Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from November 4, 2012

Colgate 35, Lehigh 24, Final

After the weatherman promised a mostly sunny day on November 10th, the day of the Patriot League championship game at Murray Goodman stadium, there was instead a gray haze that persisted throughout the football game.

Like the weather, the game was also a story of the unexpected. 

Few thought the Colgate offense would be held to just 35 points, after creaming Lafayette for 65 points the previous week.  Many also were surprised that Lehigh could only manage 90 rushing yards against the No. 7-ranked rushing defense in the Patriot League.

The grey weather didn't affect the outcome.  It didn't affect the passing game, the running game, or the kicking game. 

But on a damp, strange, overcast day in November, the magic ran out for Lehigh.  The undefeated Mountain Hawks fell in a war on Saturday, 35-23, busting up a season that almost seemed predestined to be Lehigh's from the outset.

Hate The Gate Top Games No. 1: Colgate 34, Lehigh 33, 11/8/2008

Four years ago, the roles were reversed. 

Lehigh, playing for a thin chance at a Patriot League championship, hosted nationally-ranked Colgate in their chance for glory that season.

They had them on the ropes - but could not finish them off.

But it took an epic drive, and a great pass from QB Greg Sullivan to WR Pat Simonds, to get the job done.

"It just came down to that we made too many mistakes," coach Coen said after the game. "Obviously extra points, you've got to start right there. That obviously hurts; that changes the flow of the football game. Penalties in the first half, turnovers in the first half, giving them the ball on a short field. You can't make mistakes like that, and we've been making too many of them during the course of the season. You add them up in one point games, and it's tough."

Read my original recap of this game

Game Breakdown, Colgate vs. Lehigh, 11/10/2012

We break down the Colgate game - and we give our fearless prediction, below the flip.

Not much more needs to be said about the importance of this game.  Essentially, it's for all the marbles.  It's why both teams practiced in March and April, why they sacrificed their time and energy all fall, why they, essentially, do this.

It's worth, though, looking at some detail as to how Colgate won these games.

In all four games, Colgate scored a touchdown on their first possession.  No punts, no turnovers, no field goals.  Touchdowns.

In three of the four games, Colgate scored a touchdown on their second possession.  Bucknell forced a punt in their game against the Raiders, but Colgate has mostly scored touchdowns there, too.

My point is that a big part of Colgate's success has been early success.  If football is a game of momentum, the Raiders have been successful in large part by getting out of the gate early, and then just continuing to roll forward.  In fact, last week aga…

Lehigh/Colgate Top Games No. 2: Lehigh 21, Colgate 14, 10/30/2004

The best part of this particular game was not only the win for Lehigh, and not only the fact that it ended up clinching a playoff game, in retrospect, for the Mountain Hawks.  It's that it was my first-ever real sportswriting piece, for the now-defunct I-AA.org, detailing Lehigh/Colgate and the rivalry that had built up in the years before.


Below the flip, behold my first "I-AA Diary" of the game, in its entirety, pulled from the top-secret LFN archives as the No. 2 "Hate the 'Gate" classic.

Lehigh/Colgate Top Games No. 3: Colgate 10, Lehigh 3, 9/22/1979

Lehigh head football coach John Whitehead knew Colgate head football coach Fred Dunlap well.

Very well, in fact. 

Whitehead, the offensive coordinator for the 1973 Lambert Cup-winning Lehigh squad, was the architect of Lehigh's "Wing-T" offense, under Dunlap, that had driven the Engineers to new heights.

Under both Dunlap and Whitehead, Lehigh struggled mightily in the late 1960s.  But the Engineers had a major resurgence in the 1970s when Lehhigh went from doormat to Lambert Cup champions.  By the end of Dunlap's time at Lehigh, he guided the Engineers to their final "Middle Three" championships and for good measure put Lehigh in the Division II playoffs, their first postseason berth of any kind.

In September of 1979, Whitehead would, for the first time, coach against the same man who taught him how to be a head coach.  For Dunlap had taken the opportunity to coach at Colgate, his alma mater, where he'd go to become head football coach and athletic d…

Game Preview: The Patriot League Championship Game: Colgate at Lehigh, 11/10/2012

"The word is that Dick Biddle's squad is in "rebuilding" mode with the graduation of RB Nate Eachus," I confidently wrote back in the preseason of Colgate's chances for the Patriot League title in 2012.  "The Raiders' backs will still get the yards, but the real question is: can their defense get back to the world-beating form of the early noghties?"

Picking them to finish fifth, as others had, seemed a no-brainer.  Even though QB Gavin McCarney returned for his junior season, his continued growth, and the development of the offensive system around some new, young guys, couldn't result in a title run for a "rebuilding" squad, especially with a defense that needed to find an identity, could it?  Especially without Eachus, who made the Kansas City Chiefs' roster?

With the Patriot League championship and FCS playoff autobid on the line this Saturday, the answer couldn't be clearer.  Yes.  They can.

The Raiders' "…

Lehigh/Colgate Top Games No. 4: Lehigh 20, Colgate 15, 11/4/1961

The Doris Day-esque face, presumably a co-ed from nearby Cedar Crest, leaps off the official program of the Lehigh/Colgate game of November 4th, 1961.  A reference to a "House Party" on the cover, and "inside!  A computer in the University!" only adds to its snapshot in time.

The first-ever meeting of the Red Raiders and Engineers at Taylor Stadium (or Packers, as the Brown & White had then started calling them) was expected to be a loss for a Lehigh squad that wasn't expected to do much after a 4-5 season under hall of fame head coach Bill Leckonby.

"An underdog for last Saturday's game, as it has been for most of the season," the B&W said, "the squad displayed a powerful ground attack in the first half, accounting for two TDs, and an alert, spirited defense in the last two periods."

It would only be the second home game of the year for Lehigh at Taylor stadium - five of their first six games, save a 20-6 win versus the Merchan…

Lehigh/Colgate Top Games No. 5: Colgate 35, Lehigh 6, 11/4/1922

In honor of Lehigh/Colgate week, I thought it appropriate to look at some of the Lehigh/Colgate games over the years and talk a bit about some of the highlights.

"Hate the Gate" was a term first accredited to LB Tom McGeoy the week before the Colgate game back in 2006, and while the rivalry aspect of this game is a more recent phenomenon, driven largely by Patriot League championships and FCS playoff berths, the first-ever meeting of these two squads came on a cold, November afternoon in Binghamton, New York.

It would be the only meeting of the pride of the Lehigh Valley and the pride of the Chenango Valley before the modern era, back in a day when a barnstorming college football team was a critical tool to recruit general students, not just athletes.  The trip to Binghamton was a recruiting trip for both schools, but the Maroons, as they were then known, were aiming quite a bit higher than the Brown & White when it came to football at that time, and it showed.

Sunday's Word: Irish

Is it hokey?  At times.  Do I believe it's exactly the way things happened?  Absolutely not.  But my favorite all-time football movie is, and remains, Rudy, and his quest to become a member, even if for just a day, a member of the Fightin' "Irish".

Aside from being one of the few football movies my wife will willingly sit down and watch with me, the "based on real events" story somehow, almost twenty years later, hits just the right notes and proceeds at just the right pace as Rudy Ruettiger goes from junior college to South Bend to dressing for a game.


Not coincidentally, Rudy was broadcast this past Saturday night on NBC, and the airing no doubt was spurred by the surprising real-life Notre Dame football team, who sits undefeated at 9-0 and also sits at No. 4 in the BCS.

This season, the parallels between the team with golden helmets in South Bend and the team with the golden helmets in Bethlehem come into focus.