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Players of the Week and Press Roundup, Lehigh vs. Georgetown, 10/13/2012

This weekend's tilt against Georgetown was unquestionably the most exciting matchup between the Hoyas and Mountain Hawks in the modern era.

You have to go back to 1903 (12-6, Lehigh) and 1910 (6-3, Georgetown) to find two Lehigh/Georgetown games determined by six points or less.

You have to believe, though, that neither team turned over the ball seven times.

And, happily, there are more pictures of this game than those tilts in 1903 and 1910, thanks to the magic of Facebook and Lehigh Athletics.  Their 82 photo pictorial makes sure that it will be plenty immortalized.

This week's LFN Players of the Week go to:

Offense: Senior RB Zach Barket (123 yards passing, 1 TDs, 1 fumble, first 100 yard rushing game of season for Lehigh)

Offense: Junior WR Lee Kurfis (11 catches, 132 yards pitching relief for senior WR Ryan Spadola)

Defense: Junior LB Nigel Muhammad (4 tackles, 2 sacks)

Defense: Senior LB Sam Loughery (12 tackles, 1 1/2 tackles for loss, 1 pass break-up)

Defense: Senior CB Gabe Johnson (8 tackles, 5 solo, 2 pass break-ups)

Special Teams: Senior PK Jake Peery (2/2 on extra points, 1 29 yard FG)

Special Teams: Senior DE Anthony Verderame (big blocked FG attempt at end of first half, 1 fumble recovery)

Underclassman: Sophomore DL Tim Newton (6 tackles, 1 pass break-up)

Congratulations to the winners!

Official Recap: No. 10 Lehigh overcomes turnovers to hold off Georgetown 17-14

On Lehigh’s first play of the fourth quarter Colvin hit Sherman over the middle out of the backfield for a 42 yard gain into Georgetown territory. Four plays later Peery split the uprights to give Lehigh the lead.

“We just needed to refocus,” head coach Andy Coen said about the offense’s second-half turnaround. “It wasn’t as much what Georgetown was doing but our own errors. We were scrappy enough to find a way to get a ‘W'. We made a bigger commitment to the run game. Our offensive line did a nice job and Zach Barket looked a lot more like the old Zach Barket.”

Brown & White: Football team narrowly defeats Georgetown University, 17-14

At the start of the fourth, Georgetown began what looked like a promising scoring drive as they moved the ball to the Lehigh 33-yard line, but the Hawks' defense saved the day again with a fumble recovery off of a bad snap on Georgetown fourth-and-three. Lehigh then took the lead for the first time of the day with a 29-yard field goal by senior Jake Peery, giving the team a three-point edge over the Hoyas, 17-14, with 10:58 left in the game.

Morning Call: Lehigh overcomes seven turnovers in 17-14 win
Express-Times: Lehigh team escapes with 17-14 win at Georgetown

“They’re a resilient bunch of kids,” Mountain Hawks coach Andy Coen said. “Our senior class is the team their freshman year things didn’t go well for them (4-7 record) and I’ve asked them to draw on just knowing how close you were to being good but we weren’t able to be good. They’re able to process that and be leaders for our younger guys.

“Never for a minute did anyone on that sideline, player or coach, think we weren’t going to win this game, even when we kept handing the ball over to them.”

“We definitely got away with one,” said sophomore receiver Josh Parris, who had 69 yards on four catches in his first career start in place of All-American Ryan Spadola (mono). “Having all those turnovers we shouldn’t have won. It wasn’t pretty but a win is a win is a win. We’re 1-0 in the Patriot League and we are going after our goal of winning the league.”

Trailing 14-7 at halftime, the Mountain Hawks opened the second half with their best drive of the game.

The nine-play, 76-yard drive was highlighted by a 40-yard catch-and-run by Palisades graduate Josh Parris, who was making his first collegiate start in place of Spadola.

Parris' catch got Lehigh to the Hoyas 20 and four plays later Keith Sherman squirted into the end zone from a yard out for the tying score.

"I wasn't really focused on getting a touchdown, I just wanted to hold on to the ball and not turn it over," Parris said after finishing with four catches for 69 yards in his biggest day at Lehigh. "This was a huge confidence booster with it being my first start. The guys rallied around me. We had to rally around each other."

