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Polls and Polls; Press Mashup; I-AA Waves

Let's get to the good stuff first. Tonight at 9PM EST I will be on I-AA Waves, the only internet radio show devoted solely to I-AA football! Courtesy of the fine folks at I-AA.org, I'll be talking about this blog, my I-AA diaries, and the Patriot League tonight! It's not to be missed!

In the media polls, Lehigh rose to #13, (just as I not-so-humbly predicted), and in the Any Given Saturday poll we're at #12. Voters obviously were impressed with our performance against Colgate. The key to our Patriot League title hopes (and I-AA playoff aspirations) will be to bring the "A" game the rest of the way. The first must-win game will be against a Georgetown team that would love nothing better than to secure their first three-win Patriot League season, as well as to possibly finish with a winning record for the first time since 1999 (when they were in the MAAC).

I haven't decided on a new website poll just yet, but bear with me, I'll come up with something tonight. But first, here's your (long) press mash-up:

A sore throat prevented Pete Lembo from shouting during the postgame huddle at Andy Kerr Stadium late Saturday afternoon.

But the Lehigh coach got an assist from a few dozen nearby fans who made the trip into the cold, but picturesque Chenango Valley in upstate New York.

"It's a very significant win over a very good opponent in a very difficult place to play," Lembo said in a raspy voice. "I'm very proud of the players and coaches and we'll enjoy this for 24 hours."

“We played hard for 60 minutes,” Head Coach Pete Lembo said. “We did not play a perfect game, but we made big plays.”

"We had a great week of practice and we just had to play Lehigh football," Threatt said. "It didn't matter if they were ranked No. 1 in the country in defense, it came down to execution. We were prepared for seven inches of rain or grass that was seven-foot tall. We had fun out there."

"The coaches always say, 'put up 50,'" Rath said. "That's what got it done today."

"It's embarrassing to give up 50 points," said [Colgate coach Dick] Biddle... "We had a turnover for a touchdown, and that obviously hurt. But you have to give them credit: we didn't stop them all day long. And we can't win shootouts."

"It wasn't the no-huddle at all," said senior [Colgate] linebacker Jared Nepa, who finished with six tackles and a forced fumble. "We played a little too tight, had a lot of missed opportunities and we took it upon ourselves to freelance. You can't do that in big games.

"This loss is on the defense, and I thought I'd never say that this season."

"I know they're one of the best rush defenses," said Threatt, who passed for 187 yards and amassed 287 all-purpose yards while putting up a seldom-seen 100-yard rushing day against Colgate. "I just felt our line could make holes."

"I felt so comfortable, because the guys around me stepped up their game," said Threatt... "But it's never easy. You can tell that by the blood on the field."

"Our line can make holes and will fight for us,'' Threatt said. ''They make holes for Eric, Marques [Thompson], Greg [Fay], for me. I feel like I'm around the best bunch of guys and I'm on the best team I could possibly be on.''

[O]n the first play of the fourth quarter, on fourth-and-goal from the Colgate 1, Rath used a Herschel Walker-like leap to hurdle over a pile and into the end zone to put the Mountain Hawks ahead to stay at 36-34.

"I'm sure he got a little higher than I did," said Rath, laughing about the Walker comparison. "I don't think the coaches thought twice about going for it on fourth down. (Right guard) Jimmy Petruccelli wraps around and (fullback Greg) Fay kicks out. I looked at (No.) 31 (linebacker Jared Nepa) and he was the only kid who could jump higher than me."

"When Eric made that decision (to leap)," Lembo said, "he knew he better get in. Otherwise, he was going to have to deal with me on the sideline."

Rath: "It may not have been obvious to the naked eye, but there were some tough moments out there today and we fought through them," he said. "That's a big part of being a Lehigh player. When something [bad] happens, you look to the guy next to you and you know he has your back."

The defense made adjustments to slow down Saraceno and the Raiders offense in the second half.

“We brought pressure and spied him more,” senior captain and linebacker Anthony Graziani said. “And the defensive backs made big plays.”

"I was happy with the offense up until 10-or-11 minutes to go," said Biddle. "We were two scores down, but we didn't believe we could win at the end.

“It’s nice to be on the plus side [on turnovers] to that degree,” Lembo said. “Turnovers have played a big part in the winner of this game over the last eight years.”

