Category Archives: Quick Recap

QUICK RECAP: Mountain Hawks Keep Championship And Playoff Hopes Alive With 34-21 Victory Over Holy Cross

The term "control of your playoff destiny" is thrown around a lot.

The 3-6 Mountain Hawks were in control of their destiny this weekend.  Win against Holy Cross, and Lehigh will stay alive for no worse than a co-Patriot League Championship and possibly a ticket to the FCS Playoffs.

By the time the clock hit triple zero's, the Mountain Hawks did what they had to do, beating the Crusaders 34-21, and keeping destiny in their own hands with one more regular season game to go - the 153rd meeting of The Rivalry next weekend vs. Lafayette.

Junior RB Dominick Bragalone carried the offense on his back with 30 carries for 205 yards and 4 touchdowns, but he and the offense fed off the energy of  some big Lehigh defensive and special teams plays.  Once Lehigh went up 14-0,  Holy Cross would never get any closer than a touchdown.
Read more »

QUICK RECAP: Lehigh Has Another Losing Trip To NYC, Falls to Fordham 45-35

(Photo Credit: Lehigh Athletics)

The ambulance came onto the field for the third time during a Lehigh football game. 

On this occasion, it was that senior TE Drew Paulsen was trying to recover an onsides kick for the Mountain Hawks.  Down only a field goal, head coach Andy Coen was trying to get the ball back to take advantage of momentum.

But something happened.

On the tackle, he had a head or neck injury, necessitating for the third time this year that an ambulance had to come on to the field for a Lehigh game.

The extremely-loved senior out of Tampa, Florida was carted out on a gurney, and headed to local Presybterian hospital for observation.  On the TV broadcast, they showed tears from some of the players on the sidelines.

Lehigh lost to Fordham, 45-35, in an extremely frustrating game where the Mountain Hawks turned over the ball  four times, twice in the red zone, and twice setting up Fordham in their red zone.  But the injury to Paulsen, and the right leg injury that came up earlier to senior DT Jimmy Mitchell, was the focus after the game.  The worries were clearly centered around the two seniors' well-being.

"It's unbelievable," Coen said, Paulsen's injury clearly very much on his mind.  "I've been doing this for thirty-something years, and I've had three of these in one season."


Read more »

QUICK RECAP: Pelletier’s Career Day Helps Propel Lehigh To Victory over Georgetown, 54-35

Before the game, the Lehigh sports social media team had some graphics ready for a record that senior WR Troy Pelletier had a high probability of breaking today.

Troy, or "The Doctor", as I call him, had to get 60 yards receiving to beat the Patriot League record for receiving yardage.

After he skied past that record, the social media folks had to keep assembling a lot more graphics.

By the end of the game, more records would be falling left and right.  The career Patriot League touchdown record - the first time since 2001 since a Lehigh player nabbed 4 touchdown receptions in a game.  Somewhere in the fourth quarter, he'd grab his 16th reception, breaking his own record for receptions in a game.

In the end, Lehigh cruised, never trailing in a 54-28 win over the Hoyas, but the story was Pelletier, whose amazing 16 catch, 197 yard, 4 TD game was the talk afterwards.

Read more »

QUICK RECAP: Up By 3, Lehigh Throws Out The Numbers And Finds A Way To Win, Beats Coglate 41-38

It was Colgate 28, Lehigh 14 as the first half was coming to a close.  The Mountain Hawks had the ball, but the pall over Lehigh fans everywhere was very evident - "here we go again," most seemed to be thinking.

You couldn't blame fans necessarily for thinking that way, of course.  The Mountain Hawks hadn't found out yet this year how to pull out a game like this, and normally, a two-touchdown deficit to Colgate feels like a four-touchdown deficit, the way they run the ball and gradually crush the spirit of opposing teams.

Driving and scrambling - somewhat of a broken play - junior QB Brad Mayes found junior RB Dominick Bragalone downfield with a big 35 yard touchdown pass, cutting the deficit to 28-21.

