Category Archives: Andy Talley

Lehigh Will Need A Bad Memory, And A Great Memory, As They Head to Monmouth Next Weekend

(Photo Credit: Chris Shipley/The Morning Call)

In the post game press conference, junior QB Brad Mayes was asked about how he felt about his performance in the 38-35 loss - a game where he had a stellar statistical game, with over 400 yards passing, 4 touchdowns and 0 interceptions, but the Mountain Hawks as a team came up short.

The Tampa, Florida native definitely had a fresher memory of what he considered mistakes.

"There were some throws out there that I wish I had back," he said.  "I should have thrown for more than whatever I threw.  Whether it's putting the ball on the outside shoulder, not throwing it low, or whatever - there were some throws I left out there today.  I'm going to have to sleep on it, come back next week, and try to make those throws."

Season openers like this, where your team loses, are rarely deal-breakers when it comes to a football season.  Assuming Villanova continues to surge forward and have a good year, it's likely that Mountain Hawks fans will look back at this game as a close, hard-fought loss against a tremendous team.

But critical in that assumption is how the team reacts after a loss like this - how a team rebounds the following week, and how they work.  In that sense, it should be an interesting week in the run-up to the road game at Monmouth next weekend.
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Villanova at Lehigh Game Breakdown and Fearless Prediction: Who Will Be Pennsylvania’s FCS Champion?

One of my favorite stories of the early Lehigh football era was the idea that Lehigh, Lafayette and Penn in the late 1800s battled for the "Championship of Pennsylvania".

In 2017, it wouldn't be prudent to call a game versus Lehigh and Villanova the "Championship of Pennsylvania", thanks to the presence of Penn State, Pitt and Temple in the state.

In FCS though, Lehigh vs. Villanova, the only two STATS and Coach's Poll Top 25 teams that are based in Pennsylvania, it could certainly be spun in that way.

Villanova, at No. 9/10, travels to Lehigh, No. 17/17, to determine who is the FCS Champion of Pennsylvania.

I like it.
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Villanova at Lehigh Game Preview: Battle Of Nationally Ranked Teams Highlight Mountain Hawk Season Opener

One has been here before; the other has not, at least not lately.

Over the course of the last few seasons, Villanova Stadium has hosted all sorts of games involving Top 25 teams.  James Madison, New Hampshire, Richmond - all of these CAA teams have been to the Main Line, at one time or another, at the same time the Wildcats have also been in the Top 25.  When it comes to hosting big football games, Villanova is no stranger to that situation.

Not so, Lehigh.

Sure, the Mountain Hawks have played a bunch of Top 25 teams over the course of the last several seasons.  And last year, Lehigh returned to the Top 25 as well.

But the Mountain Hawks haven't hosted a game like this, a Top 25 tilt between two opponents that are both in the Top 25, since the Mountain Hawks beat New Hampshire 34-27 back in 2012.

This year's season opener represents the cumulation of the long, hard road of building a Top 25, national-caliber FCS football team.  Last season was a year of a Patriot League championship, a return to national respect, and rings.  And it all leads to this weekend, one of the biggest games on the Week 1 FCS National schedule that will provide a tremendous test to see how this 2017 Mountain Hawk team might turn out this season.
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Know Your 2017 Opponents: Villanova

(Photo Credit: Akira Suwa/Philly.com)

Writing a season preview about Villanova used to be the easiest job in the world.

Just grab your boilerplate biographical information about future hall-of-fame head coach Andy Talley, do a little Googling of the Wildcat's next up-and-coming NFL prospects, come up with a dozen synonyms for the words "tough" and "challenge", and the preview basically writes itself.

But this season's task of facing Villanova is simply different than all of those other years.  Talley, the only coach Villanova has ever known since restarting their football program in 1985 after a failed attempt to pull the plug on it in 1981 in the middle of spring practice, has finally retired from the head coaching ranks.  While the same familiar trappings of high preseason rankings and potential NFL prospects remain, their new head coach, longtime Talley assistant Mark Ferrante, is now running the Wildcats and will be seeking his first win as a collegiate head football coach.

