Skip to main content

Press Roundup; Game Balls; Weekend Recap

Press Roundup
The press box was positive about the victory against the Great Danes of Albany - those that showed up. (Where was the Express-Times?)

Lehigh Defeats Albany in Convincing Fashion
Morning Call:
Youth Is Served in Lehigh's Win over Albany
Times-Union (upstate NY):
Lehigh steamrolls Albany

"Thompson, who went in at tailback after Eric Rath suffered a strained knee on Lehigh's first series, ran for 89 yards and one touchdown and scored twice more on receptions as the Hawks impressed in their last tuneup before Patriot League play begins next week at Holy Cross.

''I'm not surprised by Marques' play,'' Lehigh coach Pete Lembo said. ''We felt coming into the year that we had two good backs. But heading into the first game, Marques pulled his hamstring and was not ready to play a whole lot. Fortunately, he got healthy and, with Eric getting banged up against Liberty, we figured that they would go about 50-50 today.''

''I prepared myself and the O-line opened up a lot of holes,'' Thompson said. ''It was new to me to get so many touches. I have been waiting for a day like this.''

''I don't make excuses about injuries,'' Lembo said. ''I believe in the depth of our team and in the kids we put out there, regardless of who's hurt. But I'd lying to you if I said our injury list at this point of the season isn't a lot longer than I'd like it to be.''

Tom Alfsen Gets Awards
First of all, DE Tom Alfsen got recognition as the Patriot League defensive player of the week for his 8 tackles and his fumble recovery which he rumbled back for a TD. Congratulations, Tom (we'll have to get a snaly nickname for you soon since you're routinely getting Game Balls from here!)

That's the perfect segway to this weeks' Game Balls! They proudly go to:
Sophomore RB Marques Thompson (149 total yards, 3 TDs)
Junior QB Mark Borda (13-20, 248 yards, 3 TDs in 3 quarters)
Junior WR Gerran Walker (145 total yards, 1 TD)
The entire 'O' Line: (for 37 points and only 1 penalty)
Sophomore RT Jason Russell
Senior RG Jason "Rocky" Morrell
Senior C Justin Terry
Junior LG Adam Selmasska
Senior LT Rob Sandie
Senior LB Anthony Graziani (12 tackles)
Junior FS Kaloma Cardwell (10 tackles, 1 forced fumble)
Senior DE Tom Alfsen (8 tackles, fumble recovery for TD)

Congratulations to all for a great game!

One look back on Lehigh/Albany from the Nest
Albany was a tough team that never gave up for 60 minutes. They were very physical and it showed in the injury list after the game - by the 4th quarter our starting QB Borda and our starting RB Rath were knocked out. Something I'll be awaiting nervously this week is the injury report for the Holy Cross game.

Personally I have liked what I've heard the past 2 games from Lehigh on offense. The "O" Line has grown in leaps and bounds against 2 physical teams. Borda sounds good, and has made more good decisions than bad lately. Eric Rath and Marques Thompson seem to becoming a formidable 1-2 punch from the backfield. And finally WR Gerran Walker seems healthy and ready to claim the #1 wideout position for good.

I'd like to see just a bit more focus from the "D", especially early in the game. Although Albany surprised a bit offensively (they uncharacteristically passed the ball a lot, and even lined up in a Wishbone for heaven's sake), I feel the "D" could have played better more consistently at times so far. However, the "D" has only given up more than 20 points to 1 team this year (#12 ranked Villanova).

It seems like some fans, though, that a 44-14 win over Albany with nearly 400 total yards, 1 penalty and 0 turnovers, is somehow inconclusive evidence that Lehigh's offense is alive and well. I really don't understand it. All you have to do is look at the numbers against Albany and against Liberty to see the improvement over Stony Brook and Villanova. Liberty and Albany, granted, are not Colgate and Delaware, but they're not St. Francis and LaSalle either.

Others inexplicably are still fighting the Borda vs. Keating QB battle from camp. To which I say: It's over. Borda is the starter. Get used to it. In the last 2 games, he's gone 33 for 47 with 1 interception and 4 TDs. And though Borda forces the ball in traffic more than I'd like sometimes, 3 TDs last week don't lie. He is playing well.