And then, gradually, over the course of a half of football, Lehigh put mistakes behind them just as the uncharacteristic mistakes by Colgate seemed to mount.  One Colgate touchdown would be called back.  Then another.  And Lehigh would battle back to tie the game twice, fall behind by a field goal with 5 minutes to play, and then score the winning touchdown and get a game's only turnover at the exact right time to preserve the win.

Somewhere, Al "Just Win, Baby" Davis was smiling.
Read more »

QUICK RECAP: Winless Lehigh Drops Another At Wagner, Falls 37-20 to go 0-5

In their last 3 football games against Division I competition, Wagner scored a grand total of 34 points in three losses.

Tonight on a cold, windy evening in Staten Island, the Seahawk offense came to life against Lehigh.

The Seahawks scored on their first offensive drives of the first half and second half on big plays, a 50 yard run by RB Ryan Fulse and a 30 yard pass from QB Ryan Massei to WR William Dale.  Fulse would add a touchdown and RB Denzel Knight would add touchdown runs of 24 and 60 yards to put up five touchdowns on the Mountain Hawk defense.

Unlike prior weeks, Lehigh maintained a lead against Wagner during stretches of the first half.  Junior RB Dominick Bragalone got a 26 yard run to give Lehigh and early lead, and junior QB Brad Mayes would take it in on a read option to go up 14-7.

But then the Seahawks would go on a 30-6 run after that aided by five Mayes interceptions.
Read more »

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.

QUICK RECAP: Yale Turns the Tables on Lehigh, This Time Beats Lehigh 56-28

In front of about 5,000 fans, Lehigh fell into a too familiar game script.

After falling behind by two touchdowns, Lehigh clawed to get back into the game but ultimately gave up touchdown after touchdown, falling 56-28 in what felt like a role reversal from the Mountain Hawks' big win against the Elis in the Yale Bowl last season.

The Bulldogs racked up 566 yards against the Mountain Hawks, 258 on the ground, and 308 through the air.  QB Kurt Rawlings threw for 4 touchdowns, 2 which went to WR Melvin Rouse en route to a 4 catch, 84 yard day.

Yale RB Zach Dudek had a monster day against Lehigh, running 9 times for 135 yards and 2 TDs, including an absolute backbreaker, a 29 yard run with 8 minutes left in the 4th quarter.

Lehigh's offense ended with 375 yards, but were stopped in key situations and frequently were stuck in 3rd-and-long.  Senior WR Gatlin Casey had 4 receptions, 2 for touchdowns, but couldn't hang on to a critical 4th down catch that might have kept them in it.

Stay tuned for a deeper recap and post-game reaction.


QUICK RECAP: A Tough Gut Punch To the Mountain Hawks, A 46-27 Defeat to Monmouth

It pretty much started with RB Pete Guerrerio's 70 yard kickoff to open the game, and continued throughout a bruising, physical football game.

Lehigh would battle back from a 14-0 deficit to take the lead at halftime, but ultimately surrendered the lead as a physical beating took its toll and Monmouth got 4 straight rushing touchdowns, which allowed them to bowl their way to a 46-27 win over the Mountain Hawks.

Mayes would eventually find senior WR Troy Pelletier to break Lehigh's all-time receptions record with 238, but it had to be a bitter milestone to reach as the Mountain Hawks were held to 6 points - a touchdown, and a missed extra point - in the second half.

"Basically, they were a better football team today," a crestfallen Andy Coen said afterwards.  "They want to run the ball, and chew up the clock, and that was very evident here today, that's why they were the better team.  We did a very poor job of 1st downs, we did a very poor job on 3rd down conversions - we didn't get it done.  And to make it real embarrassing at the end, the quarterback fumbles right when we're trying to get back into it a little bit, and throw the interception in the end zone."

