Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from 2014

2014 Saw All Of Division I Football Break Into Cliques

You may remember the genius of Groucho Marx, the bespectacled Marx Brother with the grease-painted eyebrows and mustache.  One of my all-time favorite films, Horse Feathers, featured Groucho, Harpo, and Chico on the football field (actually the Rose Bowl), representing their "school" in a particularly important game.

But it's a particular quote of his that seems to summarize Division I football perfectly, at both the FCS and FBS levels.

"I don't want to belong to any club that will accept me as a member."

Division I has never truly been a large tent of equal schools.  It was a division that counted as members Texas (whose athletic budget is as large as some small nations), Mississippi Valley State (whose entire athletics budget is about the size of what the University of Texas pays for socks for its athletes) and Marist (who doesn't even spend any money on athletics scholarships for its football athletes).

But 2014 was a year of true soul-searching in…

Dreams Of Sports Illustrated Still Dance In My Head

I remember, growing up, having the covers of Sports Illustrated on the wall.

Growing up outside of the county, Sports Illustrated for me was a vital link back home, to America.  It allowed me, a stranger in a country not my own, to stay connected to the sports I otherwise would have lost contact with.

Back then, I pored over the weeks-old issues, reading accounts of games that were long in the past.

I'd read pieces by Frank Deford and Rick Reilly - my only link to an active sports culture back home.  (That and Armed Forces Radio on the short-wave made me feel American.)

They kept me engaged, connected, in a world where American football was just that - American - and sports in general had a different emphasis.

Those days feel very far away, coming up into this Christmas season - an era away.

And my boyhood dreams of appearing one day in Sports Illustrated, too, still seem very far away - and different.

LFN's 2014 Mountain Hawk Recruiting Christmas List

The 2014 season is over, and recruiting has been very much underway for the Lehigh football program.

If you mosey on over to the Lehigh Sports Forum, you can get a list of all the unofficial recruits that head coach Andy Coen and the rest of the coaching staff appear to have secured commitments for the class of 2019.

I always look at the Lehigh football program's recruiting season as a list to Santa.  If I was running the program, what would I want to see under Lehigh's tree?

In order to do that, we need to see what Lehigh has coming back in 2015, and what we need for the future, and what better place to get that than some of the biggest fans of the program?

(And you don't even need to work on your ground game to do it.)

2014 Season Report Card

It's been hard to put the season into words.

Believe me, I've tried many times.  Many postings trying to summarize what happened, what is happening, and where to go from here.

In the end it was easier to think of the season as a report card.

It's a cliche, I know.  I was trying to avoid going there.  But in the end, it was the only way to really put the final word on the 2014 season together.  Going into the season, there were expectations on this team.  The report card is the place where the analysis is done on the performance of the team.

Below the flip, check out the analysis.  (Warning: it might not be pretty.)

Season In Review: Too Many Almosts And Not Enough Finishing

The word that sums up the 2014 football season for Lehigh is almost, and nowhere was that almost more symbolic and frustrating was in their opening weekend against a team that would make it to the FCS Playoffs, James Madison.

Early in the 4th quarter, thanks to a gutty touchdown run by senior RB Rich Sodeke, Lehigh held a 28-24 lead on the Dukes and had taken advantage of a litany of James Madison miscues to get the ball at their 20 and a golden opportunity to stomp on the throat of the Dukes.

But that 4th quarter instead was an all-too-accurate look into the small things that cost the Mountain Hawks wins this season.

In the end, it wasn't the talent that had Lehigh limp to a 3-8 finish in the 2014 schedule.  It was a whole lot of little things.

Perspective, And Lack Thereof, In My #Rivalry150

In the run-up to the big game at Yankee Stadium I had an opportunity to talk with Lehigh football alum OL Dan Mulholland.

One of the great diehard fans, Mulholland runs the "Kings of Tailgates" at Lehigh home games, partially in tribute to his teammate Roger McFillan, who died unexpectedly at the age of 50.  The tailgates in Roger's honor, run by Dan, his twin brother Bob Mulholland and fellow teammate Gus Gustafson, are a Mountain Hawk gameday fixture right next to the Rust Pavillion, and every home game they "grill the opponent's mascot."

It so happened I talked with Mulholland about his best work, his blocking for RB Jack Rizzo's record-breaking rushing performance against Lafayette in 1971.  Rizzo ran for 313 yards, a Lehigh single-game record that still stands today.

