Category Archives: Pete Pujals

Holy Cross at Lehigh Game Breakdown And Fearless Prediction: Which Crusader Team Will Lehigh Get?

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

The old Forrest Gump saying that seems particularly apt about this matchup this weekend is: "Life is like a box of chocolates.  You don't know what you're going to get."

So as it goes with Holy Cross, whose offensive outputs in every game this year have been: 20, 20, 51, 26, 7, 36, 0, 7, 24, and 42.

Three games scoring less than 10 points; three games scoring more than 30 points, and four games scoring between 20 and 29 points - that defines inconsistency.

In their high-scoring games, the ingredient that has seemed to help Holy Cross score points in bunches are the same thing that helped Lehigh so much this week: turnovers.

In Holy Cross' two most impressive wins - against New Hampshire and against Fordham - in both games, the sequence "Holy Cross touchdown, get ball back after a turnover, Holy Cross touchdown" played a huge part in their wins.  Once they got up by two scores, it was a hill that neither opponent could climb.

It is that sequence, in my opinion, that needs to be avoided at all costs.
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Holy Cross at Lehigh Game Preview: Two Rollercoaster Seasons Meet Head-On At Murray Goodman

Holy Cross' and Lehigh's paths to having fun playing football have been different, but two teams that appear to have reclaimed the fun to some degree will be facing off this weekend at Murray Goodman Stadium in an intriguing, important football game.

The 4-6 Crusaders have only one path to a Patriot League co-championship: beat 3-6 Lehigh this weekend, and hope 3-6 Lafayette and 5-4 Colgate lose at least one game the rest of the way.

But in Holy Cross' regular-season finale, it doesn't really feel like it's about the postseason - which would only happen in the unlikely event of Lehigh and Holy Cross finishing at 4-2, and Lafayette and Colgate finishing at 3-3 in league play.

For Lehigh, though, the Patriot League Championship and the opportunity to play in the FCS Playoffs is still very much in play.  Beat Holy Cross, and beat Lafayette in the 153rd meeting of The Rivalry, and this Mountain Hawk team will have a ring fitting in their future and a football practice on Thanksgiving.

And in a way, that's what makes this game extra-dangerous for these Mountain Hawks.  The Crusaders are nearing the likely finale of their roller-coaster ride.  Lehigh's 2017 coaster ride still has some very big twists and turns still in it.
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Holy Cross at Lehigh Game Preview: Two Rollercoaster Seasons Meet Head-On At Murray Goodman

Holy Cross' and Lehigh's paths to having fun playing football have been different, but two teams that appear to have reclaimed the fun to some degree will be facing off this weekend at Murray Goodman Stadium in an intriguing, important football game.

The 4-6 Crusaders have only one path to a Patriot League co-championship: beat 3-6 Lehigh this weekend, and hope 3-6 Lafayette and 5-4 Colgate lose at least one game the rest of the way.

But in Holy Cross' regular-season finale, it doesn't really feel like it's about the postseason - which would only happen in the unlikely event of Lehigh and Holy Cross finishing at 4-2, and Lafayette and Colgate finishing at 3-3 in league play.

For Lehigh, though, the Patriot League Championship and the opportunity to play in the FCS Playoffs is still very much in play.  Beat Holy Cross, and beat Lafayette in the 153rd meeting of The Rivalry, and this Mountain Hawk team will have a ring fitting in their future and a football practice on Thanksgiving.

And in a way, that's what makes this game extra-dangerous for these Mountain Hawks.  The Crusaders are nearing the likely finale of their roller-coaster ride.  Lehigh's 2017 coaster ride still has some very big twists and turns still in it.
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With Title Hopes On The Line, Lehigh Explodes For a 51-38 Win Over Holy Cross

From the first two plays of the game, the Mountain Hawks seemed like they were going to dictate the terms of the rest of their 2015 season.

It started with a slicing kickoff return from freshman KR Mike Gies, who saw some huge holes and got things started with a 39 yard return.

The very next play freshman QB Brad Mayes, again looking more like a senior than an underclassman, found senior WR Derek Knott who lost his defender on a double move, and then turned on the afterburners for a 61 yard touchdown.

It was that sort of half, and that sort of day for the Mountain Hawks, who put the pedal on the gas and didn't let up until they had secured a very satisfying victory.
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Game Breakdown, Holy Cross at Lehigh, 11/7/2015

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

If you look at the statistics, you might think that this game may be a barn-burner.  In the Crusaders' last three games, they've put up more than 30 points each time.  Lehigh has eclipsed 30 point in their last two games as well.

If it does end up being a high-scoring affair, it may end up echoing a Holy Cross/Lehigh game that took place twenty-four years ago, and is considered by many to be the most exciting non-Lafayette-related football game ever played at Murray Goodman Stadium.

