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LFN Readers "Game Ball" and Around the Horn

Yes, senior RB Matt McGowan, Lehigh Football Nation readers did indeed make you #1 this week. Overwhelmingly, the Hazleton Area running back was voted by Lehigh fans as the Player of the Week of the Drake game.

Every week, you, the LFN reader, gets to vote on the Player of the game, and I issue my own game balls to deserving Lehigh players (and if nobody deserves one, nobody gets one). It's important stuff: your votes help determine the LFN Hawks of the Year - and they count more than my vote on a day-to-day basis.

This week, game balls go to:

Readers' Choice: Senior RB Matt McGowan (39 rushes, 173 yards, only 1 rush for negative yards)

Offense: Sophomore QB J.B. Clark (9-12 passing, 146 yards, 2 TDs, 0 turnovers)

Defense: Senior DL Brian Jackson (7 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 1 QB hurry)

Special Teams: Junior LB Troy Taylor (2 special teams tackles, 1/2 sack, bone-crushing hit on defense)

Congratulations to all the winners!

Around the Horn, 9/10/2008
Every week I also go "Around the Horn" to see the goings-on in the Patriot League and with future Lehigh opponents as well. We'll look at "that school in Easton", of course - but also take a quick look at what's been going on with Villanova as well.

  • Before this weekend, I think if you'd ask Patriot League watchers what a successful weekend might be, I think they'd have said 4-3. But the Patriot League's 6-1 record did a lot to erase the bad taste of Colgate's opening-day loss to Stony Brook out of people's mouths. Yes, it's true that two of the schools were FCS non-scholarship and two more FCS teams were not carrying the full load of 63 scholarships either. But the fact that the Patriot League was a blocked field goal away from going 7-0 on the week - including a last second loss against a top 5 team in FCS - must have everyone in the league office with big smiles this week.
  • No game this week was more thrilling - or improbable - or controversial - than Colgate's last-gasp 23-19 win on Sunday versus Coastal Carolina. Click on the link and check out the video and you'll be sure to not be disappointed. And although coach Biddle was his usual quiet self in the postgame, Coastal Carolina head coach David Bennett sure wasn't. “We’re up 19-11 with 9:22 to go in the game, and there’s a lightning delay. We had them on the ropes pretty good, it was dadgum hot, and there’s an one hour and 50-minute delay. So we come back out and drive it down there to the 35. It’s fourth-and-1, and we don’t get it. So they drive and score and go for two and miss it, so it’s 19-17... All we’ve got to do is get a first down. They burn their timeouts, it’s third-and-2 — and we don’t get it. But we get a 49-yard punt and they are on their 30, no timeouts, but they drive it. And their quarterback goes to spike the ball, and we hit his arm, and it’s a fumble. They recover, and that clock is ticking down, 15, 14, and our clock operator stops the clock at 12 seconds. We’re saying, ‘Why? Why? Run the clock!’ and they start it back up again...But the officials stop it with eight seconds left, time for them to kick a field goal. They bobble the snap, and we try to tackle him, and the kicker’s all tangled up. But the holder takes three steps and fires it up, and their wingback catches it in the flat and scores the touchdown and they beat us.” Colgate certainly was lucky, but the Raiders didn't exactly have a great day statistically: even though senior RB Jordan Scott did get 190 yards and 1 touchdown on 43 carries.
  • Fordham's win didn't provide much drama, but the dominant way the (Bronx) Rams put the hurt on Rhode Island 16-0 on Sunday has to give the rest of the league pause. The Patriot League Rams pride themselves on having a balanced offense and defense, but the unit that shined the most was the defense led by sophomore LB Nicholas Magiera's 5 1/2 tackles and 3 1/2 tackles for loss. Not only were the tackles for loss stunning (a mind-boggling 14 of them on the afternoon!) and the rushing defense (allowing -29 rushing yards! Or is it, the achieved 29 yards of field position on the ground? You decide...), this wasn't done against Marist: this was done against a CAA team for Pete's sakes! I think it's the first time that a Patriot League team has ever shut out a Yankee Conference/A-10/CAA team as well. Yes, teams, that's what we're up against this year.
