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.Read more »
Anyone at all worried that it's just a wee bit too quiet from Lewisburg? I am.
The narratives coming out of Bethlehem this week - emphatically, me included - are ones of possible Patriot League championships and how the offense is "clicking" and has been very, very good.
That's not usually a very good recipe for a big game for the home side, especially since word out of the Bucknell camp is very, very quiet, even though the Bison still are very much alive in the conversation of winning the Patriot League title and making Lehigh sit at home Thanksgiving weekend.
Last week, Bucknell traveled to the No. 9 team in the country, Charleston Southern
, and proceeded to put up a very good fight in a game that didn't affect Bucknell's title chances one way or another. Though the final tally was 49-28, Bucs, the Bison didn't go away quietly against Charleston Southern's triple-option attack, staying within a touchdown most of the way until the home team pulled away late.
“Our guys played their tails off today and I am proud of them,” Bucknell head coach Joe Susan
said afterwards. “We were able to take advantage of turnovers, but it was frustrating as the score got away from us. Charleston Southern is a very good football team.”
Want to get more worried? Look at the comments from acting Charleston Southern head coach Chad Staggs
, who was in that position after head coach Jamey Chadwell served a one-game suspension.
“I don’t know that we played our best today but you have to give some credit to (Bucknell),” Staggs said. “They came out in the first drive and sort of punched us in the mouth a little. We certainly have to play better, but we won the game. I thought we matched them physically overall. We will look at the film and see how we played. We have to be more disciplined than we were today. We had way too many penalties today and that’s something we have to correct.”Read more »
Let's take a look at all the training camps around the Patriot League and see what's up.
Last week, I talked about the first week of Lehigh's training camp and you can read about that here
.Read more »
Today's "Know Your 2016 Opponents" series continues with the team that is predicted by College Sports Journal to finish 5th in the Patriot League
Bucknell was picked to finish 5th in the Patriot League, but does that mean Lehigh fans should look past the Bison? Hardly.
By a wide margin, the Bison had the best defense in the Patriot League last season, and just two years ago, walloped Lehigh 45-24
and didn't even need two injured starters at QB and RB to do it.
Someone has to be picked 5th in the Patriot League, and according to the College Sports Journal, that team is Bucknell. But they could certainly win it all.Read more »
"Pass me some more Buffalo wings," one Committee member said to another.
"You're going to get wing sauce all over these folders," another said. "Buffalo wings and Patsy point calculation don't exactly go together."
"Don't judge me," the member said, a bit more sourly this time. "I just work differently than you. I need protein when I compute the Patsies. Just because you're a Vegan don't tell me how to do things."
"I'm not judging," the Vegan member said, munching on her kale chips. "I'm simply saying not everyone likes to smell Buffalo wing sauce permeating the folders. That's something I think we all can agree on.
"Mmmph," was all the other red-eyed Committee member could muster, his mouth full of Buffalo wings, blue cheese sauce, and celery.
The Vegan looked quzzically, until she saw a third member holding up a half-empty bottle of "Third Street Chicken and Ribs - Nuclear Sauce" behind him.Read more »
The first surprise was Lehigh's uniforms.
Heading out of the locker room, the Mountain Hawks did not come out in their usual gold helmets, whie jerseys and brown pants.
Instead they came out with the white helmets unveiled in the Bronx - white helmets with "Lehigh" in brown on the sides. They matched the rest of the uniform extremely well - not the pinstripes that were worn in Yankee stadium, but all-white jerseys and all-white pants with brown numerals. White socks and white shoes completed it.
It seemed to have been unveiled today by coach Andy Coen
to usher in a new team, and a new, fresh start.
But the best part of the afternoon was that, whatever the reason, the new uniforms worked.
After an early touchdown, the Lehigh defense would only allow a field goal the rest of the way to the Bucknell offense - without two of its top playmakers. When preserving a two-score lead, the Lehigh offense grinded the Bison defense into so much burger meat with a 17 play, 54 yard drive that caused Bucknell head coach Joe Susan
to need to burn all three of his timeouts just to get the ball back.
