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Lehigh Football Recruiting: Analyzing Needs For Class of 2021

Is it already time to ask Santa for a bag filled with new Lehigh recruits?

Since the conclusion of Lehigh's championship 2016 football season, head coach Andy Coen and all of his assistant coaches have been on the trail recruiting the next great Lehigh football players.  While it's a "quiet period" now, as per the NCAA, the Mountain Hawks have been busy.

But what, exactly, does Lehigh need in regards to the offseason?

I forgot; that's why you're here.  Let me share what I think.

2016 Season In Review: Mountain Hawks Complete Five Year Trek To Patriot League Championship

Kids come to play football at Lehigh because they want their games to matter.

They come to Lehigh willing to sacrifice so much, because they want to win games, of course, but they also play the game in order to win championships - Patriot League Championships.
They want those rings.

Sure, they get to square off against the Villanova's, James Madison's and New Hampshire's of the FCS world to measure themselves against the best of their division.  And they get to participate in the nation's most played Rivalry in all of college football, putting them in an elite club of players and into college football history.
All of those things are very important, of course, and allow them great playing memories and, in the case of the Lafayette game, perennial bragging rights.  
But 2015's heartbreak in Hamilton, the 49-42 loss to Colgate, really hurt on a fundamental level for this Lehigh team.  When that senior class was recruited, one of the things that is a part of the dea…

What Are You Doing the Night of Lehigh's 2017 Home Opener?

I have this vision.

It's the weekend of the home opener at Murray Goodman Stadium, Labor Day weekend.  It could be a Thursday, Friday, or Saturday.

And it's 6:00 PM.

In 2018, the Lehigh football team will open the season with a big celebration of the football program - at Navy, Lehigh's first game against an FBS team in over a decade.

In 2017, why not, as a one-off opportunity, try to have one Lehigh football game, the home opener, be the first-ever night game at Murray Goodman Stadium?

Will it cost money?  Yes.  Will it be easy?  Probably not.

However, is it doable?  I've got to believe the answer is "yes".


Not A Bad Feast Of FBS and FCS College Football This Weekend

Still bummed that Lehigh's Patriot League Championship season is over?  Yeah, me too.

That doesn't mean that I've totally tuned out the college football landscape, though.

Starting tonight, there's some terrific games on TV and online streaming that I'll be watching, both at the FCS and the FBS level.  Happily, the FCS Round of 16 games are not all going up against each other like last week, so the opportunity is there to catch one or more of those games - and you can bet that I will be.

Below the flip, starting with the MAC championship game tonight, are my picks for games to watch, and - why not? - some picks as to who I think will win.

(Yes, it includes Penn State.  Stop asking.)

Frank Tavani Retires After Thirty Years Of Rivalries And Thirty Years At Lafayette

The first time I asked a question of Lafayette head football coach Frank Tavani was in 2004.

It was at Fisher Field, and I had just spent my first game ever in the press box.

I had gone into that press box hoping to cover an expected Lehigh victory over Lafayette, the final crowning glory to yet another Lehigh football season.

I barely knew what I was doing, how I should act, or how to set up a computer in the press box.  But there I was, taking notes for a "game diary" for a national website called I-AA.org.

I had proven my bona fides for writing by penning a very long, very detailed summary of the Lehigh/Colgate game a few weeks prior.  That game, a Lehigh victory that went down to the wire, was sort-of a precursor to the type of coverage I do now during Lehigh games in terms of tweeting, except rather than tweet it out instantly to followers, I would write all the observations down, shuffle them up, edit them, and put them in a thousand-word article.  (Trust me when I …

Hints, And Only Hints, Of A Championship Lehigh Football Team In Big Loss to UNH, 64-21

It would be all so easy if football were a video game.

If the players were pixels, with easy-to-read sliders with their statistics on them.

ESCAPABILITY: 72
TOUGHNESS: 91

Then the FCS playoffs would be easy.  You'd plug in the teams, they'd hit each other virtually on the screen, and there would be a result, quantifying the relative strengths and weaknesses of each team.  A representative score would come out, and there would be one side bursting with victory, and the other in agony in defeat.

There would be bitterness, some teeth-gnashing, but at least you'd have figured out that the teams gave it their best shot.

But real life is not a video game.  Sometimes, star players go hunting, and come down with an illness.  It keeps them out of practice, and on the day of the big game, they're not 100%, or even 75%.  Sometimes, foot injuries do not heal, as much as you wish that they would.

And then a team like Lehigh travels up to New Hampshire, not able to put their absol…

QUICK RECAP: Lehigh's Season Comes To Close After Dominating 64-21 Defeat To UNH

Right from the opening drive it didn't feel like it was going to be Lehigh's day.

With sophomore QB Brad Mayes in for senior QB Nick Shafnisky, who was unable to start due to an undisclosed illness, a pass that bounced off the hands of senior WR Derek Knott instead bounced into the hands of New Hampshire's first team all-CAA CB Casey DeAndrade.

Six plays later, the New Hampshire offense converted that turnover into the very first touchdown of the day for the Wildcats, the first of many on a defense that clearly missed senior LB Colton Caslow, who got hurt in the second half against Lafayette last weekend.