"Yeah, we'll never see any sort of rushing performance like that ever again in a Rivalry game," I told him mere days before Lafayette RB Ross Scheuerman would drive his …

Lehigh Digs Two Touchdown Hole in Yankee Stadium, Can't Dig Out, Loses 27-7 In 150th Meeting With Lafayette

Someday I will look back on the 150th meeting between Lehigh and Lafayette as a joyous occasion, one of those times when I remember chucking a football around the parking lot of the Yankees with my son and his friends.

At some point I'll think of my time in the open air Yankee press box, two seats down from the New York Times, and smile.

Now is not one of those times.

Lehigh couldn't get the offense going in the first half, or the entire game, for that matter, but managed to allow Lafayette RB Ross Scheuerman to set a single-game record in rushing for the Leopards, a 60-carry, 313 yard performance.

The result was a dominating, humbling, frustrating, overwhelming 27-7 win by Lehigh's bitter Rival on Yankee soil.

Game Breakdown, #Rivalry150, 11/22/2014

There is but one football game in this college football season tomorrow, and it's in New York City at Yankee Stadium.  That means there's but one football game to break down, and it's #Rivalrly150, which will be done below the flip.

It's hard to believe that the season is already coming to an end, and that the game that was years in the making is about to happen tomorrow.

It made for a weird vibe on campus today, where I went to get my tickets and buy my Rivalry scarves for tomorrow.  I'm used to the Rivalry being in the air on campus, but campus mostly had serious students there, the football-crazed of whom are probably in Manhattan right now, fresh from watching Lehigh's president John D. Simon ring the final bell of the New York Stock Exchange, or attending the sold-out Lehigh/Lafayette swim and dive meet, or listening to Lehigh Choral Arts at Carnegie Hall, or attending the gala with Earth, Wind and Fire.

With all the hoopla, it can be forgotten there'…

Game Preview, #Rivalry150, Yankee Stadium, 11/22/2014

I know it's been several years in the making.  I know we are almost at the eve of the biggest edition of the Lehigh/Lafayette Rivalry yet, the one in Yankee Stadium, the 150th meeting, the one I've been waiting for years to arrive.

Yet it's one play, one play, that I keep thinking about in the run-up to this game.

Bubble screen.

I keep seeing that bubble screen in the 149th meeting of Lehigh and Lafayette, the one that put the game out of reach, the one that turned Lehigh's bid for a championship last season become one that fell just short of a championship.

Picking the FCS Playoff Bracket, 11/19/2014

We're a week away from picking the field, so below the flip, check out what I think the bracket will look like.

Quick Game Preview, Colgate at Lehigh, 11/15/2014

About a year ago today, Lehigh and Colgate were two teams facing off with playoff implications.

What a difference a year makes.

The Mountain Hawks and Raiders both find themselves in a place where they are not accustomed: young squads with losing records, battling for pride, and giving the seniors something to remember.

Colgate and Lehigh has developed into a rivalry with a little r, because of the frequent championship connotations of their meetings over the last decade and a half, and a whole lot of other reasons.  In 2014, this rivalry takes on a different shape and form: the form of which team is headed in the right direction into 2015, and for Lehigh headed in the right direction towards Yankee Stadium.

Picking the FCS Playoff Bracket, 11/11/2014 edition

As I finalize the release of my book, I realize that something I really enjoyed doing, picking the FCS playoff field, I hadn't done yet this year.  With two weeks to go, below the flip, check out what I think the bracket will look like.

Game Breakdown, Lehigh at Holy Cross, 11/8/2014

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

The 3-6 Crusaders, like 2-6 Lehigh, are a young team who is looking to show that they are ready to move forward and become a force in the Patriot Leaugue title race in the future.

Critically, in their win over Lafayette two weekends ago, they've shown that they can indeed hunker down and figure out how to stomp on a team to win a football game.

Holy Cross' schedule shows a lot of close games, with losses by a field goal to Brown, Albany, Colgate, and Dartmouth this season.  It's awful easy to see this team, in an alternate universe, winning all four of these games and heading towards "senior day" with a 6-2 record.

Game Preview, Lehigh at Holy Cross, 11/8/2014

It's a different sort of November for Lehigh this time around, but one that's still very important in regards to building up to the 150th meeting between Lehigh and Lafayette at Yankee Stadium.

The Mountain Hawks are essentially out of the playoff race, but the test this weekend against the Crusaders will be interesting for one very big reason: sophomore QB Pete Pujals.

Pujals and Lafayette sophomore QB Drew Reed are cut from the same cloth, young, mobile quarterbacks that can easily take off with the ball and also kill you with a precision passing game.

It's the closest thing to a dress rehearsal that Lehigh will have before the 150th.

