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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 Raymon…

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…

Pelletier, Casey, Mayes, And Lehigh Offense Put On A Show In 59-29 Loss To Stony Brook

(Photo Credit: Alec Turner c/o Lehigh Athletics)

For those that care about these things, Lehigh entered the first round FCS playoff matchup 21 1/2 point underdogs.

And if we're being fair, that was probably the right number.

The Seawolves were 9-2, nationally ranked with seven conference wins in the tough CAA and one of their losses coming to a very strong FBS team in South Florida.  In contrast, unranked Lehigh came into the game 5-6 and only were here because they upset Colgate 41-38 on the road and won enough Patriot League conference games to win the autobid.

Yet a young Lehigh team was game to put their best foot forward and to have a heroic sendoff for potential NFL prospect senior WR Troy Pelletier, and in that, the game was a rousing success.

With junior QB Brad Mayes expertly picking apart one of the top defenses in FCS, time after time he'd find Troy for reception after reception, each one highlighting his impressive skill set as an audition for the next level.

It w…

Lehigh Battles Hard, But Gets Blown Out 59-29 To Stony Brook In 1st Round of FCS Playoffs

It was marginally better than last seasons 1st round loss to New Hampshire, but it still wasn't close.

After holding Stony Brook scoreless in the first quarter and battling back to a 24-14 deficit at halftime, Stony Brooks' 2-play, 77 yard drive where QB Joe Carbone found TE Cal Daniels for a 40 yard touchdown pass to make it 31-14.  Despite a couple of second half touchdowns to keep it somewhat close, Stony Brook would add four more touchdowns in the second half to really pull away from the Mountain Hawks.

Statistically, Lehigh battled pretty hard most of the way - especially on offense, when senior WR Troy Pelletier concluded his Division I football career as gaining the most receiving yards in Patriot League history.  On the day he had 10 catches for 94 yards and a terrific touchdown grab that undoubtedly caught the eyes of some NFL scouts.

Junior QB Brad Mayes (33-for-48 passing, 333 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INT) and junior RB Dominick Bragalone (75 rushing yards, 40 receiving yard…

How Will I Watch Lehigh At Stony Brook in the FCS Playoffs This Weekend? Plus Playoff Picks

For whatever reason, you didn't make the trip to Stony Brook, New York.  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.

1st Round FCS Playoffs: Lehigh at Stony Brook Game Breakdown and Fearless Prediction: The Best Lehigh Will Have Faced All Year

At the very least, Stony Brook will be among the best defenses that Lehigh has played against all year, if not the absolute best.

Stony Brook is ranked 21st in the FCS in total defensive yards allowed, with 316.9 per game.  This ties them with Colgate (also 21st) but is slightly behind Bucknell (294.6) and Yale (302.8) in that category.

But Colgate, Bucknell and even Yale did so with a schedule that isn't nearly as taxing as the week-in, week-out struggle that Stony Brook had as a member of the CAA.  It's one thing to give up a combined six points to Marist and Georgetown, as Bucknell did; it's quite another to hold New Hampshire and Richmond to 24 points, both resulting in wins.

Stony Brook is a physical football team - the closest equivalent that Lehigh has faced this season in that department has been Yale.  Over the course of the season, they have run the ball more often than they've thrown it, but when they have thrown the ball, generally after setting up the run…

1st Round FCS Playoffs Game Preview: Lehigh at Stony Brook: Playoff Return To Long Island For First Time Since '99

I remember the last game Lehigh played on Long Island; I was there. 

It also happened to be a FCS Playoff, or back then, I-AA Playoff, game. 

It wasn't against Stony Brook, who finished their very first season in I-AA that year with a 5-5 record and a win over St. John's (NY), 28-6.

It was against a team that used to be the biggest college football program on Long Island - an East Coast independent, Hofstra, that was led by head coach Joe Gardi.  Like Stony Brook, Hofstra had transitioned to I-AA football, but they had done so much earlier, and even with the challenge of scheduling as an independent, had developed into a playoff team quickly.

Hofstra used to have a national presence on the football stage.  Jets fans marveled at the diminutive WR Wayne Chrebet, and fell in love with his story - the local boy who led the Dutchmen in receiving, but only was on the Jets because he hustled his way into a tryout.  Legend has it that the security guard at Jets training camp stopped …

FIRST LOOK: 1st Round of FCS Playoffs: The Stony Brook Seawolves

By now, you know that Lehigh has drawn Stony Brook as their first round opponent in the FCS Playoffs.

Let's get more familiar with them by starting with the basics.

Stony Brook is a member of the CAA, the same FCS football conference that gives use Villanova, Delaware, New Hampshire, and James Madison.

They're located near Oyster Bay on Long Island, in Stony Brook, New York, and were established as a part of the SUNY University system in 1957.  Since then, they have grown and expanded in leaps and bounds as a research University, and also collaborate with Lehigh on certain initiatives, most recently with their computer science departments to research machine learning.

Their nickname is the Seawolves - which is apparently a real thing - and football-wise they finished 9-2 with their very challenging CAA schedule.