Four different New Hampshire players scored a grand total of six rushing touchdowns, two coming from RB Dalton Crossan, two coming from his backup, RB Trevon Bryant, one from the third-string, RB Evan Gray, and one on a scramble from QB Adam Riese.

All in all, the Wildcats racked up 364 yards rushing on the Brown and White, rushing to a 36-7 lead on the Mountain Hawks a…

Watching the Lehigh/New Hampshire Game Today (ESPN3)

For whatever reason, you didn't make the trip to Durham, New Hampshire.  You've popped your popcorn, iced your Yuenglings, and put the meatballs in the crockpot - and then you panic.

How do I watch the game?  What is ESPN3?  Can I watch it on my TV?  Do I need to subscribe to something?  WHAT DO I DO???

Never fear.  LFN's here to help.

Lehigh at UNH Game Breakdown And Fearless Prediction: FCS Game of the Week

We break down the FCS Playoffs Game of the Week below the flip.

You heard right.

One of my FCS Playoff pet peeves (especially in the first round) is that, for some reason, ESPN (who owns the TV contract for all rounds of the FCS playoffs) and the NCAA do not space out all the games in fixed time slots.

If ESPN and the NCAA wanted to generate excitement about the playoffs, it would be fairly easy to space out every game with a kickoff every hour (Noon, 1:00 PM, 2:00 PM, etc.) all the way up to 8:00 PM.  That way, hardcore FCS football fans can watch part of every single game, with at least one game getting to crunch time every hour from about 2:30 PM on.  It would be compelling theater.

But ESPN and the NCAA, for some reason, choose not to do this, and indeed this year, ESPN has five FCS playoff games kicking off at 2:00 PM, one kicking off at 3:00 PM, and a couple of stragglers kicking off at 5:00 PM and 7:00 PM, respectively.

Why?  There is literally no good reason for this.  ESPN …

Lehigh At New Hampshire Game Narrative Street: UNH Remembers Last Year's Loss To Colgate

In order to understand how UNH will be looking at this weekend's game against Lehigh, you need to go back to the narrative of last week.

And then, you need to go back to the narrative from last year.

But first, let's start with last week, where the Wildcats were not only battling their Rival Maine in the "Battle for the Brice/Cowell Musket", they were battling to keep their playoff dreams alive.

The Wildcats, who had qualified for the FCS playoffs for twelve consecutive years, had fallen behind their bitter Rivals Maine, 14-7 at halftime.

With both teams at 6-4. it must have had the feel of a playoff game as well as a Rivalry game.  The winner would likely have a good shot at a playoff game; the loser would likely be out.

And the starter, sophomore QB Trevor Knight, was out of the game with a foot injury.  The backup, senior QB Adam Riese, would have to be the trigger guy to rally the Wildcats to the win.

Lehigh at New Hampshire Playoff Preview: The Granite State's Boulevard of Broken Dreams

"The Engineer football team once again showed their supremacy over the Yankee Conference leaders by defeating the University of New Hampshire (UNH) Wildcats, 16-3," read the October 26th edition of The Brown and White in 1979.

LB Jim McCormick intercepted a UNH pass early in the game, and returned it to the Wildcat 4, setting up an early touchdown.  After that, the Engineer defense would take over, crushing UNH's offense the rest of the way.

That would be the last time Lehigh has won at Cowell Stadium - 1979, a year where Lehigh was one of four teams in the I-AA playoffs and made it to the championship, ultimately falling to Eastern Kentucky in the finals.

So much has changed since then.  The I-AA playoffs have been renamed the FCS playoffs, and not have 24 teams instead of 4.  The Yankee Conference essentially was renamed to the Atlantic 10 Football Conference and now the CAA football conference, morphing from a Northeastern-based conference to one whose center of gravi…

Why Didn't Lehigh Host? And Other FCS Playoff Thoughts

By now you probably know that Lehigh is headed to New Hampshire on Saturday to face off against the Wildcats in the first round of the FCS Playoffs.

About this, some of you are scratching your heads.  Lehigh is 9-2, you say.  Every single computer rating system has them ranked ahead of New Hampshire, every single human voter poll has them ranked against New Hampshire.  Lehigh won the Patriot League outright; New Hampshire weren't even co-champions of the CAA.  Why is New Hampshire hosting us?

The answer resides in the bidding process and some NCAA rules, both of which explain why it happened.

I'll talk about this, and my other thoughts on the bracket, below.

Fate Determined That Lehigh Would Crush The Sweet Dreams Of Their Rival Lafayette, 45-21

The parties raged on in the parking garage next to Fisher Field, which were packed with Lafayette fans eager to enjoy a party with plenty of great food and copious drinks.

The tiny businesses below Fisher Field, the small bits of capitalism next to the concrete husks of factory jobs that have left ages ago, had plenty of visiting Lehigh fans, enjoying the tailgates and ready to invade the stadium that they hadn't seen in four years.

