Category Archives: Game Breakdown

Lehigh at UNH Game Breakdown And Fearless Prediction: FCS Game of the Week

We break down the FCS Playoffs Game of the Week below the flip.

You heard right.

One of my FCS Playoff pet peeves (especially in the first round) is that, for some reason, ESPN (who owns the TV contract for all rounds of the FCS playoffs) and the NCAA do not space out all the games in fixed time slots.

If ESPN and the NCAA wanted to generate excitement about the playoffs, it would be fairly easy to space out every game with a kickoff every hour (Noon, 1:00 PM, 2:00 PM, etc.) all the way up to 8:00 PM.  That way, hardcore FCS football fans can watch part of every single game, with at least one game getting to crunch time every hour from about 2:30 PM on.  It would be compelling theater.

But ESPN and the NCAA, for some reason, choose not to do this, and indeed this year, ESPN has five FCS playoff games kicking off at 2:00 PM, one kicking off at 3:00 PM, and a couple of stragglers kicking off at 5:00 PM and 7:00 PM, respectively.

Why?  There is literally no good reason for this.  ESPN is causing hardcore FCS football fans to watch less FCS football.  I'd love to be able to catch Weber State/Chattanooga, but it's on at the exact same time as Lehigh/UNH, so my chance of catching that game live is below zero.

Had Lehigh/UNH kicked off at Noon, and had Weber State/Chattanooga kicked off at 3:00 PM, suddenly I would have watched more ESPN3.  Foolishly, I thought that was also in ESPN's (and the NCAA's) best interest that I am writing about and talking about more FCS playoff games all day.
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#Rivalry152 Game Breakdown And Fearless Prediction: Don’t Sell Lafayette Short

We break down #Rivalry152 - and we give our fearless prediction, below the flip.

When you take away The Rivalry, when you take away the emotions, when you take away the craziness, the energy - what do we have?  When you look at the Xs and Os, what do you have?

Certainly, this game, like every Rivalry game, will be dictated and informed by emotion.  You can count on the fact, as a Lehigh fan, that Lafayette will play out of their minds.  For their seniors, it is guaranteed to be their last game played together as a team.  For them, there is no practicing on Thanksgiving.

Countless football teams have taken this "300" mentality and turned it into wins.  Quarterbacks that used to struggle to not get intercepted suddenly become the second coming of QB Tom Brady.  Linebackers that didn't wrap up their tackles before suddenly become LB Mike Singletary.  It can happen to Lehigh.  Don't think that it can't.

That shouldn't stop us, though, from looking over the Leopards and seeing what they're all about.  They will put together a gameplan to come away with victory.  It's up to the Mountain Hawks to keep that from happening.

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Bucknell At Lehigh Game Breakdown And Fearless Prediction: One Win Makes Lehigh The First Guaranteed Postseason Contender

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

In case you have been living under a rock - or maybe just new at this - there's a game going on this Saturday that's, um, pretty important to Lehigh's Patriot League title hopes.

To just go over the scenarios one more time, just so we're all on the same page, Lehigh is in the driver's seat this weekend.

If they beat Bucknell tomorrow, they are Patriot League champions - no worst than co-champions - and they will clinch the FCS autobid, being the first Division I football program in the nation to clinch a postseason berth.

If Bucknell wins, it opens the door for other possible not-so-good Mountain Hawk outcomes where Lehigh are co-champions without playoffs, or (if they lose to Bucknell and then to Lafayette), neither champions or playoff contenders.

Certainly a Lehigh win would allow all Mountain Hawk fans to know that, even after the 152nd meeting of The Rivalry, even after a sold-out crowd at Fisher Field in Easton, the Mountain Hawks football season would not end there.

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Fordham at Lehigh Game Breakdown And Fearless Prediction: Remember getting Chase-d Out of the Bronx?

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.

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Lehigh At Holy Cross Game Breakdown And Fearless Prediction: Wading Into Uncharted Territory

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

It's often said that preseason publications aren't worth the paper they're printed on, and almost unusable when the actual regular-season matchup comes around.

And in the case of Holy Cross, that's especially apt.

Much of the hype around the Crusaders centered around their star QB, unofficially anointed the best quarterback in the Patriot League, senior QB Peter Pujals.  Much of my writings about Holy Cross centered around what he can do, what he brings to the table, and what his weapons are.

But a left ankle injury in the first half of the Dartmouth game didn't just sideline him for that contest - it sidelined him for the season, forcing his ankle in a boot and will almost certainly have him apply for a medical redshirt for next season - unless head coach Tom Gilmore decides, against the odds, to have Pujals play this weekend if he's healed up enough.

That and a slew of other injuries pretty much wrecked anything I wrote before this past August about breaking down this Holy Cross offense.  However it also, in a way, makes Holy Cross more dangerous.  They won't be facing off against the regular cast of characters.
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Lehigh At Georgetown Game Breakdown and Fearless Prediction: Lehigh Hoping Hoya Madness Confined To Basketball

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

Georgetown is a football school, of course.  But you may have heard that they also play basketball at Georgetown, and this Friday is a huge deal on campus: Hoya Madness.

