Category Archives: Micco Brisker

In Must-Win Game, Lehigh Defense Forces Four Turnovers And Lehigh Offense Makes Bison Pay, Win 42-21

(Photo Credits: Mike Geer/Lehigh Athletics)

"We went right at 'em."

That was head coach Andy Coen talking to Lehigh Sports' Steve Lomangino after the Mountain Hawks' 42-21 win over Bucknell.

With their Patriot League title hopes on the line, and the No. 1 defense in the Patriot League the opposition, it seemed like the Mountain Hawks might enter into the type of defensive struggle that defined last year's game against Bucknell.

But after junior LB Mark Walker forced and and grabbed a Bison fumble and returned it to the Bucknell 9 yard line, junior QB Brad Mayes didn't mess around.
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How Will I Watch Lehigh At Bucknell This Weekend? And Your Media Pack

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.

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Lehigh at Fordham Media Pack (w/ Video): Mountain Hawks Try To Maintain League Momentum in the Bronx

One aspect of the Lehigh game at Fordham that doesn't get a lot of attention is that
the last time the Mountain Hawks went to the Bronx and came away with a win was in 2011.

Even before RB Chase Edmonds then broke a Patriot League single-game rushing record against Lehigh in their 59-42 win in 2015 - a record he later broke against Lafayette - Lehigh lost a 52-34 shootout in the Bronx in 2013 as well.  In the last two games in the Bronx against Fordham, Lehigh has allowed a 50-burger, as they say, two straight games.

"Fordham racked up 630 yards of offense on the Mountain Hawk defense and cracked 50 points on Lehigh's D, the first time that happened since 2007," I wrote about that 2013 game.  "It wasn't only Fordham's third-ever win against the Mountain Hawks - it was also Lehigh's first regular season road loss since 2010, when Lehigh traveled to New Hampshire and lost 31-10."

That was only marginally as painful as the 2015 game, which also happened to be the debut of junior QB Brad Mayes after QB Nick Shafnisky came out of the game after a late hit during a 2 point conversion. 

Mayes very nearly rallied the Mountain Hawks to make it a one-score game, but a missed FG try ended the dream, cemented be a 75 yard touchdown run by - who else? - Chase Edmonds.

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Lehigh at Fordham Game Preview: Unmet Expectations – And Hope – Will Clash In The Bronx

This was not how it was supposed to be.

Back in March, looking at the schedule, plenty of Lehigh and Fordham fans looked at the schedule and circled October 28th, 2017 as a must-see game.

WR Troy Pelletier?  RB Chase Edmonds?  Are you kidding me?  It might be a battle of nationally-ranked teams!  There's an outside chance ESPN College Football Gameday might show up in New York City!  Imagine that!

College Football Gameday did indeed come to New York City this season.  But it wasn't for the matchup on October 28th, 2017.

Now that the date is very close to being upon us, a very different College Football Gameday-free matchup awaits.

Sure, WR Troy Pelletier will be suiting up for Lehigh, and even though he didn't suit up versus Georgetown this week, it's anticipated that RB Chase Edmonds will suit up this weekend as well.  The game, without question, will be a showcase for some athletes that might very well find themselves playing on Sundays.  For that reason, this could be a special game in the Bronx.

But instead of a battle of Top 25 teams, it's the 2-5 Mountain Hawks taking on the 2-6 Rams.

And yet - there is some bullishness in the Bronx this weekend as well, for despite the disappointing records.

For Lehigh, at 2-0 in the Patriot League, and Fordham, at 1-2 in league play, a Patriot League Championship and an autobid to the FCS Playoffs still remain as a possibility for both teams.  It's perhaps not the matchup that folks expected back in the preseason - but for both talented offenses, there's still everything to play for.
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Yale At Lehigh Game Preview: Reclaiming Swagger Requires Facing Uncomfortable History

“The past is the past and we aren’t concerned with it. We have learned from our mistakes, and we are ready to move on.”

That comes from junior RB Micco Brisker, who was quoted two years ago after the Mountain Hawks came back from a trip to Princeton where Lehigh fought hard, but fell, to the Tigers 52-26.

The similarities between that week and this week are something that I cannot shake.

Like this week, Lehigh came back home that season to face off against Yale after a tough, physical loss.  Like this week, the Mountain Hawks were coming off a school record being set by senior WR Troy Pelletier in a losing effort.  Like this week, Yale started RB Deshawn Salter, a mild surprise after the expected starter went down to injury.  And like this week, Lehigh came back home after a loss looking to right the ship.

In 2015, Lehigh lost the game.

In 2015, Brisker and LB Colton Caslow talked a good game about being prepared for that week, fixing mistakes and moving forward.  But it didn't result in a win, nor did it result in a Patriot League championship season.