Lehigh's Future Is Now As Team Comes Together To Beat Georgetown 27-19

It was a point when the Lehigh football team could have packed it in, or simply decided that they wanted to just play out the string.

Instead Lehigh went down to Washington, DC and got their second win of the season, as well as their first Patriot League win of the season, with a 27-19 victory over the Hoyas.

It wasn't always pretty.  Just like against Cornell, the mixture of young and veteran Mountain Hawks made some big errors to keep Georgetown in the ball game.

But despite the goofs, for Lehigh there was a lot more good than bad.

For the first time since a few weeks, hope and optimism, for the rest of this year up to the 150th meeting of Lehigh and Lafayette - and beyond - made an appearance.

How To Catch Lehigh at Georgetown

This weekend's Lehigh/Georgetown game, if you're not able to make it to Multi-Sport Field in DC, is available with a live video stream through GUHoyas.Com.   You will have to pay for this "premium" privilege, but if you don't like to pay, you can listen to the game for free on AM 1230 or 1320 in the Lehigh Valley with Matt Kerr and Steve Lomangino on the call.  (You can also listen for free over the internet here, and possibly get live stats here.)

Game time is noon, and the live audio broadcast starts at 11 AM on the radio.

And I will also say that if you follow my Twitter feed (@LFN), I'll do my best to keep up with the action.

Game Breakdown: Lehigh at Georgetown, 11/1/2014

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

Whenever I need to get caught up on Georgetown, I always check the Hoya game notes and athletic site, of course, but I also, always, check out DFW Hoya's site on Georgetown football for his in-depth analysis and breakdown of the Hoyas.

His site was one of the few sites talking about FCS football at all when I started doing this Lehigh Football Nation thing at the very beginning, and his site has always been an inspiration - and I don't toss that word around lightly - to what I've wanted LFN to become.  As a fellow website-master, I know how much work it takes to do previews and games, and I appreciate it.

In his preview could be the stat of the season for Lehigh.  As a Hoya fan, he looks at this season as Georgetown's best chance to beat Lehigh since the Hoyas joined the Patriot League.  He also said this, which is true:

"The Engineers are a woeful 4-22 in two PL games conver…

Game Preview, Lehigh at Georgetown, 11/1/2014

The Lehigh football team is lucky.

For most football programs and a whole lot of Division I football players, the end of the season is visible.  Many seniors see their final games at home, "senior day", and maybe a road game or two to play their final games as seniors - that is, if the coaching staffs haven't already started looking forward to the 2015 season and figuring out who is likely to start next season.

But with the Mountain Hawks, who essentially are eliminated from any Patriot League championship consideration with their loss to Fordham last weekend, there is always the week before Thanksgiving.

Because for Lehigh players, there are three championships every year.

The first two, the FCS National Championship and the Patriot League championship, are not in the cards this year.

But the third championship most certainly is.

Rams Offense Proves Virtually Unstoppable, Fordham Beats Lehigh 48-27

As beautiful fall days go, it was hard to beat this Saturday's homecoming game at Murray Goodman when it came to weather, atmosphere, or color.

Unfortunately for Lehigh, it was also hard to beat the Fordham offense that showed up on homecoming in terms of physicalness, efficiency, and big play ability.

The Mountain Hawks showed a lot of fight on Saturday, playing tough until the end against the No. 12-ranked Rams.  But after Fordham surged to a two-score lead early in the game, Lehigh's efforts to cut the deficit never really made it close, falling 48-27 in a career day for Fordham freshman RB Chase Edmonds.

How to Catch Fordham at Lehigh

This weekend's Fordham/Lehigh game, if you're not able to make it to Murray Goodman Stadium... wait, why aren't you able to head to Murray Goodman Stadium?  It's beautiful weather out there!  Homecoming!  Go!

Oh, OK, so I finally accept that you can't attend the game.  In that case, if you're in the Lehigh Valley, you can catch the game in its regular place on Service Electric 2 Sports. with Mike Zambelli, Mike Yadush, and Al DiCarlo on the call, and on the radio on AM 1230/1320 on Lehigh Valley ESPN Radio, featuring Matt Kerr, Matt Markus, Tom Fallon and Lance Haynes.

You can also get a live video stream of the game online on Campus Insiders from the link here.  Their broadcast team will be Ray Crawford, Doug Chapman and Rich Cirminiello.

And I will also say that if you follow my Twitter feed (@LFN), I'll do my best to keep up with the action.

Game Breakdown: Fordham at Lehigh, 10/24/2014

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

Fordham's incredible squad gives a tantalizing glimpse as to what Patriot League football teams might look like once four seasons of scholarship athletes come into the program.

