Category Archives: Tony Reno

Yale At Lehigh Game Narratives: Into The Unknown

One of the quirks of being a Lehigh fan is that generally, the Mountain Hawks play an Ivy League team in their season opener.  This year, that team is Yale.

This sets the Mountain Hawks up in an odd situation - Lehigh is in their third game, and Yale is an unknown quantity.  It's something that all teams playing against Ivy League teams face, but at times it feels like something that the Patriot League has to deal with more.

Over the years, there's been a back-and-forth debate: who benefits more, the team that's had two weeks to work out the kinks, or the team that has the element of surprise?

“I’d like to believe we have the upper hand," head coach Andy Coen said this week, "because we have played two games and you’d hope that Yale will make some first-game mistakes and we’ll be able to take advantage of them.”

Yale's sophomore QB Kurt Rawlings had a different perspective.

“Being able to go in and have two weeks rather than [against] most teams [when] we only get to prepare for one week [has been a plus],” Rawlings said. “Having two weeks to be able to study up and almost know what they’re going to be showing and doing, is certainly going to help us. … They beat us last season, but I’m really excited. I think we’re going to do pretty good against them.”

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Yale at Lehigh Game Breakdown and Fearless Prediction: Ridiculous, Sublime, Awesome, Or Awful?

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

This week, College Sports Journal picked their order of finish of the Ivy League and the Elis were picked to finish 5th, in contrast to the preseason Ivy League media poll, where they were picked fourth.

"Exhale, Elis, you did it," it said.  "For only the second time in a decade, Yale finally beat their most bitter Rival in The Game, 21-14, giving head coach Tony Reno something pleasant to bring into the offseason for a change.  That win, however, somewhat masks a maddeningly inconsistent 2016, where Yale went 3-7, gave up more than 40 points on defense four times, and somehow managed to lose to Cornell 27-13 at Schoellkopf Field.  The win in The Game will provide hope in New Haven and a good feeling in the offseason, but will it translate into a winning season and an Ivy League title run?"

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Know Your 2017 Opponents: Yale

The 2016 Yale Bulldogs might have experienced the biggest swings of any other school in college football.

They experienced the low of getting destroyed at home against Lehigh, giving up an amazing 63 points to the Mountain Hawks led that day by QB Brad Mayes in a 28 point defeat.

And they were dominated by some of their bigger rivals in Ivy League play, losing 42-7 to Penn and 31-3 to Princeton.

Yet of their three wins, they pulled off two enormous upsets - beating Ivy League title contender Dartmouth at home, 21-13, and finally breaking Harvard's nine year hex against them in "The Game", scoring a touchdown with 4 minutes left to secure a tremendous 21-14 win over their bitter Crimson Rivals.

The Ivy League starts play on September 16th, where Lehigh will find Yale travelling to Murray Goodman Stadium in the Bulldogs first game of the year.

The Mountain Hawks will be playing their third game of the season, and Mayes will be going against the team which he had a record-breaking performance.

The Eli will have had all offseason to bask in the glow of breaking the nine-game winning streak of Harvard against them - and once the enormity of their win over Harvard fades into the distance a little, to focus on avenging last season's 63 points that Lehigh put on them last year.
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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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Lehigh At Yale Game Breakdown And Fearless Prediction: Beware The Yale Bowl

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

Before we get to all the nuts and bolts of the breakdown, Yale's game notes and mascots, though, it's worth highlighting a great piece by Lehigh athletics on senior OL Brandon Short that was just released earlier today by Lehighsports.com.

"Regardless, Short's approach to every practice, every game and every opportunity to improve is the same, whether this is his last season or he returns in 2017," the article reads.  "That extra sense of urgency, which seniors often say they feel, has been there for Short ever since returning from a season-ending injury he sustained early in the 2014 season [at Yale].

"'That experience really brought things into perspective,' he said. "We always hear coaches say play every play like it's your last. I started three games as a sophomore, which got taken away in the matter of two plays. It really opened my eyes to enjoy and appreciate what I'm doing.

