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Harvard 35, Lehigh 33, final

It's another game where Lehigh looks like world-beaters in the first half just to get chucked around in the third quarter for another loss. We fought back valiantly in the 4th, but just couldn't get the shot for the kicker at the end, or convert the 2 point conversion that could have tied the game.

Actually, it was the soft TDs we gave up at the end of the first half that really were the difference in the game. Harvard's QB Chris Pizzotti (who was a surprise starter) found the soft spots of the zone perfectly, but the real killer was when we were up 24-7 and Pizzotti converted on a 4th-and-6 in the soft part of the zone. Then, Lehigh's defense couldn't bring him down and then the game was 24-14.

That first TD was the first of four unanswered TDs that effectively put the game away for the Crimson. I'm not sure if RB Clifton Dawson got 100 yards, but he did get 3 TDs when they got to the goal line, which was good enough.

The loss will seem depressingly familiar. Early lead (not only that, a big one). Then, we can't bring the hammer down and the opponents surge back for a lead with a flat 3rd quarter defensively for Lehigh. Then, we can't get any late-game heroics to pull out the victory.

I think my biggest concern for this team today was defensively. FS Ernie Moore came up big, but the linebacking unit in this 3-4 does not have that Anthony "Graz" Graziani that will step up and make big plays, especially in the passing game. Now, having said that the LBs did get some good isolated plays. Also, throw out the flukey TD at the end of the half for the Crimson. But there were a lot of underneath passes that Harvard got in the soft part of the zone for big gains. Now, I realize you have to put linebackers in the box to stop Dawson, but I think it's telling that I can't point to a single pass getting defensed by the linebacking unit. That's where Harvard killed us repeatedly.

You can say that we lost to three pretty good teams. And, you can say that the Patriot League is down this year, so it's anybody's league. But it is incredibly frustrating to see us come so close, and show so many flashes of talent in every phase of the game, just to come up short.

The problem here isn't finishing games. It's finding playmakers, especially on defense. I put them in my "keys of the game" this week, and on defense we only have one, senior FS Ernie Moore. We are in desperate need of more of them before we enter our Patriot League schedule at Georgetown next week.

Comments

Ngineer said…
Yes, it seems like 'deja vu all over again.' As I posted earlier this week, I thought we'd come out primed and ready (which we were). But as I also said, Harvard is such a talented team, one cannot ease up and relax, and that is clearly what happened. A 24-7 lead is nothing against a talented team. Harvard's receivers were huge--6'4"-6'6" and the secondary looked like swiss cheese at times. Our DB's, especially the corners, were overmatched. Certainly, our Princeton tape was helpful to the Crimson.
But, giving up the late TD in the first half was a killer following the fake punt. Huge momentum shift, and one sees that happen alot when a team scores just before the half. Critical turnover, again, set up the last Harvard TD. Only turnover of the day, but it was devasting. Two field goals instead of being able to score TD's.
Three losses by a TOTAL of 7 points. This team has individual talent, but it isn't playing 60 minutes. You can't go into cruise control against good teams.
Sedale had nice numbers, but for some reason once he starts running he has not been able to pick up open receivers, when the DB's have moved up to defend the run.
Harvard is considered the cream of the Ivy this year and we were right there with them. Hopefully there will not be a letdown next week when an extremely important game occurs, because the only route to the playoffs is to win the conference. There won't be any at-large bid this year to the PL. A very disappointing loss, but the season is still alive and the championship will be there for the team that is tough enough, mentally, to get over these setbacks.
Hawkineer said…
The turning point yesterday was that team scored a whopping 9 points in the last 38 minutes after posting 24 in the first 22 minutes. Despite the faked punt and the dbacks who were two short, had the offense scored two stinkin' TDs in 38 minutes, we're talking about a shootout victory.

I had been a big supporter of Threatt. However, his inability to play a complete game, particularly in the 2nd half, has really hurt this team. I am particular surprised by his lack of excapability. He took critical sacks at the wrong time. He also appears unable to look downfield when moving. His ability to be accurate when moving cost them dearly yesterday. For once, his receivers were both dependable and open. He missed too many critical passes.
Anonymous said…
Careful Hawkineer. You are about to be flamed for having the audacity to criticize one of the players. You're only allowed to post positive comments according to the Rah Rah Squad.

I agree with you. Threatt does not seem to have progressed at all since last year. He hold on to the ball way too long and fails to pick out secondary or tertiary reads. I also question why Thompson was in there 99% of the time. I think he'd be much more effective if he were spelled by Pastore once in awhile. And why did Lehigh stop picking on #3 on Harvard? They were burning their weak side safety all through the first quarter.

The defense is hopeless. The secondary seemed like they never saw the aerial game before. They had no idea where Harvard's passes were going and even when they were blanketing the Crimson receivers they failed to pick up the ball in time.
Anonymous said…
lehigh is the most up and down team ever...they have the ability to beat anyone int he country but at the same time lose to anyone in the country. next week v. georgetown is no sure thing..if they lay an egg they could easily lose. im not sure how to fix this playing good football for 60 minutes thing but coen better know.
LU in NJ said…
>>>>>>>>Yes, the team does not play with a high level of intensity for the entire game and Yes, it is the coach's responsibility to elevate each individual and the team's performance level.

Coen seems to be on some sort of learning curve----which means the players and fans suffer while he figures out what has to be done to win at this level.

It is, however, absurd to start picking on Sedale------he completed over 60% of his passes, with 2 TDs, no ints and 290 yds. Yes, he miss-fired on some throws but he also had at least 2 passes dropped. harvard will not have many teams score 33 pts on them this year.

I believe it's Coen's job to develop Sedale to the next level----he was capable of directing an offense last year (as a soph) that scored 50 pts against Colgate.

Sedale isn't the problem-----33 pts should win games.

I give Coen credit for moving away from his run oriented offense and returning to Air Lehigh, but he should have been there all along----10 pts against Princeton was anemic.

This team has talent and Coen was supposed to be an improvement over Lembo (at least that is what many people posted), but it certainly hasn't been the case so far.

The lembo haters have been pretty quiet lately-----losing has a way of doing that to people.
Hawkineer said…
I've was one of the vocal majority who wanted Lembo out. I still think long term that this was the right move.

I also wanted Coen. I thought his offenses at both Lehigh and Penn were efficient and effective. I also thought the fact that he was an understudy to two very good coaches, Higgins and Bagnoli, would have prepared him to be a good head coach.

What's amazing is that my biggest gripes against Lembo was his inability to make halftime adjustments. I always felt that he did a good job preparing for his opponents.

Coen is struggling with making effective halftime adjustments. I think it's way too early to think that he ultimately will not be an excellent head coach.

Lembo did have the advantage of being in the program and inheriting an outstanding amount of talent in 2001.

Being from outside the program certainly makes the transition more challenging.

As long as I see improvement each week, including playing a full 60 minutes, I can suck it up for this year.

I am also disappointed in the secondary. Wilcher is back. This group has really struggled. For a veteran group, I would have expected a big jump from last year.

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