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 twice, fall behind by a field goal with 5 minutes to play, and then score the winning touchdown and get a game's only turnover at the exact right time to preserve the win.
Somewhere, Al "Just Win, Baby" Davis was smiling.
It was a win Raider fans - Oakland Raider fans, that is - would have loved.Lehigh wins pic.twitter.com/UXzsqqjCfa— LehighFootballNation (@LFN) October 7, 2017
Behind an amazing 186 yards rushing by Bragalone, the Lehigh offense managed to match Colgate score for score when it most. In a must-score situation - his second of the game - his 53 yard run to start the second half tied the game at 28 and kept Lehigh close.
And then Mayes, throwing out the reality of that field goal, drove the length of the field, throwing a pass up in the air in a place where only senior WR Troy Pelletier could catch it - where he fell into the end zone for the go-ahead score.
With a lot of time left, and the Raiders driving towards a game-winning score deep in Lehigh territory, Colgate, despite all the overturned touchdowns and all the penalties and all the offensive progress, was in a position to tie or win the game.We've got a barn burner between @ColgateFB and @LehighFootball!#WatchStadium pic.twitter.com/rOvZ4sztbO— Stadium (@WatchStadium) October 7, 2017
Instead, Colgate fumbled, and junior LB Mark Walker cleaved onto the loose ball, and gave Lehigh a chance to run out the clock. And after Mayes would find Pelletier on a huge 3rd down conversion, Lehigh could go into victory formation and get their first win on the season.
Of Pelletier's 8 catches and 132 yards, it was that last one catch for 10 yards that was the best of the season for all of Lehigh Nation.
"Brad Mayes made really, really good decisions," a thrilled head coach Andy Coen told the radio crew after the game. "I'm prod of him. In the locker room he became a vocal leader."For first time all season Lehigh is in Victory Formation. Mountain Hawks are gonna win 41-38. pic.twitter.com/Okj5zSLALi— Keith Groller (@KeithGroller) October 7, 2017
Andy also mentioned the most important aspect of the game - not the passing yards, not the running penalties, not the return yardage, not the turnovers.
"We're 1-0," Andy said.