Skip to main content

Lehigh 49, Monmouth 24, Final

Since Lehigh head football coach Andy Coen took over the reins of the Mountain Hawk football program in 2006, none of his teams had ever put up 49 points in a single football game.

Until today.

At West Long Branch, New Jersey today, the Mountain Hawks fell behind 7-0 to Monmouth - and then, with a crispness and confidence on offense not seen in quite a while on South Mountain, Lehigh ripped off three straight impressive touchdowns on their first three possessions, and Coen's team never looked back in an impressive 49-24 win. (more)
In some ways, it was a typical first game of the season, with mental lapses, some giveaways of first downs on penalties, and points where there was a of lack of focus.

But while that will give the coaching staff something to drill into the players this week, fans will likely be reveling in senior QB Chris Lum's best day every passing the ball as a member of the Brown & White.

The first drive, where it seemed like it might be a quick three-and-out, Lum instead found junior WR Ryan Spadola down the right side for 26 yards, and got the first down.  From there, Lum would lead the way on a 12-play, 64 yard drive, hitting senior WR Jimmy Jefferson on a key third down and leading to a 4 yard TD run up by junior RB Zach Barket.

After the defense forced a Monmouth punt, it took all of one play - a 74 yard strike to Spadola down the right side, with Ryan turning on the jets and leaving his defensive back in the dust at around the 20 yard line.

"He's a great player," Lum said of Spadola in the post-game press conference.  "I knew he would separate (from his defender)."

Spadola's reception, who was recruited by the Hawks and grew up "fifteen minutes from Monmouth", made it a particularly sweet homecoming for him.

"I had a lot of people at this game - that kind of gave me an extra surge," he said.  "After going down 7-0, I kind of felt like it gave the offense more adrenaline.  We went out there with something underneath us, and went to go put some points on the board.  It opened up our eyes a little bit, and made us see that this was going to be a ball game."

With the lead and the momentum, Lum then engaged on a 9 play, 85 yard drive, the offense in full gear at that point.  With another key 3rd down grab by Jefferson and and an impressive 21 yard strike to senior WR Jake Drwal, the Monmouth defense looked dazed as confused the next play when a beautifully constructed screen pass to Barket, with three massive blockers around him, allowed the Schuykill Haven back to rumble into the end zone to make it a 21-7 lead.

What shouldn't be lost in the three first drives was the tremendous play by the "O" Line, led by senior OL Keith Schauder and senior OL Jim Liebler.  On Barket's rumble in the end zone they protected beautifully - and gave up zero sacks in the game as well.

"They all did a great job today," Barket mentioned in the post-game press conference, mentioning Schauder, Liebler, sophomore OL Matt Lippincott, junior OL Mike Vuono, and junior OL Tom Ruley.  "A lot of them went through last year watching OL Will Rackley and OL Rickey Clerge play, and today I think that really showed with them.  Also the tight ends, and senior FB Bryce Arruda opened up a lot of holes for me.  They were really doing a good job manhandling their front seven.  That makes my job a lot easier out there."

(While there were a few popcorn vendors he failed to credit for his 3 TD performance, I'm going to still go ahead and christen Mr. Barket with the nickname "Man Beast".)

The superlatives on the offensive side of the ledger jump off the page. Lehigh’s 529 total yards were its most since gaining 517 versus Fordham in 2005. Lum went 22-of-35 for 346 yards and 4 TDs. Barket got three TDs all by himself, including another beautiful 29 yard run down the right to put Lehigh up by more than three scores. And Lum’s 72 yard touchdown pass to Spadola was the longest by Lehigh since QB J.B. Clark connected with WR Sekou Yansane versus Drake in 2008.

Also something that shouldn't be lost in the offensive surge is the first interception by junior FS Billy O'Brien, three pass breakups by senior SS Jon Littlejohn, and a big tackle on third down by junior NG Sajjad Chagani, in their first games as starters.

But this day belonged to the offense - and the thought in many Lehigh fans' minds as well: is "Air Lehigh" back to stay?

"We're very confident," Lum said of his performance this afternoon.  "And this performance will only help our confidence."


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

How To Get Lehigh Fans To Games, And Keep Them There?

You don't have to have attended more than twenty-five years of Lehigh football games to know it's a completely different world out there for your friendly neighborhood sports fan.

When Lehigh's Murray Goodman Stadium was opened in 1988, there were only about a dozen channels on the small, eighteen inch black and white TV we had in our dorm room.  Only two channels might have had "major college football" games on at the same time a Lehigh football game was being played live over the mountain.  (Notre Dame, the only school who had all their games televised, almost always played their games at 3:30 PM.)

Nowadays there's way more entertainment options on a typical college weekend than ever, and it's very logical to think that the increased amount of competition might not just keep students away from attending football games, but local fans as well.

It's not an issue confined to Lehigh - in 2014, home attendance at all FBS games dropped to their lowest le…

Fifteen Guys Who Might be Lehigh's Next Football Coach (and Five More)

If you've been following my Twitter account, you might have caught some "possibilities" as Lehigh's next head football coach like Lou Holtz, Brett Favre and Bo Pelini.  The chance that any of those three guys actually are offered and accept the Lehigh head coaching position are somewhere between zero and zero.  (The full list of my Twitter "possibilities" are all on this thread on the Lehigh Sports Forum.)

However the actual Lehigh head football coaching search is well underway, with real names and real possibilities.

I've come up with a list of fifteen possible names, some which I've heard whispered as candidates, others which might be good fits at Lehigh for a variety of reasons.

UPDATE: I have found five more names of possible head coaches that I am adding to this list below.

Who are the twenty people?  Here they are, in alphabetical order.

Trump's Disinvitation of the Eagles Commits the Cardinal Sin against Philadelphia - Slighting Them

Monday evening, less than 24 hours before they were scheduled to visit the White House, Trump "disinvited" the Super Bowl Champion Eagles from coming.

The "reasoning" for disinviting the Eagles - if you can call it that - was included in a statement released by the White House.

"They disagree with their President because he insists that they proudly (sic) stand for the National Anthem, hand on heart (sic), in honor of the great men and women of out military and the people of our country," it reads, conveniently ignoring the fact that no Philadelphia Eagles kneeled during the National Anthem during the course of the entire season.

I don't think Trump fully comprehends what he has done.

Certainly Trump probably thinks he is speaking to his "base" - the people Trump thinks voted for him in 2016, and people who think will continue to vote for him and his preferred candidates in the future.

But Trump's bottomless bad faith in "disinviti…