They are ranked No. 11 in the country in the FCS coaches' poll and No. 12 in the country in the STATS poll.

Oh yeah - they also gave a 9-1 FBS team a major scare …

Down by Double Digits, Halftime Speech Sparks Lehigh's #Rivalry153 Rally As Lehigh Wins 38-31

For the first time all season, it was a dark, wet day for a Lehigh football game.

It was not at all ideal for the more than 15,000 fans, and countless tailgaters that made it to the tailgates but not in the stadium, partying and tailgating outside the gates of Murray Goodman.

It was also not at all ideal for Lehigh's high-powered passing game, and during a disastrous second quarter with three turnovers, it felt like the wheels were coming off the Mountain Hawks' chances at successfully defending their Patriot League title.

It seemed like everything that could go wrong, was actually going wrong.  Three fumbles resulted in three Lafayette recoveries.  A third down conversion incompletion by Lafayette QB Sean O'Malley became an unexpected first down, thanks to an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that kept their drive alive.  A 14-7 first quarter lead became 17 unanswered points, leading to a 24-14 deficit against the best defensive team in the Patriot League.

In this most imp…

What To Look For On Sunday For the FCS Playoff Pairings

Lehigh are the Patriot League Football Champs, and will be playing in the 1st round of the FCS playoffs.

The FCS Playoff Bracket is going to be revealed on ESPNU at 11:00AM on Sunday on a selection show.  The team will be watching the selections live at the Goosey Gander to find out who they will play, and where.

The chance that Lehigh will host a home playoff game appears to be very slim.  Though record is technically not in consideration for whether a team will host a first-round game, other considerations (the lack of lights, no Noon playoff starts) make it difficult if not impossible to host a playoff game at Murray Goodman unless temporary lights are brought in.

Being that's the case, it seems very likely that Lehigh will be playing somewhere on the road in the 1st round.  Below the flip, I will give the bracket predictions of the experts and three things I think you should watch for during the selection show.

QUICK RECAP: Lehigh Rallies from 24-14 Deficit, Ends Up Patriot League Co-Champs With Thrilling 38-31 Win over Rivals

As in most meetings of The Rivalry, there were a lot of ill Lehigh fans wandering around the stands at halftime.
Not all of that illness is football-related, but the folks who live and die by this team were as well.
Down 24-14, victims of three first half fumbles, two of which were converted into Lafayette touchdowns, it almost fell like the wheels were coming off the Lehigh bus.  The energy in the stands was lacking.
The narratives were writing themselves - a young Lehigh team that made too many mistakes to win a big football game.  A team that more often than not couldn't get out of their own way enough to win a big game.  Only the win against Colgate, with all of those overturned touchdowns for the Raiders, would Lehigh have come from behind to win.
But in the second half, something happened.
Despite a Lafayette kickoff return for touchdown, the Mountain Hawks exploded for 344 yards of offense  and scored 24 points on offense in a variety of ways, none more spectacular than ju…

#Rivalry153 Lehigh Senior Spotlight

Like I did last year, I compiled a list of a "greatest hits" of some of the published articles on all of the Lehigh football seniors. 

They are below the flip.

All of the players below are listed as seniors or 5th year players on the current Lehigh roster.  Some may choose to return for 5th year medical redshirts.

The articles that are clipped are from a variety of sources: The Brown and White, The Morning Call, and LehighSports.com.

#Rivalry153 Game Breakdown and Fearless Prediction: Leopards' Veteran D Will Be Tough To Crack

We break down #Rivalry153 - and we give our fearless prediction, below the flip.

I have always felt like these Rivalry games are first and foremost about the seniors. 

It seems like for the most part, it's the seniors who really answer the call and compete to their fullest potential in this bowl game at the end of the regular season.  Guys like Lehigh QB Nick Shafnisky last year, who won the MVP award, or Lafayette RB Ross Scheuerman, who dominated a certain game in the Bronx that shall not be named.

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. 

That shouldn't stop us, though, from looking over the Leopards and seeing what they're all about.  They will put togethe…

#Rivalry153 Game Preview: The Great - Yet Terrifying - Bowl Game To End the 2017 Regular Season

Senior OL Zach Duffy could have chosen to talk about any number of career highs when he reflected this week in The Brown and White about his time as a football player at Lehigh.

He could have talked about building the program up from a 4-7 team into a Patriot League champion, crushing the sweet dreams of Lafayette last year in Easton in the 152nd version of The Rivalry, 45-21,
or perhaps he could have waxed philosophic about the last time Lehigh squared off against Lafayette at Murray Goodman Stadium, the time when QB Nick Shafnisky threw aside a Lafayette defender and the Mountain Hawks blew the doors out with a 49-35 win.

But that's not what he talked about at all.

