It's recruiting season. Every incoming recruit is a Patriot League all-star, everyone is a first team all-American, everyone is undefeated. It's all good times, a chance for kids to be admitted to some of the best Universities in the world. In that, it's a win for everyone.
While we wait for each of the remaining recruits to be announced as a part of their recruiting classes, I thought I'd comb through all of the incoming classes of the Patriot League and tell you what sticks out to me.
This summart isn't a ratings-based system, than folks like 247Sports have in terms of measuring the number of "starred recruits
" (they list Holy Cross as the "winner"), or even a hybrid-based system, like LFN's yearly Patsy Ratings
(last seasons "winner": Lehigh) or HERO Sports' list of the top overall FCS recruits
(which lists Lafayette as the "winner"). It's just one guy, looking at the recruit lists, and giving his opinion.
Let's start.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 »
(Photo Credit: Keith Groller/The Morning Call)
Lehigh football post-game press conferences don't get much more relaxed than the one that happened last weekend.
You can hardly blame head coach Andy Coen, senior QB Nick Shafnisky, junior DE Tyler Cavenas
and sophomore RB Dominick Bragalone
for feeling that way, after jumping to a 13-0 lead right out of the gates and piling up an incredible 57-9 lead against their opponents last weekend before calling off the dogs.
It led to a familiar feeling in the post-game: talk of how the offense is clicking so well, how the defense keeps coming up big. There were plenty of accolades to go around.
But when one media member tried to lightly broach the subject to Lafayette, the always-loquacious Shafnisky quickly steered the conversation back to next week's game.
That's because Shafnisky, perhaps more than anybody, feels the importance of next week's game vs. Bucknell.
"For us to be in this position, it's all a credit to us and our coaches. We put ourselves in this position, we earned it. But we didn't earn anything yet. Next week, when you ask that question again, hopefully I'll be the happiest man."Read more »
(Photo Credit: Amy Herzog/The Morning Call
When people think Lehigh football, they rightfully think of a powerful air attack.
After all, the Mountain Hawks boast the top two receivers in all of FCS in regards to receiving yards, junior WR Troy Pelletier
and junior WR Gatlin Casey
What they don't
necessarily think of is a grinding rushing attack, something more out of a triple-option team or perhaps a run-heavy Wing-T team.
Yet in Lehigh's 58-37 statement win over Fordham, the same Ram team with potential future NFL player RB Chase Edmonds
, the main headline wasn't the aerial show, though there were a few highlight-reel plays there, too.
Instead, the headline became Lehigh's six rushing touchdowns, three from senior QB Nick Shafnisky
and three more from sophomore RB Dominick Bragalone
, and 349 yards on the ground.
I looked through the record books last night, and combed through recaps of a lot of football games, and the last time I found that Lehigh scored six rushing touchdowns in a game was in 1971, when FB John "Jack" Rizzo
and RB Don Diorio
combined for six rushing TDs in a 48-19 win over Lafayette.
That's some pretty good company.Read more »
It was supposed to be RB Chase Edmonds
The questions around Lehigh, as ever, surrounded the defense. Would they be able to slow down Edmonds? Would he score two touchdowns, or three? Would they hold the almost-certain-NFL-player to only 200 yards?
In all the talk about Edmonds, people forgot about two pretty good runners on the Lehigh side: senior QB Nick Shafnisky
and sophomore RB Dominick Bragalone
Bragalone, for the second straight week, had another amazing game, getting 192 yards rushing, zero negative rushes, and 3 touchdowns. Shafnisky ran for 112 yards and added 3 touchdowns of his own.
It would be a game where Lehigh would not need to punt - the first game since Bucknell in 1999 where that was the case. That's because they ran over Fordham, 58-37, going up at one point 51-9 before giving up a bunch of late scores.
