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Housekeeping before the 145th

With a staff report from the Express-Times and a re-mixed report from the official school recaps on the Morning Call, my blog recap of the game was once again the only independent recap this week. The Brown & White did not file any story either and as far as I know, and no New York media outlet had a recap of the game either. Granted, it was a rainy matchup between two sub-.500 teams, but it still strikes me when I'm really the only person out there doing an independent recap from a Lehigh perspective.

Happily, Keith Groller of the Morning Call still weighed in on Monday.

Lehighsports.com: Campbell's career day, Lehigh D leads to road win


“It wasn’t the prettiest game I’ve ever been a part of, that’s for sure, but it feels a lot better than the last two weeks,” Lehigh head coach Andy Coen said afterwards. “The kids did a great job all day. We had our moments where we weren’t taking care of the ball or committing silly penalties but the defense rose up when it needed to and the offense made plays.”

He continued, “Junior RB Jay Campbell did a great job of running the ball for us on a wet field and junior QB J.B. Clark had several nice runs and some great passes. I can’t say enough about the character this team has shown all season long. I know it feels good for them to be rewarded for all of their hard work.”

Morning Call: Hawks Pleased With Strong Finish vs. Rams

'It was kind of sloppy and we could have done everything better,'' Coen said. ''But I was happy it worked out like it did because our kids now have confidence that they can find a way to win close ones like this.''

''The defense did another stellar job; I really can't say enough about those guys,'' Coen said. ''We had nine sacks and now have 37 on the season and we've done a really good job against two terrific quarterbacks the last two weeks and we'll see another one this week [Lafayette senior QB Rob Curley].''

''When you look at the top four teams in the league, and throw in Fordham, too, even though they're 1-4 in the league, there have been a lot of close games within the league this year,'' Coen said. ''Every game is competitive and coming down to who makes the plays late. We just haven't made enough of them at the end of games this season, but we've competed hard, practiced hard and our kids have shown a lot of character.''

Coen said last week that he has no idea what next year holds for him.

''We're going to have to talk about it after the season ends,'' he said.

This is the fourth year of his four-year contract and no matter what happens against Lafayette, this will be the worst season -- record-wise -- of his tenure and Lehigh's worst since a 4-7 mark in 1997.

But this is a team that starts just five seniors. It stayed together and never let the season get away after a string of disheartening defeats.

''The season hasn't gone the way we thought it would, but the kids never quit trying to get better,'' Coen said. ''We have a lot of young kids who are playing much more than we thought they would and they're contributing and improving."

While I'm at it, let me finish my housekeeping and give my Player of the week nods (unsurprisingly, they will resemble the trio of Mountain Hawks that earned Patriot League Player of the week honors this week).

Offensive Hawk of the Week: Junior RB Jay Campbell (27 rushes for 155 yards, 5.7 yards per carry)

Defensive Hawk of the Week: Senior LB Troy Taylor (11 tackles, 2 tackles for loss including 1 sack, 1 forced fumble, 1 pass break-up)

Special Teams Hawks of the Week (tie): Junior DB/RS Jarard Cribbs (6 tackles, 1 INT, 7 punt returns for 107 yards) and freshman DB Bryan Andrews (4 tackles, 3 pass break-ups, 1 blocked FG)

Finally, "that school in Easton" comes back from the Patriot League title game in Worcester, Mass on the losing end of a tough 28-26 loss, ensuring a fired-up Leopard crew in Goodman this weekend. With a win against Ivy League champion Penn and a win over another Top 25 school in Colgate, they have a real-chance at an at-large FCS playoff bid if they win. And head coach Frank Tavani is still thinking about last year's game, too:

''We can't afford to do what we did last year,'' Tavani added. ''We sulked and we sulked and it started with me ... and we never prepared properly ... We came out and didn't even play a football game last year in the last game. There's a lot on the line [at Lehigh]. There's still a huge opportunity for two teams from our league to get a [postseason] bid, but the only thing we need to be concerned about is taking care of next week. … And after that, the politics may be what they are.''
Wait a minute - did I read that right? Lehigh didn't actually win last year, Lafayette simply wasn't prepared properly? Lehigh deserves no credit for their 31-15 victory, breaking the four game losing streak to Lafayette?

Uh oh.

Comments

Douglas said…
Isn't the Lafayette AD one of the heads of the selection committee for the FCS playoffs??? I seem to remember a few years ago, that's how Lehigh got in when a non-champion... or was that get a home game???
Anonymous said…
Worst possible scenario for Lehigh - an angry group of leopards who will stick-it-to-em from the get-go.

Lehigh's players must be "up" for the entire game and be prepared for a bruising.

Tavani may have a point - Lafayette didn't show up last year. Still don't know why not, but they won't make that mistake this year.
Anonymous said…
Last year, 2 weeks before The Game the Leopards blew a big lead at Colgate to a team who would eventually win the auto bid and then the week before they lost to Holy Cross on a td with 4 seconds left because they had missed a PAT earlier in the game. They were pretty beat mentally going into The Rivalry and Tavani is saying he didn't do his part to pull them out of the funk
Anonymous said…
Lehigh wins this one by less then three points.

The PL is so balanced this year that anyone can beat anyone on "Any given Saturday" as they say.

If the play calling is consistent with a mix of pass/run and our O line can develop a run game we will be okay.

If LC decides to pressure our QB, we are toast! he doesn't have the ability to make reads quick enough to get the ball out to the hot reciever.

If our D can pressure Curley like we did to Randolph that will be the key to the game.

I have the confidence in our D to be able to do that, I dont have the confidence in our O if they do that to us.

Let's see what Tavani dials up on D against us. That will tell the tail of the "145'th"!
Anonymous said…
I recall reading plenty of stuff on this blog where the other team didn't win the game, Lehigh just lost the game and wasn't prepared. You can't have it both ways.

What else do you want a coach to say when he is faced with essentially an identical scenario to last year?

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