Category Archives: Penn

The Opportunity To Heal Without Permanent Scars

A lot of football teams in the middle of a football season have what is called a 24 hour rule in regards to the outcome of their games.  The rule is the win, or loss is to be celebrated/agonized over for 24 hours, and then it's back to work.

Like the No Cheering in the Press Box rule in the past, I violated that one this weekend.

After the Penn loss, I was mad in a way I hadn't been mad before.  Irrationally mad.  Talking back at the dog mad.  Losses affect me, some more than others.  And this one, for some reason, really hit me hard.

It was 5:00 PM on Sunday, the Eagles had just won on a 61 yard miracle field goal, and the Saints had just humiliated the Panthers on the road for their first victory of the season.  A Saints victory on the road, against a conference rival, something that, as a Saints fan, happens at about the same frequency as Super Bowl visits - and I was still mad about the game yesterday.

That was the point when I realized something was wrong.

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QUICK RECAP: Lehigh Hits Rock Bottom In Dismal 65-47 Loss to Penn

Villanova, 38.

Monmouth, 46.

Yale, 56.

Now Penn, 65.

Lehigh's defense has given up 203 points in 4 games, and has given up more than 200 yards rushing to four straight teams.

This week's Ivy League player of the week will undoubtedly be Penn RB Karekin Brooks, who ran for 268 net yards, and scored 3 touchdowns, two on the ground, and one through, of all things, a pass.  It will be the second straight week that an offensive opponent will become a first-time Ivy League Offensive player of the week, the honor last week going to Yale QB Kurt Rawlings.

The Mountain Hawks' opponents have scored in all 16 quarters this year, and they've allowed at least 13 points in every quarter.

The defense hasn't forced a turnover all season, while the offense turned over the ball four different times today, and after each turnover, the defense would yield a score each time, including a brutal one to start the game when Lehigh desperately needed to jump out to a quick start.

For the second straight week, missed extra points have made it just a tiny bit harder to come back, something Lehigh has found itself doing almost the entire season.

And anyone who witnessed this debacle would have also been treated to all sorts of things, like a Penn running back executing a jump pass for a touchdown; a certain interception bouncing out of the hands of the defender and into the hands of a Penn receiver and a Lehigh 2-point conversion resulting in an interception return by Penn going the other direction.

Someone happier than me right now might bring up junior QB Brad Mayes' 400 yards passing, senior WR Gatlin Casey's 3 touchdowns, and junior RB Dominick Bragalone's strong offensive days today, and indeed, the numbers were impressive.  But Lehigh fans reading this should not be fooled by the pretty numbers - Lehigh never was ahead in this game, and in a tiring refrain, killed themselves multiple times with untimely turnovers and couldn't reverse momentum when the offense turned the ball over.

And it could have easily been worse.  Yes, Virginia, in a game where Lehigh gave up 65 points, it could have indeed been worse, with a Penn TD overturned by a penalty near the end of this game, making the officials the only thing stopping Penn from putting up 70 on Lehigh this afternoon.

If you're looking for a positive for this 0-4 game, here it is: Lehigh may have hit rock bottom.  I mean, how could it get worse than this?

Tune in later for more thoughts, at least the ones I can deliver and still keep this blog PG.

Penn At Lehigh Game Breakdown and Fearless Prediction: How Much Do We Really Know About The Quakers?

(Photo Credit: The Daily Pennsylvanian)

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

Last week, head coach Andy Coen made a big deal about the many changes Yale made to their approach on both offense and defense.  Penn will not have the same element of surprise this week - to some degree.

Certainly Penn head coach Ray Priore, who has his main staff intact from last year with offensive coordinator John Reagan and defensive coordinator Bob Benson, will likely have a similar approach to what they want to do on both sides of the ball from last season - after all, they were Ivy League co-champions.

But last week wasn't a normal type of opener for the Quakers.

Playing a Division II school for the first time in program history, Division II Ohio Dominican allowed Penn to play a sort-of experimental setup.  Though Penn got a win that counts in the standings just like any other win, 42-24, using it as a hard and fast rule on how they will come out against Lehigh might be a big mistake.

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Penn At Lehigh Game Preview: A Potential Big-Time Receiving Show Might Feature Watson vs. Pelletier

(Photo Credit: Alex Fisher/The Daily Pennsylvanian)

Both Penn head coach Ray Priore and Lehigh head coach Andy Coen aren't necessarily focused on the numbers and the exploits of individual members of their offense.