"Credit to our defensive staff," said Lehigh cornerback Andrew Nelson, whose acrobatic interception and 31-yard touchdown return off a blitz pretty much finished off Colgate's comeback hopes early in the fourth quarter.

"They called my number on a blitz and I was waiting for my opportunity to make a play," Nelson said. "I saw [Colgate quarterback Mike Saraceno] was throwing a screen. He kind of telegraphed it a little too much. I jumped for it, and, luckily, the ball ended up in my hands. God is good, that's all I can say about it."

"It's a credit to our defensive staff to start bringing a lot more pressure in the second half," Nelson said. "We saw that they didn't like pressure, so we started bringing it after being very disappointed with our play in the first half. It was up to us to stop them and win the game for us."

"I know if we lost (the league title), I was going to put it on myself for that play," said Nelson, who ensured Lehigh can claim the Patriot League title by winning its remaining three league games after Fordham defeated Holy Cross on Saturday. "I've never had anything like that happen to me in my career. It was a lot of responsibility I put on myself.

"It really hurt."

"We win as a team and we lose as a team," Lehigh coach Pete Lembo interjected sharply. "Andrew, like me, and like Eric Rath, and like Sedale (quarterback Threatt), sometimes we're too hard on ourselves. Nobody's lost confidence in him."

"Andrew would make that (interception) nine out of 10 times, even in the rain," Anthony Graziani said [after the Holy Cross game].

"It's a one-game season," Threatt said. "We want to go out every week and win a championship on Saturday... Lafayette may be at the end of the road, but Georgetown is all that matters right now."

"We're still fighting for survival and as much as people are excited about this win, if we don't get it done [against Georgetown] our world will come crashing down," Lembo said. "Georgetown is improved. They have their best record at this point of the season [4-4, 2-2 Patriot] and they have had two weeks to get ready for us."

"The good news is they believe they can do it, but they're also smart and humble enough to know that any of the three remaining teams can beat us if we're not at our best," Lembo said.

“Every game from here on out is big,” Graziani said. “We need to win out.”

"Not much has changed for us," defensive back Andrew Nelson said. "We knew we couldn't lose another game after losing to Holy Cross. Beating Colgate gives us momentum, but it doesn't change our approach."

Colgate's head coach Dick Biddle: "[W]e're still in this. There's still a lot of football left to play."

Comments

Anonymous said…
Poll ideas:

1) MVP of the year so far?
List 5 players (Cardwell, Borda, Rath,
Graziani, O-lineman, you pick'm, etc.)

2) Rank the QBs who have played 2000-2005.

3) Rank RBS, defensive players, etc. from 2000-2005 or similar time period.

4) Who is the best team Lehigh's played this year? Del, HC, Colgate, Yale, lust the others.
Go Lehigh TU owl said…
1. MVP=Eric Rath, although Borda was under serious consideration. Borda was awesome the last 2 years and i know i'll never forget his efforts against JMU and Delaware.

2. 1. Brant Hall
2. Mark Borda
3. Kyle Keating

3. 1. Eric Rath
2. Jermaine Pugh
3. Phil Pleasent

D Players
1. Abduhl Byron
2. Tom McGoey
3. Mike Gregorek

3. Delaware-through all the trouble they had when they played Lehigh they were the healthiest they've been all year
Anonymous said…
Hey, could we start a Lehigh football blog within Chuck's blog?

Since Chuck hasn't posted a poll yet this week, perhaps we could start our own blog within his blog?

MVP this year is Rath

QBs of decade (based on who I'd want out there): Luke Cianello, Brant Hall, Mark Borda

RBS of decade: Rath, Pugh, Fay (??)

WR: Bergen, Snyder, Walker (all-around)

D: Byron, Gregorek -- I really liked Lawrence Williams
Anonymous said…
Lehigh 55 Georgetown 0
Anonymous said…
Hey Chuck it was cool listening to you on I-AA Waves last night. I have been thinking long and hard about something you said and decided that it is your duty as a Lehigh alumni and fan to do everything in your power to help us beat that school from Easton and with that in mind I respectfully request that you do not request press credentials for the game but instead join the rest of the fans in the stands.

Thanks,
John G. '07

PS: Thanks for emailing me that pic the other week.
Anonymous said…
One has to wonder whether folks who root for teams should even get press credentials.

I thought the media was supposed to be unbiased.

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