In their first year of eligibility for the Patriot League title since adopting conventional scholarships in football, Fordham has been drilling opponents, scoring more than 40 points per game in their six wins.

They're doing so with scholarship athletes, of course - but with scholarship athletes that are seniors, too, including two very, very important transfers from UConn.

Fordham's strategy has been a slow payoff, but a great one so far, giving the Rams a squad that is among the top offenses in all of FCS.

That's what Lehigh is up against this weekend.

Game Preview: Fordham at Lehigh, 10/25/2013

If the records and numbers determined the outcome, they probably wouldn't bother playing the football game.

Lehigh, at 1-5, faces off against Fordham, the 12th-ranked team in the nation, who sits atop the Patriot League at 6-1.

Fordham boasts one of the top offenses in the  nation - that part's pretty much known by everyone - but what few people realize is their defense, for the most part, has also been stellar.

Three weeks ago, on Friday night TV against the defending Patriot League champions, Lafayette, you probably heard or saw the four-minute stretch where QB Michael Nebrich helped score three straight touchdowns to put the game, basically, out of reach.  What you didn't maybe stop to think about is that the Rams stopped the Leopards on three quick, straight drives, allowing that offense to bowl over the Lafayette defense.

So don't play the game, the stats and highlights seem to say.  Fordham's too good.  Don't even bother.

But you can guarantee that this…

Impossible dreams

What do you do when nobody believes in you?

What if people keep telling you your dreams are impossible, that people you know and trust keep telling you over and over again to not even bother with your dreams, that these dreams aren't realistic, that what you want to do is against the natural order of things?

I feel like though life, people are constantly telling you what you can't do.  Even when people say that you can do something, they don't really mean it - in their eyes, they feel like you can't.

Everything good that's happened to me in my life came from holding my dreams close, not allowing other people to define for me what my dreams are, can, and can not be.

Lehigh Works Out Its Bad Karma, Gets First Win, 31-14 Over Cornell

There have been times this season that Lehigh has been agonizingly close to winning games they have ended up losing.

It's as if they've been stuck with bad karma; that they've been oh-so-close to winning, but some bad karmic event keeps them out of the victory column.

Against the Big Red on homecoming this weekend, the Bad Karma seemed to be at Schoellkopf Field for Lehigh once again.

A well-defended pass bounced into the hands of Cornell WR Collin Shaw set up one Big Red touchdown. and a low snap to punter junior P Austin Devine set up another, making a 17-0 Mountain Hawk become a very slim, thin-feeling 17-14 spot for Lehigh.

But then just like that, the Lehigh offense seemed to have finished with its bad karma, with senior RB Rich Sodeke leading the charge to set up one big touchdown, and scoring the final exclamation point on Lehigh's first win of the season.

It all added up to a satisfying return to winning for the Mountain Hawks.

How To Catch Lehigh/Cornell

This weekend's Lehigh/Cornell game, if you're not able to make it to Ithaca, will be available to be viewed online, but it will require a subscription and a fee to do it.

It's available to on the Ivy League Digital Network, and you can buy it on a school day-pass basis.

I forget the price of Cornell's day pass, but if you went for the monthly subscription to ILDN back when we played Yale, then you're good for this weekend's game at Cornell.

The game is Lehigh's latest start of the season, at 3:30 PM up in Ithaca.

My plan is to can listen to the game for free on www.espnlv.com (or on the radio at AM 1230 and 1320 of the Lehigh Valley).  The reassuring voices of Matt Kerr and Matt Markus will be on the call.

And I will also say that if you follow my Twitter feed (@LFN), I'll do my best to keep up with the action.

Game Breakdown, Lehigh vs. Cornell, 10/18/2014

We break down the Cornell game after the flip.

The Cornell Big Red are led by the youngest head football coach in all of Division I, David Archer.

His resume sounds like a college football player's dream; starter on the offensive line at Cornell, invited to remain on the coaching staff after a year as an assistant at Franklin and Marshall, and then, after five years and a surprise departure from then-head coach Kent Austin, being promoted from within to become the head coach at your Alma Mater.

What may not be a dream is Cornell's record ever since he took over.  While not entirely his fault, Archer has gone only 3-11 as head Big Red.  Still, it's more victories (and more losses) than I've enjoyed as a Division I head football coach, and he's not even 35.  (To both of you who are wondering: My Division I coaching record is a perfect 0-0-0.)

Cornell is a typical Ivy League school in that NFL prospects have been known to compete up in Ithaca, and this year is no ex…

Game Preview: Lehigh at Cornell, 10/18/2014

You hate to put it this way, but this weekend's tilt between Lehigh and Cornell could be the anemic force versus the extremely movable object.