In the line coming into the stadium, a silent protest of hundreds of Lafayette students clad in black, handing out a political statement on a piece of paper and showing some signs that were up seemingly to simply show that these people exist, and are not happy.

Somewhere in this mix of people escaping, people expressing and people denying, a football game was played, one that matched an 8-2 team that was headed to the national stage and the FCS playoffs, the other a 2-8 squad that had their fans questioning the tenure of their head coach.

It was one o…

Round 1 of the 2017 FCS Playoffs: Lehigh vs. New Hampshire!

Stop me if you've heard this before: As a reward for being the surprise outright winner of the Patriot League football championship, the reward is a trip to New Hampshire, the winner headed to seeded James Madison for a second-round game.  And somewhere, Sam Houston State looms on the horizon.

This is the exact situation that Colgate found itself last season, and this year, Lehigh is poised to run through the exact same gauntlet and the exact same teams.

Sunday morning, Lehigh found out their opponents for the FCS Playoffs; the New Hampshire Wildcats.  The game will be played at New Hampshire at 2PM EST, and will be available to watch on ESPN3 on your computer and possibly ESPN Gameplan Pay-Per-View on your TV.

Where Will Lehigh Play in the Playoffs?

Let's just put it this way: After looking at the mock brackets from around FCS Nation, mocking it out myself, trying to go over as many possible scenarios that I possibly can - I still have no idea.

That doesn't mean, dear Reader, that I won't try, and I won't try to explain to you what I think could happen.  But it's not easy, and you'll see why.

Put simply, I feel like this is the most wide-open playoff field ever, for two reasons.

QUICK RECAP: Lehigh Dominates The Leopards In A 45-21 Rivalry Win

In the most-played college football Rivalry, there was a mild concern of complacency on the Lehigh side.

Would they be able to manage the emotions of the Rivalry after a bye week?  Would they come out flat, and let 2-8 Lafayette take away their chance at an outright Patriot League championship, an undefeated Patriot League record, and a 9-2 regular season mark?

The Mountain Hawks proved resoundingly that fans needn't have worried.

Lehigh rolled to a 17-0 lead before Lafayette connected on a big pass play, then kept the foot on the gas to get to a 45-7 lead before starting to put in the second stringers.

It was pretty telling that the biggest outpouring of emotion during the game happened when Lehigh's marching band, the Marching 97, marched off Lafayette's pep band after they went over on their time to play.  It was that sort of day for a joyous Lehigh victory.

#Rivalry152 Senior Spotlight

Thought I'd put together this multimedia "presentation" of all the seniors that will be playing in #Rivalry152 tomorrow.  All the content here, pictures, videos, etc. are mostly courtesy of LehighSports.com, The Morning Call, Lehigh Valley Live, and The Brown and White.

If nothing else it will go you something to do while waiting for tomorrow's game.

Enjoy.

#Rivalry152 Game Breakdown And Fearless Prediction: Don't Sell Lafayette Short

We break down #Rivalry152 - and we give our fearless prediction, below the flip.

When you take away The Rivalry, when you take away the emotions, when you take away the craziness, the energy - what do we have?  When you look at the Xs and Os, what do you have?

Certainly, this game, like every Rivalry game, will be dictated and informed by emotion.  You can count on the fact, as a Lehigh fan, that Lafayette will play out of their minds.  For their seniors, it is guaranteed to be their last game played together as a team.  For them, there is no practicing on Thanksgiving.

Countless football teams have taken this "300" mentality and turned it into wins.  Quarterbacks that used to struggle to not get intercepted suddenly become the second coming of QB Tom Brady.  Linebackers that didn't wrap up their tackles before suddenly become LB Mike Singletary.  It can happen to Lehigh.  Don't think that it can't.

That shouldn't stop us, though, from looking over the Leopa…

#Rivalry152 Game Preview: Two Different Paths For Two Ancient Rivals

It is an easy narrative to point at the 150th meeting of The Rivalry as the turnaround for the Lehigh football program, where the Mountain Hawks got together after that bitter, bitter loss and decided that enough was enough, and that they were going to not allow their team to be a cellar-dweller.  
For Lafayette, though, you need to go back further, past some very enormous wins over Lehigh, and wonder. 
"I can't believe I typed it, but there it is," I wrote back in 2006 after a crushing 49-28 loss where Lehigh was dominated on both lines of scrimmage.   "We've lost three straight to Lafayette. and I've got some news: We're no longer the hunted. The sooner we realize that we now have to be the hunter, the better off we'll be."
The co-championship they shared with the Leopards that year had the feel of the worst consolation prize imaginable.  For the second straight year, Lafayette had stolen the FCS Playoff bid right from under the Mountain Hawk…

This Week, The Rivalry Can Be The First Healing Step

In a world that is rocked by the division of ugly elections and the blowing up of the political order, the business of beating Lafayette in the 152nd meeting of The Rivalry offers a rare sliver of personal unity among the people of Lehigh in an otherwise divided country.

The short version of the tale of the football Rivalry between Lehigh and Lafyette is simple: It's the most-played college football Rivalry in the world.  It's united fans of Brown and Maroon through a grand total of 34 Presidential elections, some of them bitterly divisive, others not.

