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Preview of Lehigh at Georgetown

How to look at this game if you're Lehigh?

If you look at history, Lehigh has dominated this series. Since the Hoyas joined the Patriot League in 2001, the Mountain Hawks have put 40 points up on Georgetown six out of the last seven years, while only having given up a field goal to the Hoyas in the last two meetings.

But it's also hard to escape the fact that it's a 2-5 team traveling to a 1-6 team in the first week in November.

For Georgetown, this is the sort of game that could start them on the road to competitiveness. They've never beaten Lehigh in the modern era, and a win would prove to them they have truly arrived.

For Lehigh, even at 2-5, it's a win they expect, and need, to have. It's one game at a time. Win each week, see what happens.

This week, a Mountain Hawk run at the championship starts, or ends, now.

Game Notes
Not much change in the game notes this week. Senior DL Paul Bode is officially off the depth chart this week (probably due to injuries sustained in the Harvard game), with senior DL Jon Warren, who has been playing well the last few weeks, taking his spot. Backing him up is senior DL Keith Johnson.

It was reported in the Morning Call that senior WR Sekou Yansane had sustained a head injury and that his return was uncertain, though he's still listed on the depth chart. Should he be out indefinitely, sophomore WR Craig Zurn would get the call to start in his place.

As of the time of this posting, Goergetown hadn't posted their game notes. However, the HoyaSaxa fan site always comes out with an excellent preview, and they have done so yet again.

Weather Report
If you head down to Washington, DC for the game, you're in for a treat: near=perfect weather. High of 69, mostly sunny - pack your short-sleeved shirt and go!

Breaking Down Georgetown
(I really hate to do this, but I am pressed for time. The following is quoted from Georgetown's press release on the game. I am sorry, but I am leaving on a plane in a few hours and I need to get this done.)

Coach Kevin Kelly, once again, seems to be building his entire offense from scratch, returniong only three players from last year's offense (which also struggled mightily). In his modified spread option, coach Kelly still struggles to find players that can execute the gameplan.

Offense
On the offensive side, sophomore quarterbacks Keerome Lawrence (New Haven, Conn./James Hillhouse) and freshman James Brady (Melville, N.Y./St. Anthony's) will lead the team. Lawrence leads the team in rushing with 83 carries for 320 yards and three touchdowns, while completing 34-of-60 passes for 256 yards. In the last three games, Lawrence has 42 carries for 195 yards and two touchdowns. Brady, meanwhile, has completed 75-of-142 passes for 690 yards.


Georgetown quarterbacks have completed passes to 20 different players this season, with freshman Keion Wade (East Orange, N.J./East Orange) leading the way with 19 receptions. Senior tight end Collin Meador (Lyndhurst, Ohio/St. Ignatius Prep) has 16 catches for 201 yards and two touchdowns. In the last three games, Meador has caught nine passes for 103 yards.

Defense

Three Georgetown defensive players rank among the top-10 in the Patriot League, led by sophomore linebacker Nick Parrish (Irving, Texas/Jesuit College Prep), who is seventh, averaging 7.7 tackles per game. Junior Travis Mack (West Chester, Pa./The Hill School) leads the team in tackles with 48 overall and is ninth in the league, averaging 6.9 per game, while junior Chris Rau (Avon Lake, Ohio/Avon Lake) is third on the team with 43 stops.

Senior defensive end Ataefiok Etukeren (Phoenix, Ariz./The Lawrenceville School [N.J.]) is fourth on the team in tackles (41), and leads the team in tackles-for-loss (10) and sacks (5). Etukeren ranks fourth in the Patriot League in tackles-for-loss and is second in the league in sacks.

Special Teams
Sophomore P/K Casey Dobyns has gone 2 for 5 on field goals, his longest being a 30 yarder, and averages 33.1 yards per punt, which is on the low side.

Senior slot Kenny Mitchell (Atlanta, Ga./Westlake) is ninth in the Patriot League in all-purpose yardage per game, averaging 95.9 yards. He has caught 13 passes for 175 yards this season and returned 24 kicks for 488 yards. Mitchell ranks 11th nationally in kickoff return yards, averaging 64.3 per game.

Keys to the Game
1. Alternate backs. If there was ever a game where we could use a bruising running game to set up the run, it's today. Using multiple backs might be a good idea to build offensive confidence to build onto next week.
2. Extinguish the run. Keeping Lawrence under wraps will be vital to winning this game. If we keep the Hoyas under 100 yards rushing, we'll be having a good day.
3. Field position battle. We have an edge in punting: exchanging possessions could end up with a big boost in field position. Patience - and a solid day punting - could mean big chunks of yardage for the Mountain Hawks.

Fearless Prediction
I'm heading on vacation, so I apoligize for the shorter-than-usual preview and with shortcuts on the breakdown section. I get back in a week, where I will try to finish up a "Hate the 'Gate" preview (or at least a blog posting) before the big game against Colgate.

It's hard not to mention Georgetown without putting the word "poor" in front of it. In large part, they are outmatched by other teams in the Patriot League, and Lehigh historically has had their way with them. If Lehigh comes out strong from the opening gun and puts points on the Hoyas early, unfortuantely I don't see any reversal in that trend this weekend for them.

As for Lehigh, a win wil put some wind back in the sails and give some momentum into "Hate the 'Gate" week. I'm predicting that Lehigh does just that, as they overpower the Hoyas once again.

Lehigh 37, Georgetown 0

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