Next week Lehigh will host Bucknell for the right to clinch an FCS playoff shot, and the chance to do no worse than tie for the Patriot League championship.Read more »
Not going to Murray Goodman today? Need to find out how to catch the game online, by a video stream or online radio?
Never fear. LFN's here.Read more »
We break down the Fordham game - and we give our fearless prediction below the flip.
Remember when Fordham RB Chase Edmonds
set a Patriot League rushing record against the Mountain Hawks? I do - it happened just last year
, just the sort of Halloween "treat" I'd rather live without.
"Edmonds came out of the locker room like a man on fire, and played like it," I wrote. "Two 14 yard runs set up Fordham's go-ahead score, and he would rush for 100 yards in the 3rd quarter, ripping off a 60 yard touchdown run to give Fordham a 38-21 lead and capping off three straight touchdowns for the Rams."
Another less-publicized reason for Lehigh losing in the Bronx last season? Unforced errors.
"Unfortunately, we're still our own worst enemy," head coach Andy Coen
said afterwards. "Whether its penalties or turnovers, you can't beat a good team with those. They're trying to learn that lesson. If you're going to keep turning the ball over more than everybody else, it's hard to win games."
I'm guessing that the Lehigh football players are aware of these two events from last season.Read more »
Junior WR Troy Pelletier
seems to want the game to start now. Like, yesterday.
When you read and hear the interviews with him at media day this week, he seems to want the game to start right after the interview, to go on the field and get the game over with right now.
Though he knows he and teammate junior WR Gatlin Casey
are on top of the total receiving yardage list in FCS, that's not what he wanted to talk about on Wednesday.
"I haven't really put much thought into it," Pelletier told Greg Joyce of Lehigh Valley Live.
"I just know good things are going to happen if we prepare the right way. We focus on each day to get better. We're confident if we put ourselves mentally and physically taking care of our body, good things are going to happen."
There was lots of "focusing on getting better, taking it one game at a time" talk from both Pelletier and head coach Andy Coen
this week, as you might expect. But their body language said something else: when will Saturday get here?Read more »
"With the exception of the first five minutes," The Brown and White
said, "Lehigh played indifferent football. At times the Brown and White showed flashes of form, but for the most part they lacked the dash and drive which characterizes the opening minutes of the game. The aerial attack which gained so much ground last week was poor, and it was not until the latter part of the third quarter that Lehigh completer her first successful forward pass."
This quote, taken from the 1923 student newspaper detailing the first-ever official football meeting between Lehigh and Fordham, won't be something that's repeated in the student newspaer in their recap this weekend. In fact, the fifteen points scored in that 1923 game, a 9-6 Lehigh win, might very well be outdistanced in the first five minutes of the game this weekend., and it's a guarantee that Fordham and Lehigh will be completing their first passes well before the 3rd quarter.
It would be stunning to see a 9-6 final in this game this weekend in large part because all signs point to a game which will be a full buffet for fans of offense.
If Lehigh and Fordham meet their season averages for total offensive yards, there's a chance that both teams' offenses combined might exceed 1,000 yards, while Fordham averages 32.3 points per game, and Lehigh 40.3. Even if this game didn't loom enormously in the Patriot League title chase - which, of course
it does - this would be a terrific game to watch in terms of offense.Read more »
You didn't ask for them, but here's my pick for this week's FCS Top 25.
"Back to Normal" seems to be the theme of this week's Top 25, with my top 9 unchanged from last week.
The biggest team to fall in my poll was definitely Montana
, whose 45-34 defeat to Northern Arizona was even more resounding than the final score might indicate. The Lumberjacks in this one held a 45-20 advantage before letting up two touchdowns at the end of the game.
The Griz have frankly underwhelmed all year to me, allowing a team like St. Francis (PA) to hang around for no good reason, running up the score against hapless competition like Mississippi Valley State and Sacramento State. With their second loss to a Big Sky opponent and nothing all that impressive in their schedule, it was an easy call to drop them more than 10 points in my poll.Read more »