“We’re finding ways; we’ve been finding ways all season long,” senior quarterback Mike Colvin said. “We’d like for it to be cleaned up and winning by 40 points but that’s not Patriot League football and it’s not FCS football.”

“We just kept fighting,” said senior CB Gabe Johnson, who had eight tackles and two pass breakups. “The offense was struggling but we have to have their back. We knew they were going to come back. They always do and they did this game.  We're definitely still in the learning process and every week we're getting better. We're not where we need to be right now in terms of a championship. We've just got to keep practicing."

Morning Call: Not even four interceptions could keep Lehigh QB Colvin down
Groller's Corner: Lehigh somehow, some way beats Georgetown 17-14 despite seven turnovers

Maybe the smile didn't come as easily as it normally does, but Michael Colvin revealed one before he left Georgetown's Multi-Sport Field late Saturday afternoon.

Colvin had thrown four first-half interceptions against the Hoyas, part of a seven-turnover performance by the No. 10 ranked Mountain Hawks.

And yet, Lehigh left Washington, D.C. with a 17-14 victory, so Colvin admitted he had conflicting emotions about what had transpired in the shadows of the Lincoln Memorial.

"I was very disappointed at points and very excited at other points," he said. "I was just making too many mistakes in the first half.  My performance was very disappointing in the first half, but at halftime, you just have to put it away and go race ahead and play football."

Colvin took blame for all four interceptions, even the ones batted into the air.

"They were my fault, either on bad reads or trying to make too much happen," Colvin said. "They were all on me. But after each interception I just had to keep going. I knew we were going to get a shot at it in the second half. It couldn't get much worse in that first half, and yet, we were only down by seven points."

Colvin said the team had to make a statement on its first drive of the second half and it did with 76-yard march highlighted by a 40-yard pass to Palisades grad sophomore WR Josh Parris.

Then after two more turnovers on fumbles, Colvin hit junior RB Keith Sherman on the 42-yarder that set up Jake Peery's game-winning field goal.

The Mountain Hawks got stops via a junior SS Rickie Hill interception and a punt, and then held their breath as Georgetown drove from its own 21 all the way to Lehigh 20 in the final 1:22.

But a 37-yard field goal try by PK Matt MacZura with three seconds left went wide left as the entire Lehigh sideline erupted in celebration.

"Obviously, I'm elated that we came back to win that game," Lehigh coach Andy Coen said. "I love how the kids competed. They didn't get down. Even at halftime, I didn't lash into them. I complimented the defense and what they were doing. I actually told our offensive staff that the people who should be most upset were Georgetown because we gave them a lot of breaks and they were still only up seven."

Lehigh was playing with All-American wide receiver Ryan Spadola, who was diagnosed mid-week with mono.

"We didn't change the game plan," Coen said. "When we looked at things, we thought we could do this and do that. And things were going pretty well, except for the turnovers."

The Hoya: More Heartbreak in Loss to Lehigh

It’s a team game,” Head Coach Kevin Kelly said. “The defense did a heck of a job against a very good offense. We didn’t score when we had the opportunities. To me, the difference in the game was the red zone.”

Third-down defense has been a strength for the Hoyas this season — they lead the Patriot League with just a 28.9 percent conversion rate allowed on third downs — but the Mountain Hawks went 8-for-16 in Saturday’s game. And, in the end, they got the one that counted.

“I wish we had some third downs back,” Kelly said. “We had them in third-and-long sometimes, and we let them off the hook.”

With his back against the wall, QB Stephen Skon methodically led Georgetown to Lehigh’s 23-yard line with 25 seconds remaining. Instead of going for the win, Kelly chose to run the ball to set up a 37-yard field goal attempt.

Kelly acknowledged after the game that his conservative decision had at least something to do with the last time the Hoyas were in a similar position, when Aiken threw a game-ending interception that sealed Georgetown’s loss to Yale.

“We wanted to get into position where we could go into overtime,” Kelly said. “We did turn the ball over against Yale and that did pop into my head.”


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