One of the more interesting aspects of covering Lehigh football for so long is the fact that you end up seeing future NFL players on their rise to the big show.
In fact, two players who squared off against the Mountain Hawks in particular have an excellent chance of being drafted on Day 2 or Day 3 of the NFL draft.
But those not the only Lehigh football opponents that will be hoping to get a phone call from an NFL team this Friday or Saturday.
Though few Patriot League, Ivy League or even CAA players enter their football programs with the NFL as their main goal, every football player that matriculates to these schools still harbor the dream of dominating their league and as a result get an opportunity to pursue their NFL dream.
And it is true that NFL scouts come to FCS football games to look for talent that might have been overlooked. Many years ago I was in Hofstra's press box, watching the Pride take on New Hampshire, with NFL scouts from the Colts and Saints there to watch WR Marques Colston
play. The Saints decision to pursue Colston may very well have come from that game in Hempstead, New York.Read more »
Still bummed that Lehigh's Patriot League Championship season is over? Yeah, me too.
That doesn't mean that I've totally tuned out the college football landscape, though.
Starting tonight, there's some terrific games on TV and online streaming that I'll be watching, both at the FCS and the FBS level. Happily, the FCS Round of 16 games are not all going up against each other like last week, so the opportunity is there to catch one or more of those games - and you can bet that I will be.
Below the flip, starting with the MAC championship game tonight, are my picks for games to watch, and - why not? - some picks as to who I think will win.
(Yes, it includes Penn State. Stop asking.)Read more »
Right from the opening drive it didn't feel like it was going to be Lehigh's day.
With sophomore QB Brad Mayes
in for senior QB Nick Shafnisky
, who was unable to start due to an undisclosed illness, a pass that bounced off the hands of senior WR Derek Knott
instead bounced into the hands of New Hampshire's first team all-CAA CB Casey DeAndrade
Six plays later, the New Hampshire offense converted that turnover into the very first touchdown of the day for the Wildcats, the first of many on a defense that clearly missed senior LB Colton Caslow
, who got hurt in the second half against Lafayette last weekend.
Four different New Hampshire players scored a grand total of six rushing touchdowns, two coming from RB Dalton Crossan
, two coming from his backup, RB Trevon Bryant
, one from the third-string, RB Evan Gray, and one on a scramble from QB Adam Riese
All in all, the Wildcats racked up 364 yards rushing on the Brown and White, rushing to a 36-7 lead on the Mountain Hawks and coasting to a 64-21 victory. In the ultimate twist of irony, Lehigh got beat in the way they had beaten so many opponents in their nine game regular-season winning streak - with UNH jumping to a big lead and never really taking their foot off the gas.Read more »
In order to understand how UNH will be looking at this weekend's game against Lehigh, you need to go back to the narrative of last week.
And then, you need to go back to the narrative from last year.
But first, let's start with last week, where the Wildcats were not only battling their Rival Maine in the "Battle for the Brice/Cowell Musket", they were battling to keep their playoff dreams alive.
The Wildcats, who had qualified for the FCS playoffs for twelve consecutive years, had fallen behind their bitter Rivals Maine, 14-7 at halftime.
With both teams at 6-4. it must have had the feel of a playoff game as well as a Rivalry game. The winner would likely have a good shot at a playoff game; the loser would likely be out.
And the starter, sophomore QB Trevor Knight
, was out of the game with a foot injury. The backup, senior QB Adam Riese
, would have to be the trigger guy to rally the Wildcats to the win.Read more »
"The Engineer football team once again showed their supremacy over the Yankee Conference leaders by defeating the University of New Hampshire (UNH) Wildcats, 16-3," read the October 26th edition of The Brown and White
in 1979.LB Jim McCormick
intercepted a UNH pass early in the game, and returned it to the Wildcat 4, setting up an early touchdown. After that, the Engineer defense would take over, crushing UNH's offense the rest of the way.
That would be the last time Lehigh has won at Cowell Stadium - 1979, a year where Lehigh was one of four teams in the I-AA playoffs and made it to the championship, ultimately falling to Eastern Kentucky in the finals.
