 shellacking of Holy Cross in Hamilton, NY. Walter Payton-award candidate RB Jamaal Branch rushed for 208 yards and 4 TDs, while sophomore SS Geoff Bean racked up his second straight Patriot League Defensive player of the week award by recovering three fumbles, forcing two fumbles, and intercepting a pass -- having a hand in 6 of Holy Cross' 8 turnovers on the day. The Syracuse Post-Journal probably put it best when they said that they "had done everything to the Holy Cross Crusaders except de-pants them."

In contrast to Lembo's explosion, the Post-Journal caught Colgate's coach Dick Biddle cracking a smile on the sideline after their dominant performance. But the importance of this week's game is not lost on their coach: "It'll be the biggest game of the season so far... It seems that the team that has won that one has gone on to win the league, so you can kind of control your own destiny (in terms of qualifying for the I-AA playoffs). We'll be ready. We won't back down. We'll play, believe me.... Our work is going to be cut out for us against Lehigh... We're going to bring our 'A' game."

Since 1997, Lehigh and Colgate have either been outright Patriot League champions or co-champions. Three times during this span, including last year, the outcome of the game has been all that has separated Colgate and Lehigh for the title. That's why this Satruday's game should be, in effect, the "Patriot League Championship Game".

Press
One last look at the press from last week's games - Lehigh and Colgate.

Morning Call:
Borda Excels Again, but Coach Not Happy

Syracuse Post-Standard:
Raiders' Day in the Sun

"Only the winning Powerball numbers might make Lehigh University football fans happier than the numbers Mountain Hawks quarterback Mark Borda is putting up... Each week, the junior from Bethlehem Catholic High is asked about his performance, and, after crediting others, he says he is getting more comfortable and his teammates are gaining more confidence in him... If Lehigh did have a quarterback controversy earlier this year, it doesn't now."

"Lembo, though, wasn't in the best mood after Lehigh's 40-17 rout of Bucknell and two Borda fumbles were among the things to sour his day... ''The fumbles are probably the thing that disappointed me the most,'' Lembo said. ''We had done such a wonderful job of that all season long. We dedicate practice time to it... So why we had problems today, I can't answer it. It certainly isn't from a lack of preventative measures. Maybe it was a wakeup call.''

If it was a matter of waking up his team, Lembo served the purpose of about 100 alarm clocks with a loud, colorful, postgame discussion that could be heard through closed doors.

"Coming into today we knew we had to play well to gear up for Lehigh and that's what we did," said [Luke] Graham, he of the long reach and sticky hands. "This is the type of game you want before a Lehigh. It gets everybody's confidence up and it's great for team morale."

"I think that was probably the first time we played well in all three phases," said the Colgate coach, whose club led 21-0 after one quarter and 34-0 at the half before easing up on the gas. "But I still don't think we've played our best football by any stretch of the imagination."

Polls
Sports Network (Lehigh #12, Colgate #18)
ESPN/USA Today (Lehigh #13, Colgate #19)
Any Given Saturday (Lehigh #11, Colgate #17)
Dopke.Com (Lehigh #17, Colgate NR)

Coming up: Don't fear the Leopards?; More Lehigh/Colgate

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Remembering Lehigh's Battles With The Late Tubby Raymond

(Photo Credits: Delaware Online)

When I heard the news Tubby Raymond, legendary Delaware head football coach, died last week at the age of 92, two immediate memories came rushing back to me.

One occurred on October 16th, 1999, when Tubby had made a complaint to the local paper or radio in the run-up to Kevin Higgins' Mountain Hawks beating his Blue Hens on Delaware's homecoming, 42-35.

I have no idea if the quote even actually happened, but my recollection is that Tubby said that Lehigh had "St. Bartholomew's" on their schedule, and hadn't played anybody.  It was a verbal jab that many Delaware fans took with them to the stands to heckle the Mountain Hawk fans that made the short trip to Newark.

Up until that point, I had watched a bunch of Lehigh football games over the years.  I experienced their rise in the 1990s.  I enjoyed wins, and championships, and playoff victories.

But never had I felt a win so viscerally vindicating than the one over Tubby Raymond&…

Lehigh Wrestling Gets Superstar Treatment at PPL Center. Lehigh Football Needs The Same At Murray Goodman.

"We knew it would be nice," Lehigh wrestling head coach Pat Santoro said. "But it was even better than we expected."

Pat was talking about the reception his Lehigh wrestling squad experienced at Allentown's PPL Center this weekend, when a sellout crowd over nearly 10,000 people came to watch No. 1 Penn State grapple with No. 5 Lehigh in a collegiate wrestling event.

It was, by all accounts, something special to behold. 

"I thought it was really cool and an exciting place to wrestle," said Penn State wrestler Nick Nevills. "These fans were really into it, a rowdy bunch. It's a lot more fun as an athlete to wrestle in an environment like this. I'd say it was one of the most exciting times I have had in my career."

The sense of spectacle at the PPL center, though, puts a spotlight on what more can be done at Lehigh itself to make their athletic contests into spectacles.  It requires money to be spent and energy to be expended.  But the…

What To Look For On Sunday For the FCS Playoff Pairings

Lehigh are the Patriot League Football Champs, and will be playing in the 1st round of the FCS playoffs.

The FCS Playoff Bracket is going to be revealed on ESPNU at 11:00AM on Sunday on a selection show.  The team will be watching the selections live at the Goosey Gander to find out who they will play, and where.

The chance that Lehigh will host a home playoff game appears to be very slim.  Though record is technically not in consideration for whether a team will host a first-round game, other considerations (the lack of lights, no Noon playoff starts) make it difficult if not impossible to host a playoff game at Murray Goodman unless temporary lights are brought in.

Being that's the case, it seems very likely that Lehigh will be playing somewhere on the road in the 1st round.  Below the flip, I will give the bracket predictions of the experts and three things I think you should watch for during the selection show.