Lehigh in the polls
Lehigh jumped in the polls!

Sports Network #17
ESPN/USA Today #17
Any Given Saturday #18
Dopke.Com #22

With Colgate getting upset on the road against Yale 31-28, Lehigh has all of a sudden become the top Patriot dog in the 1-AA rankings. It's taken a long time, but it feels good to be back. I'm hoping that we can keep this uneasy crown on our head through the rest of this year.

Weekend Recap
Time for my favorite piece of the week: where I guessed right on the games of the weekend, and where I guessed wrong.

Really right:
Harvard/Lafayette. Predicted score: Harvard 41, Lafayette 23. Real score: Harvard 38, Lafayette 23. Two weeks in a row I've predicted the Lafayette score almost to the point!

James Madison/Hofstra. Predicted score: JMU 27, Hofstra 13. Real score: JMU 31, Hofstra 21. (Not really *that* close, but I'll take it.)

Should have been right:
Southern Illinois/Northern Iowa. I got the fact that it would be a crazy-close game. I got the fact that UNI would play as if their lives depended on it. What I didn't get right was that SIU would intercept the ball at the 2 yard line, and that UNI's playoff ambitions would likely be sunk in the first week in October.

Colgate/Yale: I didn't expect Yale to run and pass the ball seemingly at will against Colgate. But if Yale's kicker didn't get a 37 yard field goal - his career best - with time expiring, I don't think Yale would have lasted an OT.

Was I ever wrong!
New Hampshire/Villanova: Not only did I not get the fact that UNH would light up the Wildcat defense for 51 points; not only did I not get the fact that Villanova's offense would score 40 points (I don't think anyone would have laid money before the game on either happening); I also thought that Villanova would win. (Boy does Villanova miss LB Brian Hulea, out for the season against Penn.)

Eastern Washington/Portland St. If I had read the injury report saying that PSU's star running back Ryan Fuqua would not play, I wouldn't have taken PSU over EWU and won. But I didn't, and I did, so I didn't.

Finally, a preview of the Lehigh/Holy Cross game
From the Morning Call:
Lehigh Preps for Holy Cross

"Lehigh football coach Pete Lembo insists that the significance of the Mountain Hawks' game Saturday at Holy Cross is simply ''that it's our first league game; it's a championship game, a must-win game.''

"But it's also a game that was highlighted on Lehigh's schedule since it was first released, and not because it's the Patriot League opener.The game at Fitton Field in Worcester will be the first meeting between the Mountain Hawks and former defensive coordinator Tom Gilmore, who is now the head coach of the Crusaders.

A well-done piece by Keith Groller, highlighting what can only be called the "Benedict Arnold Bowl". For those who don't know, former Lehigh defensive coordinator Tom Gilmore left Lehigh and took his defensive staff with him in a hurry away from Bethlehem on not the best terms.

Could it mean that Lembo wants to exact some payback? Or does it mean that Gilmore would love nothing better to deal the Mountain Hawks a serious blow to their Patriot League title hopes and 1-AA playoff dreams?

Coming soon: Lehigh/Holy Cross Preview; University of Central Florida in the Patriot League?; My favorite 1-AA Columnists


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…

Troy Pelletier Hasn't Stopped Outworking His Rivals On His Journey To Professional Football

Many Patriot League football fans remember the 153rd meeting between Lehigh and Lafayette, one that ended happily for the Mountain Hawks.

They might remember the MVP performance of QB Brad Mayes, or perhaps the halftime speech by OL Zach Duffy that seemed to spur the Mountain Hawks to victory.

Or perhaps they might remember the spectacular single play of Mayes rolling right and finding WR Gatlin Casey in the end zone to give the Mountain Hawks a lead they didn't relinquish.  It was an incredible play by Mayes, who returns this upcoming year for his senior season, and Casey, who, having exhausted his eligibility at Lehigh, will be playing one more year at Middle Tennessee State.

As great as those individual moments are, though, they are not my biggest takeaway of that game.

Too many Lehigh people forget that Lehigh was down 31-21 at half, and that victory was no sure thing.  And they sometimes forget that so much of that victory came from the grinding of WR Troy Pelletier, deliver…