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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.

After the game, head coach Andy Coen was quick to point out the contribution early on of the defense.

"I was really thrilled with how our defense played, particularly early in the game," he said.  "It seemed like we were able to get them three and out a couple times. We needed that because the offense was struggling a little bit behind Georgetown's defense."

LB Mark Walker
After yielding a first down pass and reception early, the defense, led by a slew of tackles and hurries by junior LB Mark Walker, held the Hoyas on 3rd down on five consecutive drives, allowing Pelletier and the offense to get a rhythm and eventually get a two-touchdown lead.

"We haven't really come out like that all year, so that was huge for us," Walker said.  "We came out really aggressive.  We've been trying to get back to the basics, playing fast."

The stops allowed Mayes and the offense to methodically pick the Georgetown defense apart with a balance between the run and pass.

"Our wheels got going offensively, we were running the football very well and we had a real nice balance, which is what I always talk about for our football team," Coen said.

On the game, behind the rushing of Bragalone, junior RB Micco Brisker, and senior RB Nana Amankwah-Ayeh, Lehigh averaged over 5.1 yards per carry against Georgetown's big defensive line, including two impressive scrambles by Brad Mayes for first downs when the receivers were covered downfield.

With the establishment of the run game, the Mayes-to-Pelletier show really got going for Troy's record-breaking day, especially after senior WR Gatlin Casey had to exit the game early with a leg injury.

"I was kind of sad to see him go down, because I love seeing him out there," Troy said of his injury.  "I definitely needed to step up, and Brad kept getting it to me, and I made plays.  Sophomore WR Dev Bibbens came in, and stepped up right away, that was big for us."

Bibbens got 5 catches for 50 yards, while senior TE Drew Paulsen added 4 big catches for 56 yards and freshman WR Jorge Portorreal also added 4 grabs for 41 yards as well.

From the get-go, Mayes found Troy early and often, finding Troy in the end zone for his first touchdown early in the second quarter to take an early 14-0 lead.

After Georgetown QB Gunther Johnson found WR Michael Dereus for an 80 yard strike, Mayes went to the well again, embarking on a 6 play, 65 yard drive ending with a beautiful touchdown pass to Troy where he reached around the pylon for his second score.

As the first half was coming to a close, Georgetown's offensive drive stalled at their own 44, and had to line up to punt with about a minute to play.  But in a critical moment, sophomore LB Jon Seighman came around the edge and blocked the kick, giving Lehigh's dangerous offense a chance to score one more time before the half, and they would, with a 4 play, 40 yard drive ending in a 5 yard touchdown surge by Bragalone.

WR Troy Pelletier
At halftime, already with 3 touchdowns, 10 catches, and 115 yards receiving, Pelletier would simply add to that total in the second, capped off by his record-tying 4th touchdown, a 48 yard strike where he beat his man on the left side and out-sprinted the competition to help Lehigh go up 44-21.

It was a day of the ages for "the Doctor", and gives the team some great momentum with four enormous league games left on the schedule after the break.

“Being 2-0 in the league is huge for us after starting 0-5,” Pelletier said. “We’ve just had to keep fighting. I’d kind of like to keep it rolling, but the bye will be good for the bodies and help us heal up and recover and come out ready and firing at Fordham.”

“This is a big win for us,” Coen said. “We have our bye week coming up this week. We have some guys who are nicked up, tired, sore, those things. We'll give the guys quite a bit of rest, then get back in the weight room and start preparing for Fordham the latter part of the week. Getting that second win in the league is very, very important and gives us momentum as we continue to move forward towards our goal.”


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