He went right at the "agony of defeat" moments instead, talking about the loss to Lafayette in 2013, the infamous "it's supposed to suck, and it's supposed to hurt" game where an 8-2 Lehigh team faced off against a 4-6 Lafayette squad that ended up going to the FCS Playoffs with a 5-6 record…

#TheRivalry Through The Decades: From 1887 To 2017

I thought a fun way this season to show off the historic nature of Lehigh and Lafayette's football Rivalry might be to do a jump through the decades.

(If you want to learn more about the Lehigh and Lafayette Rivalry, read my book: The Rivalry: How Two Schools Started the Most Played College Football Series, available in both paperback in Kindle versions.)

Lehigh and Lafayette's Rivalry in football started in 1884, when Lafayette student manager (and founder of the football team) Theodore Welles approached the founder and student manager of Lehigh football, J.S. Robeson, and challenged them to a game of "foot-ball", a ground-based game that resembled more of a cross between rugby and soccer than the modern game of today.

Let's turn back the clock 130 years, and proceed decade by decade, and you'll see how many times Lehigh and Lafayette have played over the years, and hopefully get an appreciation on how the game changed and evolved over time.

#TheRivalry Flashback: November 21st, 1987: Lehigh 17, Lafayette 10

Since becoming an undergrad at Lehigh back in the late 1980s, I first heard about the historic nature of the football team and "The Rivalry" through the stories that fellow students would share.

I did not attend the final meeting between Lehigh and Lafayette at Taylor Stadium, which was the final time a football game would be played there.

Those that did attend said that was that it was cold.

"I remember it being one of the coldest games ever," Mark Redmann recollected, "with strong Northwesterly winds and the temperature hovering around 20.  By the end of the game, the stands were half empty because most of the fans just couldn't take the cold.

"Fortunately, several of my fraternity brothers snuck in flasks to help fend off the chill."

The Rivalry: Enjoy The Best Part Of Going to Lehigh Or Lafayette

It's something you ought to see once in your life, if you can, because it's unique, it exudes its own special energy, and it has an emotion and spectacle that many bowl games would dream to have.

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 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 being around The Rivalry.  I've studied it, blogged about it, and even written a book about it

The world has changed, and football has changed, a lot since 1884.  What hasn't changed, I think, is the weird and particular chemistry that seems to happen when these two teams get together for a football gam…

Dominick Bragalone Goes Into Monster Mode As Lehigh Is One Win Away From Title

It has been a most unusual season for Lehigh.

Starting the year off at 0-5 and getting swept in their out-of-conference schedule, the Mountain Hawks were in danger of having their season go off the rails.

But two things have come together over the last five football games that have put Lehigh on the brink of back-to-back championships.

The first is the late blooming of the Lehigh defense, which kept battling every week since the low point of the September 30th loss to Wagner to do the job in four of their five Patriot League conference games. 

The second is the development of junior RB Dominick Bragalone into a bellcow running back, a back who has to be in the conversation for Patriot League offensive player of the year.

In five Patriot League games, Bragalone has run for 863 yards in 5 games, rushing for 11 touchdowns and adding two more receiving touchdowns as well. 

The South Williamsport, PA native certainly wasn't unknown before this week - after all, as a freshman and a sop…

QUICK RECAP: Mountain Hawks Keep Championship And Playoff Hopes Alive With 34-21 Victory Over Holy Cross

The term "control of your playoff destiny" is thrown around a lot.
The 3-6 Mountain Hawks were in control of their destiny this weekend.  Win against Holy Cross, and Lehigh will stay alive for no worse than a co-Patriot League Championship and possibly a ticket to the FCS Playoffs.
By the time the clock hit triple zero's, the Mountain Hawks did what they had to do, beating the Crusaders 34-21, and keeping destiny in their own hands with one more regular season game to go - the 153rd meeting of The Rivalry next weekend vs. Lafayette.
Junior RB Dominick Bragalone carried the offense on his back with 30 carries for 205 yards and 4 touchdowns, but he and the offense fed off the energy of  some big Lehigh defensive and special teams plays.  Once Lehigh went up 14-0,  Holy Cross would never get any closer than a touchdown.

How Will I Watch Holy Cross at Lehigh This Weekend? And Your Full Game Preview Pack

Not headed to the the frozen tundra at Murray Goodman Stadium to catch the critical Holy Cross/Lehigh game?

Why?  THIS IS IT, FOLKS.  This is one to catch in person.

Yeah, I know it's going to be cold.  Yeah, I know that life is busy.  But it's a home game, it's win, and stay alive for a Patriot League Championship.  It's a big game; there's no doubt about it.  You need to be there for big games.  Future generations of your family are counting on you to say that "I was there on that freezing cold day at Murray Goodman".

So after that sales pitch, you still can't make it, and still want to know how to you catch the game?

Never fear.  LFN's here.

Holy Cross at Lehigh Game Breakdown And Fearless Prediction: Which Crusader Team Will Lehigh Get?

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

The old Forrest Gump saying that seems particularly apt about this matchup this weekend is: "Life is like a box of chocolates.  You don't know what you're going to get."

So as it goes with Holy Cross, whose offensive outputs in every game this year have been: 20, 20, 51, 26, 7, 36, 0, 7, 24, and 42.

