Category Archives: Michael Colvin

2012 Mountain Hawks of the Year

Out of 128 seasons of Lehigh football, only ten teams have enjoyed ten victories or more, and the 2012 chapter of Lehigh football was one of those ten rare teams.

Most of the ten victories did not come easy, which, combined with the perception of a weak schedule, had to be the reason why Lehigh was the first 10 Division I-win school since the expansion of the playoffs to 20 teams to be denied a playoff bid.

That shouldn't take away from the great accomplishment of this 2012 Mountain Hawk team, however.

There is plenty to celebrate from 2012, and plenty of good things to write about. 

The cardiac 28-26 victory at sold-out Liberty, in front of nearly 20,000 intense fans, before the Flames would end up being Big South co-champions. 

The heart-stopping wins against Fordham, Holy Cross and Georgetown, which all came down to the last play. 

And, of course, falling behind 21-10 early to Lafayette in the 148th version of "The Rivalry", before roaring to a 38-21 victory and shotting out the Leopards for three consecutive quarters.

For this last post of 2012, we celebrate the wins one more time, and unveil the Hawks of the 2012 season.
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Lehigh 38, Lafayette 21, Final

(Photo Credit: Facebook/Will Rackley)

 Down 14-3 and 21-10, early on it looked like Lehigh's playoff hopes, already dimmed by the Mountain Hawks' loss to Colgate, might be done in completely at the hands of their bitter rivals, who were looking for their first win over Lehigh after being unsuccessful in their last four tries.

Then Lehigh put together their best half of football of the year.

Scoring 28 unanswered points, and shutting out the Leopards in the second half, the Mountain Hawks finished the regular season with a resounding 38-21 victory.

Ultimately, it wasn't enough to get to the postseason, even though it would have been for the first time since the playoffs expanded to 20 teams that a team with 10 Division I wins would not qualify for the FCS playoffs.

But that shouldn't obscure a fantastic effort by Lehigh's class of 2013 to stay undefeated against "That School in Easton" and their achievement of being only the 10th team in school history to break the 10 win barrier.
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Housekeeping before the 148th Meeting

I have some things to do before the 148th this weekend in Easton - namely, two weeks of players of the week (since I forgot for Holy Cross in my zeal to cover the Colgate game) and some links wrapping up last week's game.

Something that has muted the party  this week has been the heartbreaking story of Lafayette QB Zach Zweizig, whose father, 56, tragically died from complications of a stroke earlier this week.

My thoughts and prayers are with him and his family.  I love "The Rivalry", I really do.  But some things transcend it.
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Colgate 35, Lehigh 24, Final


After the weatherman promised a mostly sunny day on November 10th, the day of the Patriot League championship game at Murray Goodman stadium, there was instead a gray haze that persisted throughout the football game.

Like the weather, the game was also a story of the unexpected. 

Few thought the Colgate offense would be held to just 35 points, after creaming Lafayette for 65 points the previous week.  Many also were surprised that Lehigh could only manage 90 rushing yards against the No. 7-ranked rushing defense in the Patriot League.

The grey weather didn't affect the outcome.  It didn't affect the passing game, the running game, or the kicking game. 

But on a damp, strange, overcast day in November, the magic ran out for Lehigh.  The undefeated Mountain Hawks fell in a war on Saturday, 35-23, busting up a season that almost seemed predestined to be Lehigh's from the outset.
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Game Breakdown, Colgate vs. Lehigh, 11/10/2012

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

Not much more needs to be said about the importance of this game.  Essentially, it's for all the marbles.  It's why both teams practiced in March and April, why they sacrificed their time and energy all fall, why they, essentially, do this.

It's worth, though, looking at some detail as to how Colgate won these games.

In all four games, Colgate scored a touchdown on their first possession.  No punts, no turnovers, no field goals.  Touchdowns.

In three of the four games, Colgate scored a touchdown on their second possession.  Bucknell forced a punt in their game against the Raiders, but Colgate has mostly scored touchdowns there, too.

My point is that a big part of Colgate's success has been early success.  If football is a game of momentum, the Raiders have been successful in large part by getting out of the gate early, and then just continuing to roll forward.  In fact, last week against Lafayette, the Raiders scored eight times in their first eight possessions - seven TDs, and one FG, and that only happened because it was at the end of the half.

