(Photo Credit: Alec Turner c/o Lehigh Athletics)
For those that care about these things, Lehigh entered the first round FCS playoff matchup 21 1/2 point underdogs.
And if we're being fair, that was probably the right number.
The Seawolves were 9-2, nationally ranked with seven conference wins in the tough CAA and one of their losses coming to a very strong FBS team in South Florida. In contrast, unranked Lehigh came into the game 5-6 and only were here because they upset Colgate 41-38 on the road and won enough Patriot League conference games to win the autobid.
Yet a young Lehigh team was game to put their best foot forward and to have a heroic sendoff for potential NFL prospect senior WR Troy Pelletier
, and in that, the game was a rousing success.
With junior QB Brad Mayes
expertly picking apart one of the top defenses in FCS, time after time he'd find Troy for reception after reception, each one highlighting his impressive skill set as an audition for the next level.
It wouldn't be enough to win the game, but it was enough to keep the Mountain Hawks within striking distance until the Seawolves would pull away in the 4th quarter.
It was also enough to establish Troy as the all-time greatest receiver in Patriot League history.Read more »
For the first time all season, it was a dark, wet day for a Lehigh football game.
It was not at all ideal for the more than 15,000 fans, and countless tailgaters that made it to the tailgates but not in the stadium, partying and tailgating outside the gates of Murray Goodman.
It was also not at all ideal for Lehigh's high-powered passing game, and during a disastrous second quarter with three turnovers, it felt like the wheels were coming off the Mountain Hawks' chances at successfully defending their Patriot League title.
It seemed like everything that could go wrong, was actually going wrong. Three fumbles resulted in three Lafayette recoveries. A third down conversion incompletion by Lafayette QB Sean O'Malley
became an unexpected first down, thanks to an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that kept their drive alive. A 14-7 first quarter lead became 17 unanswered points, leading to a 24-14 deficit against the best defensive team in the Patriot League.
In this most important of football games for many of the Lehigh faithful, it seemed like they were losing it by shooting themselves in the foot.
Then halftime happened, and everything changed. More rain, and worse weather, did not deter Lehigh from their goal. And a couple of Rivalry legends were made in the process.Read more »
Like I did last year, I compiled a list of a "greatest hits" of some of the published articles on all of the Lehigh football seniors.
They are below the flip.
All of the players below are listed as seniors or 5th year players on the current Lehigh roster. Some may choose to return for 5th year medical redshirts.
The articles that are clipped are from a variety of sources: The Brown and White, The Morning Call, and LehighSports.com.Read more »
Not headed to Lewisburg this morning to catch the Lehigh/Bucknell game?
OK. I do sort-of understand. It's a noon start, and it's pretty far away. You're still somewhat in a Halloween-candy coma, and heck, is today fall back, turn-the-clock-back an hour, or is that on Sunday?
So you can't head out. So how do you catch the game?
Never fear. LFN's here.Read more »
The media in the run-up to the Wagner game has been more upbeat than one might think considering the Mountain Hawks' 0-4 start.
That's not to say that head coach Andy Coen
is at all happy with how things have started, but his answers to this week's media questions were not what some fans may have expected.
“I’m disappointed, I’m not going to lie,” he told Keith Groller of The Morning Call
. “But again, this is a funny game. It’s never easy. It’s hard to win a game. It really is. At times last year we made it look really, really easy. Right now, we’re making it look really hard.”
On Lehigh Sports Central this week, he said he felt like Lehigh was more competitive against Penn than they were against Yale.
"We just continue to make mistakes," Coen said. "We got the ball first, and turned the ball away.. we've got to get away from all of that stuff, and start playing better football."Read more »
It's different when you're returning champions.
That much was clear when sifting through all the preseason print pieces and videos covering the Lehigh Mountain Hawks.
Expectations return - you're no longer the "hunter", as head coach Andy Coen explained, you're the "hunted".
Managing those expectations has been almost as important for this Lehigh football team as the regular conditioning and X and O's drills of camp.
The common thread with the many print and video pieces and the many interviews is a sense of maturity and a businesslike ethic around this team, especially amongst its leadership.Read more »
Spotlight On: Brandon Short and Zach Duffy
Somewhere after the end of the 2016 season, senior OL Brandon Short
and senior OL Zach Duffy
announced that they would be enrolling in graduate school at Lehigh and playing their final years of eligibility, which had to make offensive line coach Andy Merino
and head coach Andy Coen
high-five each other. Short and Duffy, along with senior OL Tim O'Hara
, gives the Mountain Hawks a rock-solid center and bookend tackles with loads of game experience that helped carve the way for Lehigh's astounding offense last year.Read more »
There's a pretty good chance that senior WR Troy Pelletier
, who made the Patriot League's preseason all-Conference team and is on the Walter Payton Award watch list to start the year, will be the starter in the season opener vs. Villanova.
It's also not a headline that junior RB Dominick Bragalone
, also on the Patriot League's preseason all-Conference team, is likely to -shocker! - be a starter on September 2nd.
But that doesn't mean that there still aren't plenty of questions as the Mountain Hawks enter into their fall training camp for fans to think about. Read more »
(Photo Credit: New Hampshire Union-Leader)
It's easy to tune in to college football coverage at the beginning of fall practices, to see the accolades like preseason all-America teams and preseason all-Conference teams and not think about all the hard work that has been put in to prepare for the upcoming season.
Try telling that to the family of senior WR Troy Pelletier
"My family is in New Hampshire and my parents are able to make almost every game," he told me my email. "[But] with my summer job and my commitment to the offseason workout program, I have only been able to spend four days at home since the past Christmas break."
Football players "appreciate the recognition" of preseason awards and nominations, senior OL Zach Duffy told me last week
, but they also understand that most fans also don't see or appreciate the amount of work it takes to become the best football players they can be when there's no crowds, no reporters, and no crazy fans around. Read more »
(Photo Credit: Brown and White)
With this year's Patriot League Media Day being a Patriot League Media Conference call instead, the opportunity is there for media folks to tweet out things like preseason all-Conference lists and the preseason polls.
When the league posted their preseason all-Patriot League team, unsurprisingly there were seven Lehigh football players on it, one of whom was senior OL Zach Duffy.
I sent out a tweet congratulating the seven - Duffy, junior RB Dom Bragalone, junior P/K Ed Mish, senior OL Tim O'Hara, senior WR Gatlin Casey, senior WR Troy Pelletier, and senior DE Tyler Cavenas - and almost immediately Zach responded.
Read more »
In the span of a tweet, Zach established immediately that re-reading one's press clippings from the 2016 season is not something this 2017 edition of the Lehigh football team will be doing. They'll be judged on accomplishments, not preseason all-Conference teams.