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Lehigh 14, Princeton 17, Final

"Excruciating" has to be a strong candidate for "Sunday's Word" after watching this game - a game that was winnable.

Want proof? Just look at the box score. Princeton only gained 163 yards of total offense. Sounds great - until you realize that sophomore QB Tommy Wornham got 68 of those yards on one play, a fake to junior RB Jordan Culbreath which instead was a designed run in which he went into the end zone untouched.

Lehigh got 224 yards passing - great in comparison to Princeton's total of 47 yards, right? Unless you factor in interceptions - one returned by junior LB Stephen Cody for a 77 yard pick six. The other was grabbed by senior DB Wilson Cates in Lehigh territory might have been harmless - but Princeton converted one of their two third-down conversions on the afternoon (and for good measure their only fourth-down conversion) which resulted in a 31 yard field goal by senior PK Ben Bologna.

You look at the box score, and it defies belief. Princetion won a game with only six first downs? A game where they punted the ball nine times? A game where their top two running backs combined for 41 net yards? A game where the Tigers made it into the red zone once? Once?

If you're a Princeton fan, you have to be looking at the box score and wondering how on Earth they won. But they did. They won on two big plays - two more big plays than Lehigh was able to convert against Princeton. They won on big Lehigh mistakes, on both offense and defense - mistakes that eclipsed the rest of the offensive and defensive efforts.

Princeton kills you by getting the lead and killing you on mistakes. And that's how they won today. I'd go as far as to say that all seventeen Tiger points were a direct result of Lehigh mistakes.

To take nothing away from Princeton's defense - Cody's pick six wasn't from a bad throw, it was from a superb individual play. Senior FS Dan Koplovich did a good job shutting down Lehigh's passing game, and senior LB Scott Britton also had a great game for the Tigers.

And the big mistakes obscured some very good individual efforts by Lehigh, too. Junior RB Jay Campbell had a carrer-high 88 rushing yards on 22 carries. Senior LB Matt Cohen make his mark felt on defense with 8 tackles and 3 tackles for loss with 2 sacks. Sophomore WR Jake Drwal had a great game with 6 catches for 58 yards and a TD. Junior DB/RS John Kennedy had 100 yards on returns, including one of 40 yards.

After junior QB J.B. Clark was benched in the 3rd quarter, sophomore QB Chris Lum gave the offense an undeniable lift, going 6-for-7 on his opening drive. After a miscommunication on 4th down turned over the ball to Princeton deep in his own territory, in his next drive he went 3-for-4 (including a 30 yard pass to senior WR Jimmy Potocnie) and ending with a 5 yard TD run from Lum where Lehigh's "O" line just got some momentum, and just bowled over Princeton's defensive front.

Yet after the Mountain Hawk defense gave Lehigh a chance to turn a loss into a win, Lum and the offense couldn't ultimately make it happen. Lehigh could win the battles in the box score, but they couldn't win the one statistic that counts: points.


ngineer said…
Too frustrated to rant anymore...see posts on AnyGivenSaturday...I just shake my head...
Anonymous said…
This was a competitive game between two teams with slow, unathletic players in skill positions. Clark was better last year because his receivers were better, this group has trouble getting separation. The backs lack size and speed. The effort is there from the players, you can improve technique and make players stronger, but you can't coach SPEED, you have to recruit it. Lembo was good at it, Coen isn't.
Anonymous said…
Coen has to be thinking about steping down now.

Perhaps a special teams coach for his brothers high school would be more of a fit.

The only issue with the admin letting him go in mid-season is that he has surrounded himself with the same lack coaching presence that he has.

Then again, it cant get much worse, until we find a head coach for next season that can give the kids and this tradition back what Coen has taken away over the last 4years.
Anonymous said…
The coaching helped Princeton to a win. Where did they learn clock management? With over 8 minutes to play down by ten points, 4th down, makable field goal range,RUN THE BALL MUFF THE HAND OFF. Tick,tick tick. Coach a team into position to win. Tick, tick,tick. Please hand me a knife so I can slit my wrist.
Anonymous said…
Welcome to the Coen Era!

How does he wake every day, look in the mirror and not think the right thing to do is to resign?

The Alum deserve it, the students deserve it and most of all the players deserve it.

Andy, do the right thing
Anonymous said…
I said this last week and posted it but no one commented, but I'll say it again:

Andy is no head coach. If it wasn't true after he took Lembo's talent from 2005 (averaged 8 wins per before Coen), turning it into 6 win, 5 win, 5 win football, how about the fact that he seems to be a poor recruiter?

All that said, in 20 losses so far, LU has been in most of the games. Defining a close, winnable game as one determined by 10 points or fewer, Andy is now 0-12. What does that tell you???

It tells me that in a contest where the game is on the line, he can't win. His teams are not in position to win the winnable games. That's coaching folks. Lembo did it, Higgins did it, Biddle does it.

He leaves points on the board. (The failure to get an easy FG late in the game vs Princeton. The unexplainable strategy of leaving three timeouts on the score board in the first half of the same game. Other coaches scramble to stop the clock to milk every possible precious moment in order to score points, but not this guy.

Have you seen the attendance? Two home games, played in perfect weather... I doubt if there were 15,000 combined for both games.

This should be Andy's fourth and final year; I hate to even think about the disruption another cooaching change would mean, but I hate this kind of football even more.


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