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Lehigh 20, Harvard 13, final

Wow. Simply, wow.

Can you ever remember a Lehigh game that was won like that?

Start by mentioning that Lehigh won without scoring an offensive touchdown. When was the last time that ever happened, especially at Murray Goodman? I had to go back to 1996 for a 7-6 loss to Bucknell (in a rainstorm) to remember the last time that I could remember Lehigh not scoring an offensive touchdown, let alone winning that way.

For those of you that didnt come to Goodman on a simply perfect day for football, Lehigh's first TD came on senior CB Brannan Thomas catching the Harvard punt team napping and getting a nice burst through the punt coverage for a return for the touchdown. The final TD came from junior LB Tim Diamond stripping the ball from backup Crimson QB Chris Pizotti as they were driving with under a minute to play for the game-winning score, with junior DL Paul Bode picking it up and rumbling into the end zone to ice the game.

Has the Goodman magic come back? Is our home advantage here once again?

Coach Coen in the post-game press conference talked about how proud he was of his team. "All we talk about is competing. 'Fight Like Champions' is our motto this year, and I talked to the team last night about fighting for 60 minutes last night, and we obviously did that today."

Watching the game, it was a dogfight. Both teams averaged less than 3 yards rushing on the entire day. There were 16 punts in the game. Like I predicted, it was a defensive struggle, but Harvard seemed several times like they were going to deliver the knockout blow at any time. When Lehigh got the fumble and returned it, I couldn't believe it.

I think Lehigh turned a corner today. We won when the offense had a tough day against a great defense. And we won by fighting extremely hard on defense and special teams and never giving up. The defense was on the field for almost 40 minutes, and still managed to make the play of the game in the final minute. This Lehigh defense has guts.

You also can't neglect the effect of special teams on this win today, either. You may not beleive it, but punting by junior P/K Jason Leo had a huge impact on the day too. He punted 8 times for a 44.1 yard average, putting six of those inside the 20 and three of them within the 6. Each time we exchanged punts, we'd gain almost 10 yards of field position.

Of course, that doesn't completely excuse an offense that could not get much going, especially in the second half. The fumble when Lehigh was driving to Harvard's end zone would have been the story of the game if we didn't pull it out. 0-for-11 on 3rd down conversions is awful. And there were way, way too many dropped passes.

But we're 3-1, and we just pulled out a win in a game we could have easily lost. It was won with defensive grit and never giving up, even when it looked like Harvard was going to line up for the game-winning FG (blocked by sophomore LB Heath Brickner) or going to drive downfield for another shot.

How come I get the feeling that this sort of win is turning some sort of corner? That a very special season could - just could - be here this year?

Enjoy your Yuenglings tonight. I will!

Comments

Anonymous said…
Lehigh scored a touchdown in the 7-6 loss to Bucknell, but missed the extra point.
Lehigh74 said…
I am thrilled we won the game but am very puzzled by the play calling. When Coen took the job he vowed to run the ball more. Today he made no effort to establish the running game and I for one can't understand why.
allen crawford said…
It really looked like the game was headed for overtime, and with the harvard line making sedale hurry, it didn't look good. The fumble and run in for a td was a thunderbolt. I will never forget the thrill of it!!
Anonymous said…
The running games for both teams was generally enemic, however, Harvard was frequently rushing 7 men with various blitz's. LU didn't take advanatage of that, although earlier in game the screen seemed to be there we didn't try again. Also, several dropped passes--TWO which would have been TD's. We wasted some great field position, yet the defense was stellar--for all the time they were on the field. Today was not a pretty win, but it was won on heart and guts, and we'll take 'em any way we can!
Anonymous said…
My sympathy to Harvard - they had an embarassing edge in statistics, lost their starting quarterback, dominated our OLine, yet have a long ride home.

Lehigh won through sheer determination. A game like this can make your season.

Jason Leo was fantastic punting, despite the early shank.

By the way, does anyone know why we don't use the screen pass?
Anonymous said…
I recall 3 screen pass plays, I think all in the first half. That's probably at lease 1 too many, they don't work once the defense has seen them a few times. We should have been hitting our hot receiver against those blitz packages. The offense never adjusted to the blitz. And Sedale was not sharp, it appeared to me that his injury(s) are really hampering him.
Anonymous said…
Play calling was certainly suspect! How do you call a flee - flicker when you know your line is not handling the D-line penetration all day? why was the freshman running back not used more? 1 carry for 20 yards. I think we could have used more of that! we had very little if any outside threat without the speed of the freshman. With the blitzing and penetration that Harvard had going all day you would think we could go to our TE (Harvard certainly did) I don't understand the Defense not blitzing the back up QB more often. We rushed 3 guys most of the time and when we did blitz we had good things happen. Harvard put pressure on our QB and you saw the result (Harvard is no VMI!) Jason Leo is amazing, the coaches should have bought him a steak dinner!
LU65 said…
Game balls for everyone on the Defense and Special Teams - all to be signed by members of the Offense!

Wont' soon forget: (a) Tim Diamond's 22 tackles, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble, and 1 fumble recovery; (b) Jason Leo's 8 punts averaging 44 yards (six inside the 20 with one sailing 66 yards); (c) Brannan Thomas' 54 yard punt return for a touchdown; (d) the gutsy 19 play/85 yard/7:01 minute defensive stand that ended with a blocked FG by Heath Brickner (soph) - this after enduring 14 play/49 yard/5:52 minute and 8 play/96 yard/3:10 minute scoring drive by Harvard earlier in the day; (e) John Kennedy's (fr) 44+ average yard kick-off returns so important in establishing field position; (f) being out-gained 465 to 232 in yards from scrimmage; (g) Jason Leo's 29 and 40 yard FGs (the latter one would have been good from 50); (h) giving up 17 minutes in time of possession; and (i) suffering through a 5 for 17 Sedale passing performance in the second half when there appeared better run and pass options before
him and the offensive coordinators. You had to see it to believe it.

Funny....had Jason Leo not shanked a 22 yard punt just before half time leading to a Harvard FG (3 points) and had Josh Pastore not been jarred loose from the ball four yards short of scoring a LU touchdown (7 points), all this and the other commentary might not have been necessary.

Let's hope we learned a few valuable lessons today, take our 3-1 record and move on. The PL Championship is certainly within our reach.
Anonymous said…
You do such great work. Thank you

LU76
Parz - '92 said…
What a win! It was ugly, but a win is a win. Special teams and defense definitely won this one.

My question is, and it is more curiosity than gripe, "Where is Kankam?" Walker had one carry, but I don't think I saw Kankam at all. Is he injured?

I look forward to the rest of the season. GO ENGINEERS!
Anonymous said…
Reported in the paper that Kankam was injured, though not specific. When we get some depth in that backfield, I can imagine some lethal combinations. McGowan's recovery can't come soon enough. We'll need his hard driving runs to control the game down the road.

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