Let's look a little closer at this offense, too.

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Game Preview: The Patriot League Championship Game: Colgate at Lehigh, 11/10/2012

"The word is that Dick Biddle's squad is in "rebuilding" mode with the graduation of RB Nate Eachus," I confidently wrote back in the preseason of Colgate's chances for the Patriot League title in 2012.  "The Raiders' backs will still get the yards, but the real question is: can their defense get back to the world-beating form of the early noghties?"

Picking them to finish fifth, as others had, seemed a no-brainer.  Even though QB Gavin McCarney returned for his junior season, his continued growth, and the development of the offensive system around some new, young guys, couldn't result in a title run for a "rebuilding" squad, especially with a defense that needed to find an identity, could it?  Especially without Eachus, who made the Kansas City Chiefs' roster?

With the Patriot League championship and FCS playoff autobid on the line this Saturday, the answer couldn't be clearer.  Yes.  They can.

The Raiders' "O" has morphed into one of the most scary offensive units in all of FCS this year, making this by far the biggest challenge the undefeated Mountain Hawks have faced all season.  And the stakes couldn't be higher, with the Patriot League title, a potential FCS playoff bid, and a litany of records and winning streaks, on the line for Lehigh.

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Lehigh 36, Holy Cross 35, Final

(Photo Credit: Jerome Gordon/Facebook)

The term "Any Given Sunday" comes from the film by Oliver Stone of the same name, but it really comes from Steve Sabol and NFL Films, and the music and sentiment those films provided.  "On any given Sunday..." I can still imagine Mr. Sabol bellowing, with the military-esque soundtrack backing him him... "even a 1-8 team can beat the best team in the land."

This Saturday, we almost saw one of those types of moments at Fitton Field in Worcester, Mass.

Not looking anything like a one-win team, Holy Cross gave Lehigh every single last thing they could handle, rattling off 21 unanswered points in the 3rd quarter against the No. 1 defense in the Patriot League and putting themselves in position to fire off the game-winning 43 yard kick with 11 seconds to play.

The field goal would barely have the distance, but would be just wide right - the margin between winning and losing the game.  Lehigh's 36-35 win would be the second time in three Patriot League games that their opposition would be in position to tie or win the game in the final seconds, but miss the conversion.

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Players of the Week and Press Roundup, Bucknell vs. Lehigh, 10/20/2012

(Photo Credit: Kevin Mingora/The Morning Call)

I love the picture of this sack by senior DE Anthony Verderame on Bucknell QB Brandon Wesley - a huge sack during the game.

It's a part of the Morning Call's pictorial of the Bucknell game this past weekend by photographer Kevin Mingora, who covers all of Lehigh's home games.

It may seem hard to believe, but there was a time once when finding photos of games online was an arduous task.  Now, between Mr. Mingora's gallery, the Brown & White gallery, and the Facebook gallery from Lehigh Athletics, there are tons to choose from every week.

It's a pretty good time to be a Lehigh Blogger.  (Oh yeah, and 8-0 is pretty nice, too.)

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Sunday’s Word: Hard

There are 246 schools that field football teams at the Division I level, encompassing both the Football Bowl Subdivision and Football Championship Subdivision.

Of those 246 teams, there are 13 teams that are undefeated at this stage of the season.

Lehigh, who competes in FCS, is in a pool of 122 teams they vie in a subdivision that competes with fewer than the 85 headcount athletes that compete at FBS.

Of those 122 teams there are exactly 2 teams that are undefeated at this stage of the season.

There are two teams in all of Division I that currently sit with eight wins, and zero losses: The Ohio State University, and the Mountain Hawks.

And it's time to acknowledge something.

That getting to 8-0 is "hard".
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Lehigh 42, Bucknell 19. Final

On a perfect homecoming afternoon, the South Mountain skyline something right out of a fall landscape painting, the stage was set for a perfect Lehigh victory - something that Mountain Hawk fans have been looking for all season.

They didn't get that.

But they still did get a dominating win over Bucknell, 42-19, keeping a perfect 8-0 record for Lehigh and getting the job done against a game Bucknell squad.

And, overall, the good outweighed the bad.  Not the perfect game, surely, but plenty for Lehigh to get into the bye week undefeated.
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