Skip to main content

Monmouth Beats Up Lehigh And Takes Their Lunch Money, Win 46-27

(Photo Credit: Monmouth Athletics)

Football is a physical game, and it requires a tremendous amount of strength to line up, play after play, to push people around down after down.

As a result football games sometimes can evolve into contests where the teams push each other around, and such games can end up where one team gets worn down and the other pulls away for a big victory.

That's what happened this weekend at Monmouth.

The Hawks started out behind the eight-ball early, falling behind by two scores, and then rallying to take a 27-21 lead relatively early in the third quarter.  But the physical beating, slowly and surely, took its toll, eventually knocking the offense out of kilter and the pushing the defense out of the way for their powerful running game.  In the end, Lehigh only could be punched in the mouth so many times, and fell, 46-27.

It was an especially hard loss to take because this isn't how the 2017 season was supposed to happen.

"The tougher man wins," head coach Andy Coen said after the game.  "They were a lot tougher and more physical than we were."


The national ranking was Lehigh's this week.  They were still a Top 20 team in the nation, and thus were entering this game with a level of expectation not seen in the Lehigh Valley for quite some time.

They battled hard against Villanova last week, falling in a tough game, 38-35, and though there were mistakes, Lehigh fans - and Top 25 voters - gave them a pass, impressed by Lehigh's offense and chalking up some of Lehigh's mistakes to pre-season jitters.

But the excuse of jitters couldn't be used here.

From the very first kickoff return by RB Pete Guerrerio of 70 yards, Monmouth set the tone with their running attack that would be a familiar refrain over the course of the game.

Head coach Kevin Callahan ran the ball 41 times and passed it 21 times - it wasn't a secret most of the time that a run was coming from the pistol formation.  And over and over, Monmouth succeeded, averaging 8.6 yards per carry.

Falling behind 14-0 in the first 5 minutes was the worst possible outcome at the beginning of the game, but the Mountain Hawks did rally after that tough start and took the lead.

WR Troy Pelletier (Justin Lafleur/Lehigh Athletics)
Junior QB Brad Mayes engineered two solid touchdown drives, one ending with a touchdown strike to senior WR Troy Pelletier and the other on a great 4th down scramble and bullet shot into the hands of senior WR Gatlin Casey.

After another drive ended with a 5 yard touchdown to junior RB Dominick Bragalone, Lehigh would enter the locker room with a slender 21-20 lead.

But Monmouth was getting points, settling for field goals after stops by the defense, hanging around and hoping that they would wear down Lehigh in the second half, just like they did last year at Murray Goodman Stadium.

"The physicality particularly on the defensive side, was very evident," coach Coen said.  "We didn't get to the quarterback once."

Mayes would find junior WR Luke Christiano on the second play from scrimmage in the second half, a beautiful 54 yard strike that would temporarily give Lehigh an extra edge.

But then it all fell apart.

On 3rd and 11, Monmouth QB Kenji Bahar stepped forward in a collapsing pocket and found enough space to get free into the secondary - and ripped off a 56 yard gain.  Two rushing plays later, RB Devell Jones would score the 2nd of his 3 touchdowns on the day to tie up the game.

Four times, the Lehigh offense would have an opportunity to score - and four times, they failed to do so, while the defense failed to stop Monmouth on three straight drives - all rushing touchdowns, no one touchdown more or less agonizing than any other.

Lehigh's face was getting punched in each phase of the game - and the Mountain Hawks couldn't recover.

"I just think it was a great team effort throughout the entire game," Monmouth head coach Kevin Callahan said afterwards.  "We talked with our guys all week about how this would be a four quarter game. Each of the last four years we've played Lehigh it was decided in the fourth quarter. I was happy about in the second half how we took the lead and turned that into a dominant fourth quarter. Our defense did an outstanding job in the second half of getting themselves off the field and giving the ball back to the offense."

Sometimes, a team just lines you up, beats you up, and takes your lunch money.  That's what Monmouth did on Saturday.

"After the game, I told the team pretty much what I told them in the summer," said Coen. "It's going to be a long, hard road to win a Patriot League Championship again. We just made it a whole lot harder. We don't have any momentum. I think they have the team dynamics; they just need to figure it out. We just need to worry about winning the next game."

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Patriot League Commit Tracker, Class of 2022

(Photo Credit: Steve Hockstein/NJ Advance Media)

With this year's early signing period in December, along with traditional signing day in February and additional signing of recruits up until May, it felt like the right time to resurrect the Patriot League Commit Tracker for the class of 2022.

This is intended to be a rolling list, updated as we go, as student-athletes going to any Patriot League school sign National Letters of Intent.

We don't know the whole story yet behind each school's recruiting class.  But this post is intended to put in one place what we know so far.

As I learn more, I will add more names to each list.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Remembering Lehigh's Battles With The Late Tubby Raymond

(Photo Credits: Delaware Online)

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

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

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

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

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