Three games scoring less than 10 points; three games scoring more than 30 points, and four games scoring between 20 and 29 points - that defines inconsistency.

In their high-scoring games, the ingredient that has seemed to help Holy Cross score points in bunches are the same thing that helped Lehigh so much this week: turnovers.

In Holy Cross' two most impressive wins - against New Hampshire and against Fordham - in both games, the sequence "Holy Cross touchdown, get ball back after a turnover, Holy Cross touchdown" played a huge part in their wins.  Once they got up by …

Holy Cross at Lehigh Game Preview: Two Rollercoaster Seasons Meet Head-On At Murray Goodman

Holy Cross' and Lehigh's paths to having fun playing football have been different, but two teams that appear to have reclaimed the fun to some degree will be facing off this weekend at Murray Goodman Stadium in an intriguing, important football game.

The 4-6 Crusaders have only one path to a Patriot League co-championship: beat 3-6 Lehigh this weekend, and hope 3-6 Lafayette and 5-4 Colgate lose at least one game the rest of the way.

But in Holy Cross' regular-season finale, it doesn't really feel like it's about the postseason - which would only happen in the unlikely event of Lehigh and Holy Cross finishing at 4-2, and Lafayette and Colgate finishing at 3-3 in league play.

For Lehigh, though, the Patriot League Championship and the opportunity to play in the FCS Playoffs is still very much in play.  Beat Holy Cross, and beat Lafayette in the 153rd meeting of The Rivalry, and this Mountain Hawk team will have a ring fitting in their future and a football practice…

It All Will Come Down To 14 Days Of Being Locked In

After the Bucknell victory, senior OL Zach Duffy said something that cut through the entire 2017 Lehigh football season.

"We have 14 days to stay locked in and do whatever it takes to win another championship," he said to the team.

And it's true. 

It really doesn't matter what happened Week One, Week Five, or even last week.  When this Mountain Hawk team goes to bed, and wakes up again during the next six days, they are in the Patriot League Championship race.  If they win, and stay locked in for the next fourteen days and win two football games, they will win the Patriot League.

It will require being locked in for fourteen days.

In Must-Win Game, Lehigh Defense Forces Four Turnovers And Lehigh Offense Makes Bison Pay, Win 42-21

(Photo Credits: Mike Geer/Lehigh Athletics)

"We went right at 'em."

That was head coach Andy Coen talking to Lehigh Sports' Steve Lomangino after the Mountain Hawks' 42-21 win over Bucknell.

With their Patriot League title hopes on the line, and the No. 1 defense in the Patriot League the opposition, it seemed like the Mountain Hawks might enter into the type of defensive struggle that defined last year's game against Bucknell.

But after junior LB Mark Walker forced and and grabbed a Bison fumble and returned it to the Bucknell 9 yard line, junior QB Brad Mayes didn't mess around.

How Will I Watch Lehigh At Bucknell This Weekend? And Your Media Pack

Not headed to Lewisburg this morning to catch the Lehigh/Bucknell game?

OK.  I do sort-of understand.  It's a noon start, and it's pretty far away.  You're still somewhat in a Halloween-candy coma, and heck, is today fall back, turn-the-clock-back an hour, or is that on Sunday?

So you can't head out.  So how do you catch the game?

Never fear.  LFN's here.

Lehigh at Bucknell Game Breakdown and Fearless Prediction: Will Homecoming Spell Doom Again For Lehigh?

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

In my preview, I spent a lot of time talking about Lehigh, but let's take a minute to try to get inside the heads of this Bucknell team this weekend.

The Bison, along with every other team in the Patriot League, are still mathematically alive for at least a share of the Patriot League title.  But considering that mathematical window closes the second Colgate beats Georgetown (or, barring that, Lafayette), it's more realistic to say that the Bison are playing for pride, and the future, this Saturday.

Not that that's going to make things any easier this weekend - Fordham, in similar circumstances, beat Lehigh 45-35 last weekend.

And something that has to be remembered is that for every team on the schedule, beating Lehigh is a huge goal.  Along with Colgate, Lehigh's perennial success makes opponents just that much more focused during Lehigh week to take them down, and all the better …

Lehigh At Bucknell Game Preview: Injuries Force Youth Movement During Possible Championship Run

When the 2017 Lehigh Mountain Hawks released their very first positional two deep back in September, it had five freshmen and nine sophomores listed. 

That's a fairly normal type of depth chart for a largely veteran team that was ranked in the FCS Top 25.

Only two freshmen,  OG Jackson Evans and LS Jack Dean, were expected to contribute right away, while sophomore FS Riley O'Neil had already started nearly every single game he'd played since his freshman season - already a veteran.

Entering the ninth game of the season, the depth chart that head coach Andy Coen will present to the officials on Saturday will look very different.