In 1991, Holy Cross was a Division I-AA powerhouse.  Though Gordie Lockbaum had graduated much earlier, the Crusaders' scholarship athletes kept Holy Cross' 34 game winning streak over I-AA opponents alive.  Lehigh, also ranked nationally, was the best chance for Holy Cross to be upset in many years.

Both had some of the top offenses in I-AA.  And in front of 14,055 fans, both teams treated the fans in attendance to an incredible show.

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Game Preview, Holy Cross at Lehigh, 11/7/2015

“We didn’t execute as well as we wanted coming out of the half,” he said. “In the past we may have crumbled a little bit, but we kept fighting. We kept working through the adversity.”

You might think these were the words of someone from Lehigh this weekend, perhaps Mountain Hawk head coach Andy Coen or freshman QB Brad Mayes.

The words were not theirs, however. They were the words of Holy Cross junior QB Pete Pujals after their thrilling 34-33 win over Bryant.

Holy Cross comes into this weekend's game at Lehigh with an identical record as the Mountain Hawks, 4-4.  Like Lehigh, they are playing to finish the season strong and force their way into a playoff conversation by winning their last three games to finish at 7-4.

Listing to Holy Cross' post-game press conference from last week, you can pluck many more words from Pujals and head coach Tom Gilmore that could have been taken from Lehigh's.  "Believing".  "Character."  "Finding a way to win."

The Crusaders will definitely be another test as to how far Lehigh has come this season.

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Know Your 2015 Opponents: Holy Cross

Perhaps it should be called the curse of QB Dominic Randolph.

With Dom as the leader on offense, in 2009 Holy Cross won their first Patriot League football championship in the FCS Playoff era.

From there they proceeded to give Villanova all they could handle in a 38-28 thriller.  The Wildcats would go on and win the FCS National Championship, beating Montana 23-21, and had the purpliest or Purple fans wondering about how and when the Crusaders were going to take the next step.

Unfortunately for Holy Cross fans, they've been waiting ever since.

Sure, injuries have played a part in Holy Cross' struggles over the seasons.  They also, certainly, have had more than their fail share of agonizing, close losses over the last four years.  And even the rest of the league hasn't paid Tom Gilmore's team much mind, either, ranking them sixth out of seven Patriot League teams in the preseason poll.

Yet this team doesn't seem like they should be picked sixth.  Not with the skill guys they have coming back, and the guys coming back from injury.

Maybe they were simply picked sixth because of the "curse" of Dominic Raldolph.  If they were, it's a mistake.
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Game Breakdown, Lehigh at Holy Cross, 11/8/2014

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

The 3-6 Crusaders, like 2-6 Lehigh, are a young team who is looking to show that they are ready to move forward and become a force in the Patriot Leaugue title race in the future.

Critically, in their win over Lafayette two weekends ago, they've shown that they can indeed hunker down and figure out how to stomp on a team to win a football game.

Holy Cross' schedule shows a lot of close games, with losses by a field goal to Brown, Albany, Colgate, and Dartmouth this season.  It's awful easy to see this team, in an alternate universe, winning all four of these games and heading towards "senior day" with a 6-2 record.

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Game Preview, Lehigh at Holy Cross, 11/8/2014

It's a different sort of November for Lehigh this time around, but one that's still very important in regards to building up to the 150th meeting between Lehigh and Lafayette at Yankee Stadium.

The Mountain Hawks are essentially out of the playoff race, but the test this weekend against the Crusaders will be interesting for one very big reason: sophomore QB Pete Pujals.

Pujals and Lafayette sophomore QB Drew Reed are cut from the same cloth, young, mobile quarterbacks that can easily take off with the ball and also kill you with a precision passing game.

It's the closest thing to a dress rehearsal that Lehigh will have before the 150th.

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Can You Dig It? Shaf Helps Lehigh Dominate Holy Cross, 38-20

If you went into Murray Goodman Stadium and said you knew exactly what to expect from this Lehigh Mountain Hawks team, you were lying.

Everyone involved with the Mountain Hawks football program had seen, or heard about, the loss to Bucknell.

If they had sharp eyes, too, they saw the former starting quarterback, Brandon Bialkowski, on the sidelines in a jacket, his arm immobilized so his collarbone can heal.

You had to go back a long way to find a Lehigh team with this much uncertainty, with this much at stake, with three games left.

And in this environment, this Mountain Hawk team responded.

The Mountain Hawks would never trail in this game, though the Crusaders would tie the game twice, at 7-7 and 13-13.  But then, after filling in permanently after what seemed to be a rib injury to junior QB Matt McHale, freshman QB Nick "Shaf" Shafnisky came into the game and guided Lehigh on three touchdown drives in a convincing 38-20 victory.
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