Skip to main content

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 Andy Coen told ESPN radio sideline reporter Matt Markus it was.


Murray Goodman Stadium has seen some great Lehigh wide receivers on its field, including some that have been on NFL rosters, like WR Horace Hamm and WR Ryan Spadola, and plenty of other great receivers, too, like WR Jake Drwal and WR Lee Kurfis.

This Saturday though, Carter outperfomed them all.

Carter had 246 yards receiving, which was a Goodman stadium record and something that Spadola, Kurfis, and Hamm had not done on Lehigh's home soil.

Lauletta had a career day, completing an efficient 15 for 20 passing day for 313 yards and 4 TDs.

“Trey played a really smart game,” Bucknell head coach Joe Susan said. “He didn’t try to do anything he can’t do.  It is rewarding for this group to come back with a win like this. They did a great job keeping their composure when Lehigh came back. It was a team victory.”

On the flip side, coach Coen didn't single out anyone as to why Lehigh fell to 0-5 for the first time since the 1960s.

"It's never just one guy," Coen said.  "If it was one guy screwing up all time, we could fix that.  We just don't play enough in concert with each other."

A good amount of Bucknell's damage came on the three touchdowns passes to Carter that came from Lauletta - strikes of 69, 78, and 77 yards respectively, or 224 of his 246 yards.

"The last one was a double move," Coen said.  "He jumped the first route, but you can't do those things.  On another, a guy was out of position, and he just ran down the field, a fast guy."

The Mountain Hawks jumped out to a 7 point lead when sophomore QB Nick Shafnisky pitched a ball to freshman WR Troy Pelletier on a pretty 19 yard run, but that score was the exception rather than the rule in a rough first half that saw Bucknell score 24 unanswered points.

Setting up one of the scores was a Shafnisky interception, which Bucknell promptly turned into points with a 1 yard plunge by RB Matt Del Mauro.

Shafnisky would have flashes of good play, but would be hampered by four interceptions, two which would be converted into touchdowns.

"We turned the ball over five times," Coen said.  "One was a fake punt, but we can't have four interceptions in any football game and hope to win."

After Coen "lit into" his team at halftime, Bucknell got the ball to start the second half, where Lauletta found Carter on a bubble screen, and he was off to the races, making the score 31-7.

The Mountain Hawks did try to respond in the second half starting to look like a team that could overcome a big deficit.  Down by three touchdowns and three 2-point conversions, Lehigh found some momentum and made it a game, scoring 17 straight points in the second half.

A short FG by junior PK Ryan Pandy and an 8 yard TD run by freshman RB Chris Leigh later, after Shafnisky completed some timely passes to senior WR Josh Parris, senior RB Rich Sodeke and senior WR Derek Gaul, he called his own number and scored a touchdown, making it a one-touchdown game with 6 minutes left to play.

But then Carter's third big-play TD reception squashed any hopes of a dramatic Lehigh comeback.

The players seemed to be kicking themselves about missed opportunities.

"We recovered a fumble at their 14 and we didn't score," senior WR Derek Gaul said. "That hurts. That's where good teams win ballgames when they take advantage of things like that. We just have to put it together."

"Coach always tells us to play the way we're capable of playing," senior LB Isaiah Campbell added. "Nobody is Superman. I feel like a lot of guys, they don't take the coaching the way they need to. They try to jump balls, jump routes, go in a gap that's not theirs trying to make a play. It turns around and bites them in the butt. I feel like if everybody just does what they're coached to do and they don't try to be Superman, things will work out better."

"You have to find a way to rise above it," Coen said.  "We do good things at times.  But we're not [winning], and it's my responsibility to get us better, and I take that responsibility very seriously."

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Remembering Lehigh's Battles With The Late Tubby Raymond

(Photo Credits: Delaware Online)

When I heard the news Tubby Raymond, legendary Delaware head football coach, died last week at the age of 92, two immediate memories came rushing back to me.

One occurred on October 16th, 1999, when Tubby had made a complaint to the local paper or radio in the run-up to Kevin Higgins' Mountain Hawks beating his Blue Hens on Delaware's homecoming, 42-35.

I have no idea if the quote even actually happened, but my recollection is that Tubby said that Lehigh had "St. Bartholomew's" on their schedule, and hadn't played anybody.  It was a verbal jab that many Delaware fans took with them to the stands to heckle the Mountain Hawk fans that made the short trip to Newark.

Up until that point, I had watched a bunch of Lehigh football games over the years.  I experienced their rise in the 1990s.  I enjoyed wins, and championships, and playoff victories.

But never had I felt a win so viscerally vindicating than the one over Tubby Raymond&…

Lehigh Wrestling Gets Superstar Treatment at PPL Center. Lehigh Football Needs The Same At Murray Goodman.

"We knew it would be nice," Lehigh wrestling head coach Pat Santoro said. "But it was even better than we expected."

Pat was talking about the reception his Lehigh wrestling squad experienced at Allentown's PPL Center this weekend, when a sellout crowd over nearly 10,000 people came to watch No. 1 Penn State grapple with No. 5 Lehigh in a collegiate wrestling event.

It was, by all accounts, something special to behold. 

"I thought it was really cool and an exciting place to wrestle," said Penn State wrestler Nick Nevills. "These fans were really into it, a rowdy bunch. It's a lot more fun as an athlete to wrestle in an environment like this. I'd say it was one of the most exciting times I have had in my career."

The sense of spectacle at the PPL center, though, puts a spotlight on what more can be done at Lehigh itself to make their athletic contests into spectacles.  It requires money to be spent and energy to be expended.  But the…

Troy Pelletier Hasn't Stopped Outworking His Rivals On His Journey To Professional Football

Many Patriot League football fans remember the 153rd meeting between Lehigh and Lafayette, one that ended happily for the Mountain Hawks.

They might remember the MVP performance of QB Brad Mayes, or perhaps the halftime speech by OL Zach Duffy that seemed to spur the Mountain Hawks to victory.

Or perhaps they might remember the spectacular single play of Mayes rolling right and finding WR Gatlin Casey in the end zone to give the Mountain Hawks a lead they didn't relinquish.  It was an incredible play by Mayes, who returns this upcoming year for his senior season, and Casey, who, having exhausted his eligibility at Lehigh, will be playing one more year at Middle Tennessee State.

As great as those individual moments are, though, they are not my biggest takeaway of that game.

Too many Lehigh people forget that Lehigh was down 31-21 at half, and that victory was no sure thing.  And they sometimes forget that so much of that victory came from the grinding of WR Troy Pelletier, deliver…