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LFN Readers' Game Ball and Around the Horn 9/15/2008

For the second straight week it was not much of a contest: you, the fans, picked senior LB Tim Diamond in a landslide as LFN Readers' "Player of the Week". (Full disclosure: he was my pick of the week, too.) You're not alone, either: the Patriot League also game Diamond Patriot League Defensive Player of the Week honors as well for his 14 tackle performance against Villanova. It's hard to see what more he could have contributed with 14 tackles (including an eye-popping 10 solo stops), 1 1/2 tackles for loss, an interception, a pass break-up and (oh by the way) a strip of Villanova RB Aaron Ball which he recovered and returned to the 1 yard line, setting up Lehigh's first touchdown on the day.

This week, game balls go to:

Readers' Choice: Senior LB Tim Diamond

Offense: Senior WR Sekou Yansane (5 receptions, 47 yards, 1 TD)

Defense: Junior LB Matt Cohen (5 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 1 sack, two big tackles to stuff 4th down conversion and big 3rd down)

Special Teams: *NONE*

Before I go "Around the Horn" this week, one special programming note: I decided that I would make Twitter my quickblogging service of choice over InGameNow. The reason is InGameNow looked like it could allow folks to comment on games in progress - but updating the blog with their content is simply too slow. Twitter works much faster, plus I can update it from Facebook or my cell phone as well. If you ever care to follow LFN updates to the blog on your own Twitter account (and I may be doing quick in-game updates with this as well), you can click this link to do so.

Oh yeah, one more neat thing is that Lehigh athletics also has a Twitter to follow, and I indeed am a follower myself. Yes, Virginia, I'm entering the 21st century, and it feels great. (Now, where did I put my rocket boots?)

Here's a 21st century "Around the Horn":
  • Want to know the difference between official game releases and blogs? Just study this: first, the word from Joe "Must Go" Walton from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review at the post-game press conference after Bucknell beat Robert Morris 17-14 on blocked 27 yard field goal at the end of the game by junior LB Sam Nana-Sinkam. "It was a good, hard-fought football game, and we had a chance to win at the end, but we didn't deliver," he said. "Too many penalties, and our kicking game didn't come through." Then, read the raw analysis of the game over at the Colonials Corner blog. "What should have been a statement by Robert Morris ended up a crumbled mess tossed into a trash can. The Colonials had the game-winning touchdown called back because of an illegal shift penalty and the game-tying field goal blocked, all within the span of 15 seconds, as they lost 17-14 to the Bucknell Bison at Joe Walton Stadium." The comments as well offer more illumination on how Robert Morris did a lot to help Bucknell get a gift win - with a key roughing the kicker penalty and two missed field goals that would have been the difference.
  • And that was the positive news from this week. Fordham had a sloppy loss to Dayton 23-20. While the report from the Dayton Daily News seems to harp on Fordham's "size advantage" that the Flyers were able to "overcome", that's not why Dayton won: that came down to Dayton's defense (forcing three fumbles, including forcing one from junior QB John Skelton in the red zone) and special teams (senior DE Scott Vossler blocked a punt which he recovered for a touchdown, and for good measure also blocked an extra-point attempt which was returned the other way for 2 Dayton points.) Careful not to mention the fact that Dayton, like Drake, comes from the non-scholarship Pioneer Football League, coach Tom Masella said that "It was a great college football game — if you came out on top. We left a lot of points out there. You can't leave that many points out there against a good football team." No doubt Dayton is a good football team - and what will be interesting is observing Fordham's special teams units this week against Columbia. Is this going to be a trend -or a one-game aberration that will be corrected?
  • According to the postgame report from the Utica Observer-Dispatch, there were several key game-changing moments in Colgate's 42-21 defeat at the hands of Furman, Appalachian State's big SoCon rivals. More broadly, though, it seemed like it was more of a game-long trend rather than a few key moments. First, it was the inability of Colgate to slow down Furman's offense for any stretch - it was only in the first drive of the second half that the Raiders were actually able to stop the Paladins for the first time all game. Second, it was special teams: it's clear when the Raiders give up 212 yards on 7 returns on the afternoon that something's not working right. Colgate's quiet head coach Dick Biddle said, with considerable understatement: “They had a lot of skill players. The place that shows up a lot is on returns.” One thing's for sure: senior RB Jordan Scott will need to have a lot more than 19 carries and 113 yards - and maybe more than 2 touchdowns, too - if they hope to beat Dartmouth this week.
  • As expected, Lafayette beat Gerogetown this weekend, but that didn't exactly impress the locals with a pretty uninspiring 28-6 victory. What's got the natives especially restless is not the performance of defense, led by junior LB Mark Leggerio's seven tackles - holding what some folks are calling a "much-improved" Hoya team to 13 first downs and 276 yards of offense. Junior QB Rob Curley, while snaring Patriot League Offensive player of the week honors for a 2 touchdown day, wasn't enough for Paul Reinhart of the Morning Call: he pointed to struggles in the red zone and a pedestrian 14-for-24 passing day. ''Offensively, we're moving the ball, pounding it, but then we come up empty in the red zone,'' Leopards head coach Frank Tavani said. ''That's got to change. It is a concern that we want to get better at. The good news is, we have two weeks now to prepare for Penn.''
  • Of course, what might get lost in this talk is the fact that Gerogetown's defense looks to be much improved over last year: sophomore LB Nick Parrish notched 12 tackles and 1 1/2 tackles for loss on the evening. The Hoya defense should really get a workout this coming week, however, when they visit the Yale Bowl to take on the Eli in their home opener to face senior RB Mike McLeod. One of the preseason favorites for the Ivy League title, it will be a big challenge.
  • Although it's Lehigh's bye week this week, you wonder if there will be seat in The Citadel's Johnson Hagood stadium for the Lehigh coaching staff as they could scout out their opponent two weeks from now, the Princeton Tigers, facing off against a former Lehigh head coach, Kevin Higgins. Central to Lehigh's scouting report would be how left-handed senior QB Brian Anderson looks in the pocket in only his second college football start. This article in the Princeton Times talks about Anderson, Princeton's "mystery man" in detail. His M.O.? Minimizing mistakes. "I get guys to play, that's the main thing, staying confident and making the right decisions," Anderson said. "We talk about with the quarterback position minimizing the negatives. Because things are gonna go wrong during the game, adversity is going to be there. But just making sure when things go wrong, they don't go really wrong."

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