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Showing posts from September 18, 2005

The great escape: Lehigh 28, VMI 26

We should have lost this game.

VMI would have deserved the win, too.

Don't get me wrong, I'm quite happy - relieved? - with Julian Austin's game-saving interception with time expiring. But the Mountain Hawks did not play well at all. So many penalties - some which extended key Keydet drives - were killers. The interception return for a TD.

This game is a huge wake-up call. There's no sleeping against anyone on our schedule. VMI was 0-11 last year? You had better throw that out, or you're going to get your butt handed to you.

VMI was hard-working and never gave up. We gave them opportunities to beat us, and they should have. We simply got lucky to escape with the win.

Defensively, we have to get better. I haven't seen any stats, but VMI in the first have was moving at will against our "D" in the first half. Up 28-13, we couldn't stop the Keydets and allowed them to score making it a 1-score game. Top 25 teams don't do that against VMI.

Predictions of Other Games

Here's my weekly picks of other games around the I-AA world. With all the Thursday games, and the games cancelled to the impending Hurricane Rita, it's a much thinner schedule than usual. Here they are.

Patriot League:
Fordham at Lafayette. The first league game for both teams, it's of course a must-win game for both teams as well. Lafayette has shown a lot of talent against Richmond in an up-and-down September, while the Rams have struggled against everybody they've played. Whatever happens, we will learn a lot about both these teams going forward. I like the Leopards here, though. Lafayette 28, Fordham 14.

Georgetown at Stony Brook. After a drubbing by a very good Brown team, the Hoyas look to right the ship against another (dangerous?) NEC team. I think the Hoyas, while suffering from a lot of high expectations, will win this game in pretty easy fashion. GU 31, SB 12.

Holy Cross at #4 Delaware. When you saw this game in May, you thought "Delaware blowout", jus…

"Second Season" Starts Tomorrow

You can tell from the Lehigh player press comments that this week's theme is the "second season" and putting the first two games of the year behind them. Every press report is dotted with references to putting Delaware behind them and getting going for the rest of the way. It's a hackneyed expression to say "take them one game at a time", but it's true.

It seems clear the VMI has much to fear tomorrow. Not only does Lehigh seem focused and ready, but VMI had some bad news in that their leading rusher, senior RB Sean Mizzer, is gone for the year with leg surgery, further depleting the Keydet's attack. Keydet Coach Cal McCombs on Tuesday was going on and on about how Lehigh is always a sound football team; how they don't beat themselves; how they execute well on offense; and how on defense they don't allow themselves to get out of position. It's not clear if he's trying to pump Lehigh up to set them up for a fall, but his tone was clear…

Preview of Lehigh/VMI

After a seemingly-endless week off after the bye week, Lehigh resumes play this weekend down in Lexington, VA against VMI. The only broadcast of the game will be on AM 1230 and AM 1320 in the Lehigh Valley, and on the internet through Yahoo! Broadcast or lehighsports.com. I'll be listening to the game in dibs and dabs over the internet, as we've got company over that day.

Lehigh Injury Report
DB Daynin Blake (Ribs, Questionable)
FS Courtney Elder (Shoulder, Questionable)
CB Andrew Nelson (Hand, Questionable)
DB Brendan VanAckeran (Knee, Questionable)

Although Lehigh seems to have healed up well from the hard-hitting Delaware game, it seems like all our injuries are still concentrated in the secondary. Nelson is the only starter who is hurt, however, and sophomore DB Aaron Gilliard will get the nod once again as the starter. Should Blake, Elder, or VanAckeran be unable to go, junior DB Devin Dobson, sophomore DB Julian Ahye, and junior DB Calvin LaMont will be on the field.

10 Things …

My Top 25 Ballot

Here's my Any Given Saturday ballot for this week.

1. Delaware
2. Eastern Washington
3. Western Kentucky
4. Harvard
5. North Dakota St
6. James Madison
7. Montana
8. Furman
9. New Hampshire
10. Cal Poly
11. Southern Illinois
12. Montana St
13. Lehigh
14. Northern Iowa
15. Hampton
16. William & Mary
17. South Carolina St
18. Penn
19. Western Carolina
20. Northwestern St
21. Appalachian St
22. Coastal Car
23. Grambling
24. Lafayette
25. Jacksonville St

Lafayette's still in your Top 25? Yes, they are. As disappointing as their loss was Saturday, I still believe they deserve to be in the Top 25. They are a good team, and we don't know how good Princeton is quite yet.

No UMass in your list? UMass is 2-1 and have beaten 2 awful teams, and lost to a mediocre team in Colgate. Hofstra hasn't beat any significant team, but they're 3-0. It pained me to take a fifth A-10 team, but I just didn't see any other good option e…

Bad Day for the Patriot; Weekend Predictions

It was a good thing Lehigh didn't play this weekend, as the Patriot League got spanked in all 6 contests. It's the first time that I remember it ever happening. I went to see Lafayette lose a heartbreaker to a team which is forecast to be a middle-of-the-pack Ivy team in Princeton. Colgate got "upset" by a middle-of-the-pack (I'm being generous) Dartmouth team, 26-21. (How do you beat UMass, yet lose to Dartmouth and Central Connecticut State?) Bottom-feeder Columbia put Fordham at 0-3. Brown spanked Georgetown. Cornell spanked Bucknell. Holy Cross surprised most by playing nationally-ranked Harvard tough, but they still lost 31-21.

From this surprising development, Lehigh now has to have an even bigger target on their backs. With all these losses, it is highly unlikely that any Patriot League team other than Lehigh would qualify as an at-large team for the I-AA playoffs unless one of them takes the Patriot league championship - which would require thay they beat …