Lehigh's defense would be the movable object, ranking dead last in FCS in total defense, but the Not So Big Red's offense, ranked 121 out of 123 FCS teams, hasn't exactly impressed either.

It sets up two teams extremely hungry for victory this Saturday, eager to get something positive going before the rest of the regular-season schedule gets back underway.

In May, this might have seemed like a speed-bump up in Ithaca.  Now, it seems like a game that must somehow be a victory to get the bus out of the ditch.

LFN Look Back: Chance At the Postseason On The Line in '77

The latest disco music was available right off campus at "Records and Things".  A young Phillies pitcher named Steve Carlton wins his second Cy Young Award.  Debbie Boone's "You Light Up My Life" topped the charts, spending 10 weeks at No. 1 on Billboard .  Rocky was still in theaters.  Billy Joel would tour Bethlehem and the valley, perhaps setting the stage for his later hit Allentown.

In local news in 1977, Lehigh was also in the running for an invitation to the football postseason.

Coming into the 113th meeting between the Leopards and Engineers, as they were commonly known at the time, never before had been so much on the line for Lehigh.  In front of an expected sellout crowd of 18,000 people, a win would in all probablility give them the Lambert Cup, given to the best team in the East, and an invitation to the Division II playoffs.

But a loss to the team that beat them last year would see all of Lehigh's opportunities fade away, the chance to qualif…

How To Cope With A Losing Streak In An Online World

As you may have heard, our family has been blessed with a new puppy.  As you probably have not heard, puppies require 7AM walks to do their business, and puppies don't care if you're tired, upset, frustrated, or angry.

At 7AM on Sunday, I exited the house with the dog, and promptly ran into another entirely too happy dog owner walking his dog.

My inner Clark Kent-ish personality jumped to the front, somehow pasting an easygoing smile on my face, packing away all the frustration of Saturday's game as I made smalltalk about being a dog owner, the same smalltalk that dog owners have probably been making about dogs since dogs showed up in our caves thousands of years ago.

It wasn't a bad conversation - I didn't regret having it, even though it was unmemorable.  I was glad to share some goodwill with the neighbors.  But it did demonstrate to me what sports fans have to do in this age when our teams are struggling.  You have to be able to put your fan alter ego away to …

Bucknell Finishes What it Started Last Season, Beats Lehigh 45-24

Fifteen minutes before the game was about to start, ESPN Radio announcer Matt Kerr told the radio-listening public that 4-1 Bucknell would not only be missing their starter quarterback, QB R.J. Nitti, but would also be without the services of their star running back, RB C.J. Williams.

You might be forgiven if that made you think that Lehigh's chances of getting their first win, and avenging last season's loss to Bucknell in Lewisburg, would be much greater.

It didn't turn out that way, however, as backup QB Trey Lauletta stepped right up into the void and had the game of a lifetime against Lehigh's beleaguered defense.

After Lehigh scored the game's first touchdown, Lauletta and the Bucknell offense helped create the the next 31 points for the Bison, and when Lehigh finally settled down and cut the deficit to one score, Lauletta would find WR Will Carter for a back-breaking touchdown to win the game for the Bison.

"Embarassing" is what Lehigh head coach

How To Catch Bucknell/Lehigh (Broadcast Info), And Other Fearless Predictions

This weekend's Bucknell/Lehigh game, if you're not able to make it to Bethlehem, will be available to be viewed online for free thanks to the Patriot League Digital Network. 

If you're in the Lehigh Valley, you don't need a TV since the game will be televised on Service Electric 2, with Mike Zambelli and Mike Yadush on the call.

You can listen to the game for free on www.espnlv.com (or on the radio at AM 1230 and 1320 of the Lehigh Valley), with Tom Fallon, Matt Kerr and Matt Markus on the broadcast team.

Game time is 12:30 PM.

And I will also say that if you follow my Twitter feed (@LFN), I'll do my best to keep up with the action.

Game Breakdown: Bucknell at Lehigh, 10/11/2014

We break down Bucknell after the flip.

One thing that is worthy of mention about last year's game, and may have gotten lost in all the talk of "revenge", was the element of surprise.

Head coach Joe Susan, facing off against a then-Top 25 team, had just re-introduced QB Brandon Wesley to the staring lineup the prior week, and also unveiled a brand-new offensive attack against Lehigh as well, meaning that the game film head coach Andy Coen saw from the prior week against Dartmouth was essentially worthless.