The current tally of games sits at 151, and the game this weekend, the 152nd, will be played in Easton.  It's been waged every year, with only one interruption since 1884.

And the two schools, in competition in pretty much everything since the founding of Lafayette (1826) and Lehigh (1865), eventually coalesced around football as the main driver of The Rivalry between them.

I've spent a good portion of my adult life bei…

100 Years Ago, Lehigh and Lafayette Squared Off For The 50th Time

"A special feature of Saturday's game will be the press service for a special wire from the sidelines to the press box with will provide good service to newspaper men covering the game," The Brown and White said in regards to the 50th meeting between Lehigh and Lafayette that was to take place on Saturday, November 25th, 1916.

"With the co-operation of the Western Union Company, this scheme has been worked out: The details of various plays will be given to an operator who will send them from a table placed on the sidelines over the wire to the press box.  The operator in the stand will receive them and they will be called to the press representative through a megaphone.  One Lafayette and one Lehigh man will give the plays to the field operator - the man who carries the ball, the man who makes the tackle, fumbles, penalties, and every detail of the game will go over the wire.  All of this will be done so quickly that the press will have every play complete before t…

FCS Games You Should Follow On Your Bye Week

Lehigh's bowl game comes next weekend, of course, as they take on Lafayette in the 152nd meeting of The Rivarly in Easton.  After that bowl game, though, comes the FCS playoffs, and until the FCS Playoff Bracket is announced on Sunday at 11:00 AM after the Lafayette game, we don't know where, or when, Lehigh will play their playoff game.

Don't fret, football fans.  LFN is here with a warm cup of chicken noodle soup, a nice grilled cheese sandwich with the crusts cut off, and a schedule, complete with links, involving the most important FCS games on the schedule that will impact Lehigh's postseason schedule the most.

Sit back.  Enjoy your soup.  LFN's here to help you for this Saturday.

New to the FCS Playoffs? Here's What Lehigh Fans Need To Know

For us Patriot League diehards, we know what the FCS playoffs are all about.  We know who's in line for the autobid, we know who the No. 1 teams are, and we have a pretty good idea about who can get in, and why.

But you, dear Reader, might not be as dialed into the FCS playoff scene as the rest of us.  You know that Lehigh will be practicing on Thanksgiving, and will be playing a football game after the 152nd meeting on the gridiron between Lehigh and Lafayette.

In the span of one blog post, let me tell you, new or old Lehigh fan, what you need to look for in regards to the FCS playoffs.


Earning A Championship Is Hard, But Lehigh Does So In 20-13 War Against Bucknell

When Lehigh players, coaches and fans went to bed on Friday night, they probably had visions of the Mountain Hawks' powerful offense attacking, and overwhelming, Bucknell to coast to a share of a Patriot League Championship and the conference's FCS Playoff bid.

About ten minutes into the game, the 7,049 fans in attendance had probably figured out that if Lehigh was going to win a championship, it wasn't going to be won like that.

It was going to have to be earned.  It was going to have to be grabbed from Bucknell, smashing them in the mouth the same way they were smashing us.

It cannot be emphasized enough how Lehigh had to earn every single inch of this Patriot League victory, how not easy this win really was.

How the Mountain Hawks fell behind, clawed and scratched back to get the lead.  How they had to stop the Bison stampede at key spots, get crucial turnovers, and fire up critical, difficult field goals by sophomore PK Ed Mish.  Even extra points, normally considere…

QUICK RECAP: Lehigh Are Patriot League Champs, Claw Back And Earn Title 20-13

Bucknell hardly made it easy.

The Bison jumped out to a 7-0 lead, and made the lead 13-7 on the backs of touchdowns by RB Joey DeFloria and RB Chad Freshnock.

With a chance to build on their lead, though, Lehigh's defense stopped Bucknell again, and again, and again.

The Lehigh Mountain Hawk defense, led by heroic performances by senior LB Colton Caslow (11 tackles) and senior LB Pierce Ripanti (10 tackles), forced two turnovers that became a field goal by sophomore PK Ed Mish and a critical stop on Lehigh's doorstep that preserved Lehigh's Patriot League Championship.

It was a fitting place, in a fitting game, for Lehigh to take this elusive Patriot League championship and to allow Lehigh to finally crash an FCS Playoff party they had been denied five years ago.  They overturned their loss to Lafayette here in 2013.  They overturned their 4th-and-5 at Colgate last year by a sophomore CB Donavon Harris interception that preserved the slender 7 point lead.

It was tough as …

How Will I Watch Bucknell At Lehigh This Afternoon?

How will you watch Bucknell at Lehigh this afternoon?  What a ridiculous question.  Like me, you're headed to the stadium for a 12:37 kickoff.

Wait - really?  You're not going to Murray Goodman today?  Why not?  Unscheduled dental emergency?  Flying in from Buenos Aires?  Need to find out how to catch the game online, by a video stream or online radio?

Never fear.  LFN's here.

