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Press Roundup: Lehigh/Holy Cross

What a great shot of senior RB Marques Thompson from the Worcester Telegram & Gazette! If any shot sums up the day, its this one with Marques "Mud" Thompson slipping the grasp of the Holy Cross defenders.

I do fully realize, courtesy of senior LB Matt Mohler that it's "Hate the Gate week, but permit me a moment to celebrate the week that was and the great Lehigh win over Holy Cross and give out my game balls. (The full quote from the Morning Call is as follows: ''Being in first place feels fantastic,'' Mohler said. ''It's why I came to Lehigh. I was used to it as a freshman and sophomore and it's good to be back. But now it's ''Gate Week' and you've got to hate the 'Gate. We're going to have to get ready for them.'')

On that note, offensive game balls are going to go two five hogs and one guy from Tennessee. Senior FB Greg "Grandpa" Fay, junior OL Jimmy Kehs, senior OL Pete Morelli, senior OL John Reese, senior OL Jim Petrucelli, and senior OL Jason Russell made everything happen yesterday with 300 total yards in the slop (including over 200 rushing yards) and 3 TDs. You can credit the backs for not fumbling or Sedale Threatt for not losing the ball, but the fact is it was the job these guys did that made it happen. "Grandpa" Fay may have only contributed 1 yard rushing but the lead block he was giving to McGowan and "Mud" Thompson were what really mattered. I'm not even mentioning the 37 minutes of offensive possession as well. An awesome performance, and one Lehigh fans have been waiting for this year.

With the defense coming up with so many good plays, it's difficult to narrow it down to one or two guys. That interception from sophomore DB Quadir Carter was simply breathtaking, and senior DB Brannan Thomas also made some great plays defending the pass. But I'm going to give game balls to two guys that made life miserable for Holy Cross QB Dominc Randolph: senior NT Eric Rakus and junior DB Daynin Blake. Rakus' stat sheet may not be gaudy, unless you include "pass hurries" and "balls tipped at the line". He was hurrying Randolph all day, tipped at least two balls at the line that I can remember, and you could tell Randolph was wondering "where's number 77?" Blake also led the team in tackles - several times on key plays putting Holy Cross short of the chains, and including one tackle for loss - but his blitzes also had Randolph wondering what was going to hit him next. These guys stood out, but it must be said this was a complete defensive team effort. This unit's performance really made me smile.

On special teams, I really was tempted to give it to sophomore RB Josh Pastore for his big 40 yard return, but I'm going to give it again to sophomore PK Jason Leo. Why? Perfect on extra points on a sloppy day, for one. Also, three punts inside the 20 made sure the Crusaders had awful field position in order to score. But the play where Jason bobbled a snap but still pooch-punted the ball for 32 yards was a gigantic play in terms of momentum and field position. All in all, Jason's great punting made sure Holy Cross would have a long day, and was a huge factor in our win.

Congratulations to all the winners!

Allentown Morning Call:
Lehigh Beats Holy Cross, Takes Over First
Upshot: "We didn't lose the game because of the rain, but let's be honest, it's harder on a team running a spread offense and throwing the ball as much as we did [53 times]," Crusaders coach Tom Gilmore said. "We wanted to run it more, but Lehigh shut us down. Then we got behind and had to throw it and it's just hard to complete passes in those conditions. Not only was it raining, but it got windy as well in the second half."... "In October, or November, this is the kind of game I had in mind," Coen said late Saturday. "It could be the same next week. People have to know we're going to come right at them. If we were spreading it out and throwing the ball all over the place, we'd have our work cut out for us in bad weather. This time [the weather] worked to our advantage."

Lehigh Continues to Weather Storm
Upshot: "We came out and proved something to everybody that we can be a physical team," said sophomore tailback Matt McGowan, the Hazleton High grad who came off the bench to deliver three short touchdown runs. "We ran it hard. That was our game plan with the weather and we executed." "All of the credit goes to the line and fullback Greg Fay for the blocking," said starting tailback Marques Thompson, who rushed for a career high 141 yards on 30 carries. "The footing was terrible. It was a mess. You could only make one cut, so the holes had to be there."

Brown & White:
Team Slashes Crusaders' Five Game Winning Streak
Upshot: Sophomore defensive end Brian Jackson said although the Crusaders played well and passed well, the Hawks were able to keep up. “It was hard for the D-linemen to keep their footing,” Jackson said. “They passed a lot and for us to succeed as a defense our secondary had to step it up and they did.”

Worcester Telegram & Gazette:
Lehigh's Hawks Down 'Saders
Upshot: Lehigh has won seven straight games at Fitton Field. HC snapped a three-game losing streak at Lehigh with last year’s 13-10 win. Gilmore said yesterday’s conditions were very similar to last year’s. “But we knew the weather was coming,” he said, “and I’m not blaming the weather, that’s for sure.” “A couple of times I felt like I just had mud all over the ball,” [sophomore QB Dominic] Randolph said. “Our receivers did a heck of a job once again, [and] I had time as well. We just couldn’t punch it in when we had to. It was difficult [playing in the rain], but they had to play in it, too.”

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