The two defensive captains on opening day, senior DT Jim Mitchell and junior SS Sam McCloskey, won't be anywhere to be found - both injured, out for the year.  Junior CB Donavon Harris - still out with a head injury.  Junior LB Mark Walker - out.  Junior ROV Nick Thevaganayam - out.  Senior TE Drew Paulsen - out.  Senior WR Gatlin Casey - most …

Fordham Shows Lehigh How To Win Football Games By Acting Like A Team

I got to Jack Coffey Field late.

I knew it was going to be close, getting to the Bronx for the 1:00 PM start.  My son was marching in the band for the parade that morning, and nothing was going to keep me from going to that event, completed under a perfect sky and perfect weather shining upon Main Street. 

Earlier in the week I made a calculation on whether I could make it to kickoff by leaving as soon as his marching gig was complete. If I left, right as it ended, and didn't make any stops, and the traffic was just right, it was doable.

So I decided it was a go.  I'd be headed to the Bronx on a gorgeous Saturday that felt a lot more like September than November.

QUICK RECAP: Lehigh Has Another Losing Trip To NYC, Falls to Fordham 45-35

(Photo Credit: Lehigh Athletics)

The ambulance came onto the field for the third time during a Lehigh football game. 

On this occasion, it was that senior TE Drew Paulsen was trying to recover an onsides kick for the Mountain Hawks.  Down only a field goal, head coach Andy Coen was trying to get the ball back to take advantage of momentum.

But something happened.

On the tackle, he had a head or neck injury, necessitating for the third time this year that an ambulance had to come on to the field for a Lehigh game.

The extremely-loved senior out of Tampa, Florida was carted out on a gurney, and headed to local Presybterian hospital for observation.  On the TV broadcast, they showed tears from some of the players on the sidelines.

Lehigh lost to Fordham, 45-35, in an extremely frustrating game where the Mountain Hawks turned over the ball  four times, twice in the red zone, and twice setting up Fordham in their red zone.  But the injury to Paulsen, and the right leg injury that came up …

How will I Watch Lehigh At Fordham This Weekend?

Not headed to Fordham this afternoon to catch the Lehigh/Fordham game?

OK.  I do sort-of understand.  You have kids dressed as Pokemon coming to the house.  You're holed in watching Stranger Things 2, and you simply were binge-watching the series all last night.  Your collection of candy corn is running low, and you need to get a refill before tonight.

So how do you catch the game?

Never fear.  LFN's here.

Lehigh at Fordham Media Pack (w/ Video): Mountain Hawks Try To Maintain League Momentum in the Bronx

One aspect of the Lehigh game at Fordham that doesn't get a lot of attention is that
the last time the Mountain Hawks went to the Bronx and came away with a win was in 2011.

Even before RB Chase Edmonds then broke a Patriot League single-game rushing record against Lehigh in their 59-42 win in 2015 - a record he later broke against Lafayette - Lehigh lost a 52-34 shootout in the Bronx in 2013 as well.  In the last two games in the Bronx against Fordham, Lehigh has allowed a 50-burger, as they say, two straight games.

"Fordham racked up 630 yards of offense on the Mountain Hawk defense and cracked 50 points on Lehigh's D, the first time that happened since 2007," I wrote about that 2013 game.  "It wasn't only Fordham's third-ever win against the Mountain Hawks - it was also Lehigh's first regular season road loss since 2010, when Lehigh traveled to New Hampshire and lost 31-10."

That was only marginally as painful as the 2015 game, which also ha…

Lehigh At Fordham Game Breakdown and Fearless Prediction: Will Edmonds and Anderson Play?

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

A key element to this week's game is the status of Fordham QB Kevin Anderson and RB Chase Edmonds.  It doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize that Fordham is a different team with or without one or both of them.

Edmonds was held out in the second half of a blowout loss to Colgate, only eight yards short of the Patriot League all-time rushing record, while Anderson left the Lafayette game with an ankle injury, and hasn't returned since.

Some speculation exists on the Fordham board that Anderson was suspended for the Georgetown game last week.  If it is true that Anderson was suspended, and not hurt, the interesting part of that aspect is that there is historic precedent.

"Eagle-eyed followers of Lehigh Football Nation may have noticed last week that Fordham did not suit up their regular starter, QB Kevin Anderson, versus Georgetown," I wrote in last year's preview of the …

Lehigh at Fordham Game Preview: Unmet Expectations - And Hope - Will Clash In The Bronx

This was not how it was supposed to be.

Back in March, looking at the schedule, plenty of Lehigh and Fordham fans looked at the schedule and circled October 28th, 2017 as a must-see game.

WR Troy Pelletier?  RB Chase Edmonds?  Are you kidding me?  It might be a battle of nationally-ranked teams!  There's an outside chance ESPN College Football Gameday might show up in New York City!  Imagine that!

College Football Gameday did indeed come to New York City this season.  But it wasn't for the matchup on October 28th, 2017.

Now that the date is very close to being upon us, a very different College Football Gameday-free matchup awaits.

