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Lehigh 18, Fordham 28, final

I'll admit it: I was hoping to make the trip to the Bronx this weekend to record this game for posterity, since it's one of two games this year that Lehigh plays that is not televised. After coming back from the game and thinking about it, perhaps the game was better off remaining unrecorded in any way, if you're a Lehigh fan.

First of all, though, congratulations to Fordham and head coach Tom Masella, who played a great game and never made me feel comfortable that Lehigh was going to pull out the game at any point. Although their offense did stall a little bit in the second half, they stayed away from making mistakes. Their trenches got great push against our lines, and that defensive front seven is for real - they got to our quarterback, got a bunch of tackles for loss, and played a whale of a game. And the sophomore QB John Skelton is a very good quarterback for the Rams, who was very effective passing the ball - and with no interceptions that have plagued him in other games.

If you had to sum the game in a nutshell, Lehigh made too many mistakes, and Fordham made only one, and that's why they won. And the mistake they made - a fumbled punt that led to great field position - did not turn into points for Lehigh.

The stat that jumped out was that Lehigh was 2-6 in the "red zone". If you get into the red zone six times in a league game, you have to convert at least four of those into points. Period. I don't care if they're FGs - at least get something. Fordham only got into the red zone twice, but came away with touchdowns. If Lehigh had a 100% "red zone conversion rate", we'd be having a Yuengling right now taking about another Lehigh/Fordham laugher and whether Lehigh is Top 25 material. Now, Fordham fans are starting to whisper that.

What was frustrating was that Lehigh's mistakes came in every phase of the game. Down 7-3, Fordham WR Richard Rayborn gets behind the defender and moonwalks into the end zone, putting Lehigh behind 14-3. Down 14-10 and in the red zone, a fumbled snap on a FG attempt meant our holder had to attempt a rollout TD pass - that the receiver had in his hands and bobbled and dropped. Still down 14-10, Lehigh gets in the red zone again - and promptly gets picked off. Those aren't all the mental errors - I'm not so cruel as to list them all here. But trust me that there were plenty. There were plenty of chances for someone on Lehigh to make a play to win the game, or at least go ahead - and it's not just one player - and nobody did.

For sure, RB Josh Pastore came down with an injury in the first half and did not return, which seemed to play a huge factor. But more aggravating me me was some of the things I mentioned in these "Keys Of the Game" that were not executed - especially the one about "Pride in Special Teams". Three bad snaps in three FG situations, two of which led to those "fake" attempts. If we make just one of those, this is a completely different game.

So, here we are again. 0-1 in the League, just like two years ago when Holy Cross upset us 13-10 in the rainstorm at Goodman. Fordham has beaten Colgate and Lehigh already, and has Georgetown this week, so assuming the Hoyas don't pull of a mega-upset, they look to be 3-0 going into their tough games versus Holy Cross, Bucknell and Lafayette. It's not impossible to catch them - after all, the past three years have seen teams with one loss win the Patriot League title. But it will mean that they have to run the table in the Patriot League, and can't afford any more games with these excruciating sort of mental errors.

It can be done. But the question I have after watching this game is: Will it?

Comments

Anonymous said…
I heard coach coen say a very disturbing thing on the radio pregame show. He said some players were missing practice and only coming to practice end of the week.
I hope I heard this wrong, if true, it may mean he is losing control of the team. Also it brings commintment of the players into question.
Anonymous said…
Test week
Anonymous said…
that is good news.
that explains it.
Anonymous said…
how can a senior quarterback who starts for 2 and a half years be so inaccurate and uncomfortable in the pocket. He should be on the money with each throw he wasnt even close.
Anonymous said…
Your QB was pressured all day. His innaccuracy was due to getting pushed out of the pocket, being chased around regularly and knocked down several times-cut him a break. Give Fordham credit- they outplayed you fair and square. QB Skelton is the real deal and only a soph. He's 6'5 245. FU has some real athletic receivers as well. Im sure it stinks in losing to FU but be assured it was no fluke.
Engineer-itated. said…
No offense anonymous Fordham Lover, but our QB has pretty much stunk out the place for quite some time. He has never grasped the concept of "touch" or picking out his options. At times he's pretty darn accurate throwing a short swing pass but he fires the ball so hard his receivers can't hold on. I actually thought he was making some progress in avoiding sacks, but lately he seems to panic as soon as he feels pressure and tries to run instead of looking for secondary receivers.

As bas as he's been, the coaching staff has experienced a major brain fart in giving the bulk of the running duties to Pastore when the two younger kids were doing quite well while he was injured.

I can't wait for the next coach to replace Coen and the ridiculous 3-4 defense that rarely stops anything unless you have 4 superior LB's.

After another loss to Easton Community College at the end of the year, hopefully the AD will start to reconsider his choice. Lehigh football has become downright mediocre.

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