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Awesome Ridiculousness In A Record-Setting Day At Yale Bowl

(Photos and Graphic courtesy of Lehigh Athletics)

Suppose you put in a copy of NCAA Football '14 into your dusty Playstation 3.  You create a team, "Lehigh", and put in the entire Lehigh roster, and make them 99s across the board.

You pick a team to play against - say, Yale - and you pick a place to play, of course, the Yale Bowl.  You put it on the medium setting.

Would these stat lines seem out of place if you played that game on that system?

Sophomore QB Brad Mayes - 33 of 46 passing, 524 yards, 6 touchdowns, 0 interceptions.

Junior WR Troy Pelletier - 13 catches, 213 yards, 3 TDs.

Junior WR Gatlin Casey - 6 catches, 169 yards 2 TDs.

They look like something out of a video game - yet those are the real stats to come out of the Yale Bowl this weekend in an extraordinary, awesome, ridiculousness of an offensive performance.  These numbers weren't the only great numbers to come out of this record-setting game out of the Yale Bowl, but they stick out.
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Princeton At Lehigh Narrative Street: Remembering Last Year’s Disaster

I hinted at this #NarrativeStreet in yesterday's Game Preview, but the narrative that keeps jumping to the forefront in the run-up to the game this weekend is the "disaster" - head coach Andy Coen's words - of last year's game at Princeton.

There were other losses in the 2015 Lehigh football season.

There was James Madison, where the eventual playoff-bound Dukes impressively blew the Mountain Hawks out of the water, 55-17.  The 59-42 loss to Fordham where QB Nick Shafnisky was lost to injury right before halftime.  The Colgate game.  The Yale game.

But there was something about the loss at Princeton that really got under coach Coen's skin that was different than the other losses - an anger at the way it happened, the way that things seemed to come apart in the second half after matching the Tigers score-for-score in in the first half.

All the narratives seem to point to last year's "disaster", and hoping that the team has learned from it.
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Game Preview, Yale at Lehigh, 10/3/2015

“The past is the past and we aren’t concerned with it. We have learned from our mistakes, and we are ready to move on.”

That was freshman RB Micco Brisker, who told this to The Brown and White this week in regards to last week's game versus Princeton.

It's a good attitude to have going into this weekend's game versus Yale.

It would be easy to complain about injuries, or the officials, or unlucky bounces of the football last week.  But to this team's credit, that wasn't what the discussion points were about in the weekday media sessions.  It was about owning those mistakes, and moving on.

“We need to cut out mental mistakes like penalties and missed assignments on the field, as well as win the turnover margin by forcing more turnovers defensively and preventing them from happening offensively,” said junior LB Colton Caslow this week.

This weekend Lehigh will be looking to move on, actually, from two different games, one from last weekend, where it felt like the Mountain Hawks' own mistakes cost them the game, and a game a year ago, in which Lehigh lost two 21 point leads and lost a marathon of a game, 54-43, to the same opponents they face at homecoming this year, Yale.

Homecoming is always a big weekend for Lehigh football, but a win for Lehigh this weekend would likely mean a lot more than just making the alumni happy.  It would mean "moving on" to league play with the slate finally cleaned - officially, this time.

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Lehigh Doubles Win Total And Doubles Up Penn 42-21

"I talked to the kids, really all week," head coach Andy Coen said in the run-up to this weekend's Penn game on the heels of a tough 55-17 loss to No. 10 James Madison.  "We weren't thrilled with... everything... that happened in that game.  We didn't put our best foot forward."

"We got on the guys," he continued, "and said to them: You've got to win.  You've got to make up your mind that you want to win.  You have to want to start winning games."

At 1-1 and the experience of a tough loss still fresh in everyone's minds, winning this weekend at home and gaining momentum going forward into the rest of the season was the theme of the week.

This Saturday, the 2-1 Mountain Hawks at the end of the afternoon had fulfilled both objectives.

Lehigh's 42-21 doubling up of Penn wasn't a game of perfection.  But it was a devastating Mountain Hawk offensive performance, coupled with enough big plays on defense, to get a very satisfying win for the home crowd of 6,971 on hand on a sunny, somewhat humid afternoon.
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Lehigh Football Season Hinges On Contributions from Underclassmen

It doesn't take an Engineer to see that much is expected of Lehigh football's underclassmen this season.

As Lehigh football fans start looking at the season opener, a mere 5 days away, they're looking at their theoretic depth charts and see some recurring themes:

Freshman.  Freshman.  Sophomore.  Freshman.  Sophomore.

Football is the ultimate team game, where experience counts in terms of knowing what it takes to win Division I football games.  Yet up and down Lehigh's roster, it's very evident: to win in 2015, head coach Andy Coen will be relying on his underclassmen in a big way - underclassmen who will be a big part of this season.

"Thery're going to get their opportunities early," coach Coen told me during Patriot League Media day earlier this month.  "I think we have 54-56 guys that are going to be freshman, sophomore-level eligibility.  And there are going to be some kids from that freshman class that are going to play - that's without a doubt."
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