So much has changed since then. The I-AA playoffs have been renamed the FCS playoffs, and not have 24 teams instead of 4. The Yankee Conference essentially was renamed to the Atlantic 10 Football Conference and now the CAA football conference, morphing from a Northeastern-based conference to one whose center of gravity is Virginia. New Hampshire went from a championship contender to a perennial FCS playoff powerhouse, seemingly guaranteed a slot in the playoffs every year.
But what hasn't changed much for Lehigh over the course of these last thirty-plus years is that Cowell Stadium has been Lehigh's boulevard of broken dreams. The Mountain Hawks beat UNH in Bethlehem in 2013, it is true. But up in the Granite State, it's been a different story. Since that epic 1979 win, Lehigh has been 0-7 up there, and not one of the games have been close.Read more »
By now you probably know that Lehigh is headed to New Hampshire on Saturday to face off against the Wildcats in the first round of the FCS Playoffs.
About this, some of you are scratching your heads. Lehigh is 9-2,
you say. Every single computer rating system has them ranked ahead of New Hampshire, every single human voter poll has them ranked against New Hampshire. Lehigh won the Patriot League outright; New Hampshire weren't even co-champions of the CAA. Why is New Hampshire hosting us?
The answer resides in the bidding process and some NCAA rules, both of which explain why it happened.
I'll talk about this, and my other thoughts on the bracket, below.Read more »
Stop me if you've heard this before: As a reward for being the surprise outright winner of the Patriot League football championship, the reward is a trip to New Hampshire, the winner headed to seeded James Madison for a second-round game. And somewhere, Sam Houston State looms on the horizon.
This is the exact situation that Colgate found itself last season, and this year, Lehigh is poised to run through the exact same gauntlet and the exact same teams.
Sunday morning, Lehigh found out their opponents for the FCS Playoffs; the New Hampshire Wildcats. The game will be played at New Hampshire at 2PM EST, and will be available to watch on ESPN3 on your computer and possibly ESPN Gameplan Pay-Per-View on your TV.Read more »
Lehigh's bowl game comes next weekend, of course, as they take on Lafayette in the 152nd meeting of The Rivarly in Easton. After that bowl game, though, comes the FCS playoffs, and until the FCS Playoff Bracket is announced on Sunday at 11:00 AM after the Lafayette game, we don't know where, or when, Lehigh will play their playoff game.
Don't fret, football fans. LFN is here with a warm cup of chicken noodle soup, a nice grilled cheese sandwich with the crusts cut off, and a schedule, complete with links, involving the most important FCS games on the schedule that will impact Lehigh's postseason schedule the most.
Sit back. Enjoy your soup. LFN's here to help you for this Saturday.Read more »
For us Patriot League diehards, we know what the FCS playoffs are all about. We know who's in line for the autobid, we know who the No. 1 teams are, and we have a pretty good idea about who can get in, and why.
But you, dear Reader, might not be as dialed into the FCS playoff scene as the rest of us. You know that Lehigh will be practicing on Thanksgiving, and will be playing a football game after the 152nd meeting on the gridiron between Lehigh and Lafayette.
In the span of one blog post, let me tell you, new or old Lehigh fan, what you need to look for in regards to the FCS playoffs.Read more »
You didn't ask for them, but here's my pick for this week's FCS Top 25.
I'm pretty proud of myself for not falling into the trap of South Dakota State
Many people, after the Jackrabbits' huge win over North Dakota State
, vaulted them to the Top 5 of their polls, but I know better. The craziness of the Missouri Valley I thought would eventually catch up with them, so I had only reluctantly put them at No. 10.
Their loss to 3-5 Illinois State
, taken in isolation, was a shocker - but perhaps not completely shocking, though, considering the Missouri Valley has not one but two teams that have beaten Power Five Teams and also have five losses
In fact, there are three Missouri Valley teams - Illinois State, South Dakota
and Northern Iowa
- that can plausibly say, if they get to 6-5, they have a legitimate shot at making the playoffs as an at-large team, thanks to perceived quality wins.Read more »