  • Here's how the week was for the Patriot League this week: even when we lost, it felt like a victory. Holy Cross' 45-42 defeat to #3 rated UMass on a last-second FG certainly can't be held against the Crusaders should they come in line for a potential playoff spot later in the year. The Boston Herald called UMass coach coach Don Brown "obviously releived" after the game - since, after all, big bad UMass wasn't expected to struggle against a "little" Patriot League team. Don't tell that to a disappointed Holy Cross team, though. Senior QB Dominic Randolph probably said it best: “I wouldn’t call it being encouraged, but we’re going to learn from what we did. We know we can compete with anyone. They’re a great team and we were right there with them until the very last second.”
  • All three Patriot League games that were delayed until Sunday due to Hurricane Hanna had close finishes, and Georgetown was no exception with a 12-7 victory as well. In a game well-covered by the Washington, DC media (although calling it "one of Georgetown's most important wins in years" seems a tad overdone), the hero of this Sunday game for the Hoyas (to me, anyway) was senior DE Atefiok Etekuren, with 5 tackles and 3 tackles for loss (including two sacks, one of which drove the Bison out of field goal range.) "It just helps us show D.C. that Georgetown does have a good team that can play a little football," senior WR Kenny Mitchell said. "I get those questions all the time, my whole career, and so it's just very special to finally show people." The next challenge for Goergetown is to beat a team without the nickname "Bison": their last win against a non-Bison team was in 2006 against Marist.
  • It perhaps wasn't surprising that Bucknell beat Duquesne in their first game this year: it's how the game played out. The Bison jumped out to a 48-7 lead... and then gave up 35 unanswered points on five straight possessions to make the final score look respectable at 48-42. (Strange to think if the Dukes recovered the onside kick and scored a touchdown and , they could have won the game after being behind 42 points in the second half!) Junior QB Marcelo Trigg had his best day ever as a Bison, completing his first 14 passes en route to a 14-16, 290 yard passing, 4 touchdown day. Trigg said that he's a big fan of the Bison's new offensive look - lining up in the shotgun. "It's a whole lot easier to read the defense five yards behind the line of scrimmage," Trigg said. "It's much easier to see what the defense is bringing or what they might be bringing (on a blitz). I [also] have to give a lot of credit to the offensive line. I don't think I was sacked. We are skill-position players and we're supposed to make the plays, but if the line doesn't block well, we can't do our jobs. They did a great job."
  • "That School in Easton", as predicted, didn't have much of a test in Marist after cruising to a 28-6 victory. Don't be fooled by the 14-6 halftime score: the Leopards held Marist to under 100 yards of total offense and senior RB Maurice White had a 29 carry, 212 yard rushing day with 2 touchdowns. Subtract a blocked Lafayette punt recovered by teh Red Foxes at the 1 and it's likely that the Leopards would have pitched a shutout. ''I'm the type of player, I really like running north and south; I don't like running stretch plays," White said. "The type of game this was, it was a lot of power, and zone plays and those are the type of plays that I love.''
  • Two weeks ago, Villanova was widely believed to not be anywhere close to FBS West Virginia in terms of offensive talent. After the game, however, the consensus was that the Wildcats earned an enormous amount of respect in a 48-21 loss to a BCS title contender. Despite two interceptions, junior QB Antwon Young went 17-for-33 with 218 yards and added a rushing touchdown. During the week off between West Virginia and Lehigh, Villanova head coach Andy Talley took the time to work on special teams ("We fired a few kids," Talley said, on special teams) and get "six or seven" starters healthy. "Lehigh is normally one of the very best teams in the country, and has been a team we have struggled with when we've played them," Talley said in the CAA teleconference this week. "It's a team we have a lot of respect for, and we're very, very concerned about them. It's a team that loves to play well against Villanova. If you take a look at their schedule, they probably have a big star next to Villanova - they take this game very seriously. [Because of that,] I've been talking about the Lehigh game previous to the West Virginia game."

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