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 big game this weekend.
Before getting to Lehigh, it's worth visiting the Holy Cross media narrative going into this huge game at Worcester, naturally led by Jenifer Toland's reporting at The Worcester Telegram and Gazette.
Before last week’s game against Harvard, Holy Cross senior LB Kyle Young told his fellow linebackers, “This game is on us. To win this game, we have to play well.”
Under that pressure, the group thrived and helped HC upset the nationally ranked Crimson, 27-17. Young stood out with 8 tackles, 2 sacks and 2 forced fumbles. The performance earned him Patriot League Defensive Player of the Week honors.
Holy Cross coach Tom Gilmore heard Young issue the challenge to the linebackers.
“Harvard doesn’t really have any weaknesses in their roster,” Gilmore said. “What they typically do is things to put you in a bind and let their talent win the situation. The linebackers had to be very disciplined in their reads, their angles, their fits. That’s what he was referring to, and the linebackers played very well.”
Young’s first of two strip sacks happened near the goal line in the first quarter. He ripped the ball out of Harvard quarterback Tom Stewart’s hands, and junior linebacker Brett Laurie recovered it in the end zone for a touchdown and 21-7 HC lead. It was one of the top plays of the game.
The Holy Cross defense will be tested again this week when the Crusaders host Patriot League opponent Lehigh (5-2, 2-0) at noon Saturday.
“We will have to play very disciplined, assignment-oriented defense to help minimize what they’re doing,” Gilmore said.It's not hard to imagine a similar pitch by Holy Cross' front seven this week, which has been the strength of the team. The Crusaders lead the league in sacks, and they'll be looking for a strong multi-sack performance again this week.
Lehigh Football Facebook Chat with Lehigh DL Julian Lynn
"We talked about it all season: do your 1/11, do your job, trust the guys around you to do their jobs, and we'll get it done."
"We really stressed playing hard every single play, despite the situation. We want to be strong in the run game, not allow a double team to drive us back, holding your gap down. Running backs are having problems finding gaps to run through, which we take a lot of pride in that. Maybe we haven't sacked the QB as much as we want, but weve been putting a lot of pressure on them."LehighSports.Com: LB Colton Caslow: The Psychology of Winning
Playing for a Patriot League Championship as a freshman, the Mountain Hawks struggled his sophomore year, but are now on their way up, due in large part to their focus on a family atmosphere. Having a true team of brothers creates a welcoming atmosphere, allowing the Mountain Hawks to eliminate any distractions and focus on football.Morning Call: Lehigh sophomore Brad Mayes is not your typical backup quarterback
"Having a strong culture opens up those doorways for the younger guys to speak their minds," said senior LB Colton Caslow, a psychology major. "You don't have to worry about making sure everyone's on the same page, because people are going to speak up and ask questions."
If sophomore QB Brad Mayes gets his start at Holy Cross on Saturday, he'll be ready mentally and physically for the challenge of competing against a defense that has registered 20 sacks in its first seven games and limited a high-powered Harvard attack to 17 points last week.
"My dad raised me to be poised and never let [my emotions] get away even if I threw an interception or fumbled," Mayes said. "He would get on me and never let me get out of who I was and encouraged me to come right back and make the next play. My high school coaches always preached to not turn the ball over and that's the thing I pride myself on.
"They emphasized that I shouldn't try to do too much because if you don't make mistakes, the big plays will show up. Just complete the pass, no matter how it gets there. As long as I'm going out there and doing what I was raised to do, good things are going to happen and we can win games."STATS: Not one, but two QBs have red-hot Lehigh dominating the air
Coach Andy Coen, whose team ranks fourth in the FCS with 350.3 passing yards per game, may need to start the sophomore again because he's not sure if Shafnisky will play this week against Holy Cross.
"We're blessed to have these two guys that are actually tremendous players," Coen said. "And senior QB Nick Shafnisky's been a tremendous leader and I think that leadership is really starting to rub off on Brad, which is great."
Mayes backs up his coach's belief, soaking up every last bit of guidance the unselfish Shafnisky offers.
"My biggest mentor so far would be (Shafnisky)," Mayes said. "I don't think I've had anyone really in my life so far who's been able to teach me things on and off the field."Lehigh Valley Live: Game-changing friendship paying off for Lehigh football QBs
"Each week, (offensive coordinator Drew Folmar) does a good job getting me prepared as if I'm going to be the starter because with Nick's injury, you never know if he can play one play or 70 plays," Mayes said Wednesday. "I have to be prepared for him to get hurt in a game — which I'm not hoping for, by any means, because he's one of my best friends. But I have to be prepared for him to go down on a moment's notice. I have to be prepared to go in and pick up where he left off."
“This ranking is a compliment to our whole offense because we have a very good offensive line with weapons all over,” junior WR Troy Pelletier said. “It’s even cooler that we have junior WR Gatlin Casey at No. 2 and both us and (Nick Shafnisky) top five in many other categories.”
Casey is not far behind with 799 yards and 10 touchdowns. He also received Patriot League Special Teams Player of the Week after a victory over defending Patriot League champions Colgate University. Brisson attributes both Pelletier’s and Casey’s numbers to the innate competitiveness they possess.
“(Pelletier) and (Casey) are as competitive as I’ve been around,” [receivers coach] Scott Brisson said. “You have a shot to be really good if this is the case, and they really enjoy being out there each day and truly compete every practice.”