Surprise doesn't excuse the outcome, from a Lehigh perspective - not at all - but it's worthy of mention that Bucknell's pistol formation and offense shouldn't be taking anyone by surprise this week.  It also means that nobody should be reading too much into Bucknell's loss at Bryant last week, either.

Game Preview: Bucknell at Lehigh, 10/11/2014

It didn't really need to be mentioned by head coach Andy Coen and the coaching staff, because everyone already knew.

They all remembered last year's beatdown by Bucknell at Lewisburg, 48-10.

Many of them, even the sophomores, remember the pain of that day.

300 yards rushing by the Bison.  QB Brandon Bialkowski's broken collarbone.  Five turnovers.  130 yards receiving for Bison sophomore WR Will Carter.

They also remember the humiliating exclamation point: sophomore RB C.J. Williams' hurdle over Lehigh's secondary, getting an emphatic touchdown to put the icing on the cake.

Sometimes the pain of losses of games gone by can seem distant, unconnectable, by the playing members of a football team.  There is no way for these players to imagine how it felt in 1997 for the Mountain Hawks to lose to the Bison, for example, the last time a Lehigh team had lost to Bucknell in football before last season.

But last year's loss was so raw, so emphatic, and so emotionally…

LFN Look Back: Paul Dashiell Helps Deliver Lehigh A "State Championship" in 1889

“A silver cup has been offered by Mr. R. P. Linderman, Lehigh ‘84, as a trophy of the foot-ball championship of Pennsylvania,” the Lehigh Burr reported in 1889.  “Designs for the cup have not yet been prepared but it will be very handsome, of massive silver, while special care will be taken to secure a design thoroughly artistic and appropriate, and the cup will be fully equal to any college trophy of the kind ever offered.  The [articles and conditions drawn up for the Championship] is not intended to form a foot-ball league, such a thing being deemed unnecessary, but to provide such general regulations as will fairly determine the state championship.”

The idea of Lehigh, Lafayette and Penn competing for the "state championship" has as its origins the student newspapers, who had started tallying the records of the games between each other in the hopes of crowning a mythical "champion of Pennsylvania".

In 1888, Lehigh and Lafayette played each other twice, and pla…

Your Bye Week Patriot League Viewing Guide And Fearless Predictions

Its a bye week, but that doesn't mean the college football world stops.

Four Patriot League games are happening this weekend, including one tonight, on Friday.

Lafayette heads up to the Bronx to take on Fordham in a nationally-televised tilt on CBS Sports Network (check to see if your local cable company carries it).

It's a huge early game that will put the winner in the driver's seat for the title, and the loser squarely behind the eight-ball in terms of a Patriot League championsip.

LFN Look Back: How Lehigh Boosters Helped Beat Lafayette In 1902

Only one football coach ever led both Lehigh and Lafayette to victories in the Rivalry.

In 1898, suffering through Parke Davis' final season, the head coach that had led Lafayette to the heights of natonal prominence brought in four different coaches to find a way to beat Lehigh in their second meeting at the end of the season.

One of those great football minds Davis brought in was Dr. Sylvanus P. Newton, a former Penn football player, Phi Beta Kappa scholar and expert football strategist.

Dr. Newton played a critical role for Lafayette in a slushy ice bowl in 1898, using the talents of their kicker, Ed Bray, and an ingenious way to deliver free kicks.

"Captain Best, the holder, and Bray, the kicker, scraped away the four inches of slush and snow so the ball could be placed on the ground for an attempt," the book Legends of Lehigh/Lafayette tells us.  "The visibility [on the 35 yard field goal] was so poor that the crowd at first was silent, not knowing exactly wha…

LFN 101: Course Name: How To Win

You are what your record says you are.

So yes, Virginia, Lehigh is 0-4.

It is also true that the Mountain Hawks have been right in the thick of three of the four games they've played, vs. Monmouth, James Madison, and Yale - three good teams, and squads with very strong skill players on offense.  It is easy to imagine an alternate-universe Lehigh, despite the well-publicized struggles, being 3-1.

With this reality, when senior DT Tim Newtonis quoted as saying that "I felt it today. It's there," when it came to getting over the hump and into the win column, he's absolutely right.  "I felt like we just need that one little kick to get us over it. But it wasn't there. We obviously weren't able to finish the game," he continued.

Fortunately, "finishing games" is a chapter of my 27 part series on "How To Win Football Games," something that might be of use to any football player, or fan, that might want to call on my decades of ex…

On The Sixth Try, Monmouth Finally Sails Past Lehigh, 28-21

Monmouth was 0-5 versus Lehigh in their history going into this weekend's game.