Sure, WR Troy Pelletier will be suiting up for Lehigh, and even though he didn't suit up versus Georgetown this week, it's anticipated that RB Chase Edmonds will suit up this weekend as well.  The game, without question, will be a showcase for some athletes that might very well find themselves playing on Sundays.  For that reason, this could b…

Lehigh's Bye Week: Former Teammates of Lehigh Players Shine; Army Surges; Columbia Shines; Bucknell Stuns

I know, I know, it's strange when there's no Lehigh football game result to pick apart.  That doesn't mean that the rest of college football stood still during the Mountain Hawks' bye week.

Lehigh's bye week came during a time when Penn State football, already rabid at the best of times, was at peak foaming-at-the-mouth after Happy Valley hosted ESPN College Gameday on Saturday morning and Michigan on Saturday night.

In case you've been living under a rock, Penn State RB Saquon Barkley has a local connection: he went to Whitehall at the same time a guy called QB Nick Shafnisky was under center.  Now, Barkley is the odds-on favorite to win the Heisman with the Nittany Lions after a 263 yard, 3 TD effort against the Wolverines as Penn State coasted to a 42-13 win.

Completing the return to 1986, Notre Dame also went to 6-1 after their own resounding 49-13 win over USC Saturday night as well, surprising in the ease in the way RB Josh Adams carved through the Troj…

Your Bye Week College Football Viewing Guide

If you're anything like me, you're probably wondering what to watch when there's no Lehigh football game to attend or view on a fall weekend.

Fortunately, dear Reader, I'm available to help you answer that question.

From the early morning College Gameday at Happy Valley to Colorado/Washington State "Pac 12 After Dark", there are a boatload of different opportunities to immerse yourself in the wild, wonderful world of college football.

Every week on College Sports Journal, I compile a list of links of every live internet stream that the NFF College Football Broadcast schedule puts out.  But this week, you don't even need to go there, because everything you'll need, Patriot League, FCS, or FBS, I'll have right here.

The Need For A Lafayette Football Nation Has Never Been Greater

(Photo Credit: Harvard Magazine)

Last weekend, Lafayette traveled up to Harvard to play the Crimson up in Cambridge.  It was the 19th meeting between the Leopards and the Crimson, a series that started in 1966 and has been a frequent event since the early 1990s.

It was a pretty historic game, too: the 700th football game contested at Harvard Stadium.

In years past, you might have found members of the local Lehigh Valley media making a trip up to Boston to cover the game from an independent Lafayette perspective, and you would have seen a recap online and some postgame quotes from the postgame press conference in there as well, as well as seeing an article or two about the game in the Sunday paper.

This weekend, though, there was nothing.

The recap in The Morning Call was not the great work of Paul Reinhard, who freelances for the paper - they didn't pay him to go up to Cambridge to take in the game and ask John Garrett about the progress of the team.  Instead, someone added a top…

LFN's FCS Top 25, 10/17/2017

I don't officially vote in any of the FCS Top 25 polls, but I do share who I think deserves to be in the Top 25And my No. 1 and No. 2, James Madison and North Dakota State, amply proved their worth again in tough conference matchups where they ended up victorious.

It wasn't as easy as the 30-8 final score might indicate, but James Madison finally solved the Villanova defense in the fourth quarter just when the Wildcats were threatening to tie the game.  The Dukes' remarkable winning streak just keeps rolling along - since losing to Colgate in the FCS playoffs in 2015, defending FCS National Champions James Madison has gone 20-1, their only loss coming to a North Carolina team last year that played in a bowl game.

North Dakota State's 27-24 win, however, against the runner-up in last years' FCS Championship game, Youngstown State, was a prizefight won in overtime when PK Cam Pedersen booted a 36 yard field goal to beat Bo Pelini's Penguins' on the road a…

Patriot League Fans Stunned At the Firing of Tom Gilmore at Holy Cross

It was clear that Holy Cross' 32-0 loss to Yale wasn't going to yield many highlights for their end-of-the-year DVD.

“We just couldn’t string anything together,” head coach Tom Gilmoresaid after the loss. “They got us on our heels. They were executing some big plays and it snowballed. Yale kept the pressure on and it one of those days we couldn’t flip the momentum.”

At 2-5, the Crusaders did, and still do, have a chance to win the Patriot League, if they win the rest of their games and Lafayette loses twice - certainly not an inconceivable notion.

Even so, Holy Cross athletic director Nathan Pine sent shockwaves through the Patriot League this weekend when he called head coach Tom Gilmore and told him that he was being terminated immediately, with Brian Rock, the team's offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, taking over in an interim basis.

“Traditionally I’m not a proponent of a mid-season change,” Pine told Jen Toland of The Worcester Telegram-Gazette, “but I’ve …

Lehigh Goes 2-0 In Patriot League Play With Critical 54-35 Win Over Georgetown

The 2017 Lehigh Mountain Hawks are known for having a great offense, a high-octane group that features stars like junior QB Brad Mayes and junior RB Dominick Bragalone.

But senior WR Troy Pelletier would trade it all for conference wins.

On an afternoon where he broke a bunch of school and Patriot League records - some of them unanticipated - his focus, as ever, was about getting the league victories that count towards the main goal of this team - to defend their Patriot League Championship.

