Game Breakdown, Georgetown at Lehigh, 10/31/2015

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

Head coach Rob Sgarlata should be a trendy pick for coach of the year in the Patriot League.

In a year when Georgetown was picked last in the preseason poll, Georgetown instead is playing meaningful football games at Halloween, and have a golden opportunity to finish above .500.

And they have to be looking at the game versus Lehigh as a critical one to achieve that goal.

First, there's the matter of Fordham.  While beating the preseason favorite Rams are high on the list of all Patriot League fans, the odds of them beating the other teams on their schedule, Holy Cross and Lehigh, are much greater.

There's also that tiny matter that Georgetown hasn't beaten Lehigh since 1925.

Lehigh also happens to hold the second-longest active winning streak of consecutive wins against the same opponent (14).  The longest current streak is Penn over Columbia (18).  It's no wonder that the Georgetown faithful might think that, with Lehigh having a down season last year, that this is the year that the streak is broken.

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Game Breakdown, Georgetown at Lehigh, 10/31/2015

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

Head coach Rob Sgarlata should be a trendy pick for coach of the year in the Patriot League.

In a year when Georgetown was picked last in the preseason poll, Georgetown instead is playing meaningful football games at Halloween, and have a golden opportunity to finish above .500.

And they have to be looking at the game versus Lehigh as a critical one to achieve that goal.

First, there's the matter of Fordham.  While beating the preseason favorite Rams are high on the list of all Patriot League fans, the odds of them beating the other teams on their schedule, Holy Cross and Lehigh, are much greater.

There's also that tiny matter that Georgetown hasn't beaten Lehigh since 1925.

Lehigh also happens to hold the second-longest active winning streak of consecutive wins against the same opponent (14).  The longest current streak is Penn over Columbia (18).  It's no wonder that the Georgetown faithful might think that, with Lehigh having a down season last year, that this is the year that the streak is broken.

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Game Preview: Georgetown at Lehigh, 10/31/2015

"We are still our own worst enemy," head coach Andy Coen said after last weekend's tough loss to Fordham, 59-42.  "Whether it's penalties, turnovers, if you turn over the ball more than the other team, it's going to be hard to win games.  And this is a league where things are very, very competitive."

He's right.

After a week where a scary car accident made everyone involved with Lehigh Athletics pause, and after a week where the availability of arguably the Mountain Hawks' most important player, junior QB Nick Shafnisky, is in doubt, the Hoyas (4-4, 2-1) come to town right in the thick of the Patriot League championship race.  Every team above Lafayette and below Fordham have an overall record of either 3-4 or 4-4, and that includes the Hoyas.

The road to getting into the conversation starts this weekend versus Georgetown, against a team that would like nothing better than to get their first win against Lehigh in the modern era.

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My FCS Top 25 Vote, Week 8, 10/26/2015

If you'd like, you can check out my FCS Top 25 vote below.

The story of the week in James Madison after their loss to Richmond wasn't the fact that College Football Gameday was there, nor was it about their big CAA conference loss, which took them out of the drivers' seat for the CAA title and conference autobid.

It was the fact that their superstar quarterback, QB Vad Lee, sustained an injury that would require surgery and take him out for the remained of the season.

The play didn't look like much.  The Dukes, who were already down by two touchdowns, saw Lee simply try to make something happen on a routine 2 yard run left.  A shoestring tackle by Richmond's linebacker wasn't particularly dirty, though in retrospect it looked like his foot was tackled awkwardly.

A play afterwards, Lee remained in, and collapsed after hucking a deep pass, and his incredible career at JMU was done.

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Lehigh’s Battle To Make This Season A Huge Success

I remember my time at Lehigh as a time to define new moments for myself.

It was a time to jettison old nicknames, to break out of the scripts my parents and then-friends had written for me.  It was time to write a new script, and a time to break out into a new, better direction.  It was a time to step away from the old girlfriends, as hard as that was at times, and start to live in the moment and form new relationships, ones that were not encumbered by what happened before.

I think that's something that can be applied to the Fordham loss as well, in the context of Lehigh's 2015 football season.

There are two possible outcomes from this game.

One outcome is that the defeat ends up defining the season, a loss made so frustration by an agonizing combination of bad luck, missed opportunities, and a record-breaking performance by RB Chase Edmonds.

But the other is to jettison that past, and set off on another winning streak to go through the rest of the regular season, and in so doing make this season a great success.


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Lehigh Gets Chase-d Out Of the Bronx, 59-42

Say Doc Brown had shown up at your house October 21st, 2015, and told you something about the upcoming Lehigh/Fordham game.

Suppose he lets slip that senior QB Nick Shafnisky would go out with an injury before halftime, and that Fordham RB Chase Edmonds would set a Patriot League record for rushing yards in a game while getting over 400 all-purpose yards.

Would you have gone to the game?