Bucknell At Lehigh Game Breakdown And Fearless Prediction: One Win Makes Lehigh The First Guaranteed Postseason Contender

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

In case you have been living under a rock - or maybe just new at this - there's a game going on this Saturday that's, um, pretty important to Lehigh's Patriot League title hopes.

To just go over the scenarios one more time, just so we're all on the same page, Lehigh is in the driver's seat this weekend.

If they beat Bucknell tomorrow, they are Patriot League champions - no worst than co-champions - and they will clinch the FCS autobid, being the first Division I football program in the nation to clinch a postseason berth.

If Bucknell wins, it opens the door for other possible not-so-good Mountain Hawk outcomes where Lehigh are co-champions without playoffs, or (if they lose to Bucknell and then to Lafayette), neither champions or playoff contenders.

Certainly a Lehigh win would allow all Mountain Hawk fans to know that, even after the 152nd meeting of The Rivalry, even after a …

Bucknell At Lehigh Narrative Street: All Is Quiet On The Bucknellian Front

Anyone at all worried that it's just a wee bit too quiet from Lewisburg?  I am.

The narratives coming out of Bethlehem this week - emphatically, me included - are ones of possible Patriot League championships and how the offense is "clicking" and has been very, very good.

That's not usually a very good recipe for a big game for the home side, especially since word out of the Bucknell camp is very, very quiet, even though the Bison still are very much alive in the conversation of winning the Patriot League title and making Lehigh sit at home Thanksgiving weekend.

Last week, Bucknell traveled to the No. 9 team in the country, Charleston Southern, and proceeded to put up a very good fight in a game that didn't affect Bucknell's title chances one way or another.   Though the final tally was 49-28, Bucs, the Bison didn't go away quietly against Charleston Southern's triple-option attack, staying within a touchdown most of the way until the home team pulle…

Bucknell at Lehigh Game Preview: Reversing A Mountain Hawks Curse

Perhaps you've heard that the Cubs, managed by a Lafayette grad called Joe Maddon, broke their more than century old championship drought vs. the Cleveland Indians last night.

The Lehigh Mountain Hawks' championship drought isn't quite as long as that.

But if the Brown and White hope to raise the trophy at Murray Goodman Stadium this weekend, they'll need to break a mini-curse of their own.

It refers to the Mountain Hawks' inability over the last four years to win both Game 10 and Game 11 on the schedule, specifically during the last four years.

There have been years that Lehigh has needed Game 10 to have a chance to win the Patriot League, but haven't been able to get it done.  There have been other years where they've needed Game 11 to do so, and missed.

When Games 10 and 11 have title implications, and when Lehigh wins those games, they tend to be Patriot League champs.  When they lose one or the other, there tends to be the type of hurt that the Indian…

My Vote for the FCS Top 25, 11/1/2016

You didn't ask for them, but here's my pick for this week's FCS Top 25.

I'm pretty proud of myself for not falling into the trap of South Dakota State.

Many people, after the Jackrabbits' huge win over North Dakota State, vaulted them to the Top 5 of their polls, but I know better.  The craziness of the Missouri Valley I thought would eventually catch up with them, so I had only reluctantly put them at No. 10.

Their loss to 3-5 Illinois State, taken in isolation, was a shocker - but perhaps not completely shocking, though, considering the Missouri Valley has not one but two teams that have beaten Power Five Teams and also have five losses.

In fact, there are three Missouri Valley teams - Illinois State, South Dakota and Northern Iowa - that can plausibly say, if they get to 6-5, they have a legitimate shot at making the playoffs as an at-large team, thanks to perceived quality wins.

Lehigh 58 Fordham 37 Postgame Commentary: Coming Out Next Week "On Fire"

(Photo Credit: Keith Groller/The Morning Call)

Lehigh football post-game press conferences don't get much more relaxed than the one that happened last weekend.

You can hardly blame head coach Andy Coen, senior QB Nick Shafnisky, junior DE Tyler Cavenas and sophomore RB Dominick Bragalone for feeling that way, after jumping to a 13-0 lead right out of the gates and piling up an incredible 57-9 lead against their opponents last weekend before calling off the dogs.

It led to a familiar feeling in the post-game: talk of how the offense is clicking so well, how the defense keeps coming up big.  There were plenty of accolades to go around.

But when one media member tried to lightly broach the subject to Lafayette, the always-loquacious Shafnisky quickly steered the conversation back to next week's game.

That's because Shafnisky, perhaps more than anybody, feels the importance of next week's game vs. Bucknell.

"For us to be in this position, it's all a credit to us…

Chase Who? Shafnisky, Bragalone Combine for 6 Rushing TDs, Beat Fordham, 58-37

(Photo Credit: Amy Herzog/The Morning Call)

When people think Lehigh football, they rightfully think of a powerful air attack.

After all, the Mountain Hawks boast the top two receivers in all of FCS in regards to receiving yards, junior WR Troy Pelletier and junior WR Gatlin Casey.

What they don't necessarily think of is a grinding rushing attack, something more out of a triple-option team or perhaps a run-heavy Wing-T team.