"I didn't know what the records are," Troy said afterwards about his record-busting, 16 catch, 197 receiving yard, 4 touchdown performance.  "I just knew I was close.  I knew it was going to come if I bought in every day, do what I need to do every day to get better, and I knew it would come."

Fortunately for Lehigh fans, his banner day came to allow Lehigh to resoundingly beat Georgetown 54-35 and go to 2-0 in Patriot League play.

QUICK RECAP: Pelletier's Career Day Helps Propel Lehigh To Victory over Georgetown, 54-35

Before the game, the Lehigh sports social media team had some graphics ready for a record that senior WR Troy Pelletier had a high probability of breaking today.

Troy, or "The Doctor", as I call him, had to get 60 yards receiving to beat the Patriot League record for receiving yardage.

After he skied past that record, the social media folks had to keep assembling a lot more graphics.

By the end of the game, more records would be falling left and right.  The career Patriot League touchdown record - the first time since 2001 since a Lehigh player nabbed 4 touchdown receptions in a game.  Somewhere in the fourth quarter, he'd grab his 16th reception, breaking his own record for receptions in a game.

In the end, Lehigh cruised, never trailing in a 54-28 win over the Hoyas, but the story was Pelletier, whose amazing 16 catch, 197 yard, 4 TD game was the talk afterwards.

How Will I Watch Georgetown at Lehigh this Afternoon?

Not going to the game today?

You're not going to be at Murray Goodman Stadium at 12:37PM today?  It's pacing break, you say?

Well, I'm going to be there.

So how do you catch the game?

Never fear.  LFN's here.

Georgetown at Lehigh Media Pack (w/Video): 1977 Champions Coming Back To Goodman

As a guy who is pretty passionate about his Lehigh football history, it was great to see a national champion on the set of Lehigh Sports Central this week.

QB Mike Rieker, quarterback of the 1977 Division II National Champions, showed up to talk to Steve Degler about his role on that team and share some stories (and some video highlights) about that magical season.

One thing he didn't do is talk about funny locker room stories about head coach John Whitehead.

"It was strictly business with coach Whitehead," he said.  "There was no footing around in the locker room until you left.  He was all business, and it reflected on us, a lot of guys took to heart they didn't want to make mistakes, because you'd have to face him.  He was a tough taskmaster and a great teacher, and he ended up being a really good friend.

An LFN Investigation: What's Wrong with Patriot League football?

This week, Lafayette plays Harvard up in Cambridge, where the 2-4 Leopards are expected to lose to the 2-2 Crimson.  I say expected to lose because with one exception since 2000, that's what's happened every time Lafayette has played Harvard: they have lost 12 out of their last 13 to the Johnnies, and have a lifetime record of 3-19 against them.

The expectation among Patriot League football fans is that football scholarships was supposed to change all of that.  Simply offer conventional football scholarships, add to that a chance to play in the FCS Playoffs, and suddenly football recruits choosing between Harvard and Lehigh for business would start choosing Lehigh.

It hasn't worked out quite that way.

Through five games in 2017, the combined record of the Patriot League is a mind-boggling 8-21 outside of Patriot League contests.   And of those eight wins, only one has come against a team from the Ivy League - Colgate's 21-7 win over Cornell.  Collectively, the Patriot…

Georgetown At Lehigh Game Breakdown and Fearless Prediction: A Lehigh Show-Me Game

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

Like many college football fans, I was surprised to see Maryland start out the season strong with a 3-1 record.

Their lopsided loss to Ohio State has taken some of the shine of the Terps early season, but if they can scrape three more wins against the likes of Northwestern, Indiana and  Rutgers, they could be looking at a bowl bid and a successful, surprising season.  (After the game this weekend, Maryland takes on Northwestern at 3:30 PM on ESPN2, incidentally.)

It's easy to pull for the Terps if you're a Georgetown or Lehigh fan.

First, former Lehigh head coach Pete Lembo is special teams coordinator, tight ends coach and assistant head coach to Maryland skipper D.J. Durkin.  Lembo, a former Georgetown lineman, was head coach from 2001-2005, going 44-14 over that stretch and leading the Mountain Hawks to two Patriot League championships in 2001 and 2004.  He happened to also be skipper du…

Georgetown At Lehigh Game Preview: Enough Was Enough

(Photo Credit: Morning Call)

"When’s enough, enough?"

Sometimes the game narratives can fall into something that seems like a cliche - the old halftime pep talk about "winning one for the Gipper", or something like that.  But this one feels different.

Head coach Andy Coen talked about it, and junior QB Brad Mayes talked about it - about Brad taking control of the locker room at halftime with a team full of long faces.

Going into that locker room, Brad had just before rallied on a broken play to fire a perfect pass to junior RB Dominick Bragalone to cut the two-touchdown deficit to one, and after a special teams touchdown for Colgate was called back on a penalty, the defense stopped Colgate cold to end the half.

But despite the momentum, gloom was still in the locker room.