"Because of that injury and missing the rest of the season, Short hopes to return to Lehigh for a fifth year to earn his master's degree while continuing to play football. Several logistics still need to be figured out, but that's his goal."

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Know Your 2016 Opponents: Yale

Today's "Know Your 2016 Opponents" series continues with the team that is predicted by College Sports Journal to finish 3th in the Ivy League: Yale.

Although it would have been a great narrative coup if Hilary Clinton and Bill Clinton met at the classic 14-12 upset of the Bulldogs by Harvard in 1970 at wind-swept Cambridge, they instead, the world learned this week, met in the spring of 1971 at the law school library.

One of the curious things about the Clintons is their lack of association with the "Yale-Harvard Football Game", as it's now known, even though Bill Clinton is a self-admitted sports nut, able to recall times when he congratulated winning teams that visited him in the White House, or times as President or at the Clinton Foundation reminiscing about Montana Grizzlies football.

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Yale Came Into Our House And Pushed Us Around

In the movie Rudy, Notre Dame head coach Dan Devine gets painted unjustifiably as a bit of a jerk.

His treatment in the movie, I feel, is what prevents Rudy from being a mostly-loved movie from a near-universally loved movie.

Some people will never forgive the moviemakers, for the convenience of drama, for changing the reality of his coaching career.

Yet despite this fact, actor Chelcie Ross manages to deliver one of the iconic halftime locker-room speeches in cinema.  You're not really supposed to like him, as the movie goes, but somehow he manages this great line:

"No one, and I mean no one, comes into our house and pushes us around."

It's great because it is a universal football concept.  Bowl-eligibility, conference games, even in playing out a 3-8 season, it doesn't matter.  Nobody wants to play the game of football and get pushed around, ever, but to be pushed around at home?  Somewhere, you have to draw a line.

This weekend, Yale pushed us around.  At home.  There's no hiding it.  They weren't always pretty doing it - the Bulldogs made a fair number of mistakes in the form of penalties and turnovers.  But ultimately, they won the game because they pushed us around.
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On Cold, Dreary Homecoming, Lehigh Overpowered by Yale 27-12

It was a game that was pretty much the opposite of what Lehigh football fans would have wanted from homecoming.

People want games in Murray Goodman Stadium that are sunny and 70 degrees, with perhaps just a hint of wind.  Instead, despite the fact that a threatened hurricane never arrived, temperatures dipped into the 50s to go with some cold, gusty winds, which caused not a few people to get runny noses.

Homecoming is supposed to be a happy time, but the dark, overcast skies didn't make the game feel like a warm, welcoming place.  Though the Marching 97 tried their best, as did the Alumni band, the dreariness hung over the stadium like an unwelcome guest.

Home fans always want a win on homecoming, hopefully with exciting, crisp, vibrant execution from the guys in the brown jerseys, but again, that too would end up being the opposite of what Lehigh fans were hoping for on this afternoon.

Yale would turn over the ball three times, be penalized 11 times for 94 yards, and be limited to 200 yards passing on the afternoon.  But they would also enjoy over 200 yards rushing from RB Deshawn Salter, playing in his first career start filling in for injured RB Candler Rich, and that, coupled with plenty of mistakes on the Lehigh side, would amount to a comfortable 27-12 win for the Buldogs.
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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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Know Your 2015 Opponents: Yale, Princeton, and the Ivies

Lehigh's relationship with the schools of the Ivy League go all the way back to the 1880s.

Yes, really.

1887 was the year that Princeton, one of the first institutions of higher learning that sponsored o football program, first squared off against Lehigh, throttling them 80-0.

And it would be 1890 when Yale, another one of the early football powers, first hosted Lehigh, with the Eli ending up as 26-0 winners.

These traditional Ivy League football opponents appear on Lehigh's football schedule for 2015 and will be a critical litmus test for this your Mountain Hawk football team after Lehigh hosts Penn.

These games, too, will not simply be speed bumps in the schedule, either.  There's a lot more emotion in these games for Lehigh than meets the eye.

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