The weekly wrap features a writeup from the Sports Network, a whole host of articles from the local publications, and some extra wrap-up from an active media up in New Hampshire. Oh yeah, and senior QB Chris Lum won Patriot League Player of the Week honors for the second straight week with his 6 TD, 401 yard passing performance.
Did you know that Lum now has more passing touchdowns than any quarterback in the country right now - FCS or FBS? Now, you do. (more)
LehighSports.Com: No. 14 Lehigh Drops Wild 48-41 Decision to No. 13 New Hampshire in Overtime
“It was a tough loss obviously,” head coach Andy Coen said in the postgame press conference. “First thing though, I want to talk about how our team came back. We got ourselves behind coming out in the second half but never once wavered. Our coaches and the players on the sidelines were into the game. They fought their tails off. We got right back in there and took the lead, and went into overtime.
Coen continued, “You would have to look back pretty far into the annals to see the last time New Hampshire gave up an 18-point lead and then got taken into overtime. We came to win the game. There are no moral victories here. I thought we had a chance to win going in. We talked last night to the kids about having confidence in everything we’re doing and believing in yourselves and they did that to the letter. We’ll learn from this and come back and be better from it next week.”
Sports Network: New Hampshire Win Worth A Second Look
UNH's game-winning points were scored on WR Joey Orlando's third touchdown - a 25-yard pass from QB Kevin Decker on the first play of overtime. They came along the Lehigh sideline after Orlando's two feet went out of bounds, only for him to beat junior CB Bryan Andrews inside the pylon and catch the football. The officials immediately ruled Andrews had pushed Orlando out of bounds, thus keeping the 5-foot-11 redshirt junior alive in the play.[Ed. note: What game what Mr. Haley watching?]
Lehigh's hometown TV coverage appeared to verify a correct call - unless you were listening to the Mountain Hawks broadcasters, of course. The ruling kept one of the great homecomings of the season intact.
Morning Call: Lehigh Loses in Epic Offensive Battle
Morning Call: UNH/Lehigh Photo Gallery
There's no crying in college football, and no instant replay either at the FCS level, so Lehigh coach Andy Coen spent very little time discussing the controversial touchdown that decided a memorable game at Goodman Stadium on Saturday.
"I know at one point [Orlando] was out of bounds and they told me he came back in," Coen said. "I'm not wearing a striped shirt, so I have to be [content] with it."
The go-ahead score to senior WR Jake Drwal demonstrated toughness on both ends since senior QB Chris Lum released the pass just before getting hit and Drwal made the catch and then slipped away from a UNH defender for the score.
"I turned around and the ball was there and I just had to have that will to get in the end zone," said Drwal, who was spectacular himself with 11 catches for 142 yards and two scores. "I had a smaller defender on me and he slipped off me. … both teams were real tired at the end."
Lum, who then hit junior WR Ryan Spadola for the two-point conversion, said: "We're a dangerous offense and we never felt the game was out of reach."
Express-Times: Lehigh Loses Overtime Heartbreaker to New Hampshire
Express-Times: UNH/Lehigh Photo Gallery
Sandwiched in between the pair of touchdowns to Drwal, Lum found sophomore RB Keith Sherman for a 4-yard score. The quarterback, who turned in the school’s first 400-yard performance since QB Phil Stambaugh threw for 410 against Delaware in 1999, was flushed right and threaded the needle to a diving Sherman as the Mountain Hawks cut the deficit to 38-33.
Lehigh was able to rally because the defense buckled down, forcing the Wildcats to punt on three consecutive drives before PK Mike MacArthur’s game-tying 35-yard field goal with 3:23 left.
“When they went up 18 we got down a bit, but that fumble got us back up,” Drwal said. “I thought for sure we were going to win.”
Brown & White (via the Express-Times): Lehigh Defeated in Overtime Upset
Lehigh head coach Andy Coen was impressed by his team’s resiliency more than anything.
“We got ourselves behind coming out in the start of the second half but never once wavered,”he said. “Coaches and players on the sideline kept their heads in the game, and I’m very proud of how the team fought back.”
New Hampshire head coach Sean McDonnell was highly complementary of Lum’s performance. “We didn’t play against Lum last year, he is tremendous at hitting his targets and is a great decision-maker,” he said.
Morning Call: For One Day, Lehigh Shows It Can Play with FCS Elite
Groller's Corner: Live Blog, UNH/Lehigh (with pictures)
In the past when Lehigh played a full scholarship program, Mountain Hawks coach Andy Coen used the scholarship vs. non-scholarship theme as a motivating factor.
But he didn't play up that angle before Saturday's home opener against New Hampshire.
"We've taken that approach in the past about the other team having 63 scholarships and none of you guys were good enough to play there and so on. … but [not] for this one," Coen said. "We feel we're good enough to play with anybody. That's the approach the kids took, and they went out and did it."
Lum, despite his costly interceptions, is having a good day and continues to find open receivers. Lehigh is a fun team to watch offensively. It's the best offense here in a long time. They score again -- this time on a 3-yard TD pass from Lum to tailback Keith Sherman. They kick the PAT rather than go for two, and miss it. It's now 38-33 with 11:03 left. Missed PATs figure prominently in this game. The TD pass was a career-high 5th for Lum.