Mayes didn't turn over the ball until late in the game, but both were costly when the Mountain Hawks were trying to get back in it.  He'd still throw 3 touchdown passes, one a rifle to Pelletier, and a second highlight reel-like grab to senior WR Gatlin Casey, but it wouldn't be enough.

Junior WR Luke Christano would be the reason for those six points in the second half, where, for the second straight week, he had a highlight-reel catch of a throw over the middle by junior QB Brad Mayes for a 54 yard touchdown strike.

But Monmouth registered 351 yards rushing and scored 6 rushing touchdowns of 6, 71, 8, 4, 31, and 4 yards.  Three of them came from RB Devell Jones, who was the goal line vulture with 3 scores and 28 yards rushing, while Pete Guerrerio and RB Michel Jolly added 3 more touchdowns with a variety of big plays.

212 of Monmouth's 351 rushing yards came in the second half, and Monmouth won the time of possession battle 32:12 to 27:48.

"Lehigh's a fine football team, we knew it was going to be a tough game, a four-quarter football game," Monmouth head coach Kevin Callahan said afterwards.  "We we were preparing our guys all week for that sort of game, and we came out fast, just like we wanted to.  After Lehigh scored first in the second half, I was happy about the way that our team responded, we answered that and from that point on we put the pedal to the metal a little bit."

Tune in later for a longer recap and more post-game reaction.

QUICK RECAP: Lehigh Comes Close, But Can’t Get Final Stop, Lose 38-35 to Villanova

Lehigh fell behind 21-7 and 28-14 in the first half, and battled back in the second half to give themselves a shot to win, but for the second straight year the Mountain Hawks came close but couldn't close the deal, falling 38-35 to Villanova at Murray Goodman Stadium this afternoon.

In his first start of the 2017 season, junior QB Brad Mayes went 33 for 49 with 406 yards passing and 4 touchdowns, including two to senior WR Gatlin Casey that were of highlight-reel quality.

One was a 29 yard strike through a pass interference call, and the second was a 3 yard drill that was tipped but Casey adjusted and came down with the pass at the back of the end zone.

Junior WR Luke Cristiano also had a career day with 8 catches and 143 yards and an amazing touchdown catch that saw him beat Villanova S Rob Rolle and scamper for a 66 yard touchdown.

Villanova amassed 475 yards of offense on the afternoon, achieving good balance with QB Zach Bednarczyk's passing (209 yards, 2 touchdown passes) and a potent rushing attack (led by RB Matt Gudzak's 142 net rushing yard and 2 touchdowns).

This one will sting, because there were several spots during the game where Lehigh could have come away with points, and didn't, and they could have been the difference in the game.  Near the end of the first half in Villanova's red zone, junior RB Dominick Bragalone's fumble was recovered by Villanova and resulted in a score, a 14 point turnaround.  There were other opportunities missed as well.

Tune in later tonight for a more comprehensive recap.

QUICK RECAP: Lehigh Are Patriot League Champs, Claw Back And Earn Title 20-13

Bucknell hardly made it easy.

The Bison jumped out to a 7-0 lead, and made the lead 13-7 on the backs of touchdowns by RB Joey DeFloria and RB Chad Freshnock.

With a chance to build on their lead, though, Lehigh's defense stopped Bucknell again, and again, and again.

The Lehigh Mountain Hawk defense, led by heroic performances by senior LB Colton Caslow (11 tackles) and senior LB Pierce Ripanti (10 tackles), forced two turnovers that became a field goal by sophomore PK Ed Mish and a critical stop on Lehigh's doorstep that preserved Lehigh's Patriot League Championship.

It was a fitting place, in a fitting game, for Lehigh to take this elusive Patriot League championship and to allow Lehigh to finally crash an FCS Playoff party they had been denied five years ago.  They overturned their loss to Lafayette here in 2013.  They overturned their 4th-and-5 at Colgate last year by a sophomore CB Donavon Harris interception that preserved the slender 7 point lead.

It was tough as hell, but Lehigh got their, um, stuff together, and won the damn championship.
Read more »