The three things that are certain is that the Wildcats are ranked No. 10 in the STATS FCS Top 25 Poll to start the year, that they're ranked No. 9 in the FCS Coaches' Poll, and that when they come and visit Murray Goodman Stadium on September 2nd at 12:30 PM, they'll be playing Lehigh in a battle between Top 25 teams.
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Villanova Wins A Game of Inches, Defeats Lehigh, 26-21

"It's a game of inches," head coach Andy Coen said after the Mountain Hawks had just fallen to nationally-ranked Villanova on a hot, humid, thick September evening.  "I just told these two guys walking across the field here (senior LB Colton Caslow and junior WR Troy Pelletier), it really is a game of inches. We were this close to beating a very good football team."

Indeed they were, even if, after a disappointing loss last week to Monmouth, many across the nation had written off Lehigh's chances of an upset of the team ranked No. 19 in the FCS Coaches' Poll.

Stung from a first half against Monmouth when they failed to score a single point, Lehigh battled hard in the first half and played "outstanding" Coen said, as the Mountain Hawks jumped to a 14-6 lead.  After missing a field goal falling behind 20-14, Lehigh rallied to retake the lead, and after falling behind one last time, the defense forced a stop and handed the ball back to the offense, with a chance to win.

But it came down to one play - converting a challenging 4th and 10, and a big pitch-and-catch that ended up just short of the yardage necessary to keep the drive going.

Last week, it seemed to many fans for it to be nearly impossible for the Mountain Hawks to be able to compete with the No. 19 team in the nation.  Instead, here was Lehigh, inches away, just short of sending the home fans to bed without victory cigars.

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Lehigh At Villanova Narrative Street: "Holy Cow. Villanova’s Defensive Line."

Lehigh fans's reaction to the big task ahead of them this weekend seemed to echo what head coach Andy Coen said in this week's Lehigh Football Report from LehighSports.com.

"Their defensive line.  Holy Cow," he said.  "Their technique, their defensive end - ready for these numbers?  He's 295 lbs, 6'7, and he's got an arm span that you can't believe and he just wreacks havoc.  It's not just him.  It's a defensive philosophy that Villanova has had for the last 10, 12 years, and they've always played great defense."

When look at Lehigh's #NarrativeStreet this week, we can start there - the Mountain Hawks will be going up against "an FBS-level defense," as Andy said.


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Lehigh At Villanova Game Preview: The Cherry On Top For Andy Talley

Villanova is listed as No. 22 in the STATS Top 25 poll this week, and No. 19 in the Coaches' poll.  Lehigh, as has been the case since 2014, is unranked.

Additionally, since resuming play against the Wildcats in the modern era in 2004, Lehigh is 1-4 against Villanova.

So, simple matter for Lehigh to put the Monmouth loss behind them and kick off the rest of the 2016 football season with a win, right?

Not exactly.

That the Villanova game this Saturday will be a big challenge appears to be something head coach Andy Coen, junior OL Tim O'Hara and the rest of the Mountain Hawks are quite aware, but that doesn't mean that anyone will be backing down.

"The message we're going to have is don't get on the bus unless you think you're going to win the game," Coen said.  "So, we're looking forward to it."
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Lehigh At Villanova Game Preview: The Cherry On Top For Andy Talley

Villanova is listed as No. 22 in the STATS Top 25 poll this week, and No. 19 in the Coaches' poll.  Lehigh, as has been the case since 2014, is unranked.

Additionally, since resuming play against the Wildcats in the modern era in 2004, Lehigh is 1-4 against Villanova.

So, simple matter for Lehigh to put the Monmouth loss behind them and kick off the rest of the 2016 football season with a win, right?

Not exactly.

That the Villanova game this Saturday will be a big challenge appears to be something head coach Andy Coen, junior OL Tim O'Hara and the rest of the Mountain Hawks are quite aware, but that doesn't mean that anyone will be backing down.

"The message we're going to have is don't get on the bus unless you think you're going to win the game," Coen said.  "So, we're looking forward to it."
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