Yet in Lehigh's 58-37 statement win over Fordham, the same Ram team with potential future NFL player RB Chase Edmonds, the main headline wasn't the aerial show, though there were a few highlight-reel plays there, too.

Instead, the headline became Lehigh's six rushing touchdowns, three from senior QB Nick Shafnisky and three more from sophomore RB Dominick Bragalone, and 349 yards on the ground.

I looked through the record books last night, and combed through recaps of a lot of football games, and the last time I found that Lehigh scored six rush…

QUICK RECAP: Lehigh Explodes Out of the Gate And Runs Over Fordham, 58-37

It was supposed to be RB Chase Edmonds' day.

The questions around Lehigh, as ever, surrounded the defense.  Would they be able to slow down Edmonds?  Would he score two touchdowns, or three?  Would they hold the almost-certain-NFL-player to only 200 yards?

In all the talk about Edmonds, people forgot about two pretty good runners on the Lehigh side: senior QB Nick Shafnisky and sophomore RB Dominick Bragalone.

Bragalone, for the second straight week, had another amazing game, getting 192 yards rushing, zero negative rushes, and 3 touchdowns.  Shafnisky ran for 112 yards and added 3 touchdowns of his own.

It would be a game where Lehigh would not need to punt - the first game since Bucknell in 1999 where that was the case.  That's because they ran over Fordham, 58-37, going up at one point 51-9 before giving up a bunch of late scores.

Next week Lehigh will host Bucknell for the right to clinch an FCS playoff shot, and the chance to do no worse than tie for the Patriot League ch…

How Will I Watch Fordham at Lehigh This Afternoon?

Not going to Murray Goodman today?  Need to find out how to catch the game online, by a video stream or online radio?

Never fear.  LFN's here.

Fordham at Lehigh Game Breakdown And Fearless Prediction: Remember getting Chase-d Out of the Bronx?

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

Remember when Fordham RB Chase Edmonds set a Patriot League rushing record against the Mountain Hawks?  I do - it happened just last year, just the sort of Halloween "treat" I'd rather live without.

"Edmonds came out of the locker room like a man on fire, and played like it," I wrote.  "Two 14 yard runs set up Fordham's go-ahead score, and he would rush for 100 yards in the 3rd quarter, ripping off a 60 yard touchdown run to give Fordham a 38-21 lead and capping off three straight touchdowns for the Rams."

Another less-publicized reason for Lehigh losing in the Bronx last season?  Unforced errors.

"Unfortunately, we're still our own worst enemy," head coach Andy Coen said afterwards.  "Whether its penalties or turnovers, you can't beat a good team with those. They're trying to learn that lesson. If you're going to keep turning the b…

Fordham At Lehigh Narrative Street: Stats Don't Win Ballgames, Players Do

Junior WR Troy Pelletier seems to want the game to start now.  Like, yesterday.

When you read and hear the interviews with him at media day this week, he seems to want the game to start right after the interview, to go on the field and get the game over with right now.

Though he knows he and teammate junior WR Gatlin Casey are on top of the total receiving yardage list in FCS, that's not what he wanted to talk about on Wednesday.

"I haven't really put much thought into it," Pelletier told Greg Joyce of Lehigh Valley Live. "I just know good things are going to happen if we prepare the right way. We focus on each day to get better. We're confident if we put ourselves mentally and physically taking care of our body, good things are going to happen."

There was lots of "focusing on getting better, taking it one game at a time" talk from both Pelletier and head coach Andy Coen this week, as you might expect.  But their body language said something e…

Fordham At Lehigh Game Preview: Better Make Sure The Scoreboard Has Enough Lights

"With the exception of the first five minutes," The Brown and White said, "Lehigh played indifferent football.  At times the Brown and White showed flashes of form, but for the most part they lacked the dash and drive which characterizes the opening minutes of the game.  The aerial attack which gained so much ground last week was poor, and it was not until the latter part of the third quarter that Lehigh completer her first successful forward pass."

This quote, taken from the 1923 student newspaper detailing the first-ever official football meeting between Lehigh and Fordham, won't be something that's repeated in the student newspaer in their recap this weekend.  In fact, the fifteen points scored in that 1923 game, a 9-6 Lehigh win, might very well be outdistanced in the first five minutes of the game this weekend., and it's a guarantee that Fordham and Lehigh will be completing their first passes well before the 3rd quarter.

It would be stunning to s…

My Vote for the FCS Top 25, 10/25/2016

You didn't ask for them, but here's my pick for this week's FCS Top 25.

"Back to Normal" seems to be the theme of this week's Top 25, with my top 9 unchanged from last week.

The biggest team to fall in my poll was definitely Montana, whose 45-34 defeat to Northern Arizona was even more resounding than the final score might indicate.  The Lumberjacks in this one held a 45-20 advantage before letting up two touchdowns at the end of the game.

The Griz have frankly underwhelmed all year to me, allowing a team like St. Francis (PA) to hang around for no good reason, running up the score against hapless competition like Mississippi Valley State and Sacramento State.  With their second loss to a Big Sky opponent and nothing all that impressive in their schedule, it was an easy call to drop them more than 10 points in my poll.

