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Lehigh 23, Colgate 15, Final

Lehigh stays in the driver's seat. We survive once again, and move on. But it's funny; I should be much more elated with this win than I am.

How could that be? We were up by three scores. Our defense smothered Colgate's offense in the first half, for the most part. Senior DT Erik Rakus seemed to be all over the field. Junior QB Sedale Threatt did a great job leading the team on first half TD drives, including 75 rushing yards and 2 TDs. As a Lehigh fan, analyzing the game, there for sure was a lot to like.

Maybe it's simply that both Lehigh and Colgate seemed so... flawed. There's no other way to describe it. Usually Lehigh and Colgate features one or more nationally-ranked teams, with dreams of I-AA playoffs and maybe even a dream run to the I-AA championship. In recent past, these games were always grudge matches between teams with great execution. But this year it was a batttle between a 4-4 team and a 3-5 team, and it showed. More bad penalties, for one. A really soft drive at the end of the first half that gave Colgate free points - fortunately the defense tightened and the Raiders settled for three, which could have been the difference in the game.

It wasn't just us. Colgate sure seemed far removed from the preseason accolades as well. A blocked extra-point - after we gave them half the distance! - followed by another hitting the upright. Both Saraceno and Relph really struggled at times, which couldn't all be attributed to Lehigh's defense. There were plenty of drops and missed chances.

Though Lehigh won, they didn't look or feel like the world-beating team that smacked Holy Cross last week. Worse, we tried our hardest to give Colgate a way back into the game in the 4th quarter. When we went up by three scores, our defense took a nap and gave up two really soft TDs to make this a game. We also got a huge assist after Colgte somehow got flagged for kick interference - a call that got made Colgate's head coach Dick Biddle apoplectic on the sideliens - that saved our bacon on an onside kick the second week in a row. How our defense and special teams can look like world-beaters in one stanza and then make Colgate look like the Chris-Brown-to-DeWayne-Long era is beyond me.

Three hair-pulling penalties in particular leap to mind as to why Lehigh's execution was off.

1. Colgate 1st-and-goal at the 3 - and we get flagged for 12 men on the field, half the distance to the goal.
2. Colgate lines up for the extra point - and we jump offsides. Half the distance.
3. Lehigh 3rd-and-1, we're trying to get a game-killing drive, we get the 1st down, and we get called for an illegal shift. 3rd-and-6.

We did rebound from all this self-made adversity, as we rebounded from senior WR Frank "Al Del Greco" Trovato's fumble on the punt return early in the first quarter. But you know and I know that even though it was enough to beat Colgate, if we hand Lafayette chances like that, they will murder us.

I don't want to sound so down after beating a historic rival pretty handily. I'm really happy we're in the driver's seat for the title and the I-AA autobid, and for every miscue we had we had that player respond with a big play, which says a lot about the mettle of this team. But I see a team that should have stomped on Colgate's throat midway through the third quarter, if not the first half, if we hadn't killed ourselves in one way or another. It was more like the Georgetown game than the Holy Cross game, and that's saying something.

Maybe that's not a bad thing that we won, but not impressively. Maybe that shows that we need to get even better for Fordham, Lafayette or maybe someone after that. Because we do.

Comments

Ngineer said…
I agree that despite the win, there was some kind of uneasiness lingering about some of the performance as you mentioned. Colgate surely didn't look like the team that got the preseason ballyhoo. I liked the fact we took away Scott early. That was the #1 priority. What was troubling was the problems Reph gave us on several third down conversions where he scrambled on at least three straight coversions. Not to be 'looking ahead' but Maurer will provide the same problem down the road. Perhaps this was good in giving us a 'wake up' on what needs to be strengthened The other bothersome area was the wide-open receivers Colgate had on the right side--especially on the drag pattern with CU's #1. Fordham and Lafayette I"m sure will be looking at this tape alot, because it did expose the defense's vulnerabilities. But a good coaching staff will see this, too, and plan for how the opposition will try to attack. Fordham will be pesky as shown in the Lafayette game. Focusing on the Rams and needing to take them our early will be important.
Hello, I am glad Lehigh won. I am a Lehigh Football/Wrestling fan. May I ask you to do me a favor? can you put ALL of the Lehigh/Colgate photos up on this site or email them to me, please?. My camera is broken, so I couldn't take pictures. Do you have pictures from any of the other Lehigh games from this year, 2005, 2003,2002 seasons? if so would you be kind eniough to email them to me? Do you go to any of the Lehigh Wrestling matches Photos from 2003-2004,2004-2005,2005-2006 Seasons?? Email those photos to me as well. Will you be attending any of the Lehigh Wrestling matches this year (2006-2007) season? Takes photos for me. Do you know anyone who goes/went to Lehigh football games and Lehigh wrestlnig matches in the seasons that I've mentioned above. I hope Lehigh beats Lafyatte (I can't spell it).
Yulia
my email is alianna_hodiya@yahoo.com
thank you.
LU in NJ said…
>>>>>>>Several aspects of lehigh's gameplan/execution served to make this win against Colgate closer and less satisfying than one would expect.

Any win agaist Colgate is a great win, but as noted, Lehigh made alot unforced errors.

In addition, the offensive play calling was extremely conservative (75% runs) and the result was minimal points for a team that had almost 400 yds and no offensive turnovers.

Lastly,Lehigh seems to lose focus/intensity as the first half winds down and in the 3rd Q.

Harvard, Bucknell, Holy Cross and now Colgate all took it to Lehigh late in the 2nd period with long offensive drives.

For whatever reason (conservative offensive philosophy maybe), Lehigh doesn't play with the same level of focus and intensity in the later parts of the 2nd Q and the 3rd Q.

Couple that with a run based offense that doesn't score alot of points and games like the win over Colgate become closer and less satisfying than they should be.

I've become spoiled----Air Lehigh was great to watch, scored a ton of points and won at least 8 games each of the last 8 yrs (and many of those wins were blowouts).

Hopefully this team has at least two more games of winning "ugly" this season.
Anonymous said…
13 points separates this team from being 9-0 and a top ten ranking. You just keep belly aching and let the team that they play in the playoffs look at the 4 losses and figure we are a patsy. We won't be an easy out.
LU in NJ said…
>>>>>>>Who said anything about "patsy" ?

There is plenty of talent on this team----imagine what their record would be if the offense was scoring points at the level of the past 8 yrs.

You can be satisfied with a 5-4 record------I see a team that could easily have 7-8 wins under their belt with just a little more offensive juice.

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