It was enough to come out of Lewisburg with an enormous Patriot League win going into the Mountain Hawk bye week.Read more »
We break down the Bucknell game - and we give our fearless prediction, below the flip.
The rivalry between Lehigh and Bucknell could not be more strange.
The Mountain Hawks hold a 44-31-3 advantage in the series and have played each other on-and-off for the last 127 years. But Lehigh, relatively speaking, has dominated since the NCAA established Divisions in 1978.
Since both Bucknell and Lehigh were reclassified as Division I in 1978 and started competing in Division I-AA together, Lehigh holds a 27-9-1 advantage.
But any good Lehigh fan will point out, though, the last two years have see two of those nine losses.
And both weren't just losses - they were butt-whoopings I don't need to go over again, a humbling 48-10 loss to Bucknell in 2013
and a bad 45-24 loss last season
. Then again, Bucknell is 16-5 in their last 21 games
, so it's not like they only has success against Lehigh.
One more interesting fact is that this weekend's Lehigh/Bucknell game is occurring when both Lehigh and Bucknell are on "pacing break" this weekend.Read more »
These ain't your mothers' Bison anymore.
For years football games against Bucknell didn't register on the radar screens of all Lehigh fans, thanks to a fifteen-game winning streak against the Bison.
They do now, though.
After that long winning streak, it may, perhaps, have been forgivable for Mountain Hawk fans to think Bucknell's homecoming win at Christy Mathewson Stadium two years ago might have been a bit of a fluke.
Any thoughts of a fluke were put to bed after last year's double-digit spanking at the hands of the Bison, though.
At a school known around the league as a hoops-first, football-somewhere-down-the-priority-list type of place, Bucknell was a hair away from being in the drivers' seat for the Patriot League championship, taking eventual league champs Fordham to overtime before falling in extra time.
Head coach Joe Susan
's goal this year is to have Bucknell take their new culture of winning and take it to the final, logical step: winning the Patriot League and going to their first-ever FCS playoff appearance.Read more »
The businesswoman who looked suspiciously like Nicki Minaj
broke out the pink champale, something that made Art very angry.
"What the eff... are you doing?" he angrily asked.
"Aren't we done?" she said, almost levitating off the ground.
"NO!" Art said. "There are two teams left to do. I know these have been a grind - and it's taken us an unnaturally long time to do these - but there's really only two left."
Art looked at the spreadsheets again, his eyes uncomfortably glancing at the bottom drawer where he knew the Corvousier was kept.
"Two more," he said as much to himself as he did the businesswoman with the champale. "Two more, then we can get to our summer plans."
The businesswoman sighed. "Bucknell," she said.
"Yes, Bucknell," Art said. "The surprise of 2014, the team that was one play away from knocking off the eventual champions. While they won't be anyone's surprise team in 2015, what is a bit of a surprise is their overall Patsy Rating. It's been their best in a while. A... LONG... while."Read more »
Fifteen minutes before the game was about to start, ESPN Radio announcer Matt Kerr
told the radio-listening public that 4-1 Bucknell would not only be missing their starter quarterback, QB R.J. Nitti
, but would also be without the services of their star running back, RB C.J. Williams
You might be forgiven if that made you think that Lehigh's chances of getting their first win, and avenging last season's loss to Bucknell in Lewisburg, would be much greater.
It didn't turn out that way, however, as backup QB Trey Lauletta
stepped right up into the void and had the game of a lifetime against Lehigh's beleaguered defense.
After Lehigh scored the game's first touchdown, Lauletta and the Bucknell offense helped create the the next 31 points for the Bison, and when Lehigh finally settled down and cut the deficit to one score, Lauletta would find WR Will Carter
for a back-breaking touchdown to win the game for the Bison.
"Embarassing" is what Lehigh head coach Andy Coen
told ESPN radio sideline reporter Matt Markus
it was.Read more »