Lehigh 46, Holy Cross 14 Postgame Commentary: Does This Team Have Shades Of 2011?

I've been doing this long enough to know that every Lehigh football team is different.  The dynamics running through every team is different; what motivates one team has no impact on the team of the following year.

But every big win this 2016 team gets, many of the fans who have been here a while keep whispering:

2011.

Like an Adele Spotify channel, you can't help but be reminded of 2011 when you go to Murray Goodman Stadium or Fitton Field or wherever they're playing.  The popular online game between fans on the Lehigh football message board is: Who was better, 2011, or 2016?

The answer is still, beyond a shadow of a doubt, 2011 - for now - but the only reason for that is that 2016 is still in the midst of writing their story.  Yet it can hardly be helped that fans look at the potential of this 2016 team and think, with apologies to Adele, that they are rolling in the same sort of wins that they were in 2011.

Raindrops Can't Slow Down Lehigh, Defeat Holy Cross 46-14

(Photo Credit: Jay Anderson/Worcester Telegram)
It was a day where even when things went wrong they went right for the Mountain Hawks.

It was early in the second quarter, deadlocked at 7.  Sophomore QB Brad Mayes, picked the starter as senior QB Nick Shanfisky would be the backup to let his injured leg continue to heal, would get a drive going with an 18 yard pass to junior WR Troy Pelletier.  Two plays later, sophomore RB Dominick Bragalone would run a counter play left, escape a few tackles, and surge for a 28 yard run into Holy Cross territory.
You could feel some momentum building as Mayes would connect on a 4th and 7 to Pelletier to get into the Holy Cross red zone, and again when he would rifle a ball to junior WR Gatlin Casey over the middle.  There was even more when sophomore RB Micco Brisker would keep his legs moving - and his offensive line, pushing - until he reached the end zone.
Up 13-7, on the extra point Shafnisky, who holds during extra points, got a low snap, and s…

QUICK RECAP: Lehigh Train Keeps Chugging Through Worcester, Dominate Holy Cross In 46-14 Win

On the first drive of the game, surprise Holy Cross starting QB Blaise Bell connected on a long pass to WR Jake Wieczorek, setting up a big touchdown run by WR Brendan Flaherty.

On the last drive of the game, freshman RB Domenic Cozier ran up the middle to score his first collegiate touchdown for the Crusaders.

In between those two touchdowns, it was for the most part all Lehigh.

Lehigh's defense held Holy Cross to 281 yards of total offense and forced five turnovers - most of it coming on a couple of pass plays - and allowed the offense to to pummel Holy Cross' defense with a balanced attack.  With three passing touchdowns from sophomore QB Brad Mayes and three rushing touchdowns, two of them by sophomore RB Dominick Bragalone, Lehigh would score 46 unanswered points to win resoundingly, 46-14, at Fitton Field.

How Will I Watch Lehigh At Holy Cross This Afternoon?

Not going to Worcester to watch Lehigh take on Holy Cross?  Need to find out how to catch the game online, by a video stream or online radio?

Never fear.  LFN's here.

Lehigh At Holy Cross Game Breakdown And Fearless Prediction: Wading Into Uncharted Territory

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

It's often said that preseason publications aren't worth the paper they're printed on, and almost unusable when the actual regular-season matchup comes around.

And in the case of Holy Cross, that's especially apt.

Much of the hype around the Crusaders centered around their star QB, unofficially anointed the best quarterback in the Patriot League, senior QB Peter Pujals.  Much of my writings about Holy Cross centered around what he can do, what he brings to the table, and what his weapons are.

But a left ankle injury in the first half of the Dartmouth game didn't just sideline him for that contest - it sidelined him for the season, forcing his ankle in a boot and will almost certainly have him apply for a medical redshirt for next season - unless head coach Tom Gilmore decides, against the odds, to have Pujals play this weekend if he's healed up enough.

That and a slew of o…

Lehigh At Holy Cross Game Narratives: Mountain Hawks/Crusaders Coverage Nationwide

Alabama, Arkansas, Texas, Florida.  South Carolina, Louisiana, Tennessee, Georgia.

No, this isn't a list of Power 5 opponents that are suddenly going to be hosting Lehigh and Holy Cross in football the next few years.

It's a list of just a few of the many states across the country that will be carrying the TV broadcast of the Lehigh/Holy Cross clash.

It's going to be airing on something called the American Sports Network, which isn't a network in the broadcast sense but more of a network in the Internet sense: a network of interconnected stations, some over-the-air broadcasts, some local cable stations, that will be carrying Lehigh football over their airwaves.

If you live in PA, all you need to know is the game is going to air on CSN-Philly, CSN-MidAtlantic+, WHP-2 Harrisburg, WPNT-2 Pittsburgh, or WSWB-2 Wilkes-Barre.  If you live somewhere else in the lower 48 states, a full list of broadcast outlets can be found here.

It adds to the tension of what is already a b…

Lehigh At Holy Cross Game Preview: Cornered Crusaders Are The Worst Crusaders

No college football coach wants to face a team boxed in a corner.