Priore, focused on finally beating Lehigh for the first time in his head coaching tenure, and Coen, trying to right the ship after a very shaky 0-3 start, have different things to worry about.

But this weekend's affair at Murray Goodman, if the past is any guide, could have the potential of a highlight reel of tremendous catches by some receivers that are getting looks by NFL teams.

Twice before Penn WR Justin Watson and Lehigh WR Troy Pelletier have played against each other, and both times Watson and Pelletier have lit up the opposing secondaries for some tremendous catches and some amazing numbers.

For Penn, it's allegedly about building off the win over Division II Ohio Dominican last week.  For Lehigh, it's supposed to be about getting their first win, and getting some positive momentum back in their season.  But for fans, there's definitely the potential of an offensive circus this weekend that could be immensely entertaining.


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Know Your 2017 Opponents: Penn

Last season, there were two iconic games that set the tone for the Lehigh football season - one a tough loss, the other a tough victory.

The first iconic moment was simply called "the Monmouth game" - the season-opening game where the Mountain Hawks started out slow, allowed the other Hawks to build up a double-digit lead, and after a furious comeback, Lehigh came up just short.  Lehigh had multiple opportunities to seize control - but didn't.

It threatened to become the narrative that defined the season - that is, until the second iconic game, which was simply called "the Penn game", and also broke down to a specific moment - the end of the first half.
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Lehigh 49, Penn 28 Postgame Thoughts: Both Sides Of Anthem Protests Need To Abandon Empty Gestures And Do Something Real

(Photo Credit: Thomas Munson/The Daily Pennsylvanian)

The firestorm made its way to Franklin Field.

Few football fans may noticed it as the game was about to start, including myself.  I wasn't focused on the cheerleading team during the national anthem, nor was anyone else that I confer with - I was a bit more preoccupied whether Lehigh was going to open the season 0-3.

But sometime on Monday, The Daily Pennsylvanian published a short piece detailing the planned protest event, done by Alexus Bazen and Deena Char.

It is the same act that 49ers backup QB Colin Kaepernick and many, many other NFL players have performed during the national anthem during the preseason and first weeks of the season - kneeling or sitting during the National Anthem, and raising a fist.  It's an act meant to inflame and to get them noticed, and it did.

Why, though?

The "why" can and should be asked on both sides of the protest, those that find solidarity with it and those that are angered by it.

Let's talk about it.
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With 0.3 Left In First Half, Lehigh Ties Game, Then Never Looks Back, Beats Penn 49-28

(Photo Credits: Justin Lafleur, Lehigh Athletics)

Penn QB Alek Torgerson and the Penn offense had torn through the Lehigh defense like a hot knife through butter.  Again.

Nearing the end of the first half, the Huntington Beach, CA native lined up on a 4th and 1 play in the Lehigh red zone.  Faking the handoff to RB Tre Solomon, he instead took it himself, running through an enormous hole on the left side of the line for a 8 yard touchdown run.

The touchdown and extra point put Penn back ahead, 28-21, but with 1:14 left, and three timeouts, it wasn't a question whether Lehigh was going to try to drive the length of the field to tie up the game, or at least try to cut the deficit a little.  Head coach Andy Coen was going to try.  Definitely.

So the experienced senior QB Nick Shafnisky took the field, knowing what needed to be done - the same thing that Lehigh's offense had already done three times in the same half - drive the length of the field and make something happen.

But that was just it; the fans were in the stands, doubting.  They had seen this Lehigh team twice this year already, on the brink of turning things around, but coming up short.  All this Lehigh team needed was a stop against Monmouth, they said.  Nope.  All the Mountain Hawks needed was to convert that 4th down and 10 against Villanova, they said.  They got eight and a half yards.  

They had seen this last season, too.  Lehigh had the ball first and goal against Colgate, ready to tie the game near the end of a game that would have given them a chance at a Patriot League championship.  On 4th down, a few yards from the goalline, the pass would be batted down.  The Raiders won, clinching at least a share of the Patriot League championship.

Why should this critical drive be any different?  Why wouldn't it also be a dollar short, like we had seen before?

The funny thing is, it wouldn't be a dollar short, a stop short, a yard short, a second short.  It would get exactly the right number of yards and, with 0.3 seconds left, either a touchdown or nothing the result, the Lehigh offense did not end up getting stopped short, and in so doing seemed to do a lot more than simply tie the game.

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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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