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Holy Cross 13, Lehigh 10

(edit to fix: Drew Nelson defending the pass, and further clarification)

I'm up way too late writing this (after taking care of my I-AA.org piece), but this loss really hurts.

I give Holy Cross full credit in never giving up and finding a way to pull this one out. Lehigh did make some mistakes, but really didn't make any key mistakes on the specific plays that resulted in Crusader TDs. On the TD pass, senior CB Drew Nelson had the correct position on WR Sean Gruber, and once the ball was underthrown he had the ball in his hands. No mistake there - Nelson played the ball perfectly, and on 2nd down, personally I would have wanted him in a position to make the pick there, not try to bat the ball down.

On RB Steve Silva's punt return for a TD, freshman P John Leo punted the ball over Silva's head. He ran back to get the ball, caught a couple of blocks, and got the TD. No mistakes there - it was a very good booming punt in the rain, and the punt coverage unit didn't overcommit or anything. It felt to me like a busted play.

You can fault Lehigh for bad execution during the game, but you can't fault those two plays at all. Obviously 11 fumbles and 3 turnovers are unacceptable. Key penalties negating two important punts in the second half also weren't representative of what Lehigh football should be. On a day when focus and good execution were vital towards the win, the troops showed that at this point they were not where they needed to be when it came right down to winning important games.

However, I feel the season is far from over, and there is time to make this season special once again. There are now six must-win games on the schedule, starting with Yale next week. The Yale game needs to be a crisp "message game" which will illustrate to the rest of the league what sort of team they will be facing the rest of the way. A focused, disciplined team playing at their best, showing what Lehigh football can be, is the only way to go forward from this point.

There were too many lapses to give out any game balls this week. Press roundup tomorrow, including my I-AA.org piece.

Comments

Anonymous said…
Chuck,

If you get a chance to watch the replay, it's Drew Nelson,#8, that defends on the HC TD play. Would he have been better off knocking it down? That's a split second decision and maybe Drew felt he could end the drive. Nobody feels worse than him
Number One Lehigh Fan said…
I was there and I thought it was Nelson. There were 3 versions of the defender. It was such a nightmare that I didn't think much about it. But I know Nelson had a cast on one of his wrists at the end of the preseason right through the Delaware game (HE DID NBOT PLAY UNTIL THE VMI GAME). You have to wonder if that didn't contribute to the result of the play.

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