Would you have bothered to be one of the 5,000 fans in attendance who watched the No. 11-ranked Rams face off against a game Mountain Hawk squad?

The truth is, even though the loss was certainly frustrating and a teeth-gnashing reminder of what could have been, with two minutes to play in the game freshman PK Ed Mish lined up at the 27 yard line with a chance to make it a one-score game.

At what was effectively the "two-minute warning" in the game, Lehigh had battled all the way back from Shaf's injury, their own penalties and mistakes, and put the Mountain Hawks in a position to steal the game away.


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Game Breakdown, Lehigh at Fordham, 10/24/2015

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

Fans, coaches and players alike are keenly aware of the importance of this weekend's game.

“If you look at our win against Bucknell and our win against Penn, which are our two best wins of the year, those were our two best weeks of practice,” senior TE Chris Ruhl told The Brown and White this week. “It was our most intense week of practice. It was our most focused week of practice, so head coach Andy Coen has been pushing for us to set the standard with that.”

Also in this week's game notes for Lehigh, which I forgot about for yesterday, sees a big return on the two-deep as well in junior LB Colton Caslow.

"We've still got a lot of work to do and we're still working hard on getting better every single time we step on the field," senior LB Noah Robb said this week. "We've made a lot of progress, even from two weeks ago. We're getting there."

Lehigh fans hope they "get there" this Saturday.

"It's really crazy, honestly," Robb continued. "To think I only have a couple months left, of football, I don't know what I'm going to do with myself when it's over... Off the field, Lehigh is a great place to go. I've had opportunities to network.  I've received a great education and couldn't ask for a better place to spend the best four years of my life. But I don't want to leave Lehigh without a [championship] ring."

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Game Preview Lehigh at Fordham, 10/24/2015

The enormity of the challenge of Lehigh's 2015 football schedule was evident to everyone looking at the schedule.

"October 10th, at Bucknell.  October 24th, at Fordham".

In August, every Lehigh fan wants to be an optimist.  They want to believe that this is the year that they win a Patriot League champions.  They look at the entirety of the schedule, and say, "Yeah.  We could win that one."

But even the biggest optimists looked at this two-game stretch, at Bucknell, and at Fordham, and had to pause, and perhaps exhale.   "Number Two and Number One in the league last year," they think.  "On the road.  And Fordham, a Top 15 team for the last two years, who has gone to the FCS playoffs for two straight years, with a returning Jerry Rice award-winner in RB Chase Edmonds."

Lehigh defied their preseason expectations by beating Bucknell 21-10 two weeks ago, setting up an extremely meaningful game in the Bronx this coming weekend for this young Mountain Hawk team.
The optimists from the summer are still here.  They already saw one tough road win against the Bison.  Though it's going to be a huge challenge, they also see the potential for another.

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My FCS Top 25 Vote, Week 7, 10/19/2015

If you'd like, you can check out my FCS Top 25 vote below.

Last week, I said people around the country are starting to understand that James Madison is a pretty damn good FCS football team.

Apparently, someone at College Football Gameday was also paying attention to the Dukes as well.

At 7-0, James Madison University was chosen as the site for ESPN's pregame show College Football Gameday, to highlight their game versus another Top 25 school, Richmond.

It's not the first time College Football Gameday has elected to cover an FCS school.  The nationwide program has already made a couple stops in Fargo, North Dakota to cover the North Dakota State Bison, and last year the hot rumor was that Gameday was going to cover Lehigh vs. Lafayette's 150th celebration at Yankee Stadium, but ultimately decided to go with Harvard vs. Yale, as "The Game" was for an Ivy League championship and "The Rivalry" ended up being for pride.

Harrisonburg, Virginia I'm sure will be a great host for Gameday.  It's also worth mentioning Dukes fans, and possibly their athletics reps, will be doing a great job showcasing Bridgeforth Stadium and their "FBS-ready" program.  Already some have taken to the papers to talk a little about an FBS move.

And why not?  I don't blame them.  As much as I like the Dukes in FCS, I can very much see their team end up in the FBS eventually, ideally as a travel partner/rival to Old Dominion in Conference USA.

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LFN’s Midseason Report Card

Not that long ago, Lehigh football players had to take those dreaded 4 O'Clock exams, an essential, dreaded part of the Lehigh experience.

Today, though the 2015 Lehigh Mountain Hawks are getting areport card of a different sort.

Past the halfway point of the season, it's time to take a step back and see where the Mountain Hawks are, and where they need to go to get back to the top of the Patriot League.

The season, as befitting a young team, has been inconsistent.  At times, Lehigh has looked like a team that could possibly win the Patriot League title.  At other times, though, they haven't.

Fortunately for all Lehigh fans, the Mountain Hawks last game, a gritty 21-10 win over Bucknell, was the equivalent of acing the mid-term exam.  That win, which brought Lehigh back to a 3-3 record, was huge.  But tougher challenges await in the last five weeks of the season.

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