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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 else: when will Saturday get here?

"We're definitely clicking right now and things are coming together," Pelletier told Keith Groller of The Morning Call. "We're real hungry and real close to reaching our goals.  Even this year a lot of people didn't give us a chance of [competing for a league title] and we just have to make sure we're ready on Saturday because all of the progress we've made wouldn't mean as much if we didn't get this."

"This will probably be the biggest test for this football team since Villanova," coach Coen said in this week's Lehigh Football Report.  "The Rams are and outstanding football team. I know our players are hungry for this one and really looking forward to it."

While there's plenty of motivation for the game this weekend - Patriot League championship hopes are on the line, of course - perhaps another aspect that might be a source of motivation is the fact that Fordham has been to the FCS Playoffs the last three years.  In order to get back to having a shot at the FCS Playoffs, Lehigh needs to beat a team that has been there the past three seasons.

Everyone is quite aware of the challenge of slowing down Fordham's offense, too, no one more than freshman S Riley O'Neil.

"They've got a stud running back [RB Chase Edmonds]," he told Dave Lesko of WFMZ 69 News, "and he's a big focus for us.  Their quarterback is very, very good, and they have athletic receivers, so... in all phases of their offense, they're very talented.  As a defense, we've just got to focus on getting our calls in, doing our jobs, and hopefully shutting down both."

Other Lehigh and Fordham football items in the news:

LehighSports.Com: Lehigh Football Spotlight: QB Brad Mayes
"I was offered by UMass in my sophomore year but by my senior year, everyone in the recruiting process knocked me because I'm 6'1, and I didn't run that fast.  Once I got the Lehigh offer, I acted fast.  I think the game has really slowed down for me this year and I can read defenses easier..  I wasn't really sure what to expect, but I worked hard in the summer in the weight room, and to make extra plays."
Brown and White: Where football meets friendship: a Q&A with Lehigh’s quarterback tandem
BW: Bringing it more to present day, now — what would you say is the best football quality in each other?
QB Brad Mayes: You wanna go?
QB Nick Shafnisky: Yours is more like a cool confidence. Like, I’m not gonna sugarcoat it —  he just goes out there and balls. He studies what he has to study and knows how much he needs to know, but then when it comes to the field all of that goes to nothing and he just plays, and somehow balls out. Well, not somehow. He does his reads, does his checks but there’s sometimes when he makes some throws that may not even be in his read or might not be in the right progression or whatever. But he just knows how to make a play. He just stays cool in there.
Mayes: I would say that it would be his athletic ability. Obviously, I’m somewhat athletic, but there’s some things that he can do that I’m like, “Yeah, that’s why he’s the starter.” There’s some things that he does that I wouldn’t be able to do in any shape or form. I don’t think I’ve had a game over 15 rushing yards yet, and he’s had games in the hundreds. I think his athletic ability is what separates him from everybody else.
STATS: Lehigh vs. Fordham a big game with big offenses
"We're gonna really have to grit up and make sure we play complementary football," said RB Chase Edmonds, a top candidate for the STATS FCS Offensive Player of the Year. "We're playing a great Lehigh team, and that's gonna be fun." 
"Obviously, Chase is a talent. It doesn't take a football coach, a reporter - the common fan can see that," Fordham coach Andrew Breiner said. "What makes Chase really special is that he really understands the game at a very, very high level. The way that he uses that knowledge to set up defenses, it's special stuff."
"We're expecting it to be a dog fight," Pelletier said. "Coming down to the last few minutes of the game."


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