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Press Roundup; View from the Nest; Weekend Wrapup

Press Roundup
Glowing press reports about Lehigh from Saturday's come-from-behind victory against a very good Yale squad:

Lehighsports.com:
Lehigh rallies and holds on for big win at Yale
Morning Call:
New Heroes Emerge in Lehigh's Win at Yale
Express-Times:
Borda triggers Lehigh Comeback
Brown & White:
Lehigh rallies to defeat Yale
Hartford Courant (reg'n required):
Losing Control

Your choice quotes:
"Lehigh rallied from deficits of 14-0 and 21-7 for its fourth straight win and fifth in six games overall. The nonleague triumph over a team that beat Colgate gives it a boost heading into the critical five-week stretch of Patriot League games that closes the season."

This was a great game against a great team," said Yale coach Jack Siedlecki, a former Lafayette assistant. "That's as good a start as this football team is going to have. But we did not sustain it."

Blame Lehigh's fired-up defense, which allowed just three points in the second half after being torched in the first half -- and again at halftime.

"It was not fire and brimstone in the locker room," Lembo insisted. "Coach (defensive coordinator Shannon) Morrison challenged the defense a little."
"It was more on us than anything," Graziani said of Lehigh's miserable first half. "We were missing tackles, a couple blown assignments."


"In the second half, they just played harder," said [Yale QB] Cowan... "They came out and played us tough. They had a different level of intensity."

"[Lee] Thomas, a sophomore who had caught just four passes all season, made six receptions for 124 yards. His 16-yard reception got the game-winning drive started.

"Freshman [Sedale] Threatt, a fourth- or fifth-string QB who wasn't listed on the pre-game roster, had a 12-yard carry on Lehigh's first possession of the second half. It helped set up a TD that cut Yale's lead to 21-17.

''Even when things don't go right, our kids don't put their heads down,'' Lehigh coach Pete Lembo said. ''They know how to pick each other up. We showed a lot of character against a very good team."

"We didn't run the ball well in the second half," [Yale coach Jack] Siedlecki said. "We had to put the ball in the air because they were stopping the run....Then they got into a rhythm with their quarterback. Probably 10 times in the game we had him shut down and forced him to scramble [for gains]. It was hard to contain him. You can play great defense against the pass but not for more than six or seven seconds."

"But even at the alma mater of both George W. Bush and John Kerry, Lembo couldn't put a spin on his emotions...''I was very worried until the last play,'' he admitted.

[Couldn't put a spin on his emotions... nice.]

"[Yale] threatened twice in the final two minutes...The first threat ended when the Bulldogs (3-2) lost their first fumble of the year. Lehigh cornerback Andrew Nelson stripped Yale's Chandler Henley of a reception at the Lehigh 45, and teammate Duane Smith recovered... ''Andrew was upset because it was his guy who caught the pass,'' said linebacker Anthony Graziani, who was a key part of the defensive revival with seven stops. ''But Andrew was able to come back and make the play that sealed the game.''

"It was neat to see a situation occur on the field," Lembo said, "that we practice all the time. We spend a lot of time working on causing turnovers. We knew, in this game, turnovers would be a key."

"It wasn't totally sealed yet... Yale had one last crack and reached the Hawks' 31. But a desperation heave was caught five yards beyond the end zone by the Bulldogs' Ashley Wright on the final play."

"It's an exciting win," Lembo said. "For our kids, this is a great experience. Any time you can come from behind and beat a good team like we did today (Saturday), that'll make a lasting impression."

"We knew it was going to be a 60-minute game," Lehigh coach Pete Lembo said. "It turned out to be every second of that."

"I think it showed a lot of character," Lembo said, "fighting back and getting this win."

"[Coach Siedlecki said] I told the team this was a great game against a great team today."

The View from the Nest
Despite the compassionate (yet appropriate) response to my whining about my inability to properly use a VCR to tape a game [Get a TIVO], I did manage to get a good feel for the game and piece together all 4 quarters of the game.

Seeing firsthand how Yale dominated in the first half, I was nervous about Lehigh's prospects of winning the game. Yale played a perfect half of football, with no offensive turnovers, a great gameplan, and a fired-up defense that effectively bottled up the Lehigh offense.

The two minute drill at the end of the first half showed promise, however, resulting in an important three points. More importantly, it gave the offense confidence at the beginning of the second half.

In the second half, the defense came in with a renewed energy, and the "D" smothered the Yale RB Carr, holding him to under 100 yards rushing on the day.

Also importantly, when the offense had a chance, they took over the game and simply overpowered them. Hearing touted freshman QB Sedale Threatt get in for a couple QB rushing plays and get some extremely important yards was great. Hearing sophomore WR Lee Thomas make mincemeat of a veteran, talented, 1-AA secondary was even better.

Coach Lembo cited the character of the team, winning this game. What I'd like to cite is the team's hard work and determination. They never got intimidated or tried to depart from the gameplan. They came together, worked hard, and got it done.

Yale is an extremely good football team. A veteran, talented group, they have reason to believe that they can win an elusive Ivy championship this year. Lehigh has got to be proud that they managed to beat a very good team in their house.

And yet, the elusive 'perfect game' still eludes us. Kickoffs (out-of-bounds), field goals (1 blocked) and even extra points (1 blocked) are still a concern. I'm still waiting for the vaunted 'D' to put in a full 60 minutes. And although Rath and Thompson have had good performances, I'm still waiting for that truly breakout rushing game from one or both.

A superb win. And now the fun begins - the meat of the Patriot League schedule. The first game on the road back to the Patriot League title and the 1-AA playoffs is next week against Bucknell, who comes in needing a win against the Engineers if they are to harbor any title hopes. After losing a wild game against Lafayette 14-13, they are desperate for the win.

Next week, Lehigh needs to take care of business and knock out the Bison.

(And anyone who wants to buy me a TIVO player, just shoot me an email and I'll tell you where to send the check.)

Weekend Recap
An absolutely pitiful week, as I went an awful 6-9. I'm hard pressed to figure out which games belong in the "really right" category this week.

Really right:
Northwestern St./McNeese St. Predicted score: NW St 44, McNeese St. 17. Real score: NW St. 47, McNeese St. 17. Shama-lama ding dong!

Stephen F. Austin/UC Davis. Predicted score: SFA 30, UC Davis 14. Real score: SFA 22, UC Davis 19. It's not "really right", but in a tough week, I'll take it.

Should have been right:
Delaware/Hofstra. A classic "tweener" game against an underrated opponent, Pride gunslinger QB Bobby Seck leaves the game with an injury, and still the Pride couldn't hold on to a 12 point lead at home, giving up a 4-th and goal with just over 6 minutes left. Give me a healthy Seck, and Hofstra wins this one going away.

Lafayette/Bucknell. Bison QB Darius Wilson turned over the ball 4 times on fumbles. Hold onto the ball once more - once more! - and I've got to believe that the Bison, who dominated the Leopards in every other offensive category, would have at least eked out a vital win.

Was I ever wrong!
Dartmouth/Holy Cross. How was I to know that the Big Green would simply give up against the Crusaders? Being shut out at home to a team with miles less talent is a disgrace. I don't think the Big Green will win any more games this year, and they still have to play Columbia.

(tie) Harvard/Northeastern, UMass/New Hampshire, Richmond/Villanova, Southern Illinois/Western Kentucky. I'll spare the world the gory details, but it's not good when all the teams you picked in these games go out and then lose by more than 28 points.

Coming up tomorrow: Game Balls

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