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Slackin'?

A very busy weekend has come to a close for me. With my new I-AA piece on the Penn/Yale game in the books, and a full day of family time, I can finally sit down and take an objective look at the Bucknell game and fill in the gaps from the weekend. So, no, I'm not slackin'. (Eric Rath, to my right, certainly isn't slackin' in this picture courtesy of Patrick Thornton of the Brown & White.)

First and foremost, Colgate gave every Lehigh fan an early Christmas present by knocking off the tough Crusaders this weekend. In a way, it gives Lehigh control of their own destiny when it comes to at least a share of the Patriot League title. Win their last four games and they will tie for the Patriot League title, and have a shot at the I-AA playoff autobid.

If there's a 3 or 4 way tie for the title, there is an unusual Patriot League rule which states that the Sports Information Directors of all the schools vote as to who the I-AA playoff representative would be. Let's hope that it doesn't come to this, and Lehigh wins the autobid, but what is clear is that Lehigh's in a much better position for the title and the autobid than they were on Friday.

Back to Bucknell. The first few offensive drives of the Lehigh game, and, well, what wasn't to like in the first week of Threatt mania? Sedale's "Nickname" will have to wait for another week, since he didn't achieve the (admittedly very high) bar I set for him -- but he came awfully close.

I was surprised with crisp the play of the offense overall, especially on their first three drives. Bucknell has had their share of problems, but play along their defensive line was not one of them, and the entire offense exploited them perfectly. One thing that impressed me about Sedale's play was that Bucknell was running an odd defense, yet Sedale adjusted like a senior and didn't miss a beat from the opening drive. Hopefully the whole offense will keep on the same sort of roll next week, as the biggest test of the season looms. I think multiple game balls will need to be given out.

Defensively, there are some areas that need cleaning up in time for the Colgate game. Giving up 324 total yards to a team that has struggled offensively is worrisome, especially since a good portion of those yards were given up in the first half. Granted, senior LB Anthony "Graz" Graziani was held out from the game with a sore shoulder - an unusual move by coach Lembo - but everyone in the Mountain Hawk "D" needs to bring up the level of play next week against what is, in effect, a playoff game for Lehigh next week at Colgate. If you don't bring your "A" game against Colgate, you will lose the game, and despite the Bucknell score the "D" didn't bring it. Another effort like this, Lehigh loses the game.

Special teams are looking better, though penalties need to be cut down - every time I read about a "block in the back" killing a return, I get a little twitch like Herbert Lom in any of his Pink Panther movies. However, sophomore DB Laquan Gasaway nabbing a big muffed punt by senior QB Dante Ross was a nice play, and freshman P Jason Leo is continuing to show great value to the Mountain Hawks. It's better, but in next week's playoff game for the Engineers, it needs to get even better.

I'm encouraged, especially on offense, on Lehigh's progression. But everything is going to have to come together against Colgate in a must-win game. Let the hype begin...... now.

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