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Sunday's Word: Mud

Come on, you knew some variation on wind, rain, and slop was going to end up being today's word, didn't you?

It really has to be said again: In the past, this was the type of game that Lehigh would lose. The finesse passing game would get grounded, our team speed would be nullified, and we'd make too many mistakes and too few plays to win. Bad snaps; turnovers; lapses on special teams. "Mud" was not kind to Lehigh in recent memory. I think the book was out on Lehigh - play tougher than them, get a little lucky with the weather, and you can out-hit them to victory.

Not anymore.

The 2006 version of Lehigh has been able to run the ball effectively the past few games. They've been able to smash people in the mouth and roll around in the "mud" and have some fun. Oh yeah, and win too. There's lots of "mud" in those offensive and defensive trenches, and our linemen really made it happen on Saturday. The genesis of the win started right there.

The tough start in September seemed far away when Leo bobbled a snap yet still got off a fine 34 yard punt. When we got great push on 4th down conversions and huge holes for TDs. When Lehigh got good pressure on Randolph, getting in his face, batting down balls, hitting receivers after the catch. Holding onto the rock for 37 minutes. When sophomore DB Quadir Carter made an absolutely perfect move on the ball to get an interception - one which still seemed impossible from the replay.

What's really surprising is that once we went up 14-0, I had a great confidence that Lehigh was going to win the game. In the first half. That's the first time I've felt that way the entire season. At no time did I really think that Holy Cross was really going to come back. What I billed as the most important Lehigh/Holy Cross game since 1991 had none of the drama of that game. When senior SS Julian Austin returned that fumble for a TD, I felt like it was really going to be an uphill battle for them. And they never got back in it.

In the final minutes, Holy Cross seemed demoralized. They didn't even call timeouts to try to get the ball back. That was because we smacked them in the mouth one too many times. I've never seen that from a Lehigh opponent before.

In the "mud", these hogs are coming together at the right time. Execution is much much better. Confidence is higher. The team is better. There's no doubt, we have a shot at this thing.

I haven't crowned this team Patriot League champion just yet, but if we can manhandle our opponents in the trenches like we did on Saturday, we will have an opportunity to win the Patriot League and get a shot at the I-AA playoffs. Yet it's awful tempting to get overconfident, especially with Colgate losing to Lafayette last week 27-10, leaving Lehigh as the only team without a league loss.

Colgate will come to play on Saturday. Their whole season will be on the line, and if they lose, they're finished in the Patriot League title race. Coach Dick Biddle will have his team ready to play Lehigh - he ALWAYS does. Colgate/Lehigh. It always seems to have title implications every year.

It's going to require the same execution as last week. The same confidence and same toughness. Hopefully it won't require "mud". But if it's what's necessary to get this team executing on the same page like the did last week in dominating Holy Cross, I'll gladly take it.


Anonymous said…
it will be lehigh v. lafayette for the PL title. I just hope the weather is nice so lehigh can use their speed v. lafayette and not have to get recked by Hurt every play. Lehigh wont beat Lafayette int he same weather conditions they beat HC.
Anonymous said…
They won't beat Lafayette in the same weather conditions? Well can you give me the lotto numbers for Saturday? In any event thanks for the prognostication Nostradomus.
Anonymous said…
Great win and total domination of a strong Patriot league foe, and yet Holy Cross still gets votes in the poll. Lehigh has zero votes with only 1 legit bad loss. Sense?
Anonymous said…
because they have 4 losses
Anonymous said…
I've been thinking the same thing about the running game. The old Lehigh team with Air Lehigh and no inside running game wouldn't stand up well in those rain-and-mud conditions.

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