Even with athletes like WR Miles Austin, WR Chris Hogan and a lot of other very good players, beating the Mountain Hawks was something that every Monmouth player was unable to achieve in their careers.

They had come agonizingly close before - losing games on last-second fumbles, and blocked punts advanced for 1st downs - and talked internally about playing all four quarters, about not getting worn down at the end of the game.

This Saturday, they were not worn down as QB Brandon Hill would get 40 of his 390 passing yards on the Hawks' final drive, none bigger than his 19 yard rifle to WR Eric Sumlin for the game-winner.

How To Catch Monmouth/Lehigh (Broadcast Info), And Other Fearless Predictions

This weekend's Monmouth/Lehigh game, if you're not able to make it to Bethlehem, will be available to be viewed online for free thanks to the Patriot League Digital Network. 

If you're in the Lehigh Valley, you don't need a TV since the game will be televised on Service Electric 2, with Mike Zambelli and Mike Yadush on the call.

You can listen to the game for free on www.espnlv.com (or on the radio at AM 1230 and 1320 of the Lehigh Valley).

Game time is 12:30 PM.

And I will also say that if you follow my Twitter feed (@LFN), I'll do my best to keep up with the action.

Game Breakdown, Monmouth at Lehigh, 9/27/2014

We break down Monnmoth after the flip.

Looking at Monmouth, danger abounds if you're a Lehigh fan.  Jumping right into the preview, you'll see why.



Game Preview: Monmouth At Lehigh, 9/27/2014

A lot can change in a week.

At least that's what Lehigh players and fans are hoping.

Frustration abounds in Mountain Hawk Nation in their 0-3 start, and no matter that two teams they've played, New Hampshire and James Madison, have displayed that they are Top 25 caliber teams.

It can't be used as an excuse that Lehigh seems to be the opponent circled on every team's schedule, either.  That's part of being at Lehigh: you always have the target on you.

Monmouth (2-1), too, will have a very large target on Lehigh's back, after last years' narrow 28-25 loss to the Mountain Hawks and will undoubtedly have looked at the national defensive rankings at the FCS level and seen Lehigh's squad ranked 120 out of 121 total non-transitioning FCS teams in total defense, beating only Columbia, who has only played in one game this season.

But a lot can change in a week.  At least that's what Lehigh players and fans are hoping.

LFN Look Back: Mob Scenes and Rioting Mark the Rivalry in 1962

It was the end of an era - in more ways than one.

Sure, Lehigh and Lafayette students had performed midnight raids on the others' campuses plenty of times before, and done plenty of shenanigans in the towns of Bethlehem and Easton, some above board, some not.

"The Rivalry" has always involved pranks, including the occasional arrest for painting the Lafayette Leopard Brown and White, for example.

But in 1962, at a smaller scale yet predating the big stuff that would be coming in six short years at Kent State ("Four Dead in Ohio", Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young), it seemed like there was a rising level of tension between law enforcement and students in the air in the game between Lehigh and Lafayette in 1962.

"Over 400 Lafayette students marched on Easton Nov. 15th after the annual pep rally and bonfire before the Lehigh game and had to be dispersed with fire hoses," the Lafayette reported.  "Observers said the demonstration was the most riotous d…

To Understand America Emotionally, You Need to Understand College Football

You didn't ask me, Alexis De Tocqueville wannabes, but to understand the American people you need to experience three things.

First, you need to spend a day at Walt Disney World.  Not Disneyland, out in California, but Disneyworld in Orlando.  There you will see all walks of life, all shapes, all colors, all sizes, walking through an orgy of consumerism and fantasy.  Don't look or think too much about the park itself, which is simply giving the people what they want in the most capitalistic way possible, but observe the people walking around, the folks in the Ron Jon T-shirts, the low-cut tops showing off tattoos that shouldn't be there, the Florida Gator fans.
You also need to spend a weekend at Las Vegas.  Not spending the time at the blackjack tables or poker dens trying to make it rich, understand, but watching the people, the paysan who acts like he's in control when the ace and the jack come out for him, the crying woman running after the man who obviously bet m…

Mountain Hawks Can't Protect 21 point Lead Twice, Fall to Yale 54-43

The strategy was to jump to an early lead, which was exactly what Lehigh did.

From the second play from scrimmage, sophomore RB Brandon Yosha burst through the line for a 60 yard touchdown, thanks to the blocking up front by senior OL Shane Rugg, sophomore C Brandon Short, and senior OL Wenner Nunes.

But none of these players would be on the field on Lehigh's final drive, all four felled by leg injuries.

Sophomore CB Brandon Leaks returned a pick to the house, and sophomore QB Nick Shafnisky would find senior WR Josh Parris to jump out to a 21-point lead.