As he did against Monmouth, Lum didn't get down after some bad throws. He just fired his way to more success.
"I'm sure he'd like to have his interceptions back, particularly the one he threw after we gave up a punt return for a score," Coen said. "That was out of character for him, but he again showed what kind of competitor he is by getting us the lead in the fourth quarter and giving us a chance to win the game.
"Chris loves the game and works hard," Coen said. "He's a good leader, a great teammate. He's just got to keep getting better. He'll learn something from what happened [on Saturday], I will guarantee that. If he's in the same situation, it will be different next time."
Morning Call: Orlando's Big Day Makes for Happy Homecoming
Express-Times: Joey Orlando Has Career Day for UNH
It’s been three years since Joey Orlando has been back in the Lehigh Valley.
For the 2008 Liberty High School graduate, it was well worth the wait.
Orlando, a redshirt junior wide receiver, had a career day and caught the game-winning touchdown in overtime as the University of New Hampshire topped Lehigh University 48-41 in a battle of nationally-ranked teams on Saturday afternoon at Goodman Stadium.
"It was nice coming back here and playing in front of my family and friends," Orlando said. "I just approached it like coach [Sean McDonnell] always says, as the next [game]. I knew after the Toledo game [a 58-22 season-opening loss last week] we had to come back and get this win on the road to basically start over our whole season."
Orlando admitted he didn't know whether the catch would be legal once he was shoved out of bounds. He just followed his instincts when he saw the ball coming to him.
"The offensive line gave our quarterback [Kevin Decker] time to throw it, and it was man-to-man coverage," Orlando said. "I just made the play."
"I'm just so happy for the kid next to me that he gets an opportunity to make up for it, because he had an unbelievable game today," McDonnell said. "Ten catches, two touchdowns, a great punt return – we know the kid can make plays, and he just went out there and made plays. Nobody felt worse than Joey [after the muffed punt], and I didn't even have to say anything to him after what happened. I didn't even talk to him about the fumble. I knew he'd have an opportunity to make it back, and he did."
WR Joey Orlando was also named College Sporting News' National Player of the Week for his efforts as well.
Foster's Daily Democrat (NH): Wildcats Savor Big Win at Lehigh
Manchester Union-Leader (NH): UNH Tops Lehigh in OT, 48-41
The game played out the way University of New Hampshire football coach Sean McDonnell expected.*****
"I knew they had some offensive firepower," he said. "I knew they were capable of putting points on the board. I was pretty sure we would be able to move the football."
It was a quality win on the road against a nationally ranked FCS opponent. Lehigh is also the defending Patriot League champion.
“Give them credit,” McDonnell said. “They fought back to go ahead. And give us credit because we fought back, too. Like I said to the kids in the locker room, this will make the trip home a lot easier.”
"It gives you a good feeling that you beat a pretty good football team at your level," McDonnell said, "and when you look at what Toledo did against Ohio State you don't feel that bad."
“Joey made an unbelievable play on that ball,” QB Kevin Decker said from Lehigh. “They almost called it back. They were pushing him out of bounds and he fought to get back inbounds and caught it. The officials talked about it, but if he gets pushed out he can come back in. It was a great catch.”
A 35-yard field goal by PK Mike MacArthur, a sophomore out of North Hampton and Winnacunnet, tied it at 41-41 with 3:23 to go.
“Mike MacArthur did a great job,” McDonnell said. “He really boomed that one at the end.”
The Wildcats needed this one badly. The last time they started a season 0-2 it was 2002, a couple of seasons before they began a run that has taken them to the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs in each of the last seven seasons.
Starting this season with two straight losses, with a game at another ranked team in Richmond up next, would have put a serious early-season crimp in post-season plans.
“Coach called it a character game,” Decker said. “Being 0-2 or getting back to .500 with Richmond, a tough opponent, coming up. Now we’ve got two weeks to prepare for them.”
Finally, a peek at news about Lehigh's next opponent, Princeton:
The Trentonian: Princeton's Serwanga has earned his stripes at wide receiver
Injuries took a toll on his early years, and now in his final season WR Isaac Serwanga is thrilled about the approaching opportunity.
Serwanga has earned the chance to start at wide receiver for Princeton University, and with it he wants to play an integral part in getting things turned around for the Tigers.
“I’m excited to play,” Serwanga said. “This is my first opportunity to come out and start. I have been working hard and I hope the hard work will show on the field.”
During the spring and through the summer, Serwanga was one of the many Princeton players that stayed on campus and worked out on the field, in the training room and in the film room.
The workouts were a lot about individual growth and plenty about developing relationships that will make them a stronger team.
“I stayed with my teammates over the summer and we all worked hard,” said Serwanga. “One of the things I worked on was establishing a quarterback-receiver relationship with Tommy (Wornham). The whole experience has been a blast.”
What wasn’t a blast was the pain of the 1-9 season in 2010, and although that year is in the past, the hard work Serwanga and his teammates have put in these many months is all about creating better memories.
“It was both frustrating and a learning experience,” Serwanga said of 2010. “Nobody wants to be a part of a 1-9 season and losing hurts. But I’m thankful I have the opportunity to come back and correct it. It is why we have been working so hard.”