"The Georgetown University men’s and women’s basketball programs will hold their annual Hoya Madness celebration, the official on-campus kickoff party of the 2016-17 basketball season, on Friday, October 14 at 8 p.m. in McDonough Arena," the release states.  "This is a free event open to all Georgetown students. Doors are scheduled to open at 7:30 p.m., with the show kicking off at 8 p.m. and running until 9:30 p.m.  The first 1,000 students in attendance will receive a custom ‘Hoya Madness’ Jordan Brand t-shirt."

As fun as this sounds, would be even better if the football team were somehow more wrapped up in this event as the basketball team.  One place Georgetown might look is Villanova, where the football team doesn't have as high a profile as the basketball team, but they have been doing more specials for the football team in recent years.

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Colgate At Lehigh Game Breakdown and Fearless Prediction: Experts Pick Raiders Early and Often

(Photo Credit: The Colgate Maroon News)

It's a big game in the Patriot League this weekend at Murray Goodman Stadium, and the FCS experts have been weighing in - and to a person, all picking Colgate to win.

Craig Haley of STATS/Athlon Sports:

An at-large playoff bid is out of the question for Colgate, which is going to have to repeat as Patriot League champion to get back to the postseason. The Raiders are reeling, while Lehigh’s offense (51.3 points per game the last three weeks) is soaring no matter if the quarterback is Nick Shafnisky or Brad Mayes. Shafnisky is due back this week.
Emory Hunt over at Football Gameplan also has picked Colgate to win, and the vast majority of posters in the Any Given Saturday fan community as well have picked the Raiders.


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Lehigh At Yale Game Breakdown And Fearless Prediction: Beware The Yale Bowl

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

Before we get to all the nuts and bolts of the breakdown, Yale's game notes and mascots, though, it's worth highlighting a great piece by Lehigh athletics on senior OL Brandon Short that was just released earlier today by Lehighsports.com.

"Regardless, Short's approach to every practice, every game and every opportunity to improve is the same, whether this is his last season or he returns in 2017," the article reads.  "That extra sense of urgency, which seniors often say they feel, has been there for Short ever since returning from a season-ending injury he sustained early in the 2014 season [at Yale].

"'That experience really brought things into perspective,' he said. "We always hear coaches say play every play like it's your last. I started three games as a sophomore, which got taken away in the matter of two plays. It really opened my eyes to enjoy and appreciate what I'm doing.

"Because of that injury and missing the rest of the season, Short hopes to return to Lehigh for a fifth year to earn his master's degree while continuing to play football. Several logistics still need to be figured out, but that's his goal."

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Princeton At Lehigh Game Breakdown And Fearless Prediction: Can Lehigh Stop the Tigers Running Game?

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

Something of note this week that I forgot to mention in my Narrative Street and my Game Preview is the fact that the two opponents that Lehigh lost to earlier in the year, Monmouth and Villanova, are doing extremely well.  Both teams' only losses have come to FBS programs, and both schools acquitted themselves very well in both circumstances.

2-1 Monmouth was never out of the game vs. Kent State, falling 27-7 to the Golden Flashes in a game after Kent State was stunned by fellow FCS member North Carolina A&T in four overtimes, 39-36.  The Hawks largely kept Kent State's offense in check and kept them in the game, and their star defensive player, DB Mike Basile, had an eye-popping 16 tackles and a blocked kick.

If Monmouth can upset heavily-favored and nationally-ranked Charleston Southern this weekend in their home opener, the Hawks would go to 3-1 and would most likely get strong consideration in many peoples' Top 25 votes.  It would also make Lehigh's loss to them to start the season sting a little less.

Nationally-ranked Villanova, also 2-1, lost their season opener to Pitt, most notably holding the Panthers to a lower point total on defense (28) than both Penn State (42) and Oklahoma State (38).  After their win over Lehigh, the Wildcats impressively dispatched Towson 40-21 at home to maintain their No. 19 ranking nationally.

Villanova will be facing off against Lafayette in Easton this weekend, their first trip there in more than 90 years, and seem like prohibitive favorites to win there Saturday night.  If they do, Lehigh's "schedule strength" won't be harmed very much by their presence on the schedule.

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Lehigh At Penn Game Breakdown and Fearless Prediction: Can Lehigh Win At Franklin Field?

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

It sometimes is tough for coaches and media types alike to preview teams that haven't played a single down, and with the volume of Ivy League opponents Lehigh and other members of the Patriot League face, the Mountain Hawks get more than their fair share.

Last season, much was made of the fact that head coach Ray Priore and a huge hunk of brand-new staff were competing together in their very first college football game together, a fact that unquestionably helped Lehigh out in a 42-21 win over the Quakers.

This year, though, to some degree the tables are turned.

With a full year under their belts - and an Ivy League championship year, at that - the Quakers will be not at all like the inexperienced bunch that Lehigh played last year.  They've had one year in the system, one year knowing the expectations, one year going through the drills.

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