“As a quarterback, you have to be a vocal leader," Brad told Keith Groller of The Morning Call this week.  "I’ve done it in the past when I was younger and in high school, and even when …

LFN Midseason Report Card: All-Nighter Before Midterm Saves Passing Grade?

We've all been there, Lehigh fans.  I know I was as an undergrad.

You enter the mid-term needing something big to save a bad grade, so you work furiously, trying to catch up on months of the readings you should have been doing, going over homework you skipped for some good reason - that good reason escapes you now, of course - to try to ace the midterm that can pull your grade back up from the dead.

With copious amounts of coffee, you go over the readings, taking the notes you should have been taking all along.  You stay up all night to go over all the material, catching several catnaps during the morning.  You finally enter the classroom of the test - and you deliver the grade you needed.  You save your GPA, and you find yourself finally back on track - and then you collapse in a heap of bones on your bed.

OK, maybe the Colgate victory was not quite like that.

In a way, though, it feels like it - the win injects a huge measure of hope into a season that was pointed in the wrong …

In 41-38 Win Over Colgate, Lehigh Buries Memory Of Winless 1966 Season, And Gives Themselves Potential For More This Season

It was a very different time for Lehigh football, but in 1966, the Engineers started out the season 0-5, and had to travel up to Hamilton, New York to take on the Colgate Red Raiders.

"Lehigh faces its toughest opponent of the season tomorrow afternoon in the Red Raiders of Colgate, at Kerr Memorial Stadium in Hamilton, N.Y," the 1966 Brown and White preview read.

After their 21-15 loss to Colgate in 1966, the Engineers would fall to 0-6 and eventually finish 0-9 on the season, the last time Lehigh started a season 0-6 and the last time Lehigh would go winless in a season as well.

It was that sort of historic elephant that the 2017 Mountain Hawks had on their backs this Saturday, whether they realized it or not.

Had they lost to their Chenango Valley rival, they would have been the first Lehigh football team to go 0-6 in more than fifty years.  0-5 entering this game, ironically their sixth shot at a football victory would involve going to the same venue to play the same op…

QUICK RECAP: Up By 3, Lehigh Throws Out The Numbers And Finds A Way To Win, Beats Coglate 41-38

It was Colgate 28, Lehigh 14 as the first half was coming to a close.  The Mountain Hawks had the ball, but the pall over Lehigh fans everywhere was very evident - "here we go again," most seemed to be thinking.

You couldn't blame fans necessarily for thinking that way, of course.  The Mountain Hawks hadn't found out yet this year how to pull out a game like this, and normally, a two-touchdown deficit to Colgate feels like a four-touchdown deficit, the way they run the ball and gradually crush the spirit of opposing teams.

Driving and scrambling - somewhat of a broken play - junior QB Brad Mayes found junior RB Dominick Bragalone downfield with a big 35 yard touchdown pass, cutting the deficit to 28-21.

And then, gradually, over the course of a half of football, Lehigh put mistakes behind them just as the uncharacteristic mistakes by Colgate seemed to mount.  One Colgate touchdown would be called back.  Then another.  And Lehigh would battle back to tie the game twi…

How Will I Watch Lehigh at Colgate This Afternoon?

Not headed to the the frozen tundra this afternoon to catch the Lehigh/Colgate rivalry?

OK.  I do sort-of understand.  My sled dogs are in the shop, too.  Besides, it is really tough on them to pull the smoker up to central New York when the temperature is 80 degrees. 

So how do you catch the game?

Never fear.  LFN's here.

Lehigh At Colgate Media Pack (w/ Video): Looking For Positives

"We're looking for positives," Steve Degler of Lehigh Sports Central said several times.

And coach Andy Coen did mention a few positive things, like the play of junior RB Dominick Bragalone, and the improved play of Lehigh's defense.

But he also mentioned how important it was to "educate his players" about the rivalry Lehigh has with Colgate as well - how playing up in Hamilton is never easy and this game is a rivalry game.

"Next to the Lafayette rivalry, I look to Colgate next," Andy said.  "We have to educate our young players that this rivalry is a very, very tough one, and I know Colgate view themselves as the toughest guys going, and we need to prove they are tougher than they are."

Lehigh At Colgate Game Breakdown and Fearless Prediction: Will Lehigh Get to Where Their Feet Are?

Lehigh and Colgate is always a big game, whether both teams are going in undefeated or, as in this case, an 0-5 team is squaring off against a 2-3 team.

In a testimony to how evenly matched both of these teams have been over the years, Colgate and Lehigh have split their last 10 meetings, and no team has won more than 3 straight against the other since the inception of the Patriot League.

Colgate and Lehigh have faced off 54 times, and the overall record has been, fittingly, close, with Colgate holding a slender 29-23-2 advantage.  The last tie came in 1980, a 17-17 tie at Taylor Stadium in which Lehigh's John Whitehead and Colgate's Fred Dunlap faced off as head coach.  In a way, that hotly-contested tie sort-of epitomizes the competitiveness of this rivalry today.