Flashback: November 23rd, 1912, Lehigh 10, Lafayette 0

"At last Lafayette approaches the real climax of her football season," the Leopard paper of the time, The Lafayette, stated on November 22nd, 1912.  "The football world always watches this contest with the closest interest for it is the greatest of the annual struggles between small college teams.

"To the ardent supporters of these two colleges, even the Yale-Harvard game is but a minor incident in comparison to the deciding of this championship.  No matter how many games Lehigh may lose during the season, she always tackles Lafayette with a sturdy confidence and hope of victory.

"No matter how many great games Lafayette wins in the season she always enters this struggle ready to fight, knowing that upon the outcome depends the real success or failure of the season and knowing that her opponents will be worthy of every possible effort."

After an era of near-complete dominance by Lafayette in "The Rivalry", in 1912 the roles of the Brown and White and the Maroon and White were suddenly reversed, and the student writer at The Lafayette knew it. 

"Sweeping victories for the past three years have caused Lafayette to assume a rather superior feeling toward Lehigh," the reporter said.  "Not so this year.  Lehigh has the best team that has represented that institution in the past ten years."
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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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4 Box Score & 1 General Observation – Robert Morris

1.) Welcome back Gabe. Mr. Knutson, battling a knee injury, really showed some heart in his season debute to the tune of: 27 minutes, 4 rebounds, 3 blocks. That is why we call him Captain Knutson, gutty effort, love the heart on this kid.

2.) Well rounded effort – The big 4 that have to carry LU this year played like stars tonight, in CJ, Gabe, Holden and Mackey. All ended up in double figures, totaling 58 points, nice well rounded effort.

3.) 19 assists on 31 made field goals, pretty sure the staff is happy with that statistic. Mackey with 7 dimes and Corey with 4 and another solid game from the soph guard. Corey had 4 points, 4 dimes, 2 steals and a rebound.

4.) Dead-Eye Cvrkalj – 3 from 6 from deep, 11 points, instant offense off the bench. You have to account for him once he crosses half court, a nice weapon off the bench for Lehigh this year.

5.) Nice rebound effort by the brown & white, clearly the team was disapointed with the Baylor showing, nice to see the focus and well rounded effort off the bat tonight. You can learn a lot about a team in any sport by watching how the follow-up a tough loss, and clearly this team was ready to play. Kudos to the staff on prepping them to play on short notice.

Just a few reminders of a few things to do tonight before bed folks: Load the fridge up tonight with the best beverage of choice and get it nice and cold for tomorrow night. Set the DVR for 9 PM ET on channel ESPNU. Another shot at a BCS conference team, on the road, should be a fun one.


Lehigh At 12 in Coaches Poll, 14 in Sports Network Poll

Everyone surrounding Lehigh hopes that they're "in with a win" against Lafayette this Saturday. 

This week, the two major nation FCS polls gives them even more hope that the Mountain Hawks are in the field of 20 with a victory in the 148th meeting with the Leopards.

With Lehigh's rank at No. 12 in the Coaches' poll, and No. 14 in the Sports Network poll, and assuming, of course, that a win will only help their chances and not hurt, it seems more likely than it did 24 hours ago that the Mountain Hawks could be in the field of 20.
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3 Nuggets on Robert Morris

1.)    Good preview on Robert Morris provided via the link below. They have been picked to finish1st or 2nd in the NEC depending on the different previews that are out there, and they return a large part of their 26 win team from a year ago.


2.)    Robert Morris has a ton of guards, and their frontcourt is thankfully not as big as Baylor’s, but instead more of what you are used to seeing in the mid-major college hoops world. Senior guard Velton Jones makes RM tick, and that should make for an entertaining matchup with Mackey tomorrow night.

3.)   Best part of the prestigious NIT tournament is that win and advance, much like March Madness.  Both teams will be eager to hit the court tomorrow night and get back on track, as each lost their openers by 20+ points (Robert Morris lost to Rider by 25). Win and you guarantee yourself another BCS conference opponent in Pitt, with a chance to play at the World’s Most Famous Arena in the NIT Semis on Thanksgiving-Eve in NYC!


Sunday’s Word: Blessed

This will probably be the shortest "Sunday Word" ever. 

It will not deal with the playoff field, or much about the game Lehigh lost last weekend.

There are a lot of disappointed fans, players, and people around the football program.  The Patriot League championship this year is Colgate's.  They earned it.

But the season is not over.

And it's time, instead, for Lehigh to count their "blessings".

Playoffs will happen, or they won't.  10-1 will happen, or it won't.  But this team is so "blessed".
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5 Quick Observations From Baylor Game

5 Quick Observations From Baylor

1.)    That McCollum kid is good, real good. Okay, maybe that shouldn’t really count as an observation, because we already knew that, however CJ was dominant on Friday night. He got to the tin at will, and got what he wanted when he wanted it. He scored in a variety of ways: from the charity stripe, with the mid-range game, from 3, and at the rim. CJ left the NBA scouts in attendance drooling.

2.)   We missed our rock down low, in Knutson. Gabe was out with a knee injury, and this 4 scholarship deep frontcourt(with Chuku out and an open scholarship not used), didn’t have enough down low to contain the bigs from Baylor. Baylor got a ton of second chance points off of offensive rebounds, and it felt at a point when watching the game that a missed FT by Baylor was more likely to get rebounded by Baylor then Lehigh, which isn’t a good thing.

3.)   The Great One – No Wayne Gretzky wasn’t in the building, either was Janet Jones, but 99 points is obviously way too much to give up to any opponent. The defense Friday was uncharacteristically bad, and I know the good Dr. hasn’t slept well the past few nights replaying the mistakes his team made on Friday. Pick and roll D was especially porous, but certainly easy to fix and it will cause Reed and staff are really good defensive coaches.

4.)    Zone & Press – Against BCS Conference teams, with large frontcourts, Lehigh is going to have to pack it in and play some 2-3 zone to try to offset the size advantage that opponents will have. I’d rather get beat by 20 foot 3 point shots than 20 dunks a night. With our overall team speed and depth, I’d love to try to press and trap more and turn the games into up-tempo affairs aka VCU or Louisville. We have the personnel to do it, and this could wear out bigger/slower teams.

5.)   As the good Dr. said in the postgame presser, the best part about this game is it’s over, and LU has another game on the schedule.

No reason to panic folks, LU was down two starters and on the road against a good Baylor team, and I think we have the best player in the country in #3. Get fired up for the #NIT tomorrow night, win and LU gets another shot at a BCS team in Pitt. Let’s GO Lehigh.


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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Hate The Gate Top Games No. 1: Colgate 34, Lehigh 33, 11/8/2008

Four years ago, the roles were reversed. 

Lehigh, playing for a thin chance at a Patriot League championship, hosted nationally-ranked Colgate in their chance for glory that season.

They had them on the ropes - but could not finish them off.

But it took an epic drive, and a great pass from QB Greg Sullivan to WR Pat Simonds, to get the job done.

"It just came down to that we made too many mistakes," coach Coen said after the game. "Obviously extra points, you've got to start right there. That obviously hurts; that changes the flow of the football game. Penalties in the first half, turnovers in the first half, giving them the ball on a short field. You can't make mistakes like that, and we've been making too many of them during the course of the season. You add them up in one point games, and it's tough."

Read my original recap of this game

The Bonds That Tie The Lehigh Family Are Strong, May They Never Be Broken