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Showing posts from November 15, 2009

Lehigh 27, Lafayette 21, OT

Murray Goodman has been the source of some of the most thrilling chapters of "The Rivalry", and today's heart-stopping overtime win was no exception to that rule.

I have been going to see "The Rivalry" every year since 1988, missing the big game against Lafayette only once. Of all the games I've seen, the one I saw this weekend at could have been the craziest one of them all.

There have been close finishes before. Lafayette QB Rob Curley two years ago found WR Kyle Roeder on a slant pattern in the end zone in 2007 to deal Lehigh a 21-17 defeat. In 2005, Leopard QB Pat Davis' heave was found by RB Jonathan Hurt for a dramatic touchdown pass to ruin Lehigh's shot at a playoff autobid in a 23-19 defeat - and in the process put Lafayette in the playoff field as an at-large bid. In 1999, with Lafayette head coach Bill Russo coaching in his last game, his Leopards came very close to upsetting the Mountain Hawks - but were stopped short in a 14-12 def…

The Video Rivalry: Watching The 145th

If you can't be at the game (or you're only going to the tailgate), there are lots of places around the country to watch the game at telecast parties. Nationally and internationally, "The Rivalry" is broadcast everywhere for Lehigh alums to get together, share a cold one and also sing the old Lehigh alma mater with friends.

There's also, of course, your TV (FCS Central, and Channel 69) and computer as well though Yahoo! Broadcast if you want to host your own viewing party. (If you're technically savvy - and I've done this before - you can route your laptop through your TV and watch the Yahoo! Broadcastt on your regular TV.)

And that's only half the story, too.

One of the more underreported parts of "The Rivalry" involve the media surrounding both schools. It could be the only game in America where there are two full staffs of commentators, play-by-play and cameras covering the game at the same time.

Lehigh and Lafayette both sponsor TV broad…

Preview of the 145th: Lafayette at Lehigh, "The Rivalry"

(Photo Credit: Joe Gill/The Easton Express-Times)

How can a game be at once so similar and so different from last year?

For sure the similarities include the run-up to this game for both teams.

Lehigh suffered through a disappointing regular season, and will finish at under .500, just like last year. They did poorly in out-of-conference play, beat up on the lower echelon of the Patriot League, and played the best teams in the Patriot League close but couldn't get over the hump to win the games that would put them in title contention. All that Lehigh can do to make the season a success is beat the boys from Easton - an almost mirror image of what happened last year.

"That school in Easton", in contrast, started out the year gangbusters. For the first time in recent memory, the Leopards swept the Ivy League (including a great overtime 20-17 victory over this year's Ivy League Champion Penn). Only an early loss to FCS playoff contender Liberty was the only blemish on th…

"The Hate"

(Photo Credit: Brown & White)

The picture to the left certainly isn't politically correct. It's raw. It's irreverent. And it sums up the feelings between these two schools perfectly.

Why is it that we hate what we most resemble? It's not unique to Lehigh and "that school from Easton": Harvard and Yale are both schools with global academic brands that are more similar than different. Army and Navy detest each other, but both share in that armed forces life and face the same challenges as institutions.

Demographically, Lehigh and "that school from Easton" are very similar: most of their students come from New Jersey and Pennsylvania. They are schools that are known for their hard-studying, hard-partying attitudes - and have had rocky relationships with the towns that host them in Bethlehem and Easton, both with echoes of a blue-collar past.

Yet there are differences. Lafayette is a college, focusing on a liberal arts education. Lehigh is a uni…

"The Rivalry"

(Photo Credit: Jane Therese, 2004, New York Times)

"The Rivalry" is more than just a Lehigh Valley game that is sold out.

For those of you that are going to be attending one of the telecast parties from all around the country, those of you who are going to be catching "The Rivalry" on Channel 69 or on LehighSports.Com, those of you who will be seeing it for the first time in person, or those of you who are grizzled veterans approaching the coveted "50 Game Club", before trying to tackle the emotional side of things it's (still) helpful to get your mind around the numbers of times Lehigh and "that school from Easton" have played each other over the years.

The raw numbers about "The Rivalry" are only a Wikipedia click away, but even those written words and article don't totally capture the history that entwines these two schools.

No two football teams have faced each other as often as Lehigh and Lafayette have. They've met each o…

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 an…

Sunday's Word: Evil

Lafayette isn't really "evil". Or maybe they are. Maybe this week, anyway.
I think any fan of a team with a true historic rival can understand this mentality this week. How the rival becomes Darth Vader. General Moff Tarkin. Emperor Palpatine. "Evil".
Lehigh, of course, casts themselves as the plucky rebels in this scenario, willing to take on the "big bad Empire". I've found that every team tries to do this, no matter how ridiculous it is in reality. (See: "New York Yankees, 2009 World Series", playing the "Empire Theme" when Philadelphia was introduced. If the Yankees - with a budget bigger than the two cheapest MLB teams put together - are the "plucky rebels" in any plausible scenario en route to their 27th world title, I'll gladly eat a shoe.)
"The Rivalry" has definitely taken a true black hat vs. white hat, Empire vs. Rebels feel to it this year. I don't know if it's part of the nor…