Though it is "Rivalry Week", before we get to hating on our 2-8 rivals - you know, "that school in Easton" - it's worth taking a peek back at the win that got the Mountain Hawks the outright Patriot League Championship, and a host of other weekly awards: a Patriot League Special Teams Player of the Week award to senior PK Tom "Razza-Dazza" Randazza, and Lehigh's first appearance in the national rankings at No. 22 in the Sports Network Top 25, Any Given Saturday and FCS Coaches' Poll.
Oh yeah - there's also the Lehigh Sports Magazine, too, where the Patriot League championship trophy makes a surprise cameo visit, too. "It's back where it belongs," head coach Andy Coen said.
I'm not sure anything could really top, however, the picture here, grabbed from former football player OL Ben Caffrey. Hope you don't mind, Ben. (more)
Official Release: Lehigh captures outright PL title with 24-7 win at Georgetown
“The first thing is, I’m happy for our players,” said Lehigh head coach Andy Coen. “When we recruit kids we talk about winning championships and we’ve had opportunities in the past that we haven’t been able to take advantage of, and I’ve said all along about how much I care about this senior group. What a great job they’ve done. Our seniors stepped up at the end today with senior TE Alex Wojdowski making some big plays and senior RB Jay Campbell making some big plays and our seniors on the offensive line doing a great job. There are so many guys I could mention.”
“Our offensive execution was much better in the second half,” Coen said. “We dropped some balls and junior QB Chris Lum made some poor decisions in the first half. We blew some blocking schemes and had a lot of negative rushing plays. We didn’t change a lot. Georgetown is a much improved team and they played hard. We didn’t panic. We talked about concentration and focus for 60 minutes. We wasted 30 but we talked about doing what we needed to do for the last 30 minutes and the kids went out and did it.”
“Not playing our best today is going to help keep our attention for next week,” Coen said. “We know we’re in the playoffs but the track record for teams that have done this is not good. You need to build momentum going into the playoffs. You can’t go out and lay an egg next week. We’ll be able to grab the kids’ attention after today.”
Morning Call: Lehigh rallies, then relishes a Patriot League title
Express-Times: Lehigh University football team wins Patriot League championship
"I always tell my kids that we don't want to send them home for Thanksgiving, we want to be practicing," said Lehigh defensive line coach Donnie Roberts. "And now we will be practicing as a family that day."
Junior QB Chris Lum threw three interceptions before intermission, including one that ended a scoring threat and another that set up the Hoyas in good field position for their lone TD drive.
"It was just [a lack of] offensive execution," Coen said. "We had dropped balls, Chris made some poor decisions and we blew some blocking schemes. We had a ton of negative yards rushing. It was disappointing stuff.
"But we knew Georgetown would play hard. They still had a stake in this deal and you knew we'd get their best effort."
Coen said there was no Knute Rockne speech to be made at halftime, and no panic either.
"We always tell the kids that they have to concentrate and focus for 60 minutes and we already wasted 30," Coen said. "We asked them to focus and go out and do what they needed to do for 30 minutes. If they did, we knew we could still win."
"It has been a long road for a lot of these kids and for me to get here," Coen said. "The good Lord won't let it be easy for us, but that's fine. I'm just happy for our seniors because when we recruit kids, we talk about them coming here to win championships. It was great to see that senior group really step up today."
"We have a lot more to do," said sophomore LB Billy Boyko, a Northampton grad who two tackles, including a sack. "People can celebrate all they want right now, but I just want to keep going. Every game is the most important game you're going to play. Lafayette is next and that's a good team. That game still means a lot to us. We've got to get ready for them."
Brown & White: Football Squad Crowned League Champs
"It's definitely a great feeling to be able to do what we focused on all summer," junior DE Cody Connare said. "It's definitely our biggest motivation going into the season and to be able to win it feels awesome."
Morning Call: Lehigh's leap of faith pays off with Patriot League championship
Express-Times: PL Championship Was A Long Time Coming
Lehigh's traditional postgame chest bump on Saturday afternoon at Georgetown's Multi-Sport Field featured athletic director Joe Sterrett and coach Andy Coen.
You could call that encounter "a leap of faith."
