Another disappointment in a season of disappointments. What makes this one even more frustrating is that Lehigh had real chances to make this a game but were unable to pull it out in the end.
You couldn't have scripted a better start for Lehigh: after the defense held the Raiders to a 3-and-out, junior QB J.B. Clark led a drive to the Colgate 7, and freshman K Jake Peery nailed a 35 yard FG to give Lehigh the lead.
Then, a rarity: a fumble by Colgate junior QB Greg Sullivan gave Lehigh excellent field position after a rare fumble, recovered by sophomore DE David Brown, and Clark would find junior WR Craig "Braveheart" Zurn on a nice left end zone fade to give Lehigh a 10-0 lead.
Momentum was squarely on Lehigh's side, but Sullivan and the Colgate offense grabbed it right back. After a questionable late hit call on sophomore LB Colin Newton, Sullivan connected on a deep pass to freshman WR John Schademan to make the score 10-7. After pinning Colgate at their own 7, Sullivan led the Colgate offense to a grinding 93 yard drive ending with a 6 yard curl to future NFLer senior WR Pat Simonds to give Colgate a 14-10 lead. Give Colgate credit: they didn't fold after going down by two scores and simply took care of business to get ahead. “That was a great play there by Simonds,” Coen said after the game.“Those two (Sullivan and Simonds) connecting for three touchdowns was huge.”
On their back foot, Colgate kept pushing on the accelerator. After a Lehigh 3-and-out, Sullivan found Simonds again for a 46 yard TD pass on the right side again, pushing the lead to 21-10 before the end of the half. But Lehigh did a great job fighting back, with a big rush by Clark and a beautiful fade down the lft side to freshman WR James Flynn for a 45 yard TD pass to cut the lead to 21-17. The defense would hold up their end of the bargain and set Lehigh up on the Colgate 29, and a short field ended in a 29 yard Jake Peery FG to cut it to 21-20.
But Lehigh would get no closer.
Sullivan would add another touchdown to Simonds - his third on the day - but they would muff the extra point making it 27-20 and giving Lehigh two chances to tie the game on offense. But on 4th at 13 - and a great pass by Clark to senior WR Jim Potocnie - Colgate senior SS Uzi Idah made a great, game-clinching move to keep him from catching the ball, batting the ball away.
Colgate sophomore RB Jordan McCord did everything but score, grinding out yards all day and converting key 3rd and 4th downs. He got 159 yards rushing, executing coach Biddle's rushing system extremely well. Senior LB Troy Taylor played well for Lehigh in the middle, getting 8 tackles and 3 big tackles for loss.
In the end, though, it was a typical Lehigh game. Lehigh battles hard, falls behind, and can't make that one play to tie or win it late in the game. It's a script that Lehigh fans have been seeing with depressing regularity.
But give Colgate credit. Sullivan and their seniors played a whale of a game. Simonds played like a guy that will be playing on Sundays, and that normally would have been a catch by Potocnie - but Idah made an awesome move, with perfect timing, to knock the ball away. Their team made plays that championship teams make, and their senior-laden team played like, well, a senior-laden team.
Equally as impressive, they didn't give up after falling behind. They played with confidence and executed beautifully to regain the lead. It's something that Lehigh can learn from as they take on an even tougher task this coming week: Holy Cross.