In that way, Harvard was stepping into a purple hornet's nest last weekend when the nationally-ranked Crimson came to play the wounded Crusaders.

After their injury-riddled team failed to hold onto a win against Bucknell, ultimately falling 21-20, Tom Gilmore's team needed to make a stand against a really good football team in order to keep their season from a limp to the finish.

Even if they didn't win, they had to keep things close - few pundits gave Holy Cross much of a chance against the better bankrolled, historically dominant Harvard team that hadn't lost a road game a non-conference game in their last sixteen tries.

Cornered like rats, Holy Cross responded in a big way.  Six sacks and a second-half shutout later, the Crusaders would notch their first win over a nationally-ranked opponent since 2009, thus turning things around at the exact right time for them and the exact wrong time for Lehigh.

My Vote for the FCS Top 25, 10/18/2016

You didn't ask for them, but here's my pick for this week's FCS Top 25.

So this is the week that North Dakota State falls.

They fell in a thrilling defensive battle at home to South Dakota State in the game for the "Dakota Marker".

It was a great game, filled with drama and showed that the Jackrabbits are worthy of everyone's attention this week. In fact, South Dakota State's effective, time-consuming drive was in many ways pulling from North Dakota State's own trademark last-second comebacks, pulling together a drive for the ages, daring them to stop them yet consistently converting 3rd and 4th downs to set up the chance to win.

But then, therein lies the tricky part.  Where to rank the Bison, and where to rank the Jackrabbits?

Lehigh 35, Georgetown 3 Postgame Thoughts: The Long Road Back To National Recognition

(Photo Credit: Chris Barry/The Brown and White File Photo)

In terms of national recognition, life in the Patriot League isn't always easy.

Certainly Patriot League players and fans read the preseason magazines about FCS.  And last I checked, the youth of America still watch ESPN, and they see some FCS darlings in the FCS Kickoff Classic, like North Dakota State.

They tune into the college football landscape, and they see Eastern Washington upsetting Washington State, Bo Pelini coaching Youngstown State, Albany upsetting Buffalo.

Yes, the national FCS scene has their darlings, and frequently it feels like the Patriot League and their opponents are mere afterthoughts in the world where Big Sky teams are putting up big scores, Sam Houston State is beating all comers, The Citadel is dominating in the South, and the Missouri Valley Football Conference sees almost half its members in the Top 25.

And despite having junior WR Troy Pelletier and junior WR Gatlin Casey sitting at No. 1 and…

With Tremendous Confidence, Lehigh Pulls Away Big In Second Half To Beat Georgetown 35-3

(Photo Credit: Keith Groller/Morning Call)

It felt a lot closer than 14 to 3 at halftime.

Sure, Lehigh had outgained Georgetown 220-64 on offense up until that point.  Definitely, the Lehigh defense, which has been playing with a chip on its shoulder for most of the entire season, was playing, as they say, lights-out, and they had just come up with a big defensive stop in the red zone to keep Georgetown from cutting it from 14-7 rather than 14-3.

But a batted ball at the line of scrimmage, alertly grabbed by DE Hoya DE Hunter Kiselick, made it feel like the Mountain Hawks might rue the opportunities they had in the first hald to put away Georgetown.

After coming in for injured senior QB Nick Shafnisky, sophomore QB Brad Mayes jumped right into the fray and finished the scoring drive with a perfect pass over the middle to junior WR Troy Pelletier to make the score 14-3 Lehigh.

But after a drive that went backwards and that interception, it was Georgetown that had momentum going into …

QUICK RECAP: Lehigh Makes Statement In DC, Dominates Georgetown 35-3

At Cooper field in Georgetown, Lehigh jumped to a 14-0 lead and coasted to a 35-3 victory.

After senior QB Nick Shafnisky appeared to go over on his ankle funny, sophomore QB Brad Mayes came in, and shortly after running 12 yards for a first down, found junior WR Gatlin Casey for Lehigh's second touchdown on the afternoon.

How Will I Watch Lehigh At Georgetown This Afternoon?

Not going to DC to watch Lehigh take on Georgetown?  Need to find out how to catch the game online, by a video stream or online radio?

Never fear.  LFN's here.

Lehigh At Georgetown Game Breakdown and Fearless Prediction: Lehigh Hoping Hoya Madness Confined To Basketball

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

Georgetown is a football school, of course.  But you may have heard that they also play basketball at Georgetown, and this Friday is a huge deal on campus: Hoya Madness.

"The Georgetown University men’s and women’s basketball programs will hold their annual Hoya Madness celebration, the official on-campus kickoff party of the 2016-17 basketball season, on Friday, October 14 at 8 p.m. in McDonough Arena," the release states.  "This is a free event open to all Georgetown students. Doors are scheduled to open at 7:30 p.m., with the show kicking off at 8 p.m. and running until 9:30 p.m.  The first 1,000 students in attendance will receive a custom ‘Hoya Madness’ Jordan Brand t-shirt."

As fun as this sounds, would be even better if the football team were somehow more wrapped up in this event as the basketball team.  One place Georgetown might look is Villanova, where the football te…