But it was not enough.

On a day when Lehigh saw eight players go down to injury, including sophomore LB Colton Caslow, Yale ultimately out-physicaled and out-scored Lehigh -- not only rallying from two 21 point deficits twice, but shutting the Mountain Hawks out in the final quarter to seal the win.

How To Catch Lehigh/Yale (Broadcast Info), And Fearless Predictions

This weekend's Lehigh/Yale game, if you're not able to make it to New haven, will be available to be viewed onlint, but it will require a subscription and a fee to do it.

It's available to on the Ivy League Digital Network, and you can buy it on a school day-pass basis (Yale's is $9.95) or on a league-wide basis ($14.95 for a month).  If you can't make it to both new Haven or Cornell in October, the leagues' monthly pass is the best deal - plus you can take a sneak peek at some other Ivy League games against Patriot League opponents, too.

If you don't like shelling out the money (and believe me, I don't blame you), you can listen to the game for free on www.espnlv.com (or on the radio at AM 1230 and 1320 of the Lehigh Valley).  The reassuring voices of Matt Kerr and Matt Markus will be on the call.

Game time is 1:00 PM.

And I will also say that if you follow my Twitter feed (@LFN), I'll do my best to keep up with the action.

Game Breakdown: Lehigh vs. Yale, 9/20/2014

The game this weekend versus Yale, the first game in Yale's season, the first game in the season celebrating the 100th year of the Yale Bowl, is unquestionably a big one for the Mountain Hawks.

That also applies to the Eli, too, thoush.

“We’re excited about the opportunity [to play] against Lehigh,” head coach Tony Reno said. “We want to play great teams in order to be a great team.”

Lehigh fans are hoping that playing doesn't equate winning.

Game Preview: Lehigh at Yale, 9/21/2014

When you Google "Yale Football", you get to Rory McIlroy and Caroline Wozniaki.

The reason for that is the golf superstar and the rising women's tennis star showed up at at Yale a few years ago.  Apparently Yale's football team had been making a habit of showing up as a team at the New Haven Open and cheering Wozniaki on, so Caroline and her then-boyfriend Rory (wearing a Yale football jersey, at that), showed up at a practice.

Head coach Tony Reno, though, is hoping that's not the only thing that shows up when you Google "Yale Football" after this season, which is the 100th anniversary of their football home, the Yale Bowl.

The best way for Yale to kick off their 100th Yale Bowl season would be a win over Lehigh.

LFN Look Back: Lambert Cup Competition Adds Sizzle To Rivalry

Everyone had heard of the Lambert Trophy on the campuses of Lehigh and Lafayette.

Awarded to the most outstanding college football team in the East, it was routinely won by some of the legendary big-school programs of the time.  Jock Sutherland's Pitt teams and Earl "Red" Blaik's Army teams dominated the Lambert Trophy balloting in the first couple of decades of the award.

In 1957 the Lamberts and their board members, including Kermit Roosevelt, son of Teddy Roosevelt,  decided that there ought to be a Lambert Trophy for smaller schools in the East as well - schools that played against "major colleges", but didn't play the majority of their games against those schools.

It gave an extra jolt of excitement to the Rivalry.

UNH Was An Object "Lesson" in FCS Football For Mountain Hawks

"Have fun writing this game up," a journalist friend helpfully told me on Saturday when the Mountain Hawks fell behind 4-1.

No, Virginia, it wasn't a whole lot of fun writing up Lehigh's drubbing by UNH.

Losses are no fun for any Lehigh football fan, of course.  It's no more fun to write about a oh-so-close-to-a-win game against James Madison than it is to give up fifty points to your mortal rival.

It was awful hard to grasp at some positives about a game which was pretty much over at halftime.

But I did find some.

The biggest one of all is that this is not the FBS, where a September loss can spell the difference of the plus-one playoffs and a mid-tier bowl.

Even though Lehigh is 0-2, they are not knocked out yet.

No. 7 UNH Plays Like Championship Contenders, Buries Lehigh, 45-27

It was not a good half of football.

"I'm disappointed with today's outcome," head coach Andy Coen said after the game. "We never gave ourselves a chance. UNH really jumped us from the get-go and were very physical. We did not tackle very well. They really controlled every aspect of the game through the half."

For Lehigh fans, it made for some tough viewing at the place they call the "Dungeon" on a rainy, grey afternoon in Durham, New Hampshire.

New Hampshire scored touchdown drives of 71, 74, 84, and 90 yards in the first half, converting some 2-point conversions for good measure, to coast to a 29-0 lead.  They never looked back.