Picture-perfect weather. An announced crowd of over 9,000 fans - and almost certainly more than 10,000 fans in the seats (if you count students, who get free admission).
Most importantly, though, a gutty win for the guys in Brown and White.
And a win that folks are still talking about in the Lehigh Valley - setting up a winner-take-all showdown next weekend against Georgetown for the Patriot League championship and autobid. (Yes. Georgetown!)
A bunch of different articles highlight the win - and start to set up next week's game, too.
Official Release: Defense Helps Lehigh Grind Out 14-7 Win over Holy Cross
“I don’t think anyone on our coaching staff thought for a minute that this was going to be an easy football game,” explained Lehigh head coach Andy Coen. “I’m proud of how our football team hung in there. We showed some resiliency in that second half and put together some long drives."
Coen continued, “I don’t think we had our ‘A’ game at all offensively but Holy Cross had quite a bit to do with that. We still found a way to get the ball in the end zone enough to win the game. I’m very proud of our guys and I’m looking forward to the opportunity to try and win a league championship next week.”
Morning Call (subscription required): Lehigh Defense Doesn't Rest And Delivers Key 14-7 Win
Express-Times: Lehigh Beats Holy Cross, 14-7
Express-Times Photo Gallery: Holy Cross vs. Lehigh
Brown & White: Football Defeats Holy Cross, 14-7
Brown & White Photo Gallery: Holy Cross vs. Lehigh
The high-powered shootout between the Patriot League's top-ranked offenses never materialized, but the Mountain Hawks happily traded style points for enough points on the scoreboard in a 14-7 come-from-behind win that kept the nationally-ranked team on target for a second straight Patriot League title and NCAA FCS playoff berth.
"I'm happy we won a game like this," Lehigh coach Andy Coen said. "It's very important. I've been fortunate to be part of a lot of good football teams and every one of those teams has a game like this where you just have to find a way to win. It builds toughness in the kids mentally and physically.
“The games aren’t all going to be 30-6 or 45-20. You’re going to be pushed.”
The Mountain Hawks won despite posting season lows in total yards (394 which is 97 below their season average) and points (they were averaging 37 coming in).
"I thought we fought hard the entire day and got off the field when we had to," said senior LB Mike Groome, who made 13 tackles and had an interception and return of 59 yards in the fourth quarter to help put away the Crusaders.
"On the interception, we were in Cover-2, and I was covering the middle of the field and was watching the quarterback's eyes. I had a good read on it and got in the passing lane. I was a Wing-T fullback in high school and thought I could take it all the way. It has been awhile, but I have run the ball before."
"Our players are playing hard and we're doing a lot of good things and we're right there in games, but we're just losing them like this," Holy Cross head coach Tom Gilmore said while greeting many former Lehigh players who played for him in the early 2000s.
"We're not finishing things off whether it's a drive or a particular play. We're just a little bit short here and there and it's obviously costing us. We shut Lehigh down in the first half, but again we didn't finish. We couldn't close the deal. Lehigh came up with the plays and we didn't."
Morning Call (subscription required): Another Defensive Struggle Might Loom for Lehigh
What was learned, or at least re-affirmed, in the 14-7 win was that this is a squad that has much more than a fancy passing attack.
These Mountain Hawks can win with a running game and defense, too, and unlike some of the teams early in Andy Coen's tenure at Lehigh, they can overcome adversity.
"In our league there's a lot of parity and the games aren't all going to be 30-6 or 45-20," Coen said. "You're going to be pushed. I was happy with the way the fourth quarter went at Colgate last week. We were only up six and went out and dominated the fourth quarter. And then we dominated the fourth quarter [Saturday], and really the second half.
"We could be in this same type of game against Georgetown and certainly against Lafayette. And if we're fortunate enough to be in the playoffs, you're going to be in very competitive situations. So, the more you can reach back from being there before, it helps you when you're in that situation again."
Whether it's 49-42 or 3-2 on Saturday, as long as Lehigh has more points, they should be happy.
"It was a great atmosphere today," Coen said, noting a crowd of 9,217 that represented the best gate of the season for any Lehigh game. "You could feel it. I wish we could have beaten them 50-0 for everybody, but they saw a really good football game and a team do some really good things."
Washington Post: Georgetown Defeats Fordham on Senior Day, 30-13
The Georgetown Hoyas football team had two goals Saturday: Maintain its considerable momentum and emerge from its game against Fordham without any key injuries.
They succeeded on both accounts at Multi-Sport Field, where QB Scott Darby, CB Jeremy Moore and LB Robert McCabe combined to lift the Hoyas to a 30-13 victory.
“To turn things around like this, it’s everything we wanted to do as a class coming in,” said Darby, a senior.
Despite yielding a season-high 446 total yards to the Rams (387 in the air), the Hoyas did precisely what they had hoped to accomplish: enter the most important week of preparation they’ve had since joining the Patriot League in 2001 with a win, and more important, with a healthy amount of confidence.
“We know what to expect — a great team,” Darby said of Lehigh, which defeated Holy Cross, 14-7, on Saturday. “We’re looking forward to the challenge. We’ll have them schemed up. They’ll have us schemed up. We’ll be playing for all the marbles. Couldn’t ask for anything more.”