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Agony to Ecstasy, Part II

Part II
As I was entering the post-game press conferences, I mingled with some of the beat writers and national I-AA sports writers. We had just seen Lafayette beat Lehigh 24-10 to grab a co-championship of the Patriot League with Lehigh, and win the automatic playoff berth.

The discussion was Lehigh's playoff chances. Could it happen? Would it happen? Would we need some help from around I-AA nation? How much? Should we be rooting for Stephen F. Austin and Sacramento State? How far away is William & Mary? What was the weather like in Statesboro, Georgia in December?

The mood was decidedly "undecided". But I don't think anyone there was thinking, "home playoff game".

As the Saturday results came in, it didn't look like Lehigh was getting a lot of help. My friends said outright, "I don't think it's going to happen." But I was defiant. I thought it was still possible to get into the playoffs. We were 9-2 and had played some tough teams. Ultimately, I feel Lehigh was deserving of the final playoff bid.

And then it happened. Lehigh has a home playoff game the Saturday after Thanksgiving at Murray Goodman stadium. Those of you that thought a hard-fought loss to Lafayette would preclude Lehigh getting to the I-AA playoff party were deeply mistaken.

I would have paid to see the expression on the Lehigh players', students', and coaches' faces when they found out that Lehigh's playing at home.

I am really proud that all the Lehigh players, especially the seniors, will now have a chance to show the nation how good they really are. My feeling is, you play all year for this shot at the I-AA playoffs, and Lehigh got it. It doesn't matter how you got there. You're in, you're in.

I am also really happy that Lehigh students and fans will have a chance to show I-AA nation their support for the team by coming out in droves to the stadium. It's our time as fans to show the I-AA world how well Lehigh fans support their team, and what a great gameday atmosphere there is at Murray Goodman.

I am confident that Lehigh will play a great game against the James Madison Dukes.

Tomorrow I'll sum up the postgame press of Lehigh/Lafayette, game balls, fearless predictions, etc.

But one last factoid: Lehigh is 1-0 all-time against James Madison, beating them 31-14 at old Taylor Stadium in Bethlehem in 1980.

Let's make that 2-0!

PS. You can order your tickets from LehighSports.Com online by following this link.


Anonymous said…
Chuck, I wish that we could show the I-AA Nation how great are fans are and I'm sure the Alumni will come out in droves for this game, however I am saddened that like many of my fellow students I will most likely be unable to attend this game. With most people (myself included) scheduling flights home for thanksgiving months in advance campus will be very empty this weekend. I fear that aside from a few die hard student fans who are going to get new plane tickets (A one way ticket to philly is suprising cheap on friday) and a few students from the local area we arent going to have a very big student turnout. Here's hoping that Lehigh wins and Furman loses so we can host a second round game.

~John '07
fxrer said…
Yes, the Hawks got a reprieve! Several prognosticators thought Cal Poly should get the at large bid. After the way they performed Saturday, I almost felt myself as is they didn't deserve a spot in the playoffs. I feel they were totally out coached by the Lafayette staff. The defense was especially flummoxed by the Leopard schemes. How many times this season have we seen trick or misdirection plays from Lafayette? Even Lembo said they "expected" some of these things. Yet they could not come up with answers. The fake punt? Please!!! And how many times in the last 3 games has the Lehigh defense been beaten by the QB bootleg? LOTS! From Colgate, Fordham, and Saturday from the Leopards.

Fans can only hope that some big defensive adjustments are made this week.

A team like James Madison doesn’t need much trickery to be effective, but when they see what Lafayette did, they will surely be able to have its way with Lehigh.

Lets go coaching staff!

fxrer '71

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