Skip to main content

Sunday's Word: Finishing

We did end up winning this week's game versus Colgate 23-15. But we came dastardly close to not "finishing" an opponent. It was enough against Colgate, but it was troubling enough to make it this Sunday's word.

I suppose I should be focusing on all the positives of the game instead. Holding sophomore RB sensation Jordan Scott to 83 yards of total offense, for example. Two more great interceptions - and winning the turnover battle. Winning the battle of special teams. NT Erik Rakus making life absolutely miserable for Colgate. QB Sedale Threatt, rushing for 75 yards and 2 TDs. Getting 4.3 yards per carry rushing. And, most importantly, staying up by two scores or more during most of the game. These things are all fine achievements, including the most important one - we won the game.

But on offense and defense, we clearly let Colgate hang around far too long. We didn't "finish" them. Up 14-0 at half, we let Kenny Parker get free and nearly get a TD - fortunately, they settled on a FG. Up 20-3 early in the 4th quarter, we let up a drive to Colgate where Colgate QB Mike Saraceno goes 4-for-6 and gets a key TD to put them back in the game. In a game where the QBs were unable to get anything going before, this "soft" TD made it a heck of a lot more interesting. In my humble view of the game, I didn't all of a sudden see Colgate kick in another gear. I saw our defense look an awful lot like the team that struggled against Yale, Princeton, and Harvard.

It didn't get any less interesting after that. The offense struggled to get back into PK John Leo's range to make it 23-9, and then the defense still gave up massive chunks of yards to Colgate for another soft TD. Then the offense finally shut it down and won the game by holding onto the ball for the final 5 minutes to seal the win. But it wasn't dominating by any stretch. No fewer than 3 third-downs featured, not to mention a 4th down conversion. For good measure, on 3rd-and-1 we got flagged for an illegal shift. No way should it have been THAT interesting.

We were lucky to get away with the win. Colgate is too good to fall asleep against, and it appeared that some folks didn't realize that. We didn't "finish". We got lucky.

Look, I don't feel this team is filled with stiffs. I realize that this team is only a few points from being undefeated. It's because the team is so talented that it's so maddening to see them let teams back in the game rather than step on their throats like they did versus Holy Cross. You can't do it versus Colgate, Fordham, or anybody. Especially versus Colgate. I don't care what their record is - they are a huge rival, and you can't give them any oxygen to mount a comeback.

To be fair, I was also impressed by Lehigh's ability to bounce back from mistakes. Even though we had seven penalties (and some were hair-pulling, like 12 men on the field and illegal procedure penalties), we did bounce back really well and get the job done, and when the history books are written that's what will really be seen. Lehigh 23, Colgate 15, final.

But against Fordham we're going to have to "finish". Their barn-burner last week versus Lafayette shows that the Rams are not just packing it in for the season - they are playing hard and could be a dangerous opponent. They will be playing loose and looking to get our pelts to make their season a success. A win next week for them would be their "Super Bowl".

We can't afford to look ahead to playing a certain school in Easton yet. We need to "finish" business at home versus Fordham first. I have confidence that this team can get the job done - I've seen them be able to do it. I know they can "finish". If they "finish" next week in a win over Fordham, I'll feel a lot better about our chances the following week. I think so will the rest of Lehigh Nation.


Ngineer said…
Yes, "finishing" off Fordham with an impressive score would certainly send a message 'down the road' as well as to Alums that the team is set to 'take care of business'.
So, time to transform Lehigh into a 'finishing school'....?
Anonymous said…
Just to explain the wacky onside kick on Saturday.

One of the Lehigh upfront receivers signaled for a fair catch when he saw the pop-up onside kick but was blocked before the Colgate player ever caught it. Thus according to the rule below, he was illegally interfered with before the ball was caught thus ending the play. I think even then it only went 9 yards.

Question: Can a "fair catch" be called on an on-side kick? I know the ball can't hit the ground first, but how about an on-side kick that is popped up in the air?

Answer: Yes, a fair catch can be called on any kick. And even if a fair catch signal is not given the receiver must not be interfered with before he catches the ball. That is why on an on-side kick the kicker almost always kicks the ball into the ground first. That removes the possibility for interference.

Popular posts from this blog

Nick Shafnisky Is Pushing Hard to Get To Play at the Next Level in Football

"Don't take anything for granted, just keep pushing."
Those are the words of QB Nick Shafnisky, told to The Whitehall-Coplay Press all the way back in 2013, about his preparation as a high school athlete.
And they seem to summarize the Whitehall, PA native perfectly, then as now.
Dubbed the "Male Athlete of the Year" by that publication, the article goes on about Shaf's many exploits at Whitehall high school - leading the Zephyr football team to a co-Lehigh Valley Conference title, becoming the first player ever in that conference to rush and pass for over 1,000 yards, and earning the league's co-MVP award as well.
He also was a member of the Zephyrs playoff basketball team, and for good measure also helped set a record for the 4x100 relay team as well.
At Whitehall, and at Lehigh, coaches pushed him, but it was his own hard work that helped make him the best athlete he could be.
This weekend, Shaf, like every eligible college football player, will be …

#TheRivalry Flashback: November 21st, 1987: Lehigh 17, Lafayette 10

Since becoming an undergrad at Lehigh back in the late 1980s, I first heard about the historic nature of the football team and "The Rivalry" through the stories that fellow students would share.

I did not attend the final meeting between Lehigh and Lafayette at Taylor Stadium, which was the final time a football game would be played there.

Those that did attend said that was that it was cold.

"I remember it being one of the coldest games ever," Mark Redmann recollected, "with strong Northwesterly winds and the temperature hovering around 20.  By the end of the game, the stands were half empty because most of the fans just couldn't take the cold.

"Fortunately, several of my fraternity brothers snuck in flasks to help fend off the chill."

Dominick Bragalone Goes Into Monster Mode As Lehigh Is One Win Away From Title

It has been a most unusual season for Lehigh.

Starting the year off at 0-5 and getting swept in their out-of-conference schedule, the Mountain Hawks were in danger of having their season go off the rails.

But two things have come together over the last five football games that have put Lehigh on the brink of back-to-back championships.

The first is the late blooming of the Lehigh defense, which kept battling every week since the low point of the September 30th loss to Wagner to do the job in four of their five Patriot League conference games. 

The second is the development of junior RB Dominick Bragalone into a bellcow running back, a back who has to be in the conversation for Patriot League offensive player of the year.

In five Patriot League games, Bragalone has run for 863 yards in 5 games, rushing for 11 touchdowns and adding two more receiving touchdowns as well. 

The South Williamsport, PA native certainly wasn't unknown before this week - after all, as a freshman and a sop…