Sterrett chose Coen as his coach in January of 2006 and both men took their share of criticism as Lehigh went from a Patriot League co-champion in 2006 (a season that ended with a lopsided 49-27 loss to Lafayette) to a pair of 5-6 finishes and a 4-7 mark in 2009.
Despite the gripes and groans from the fan base, Sterrett stayed with Coen.
That faith in Coen has been rewarded this fall with an outright Patriot League title, the program's first since 2001, and a berth in the FCS playoffs for the first time since 2004.
"I told the staff what a great job they have done," Coen said. "They have hung in there through some hard times, kept believing in what we're doing and kept working hard in bringing in kids and they working with them. You can't do this without great assistants. I've never lost of sight of that."
"This is the culmination of a lot of hard work for a lot of different people," said defensive coordinator Dave Kotulski, who came to Lehigh with Coen in 2006. "What has happened this year is just a credit to coach Coen, Mr. Sterrett and especially these kids.
"We have great kids and this year we found the right combination. In the game of football, there's not that much difference between a lot of teams. It's a matter of guys believing in themselves and going out and making plays."
"Our kids have always been dedicated and they never quit through the hard times," Donnie Roberts said. "That's why I am so happy to see [Lehigh Valley SteelHawks-bound] LB Matt Cohen and DT B.J. Benning here today. They put in plenty of hard work, too, and didn't get the chance to see this — an outright championship and a chance to go to playoffs, but they laid the foundation."
"We've been in that position many times in the last four years, we knew we had to come out and execute and we did just that," senior OL Will "Got Your Back" Rackley said. "We were a little inconsistent but we know we can play with anyone in this country.
"We stuck with our gameplan, just had to make plays," said Lum who was 24-for-47 for 297 yards. "It's great, for them to step up and make a catch and get the yards after a catch. We knew the situations and we knew we had to get it and it's good that we did."
"It's definitely up there. As of right now, it's got to be my top game," Campbell said. "Winning a Patriot League championship, you can't beat that."
"We went out and did what we know we could do."
"It's an awesome feeling because us seniors had to wait four years for this," senior TE Alex Wojdowski said. "We put in all this work and to finally have this day come to us, it's a great feeling. We knew they weren't just going to hand it to us and we knew we'd have to earn it."
"It won't be hard to get our kids' attention," Coen said. "In the last two years, the teams that clinched titles early — Fordham in 2008 and Holy Cross last year — lost their last games in the regular season. You need to build momentum going into the playoffs. You don't want to lay an egg in that last game."
Georgetown Athletics: Hoyas Unable to Keep Lehigh From Claiming Patriot League Title in 24-7 Loss
Hoya Saxa: Lehigh Game Recap
WR Max Waizenegger (Fairfax, Va./W.T. Woodson) went to work on the Hoyas only scoring drive, catching the first pass of the drive from QB Isaiah Kempf for 11 yards. On third down and 10, Kempf went to Waizenegger again on a screen that turned into a seven yard gain. The on fourth and three Kempf found Waizenegger along the left sideline, as the Fairfax, Va. native carried several Lehigh defenders for 31 yards down to the nine yard line. RB Dalen Claytor (Dunwoody, Ga./Dunwoody) would score on the next play, carrying for nine yards for his first career touchdown. PK Brett Weiss (Phoenix, Md./Boys’ Latin) made the extra point to give Georgetown a 7-6 lead.
As it has frequently during the losing streak, the special teams failed the Hoyas. Brett Weiss' 46 yard attempt sailed wide right, and it marked a turning point in the game. Lehigh began to control the field and the clock, wearing down a Georgetown defense that had more than held its own for the first 40 minutes of the game against the top rated team in the league. Lehigh would score on three of its next five series to put the game out of reach.
The Georgetown series proved increasingly ineffective. With Kempf having the reputation as a pass-first quarterback, Lehigh keyed its defensive plans thusly. Taking over with 9:49 in the game, Kempf threw three incompletions and GU punted it back. Lehigh went on a 9 play, 55 yard drive with rushes of 11 and 21 yards to put the Engineers securely in the lead, converting on a two point conversion to extend the lead to 21-7.