This Thursday, in unveiling their new constitution, the NCAA did the only thing it knows how to do – punt.
After hiring head coach Brent Vigen in January – and opting out the the spring season – they find themselves with a 12-2 record and this time facing North Dakota State in Frisco to possibly win their first National Championship in in 37 years. How did they do it?
Villanova has never lost to a Patriot League school in the postseason; one of their victories came against Holy Cross in their national championship season in 2009 by a 38-28 score.
The 35 yard spiral from Sluka to Coker was on the money – and Coker came up with it and fell in the end zone, and with it, gave Holy Cross their first-ever FCS Playoff win in five tries.
I ate my Thanksgiving turkey, I looked at all the stats, and I figured out who I think the 2021 FCS National Champions will be.
Holy Cross and Sacred Heart are both riding six-game win streaks into the first round of the FCS Playoffs.
One last spin in the dryer.
This Saturday, college football’s most-played Rivalry will contest its 157th meeting between the Lafayette Leopards (3-7) and Lehigh Mountain Hawks (2-8), and the hope is that it will be, well, normal.
In terms of the Lehigh/Lafayette Rivalry, however, which resumes this weekend in the 157th meeting between these two schools, for Leopard and Mountain Hawk fans, I think, college football seemed to end on that day on November 23rd, 2019, and never really quite seemed to get back to the college football that fans once knew before they learned what COVID was and how it was to impact their lives.
It was a game that wasn’t handed to them, either by Georgetown or Mother Nature, and they fought through and won.
It is the type of game only real fans understand.
In the 85th meeting between Bucknell and Lehigh on the football field, the Mountain Hawks rode a friendly home-like atmosphere on the road at Christy Matthewson Stadium to end a long consecutive game losing streak by a score of 38-6.
For three quarters, it didn’t really feel like a battle between a winless team (Lehigh, 0-8, 0-3) and a team still with an eye on a conference championship and an FCS Playoff appearance (Holy Cross, 6-2, 3-0).
“Who are these guys?”
Will Lehigh be able to keep this game competitive? It’s not a question that has been too very often asked about the Mountain Hawks (0-6, 0-1) over the years.
The Penn Quakers leveled their season record at 2-2 after outlasting Lehigh 20-0 at Franklin Field this Saturday.
a turnaround this Saturday could very well set up the remainder of a successful football season for the Mountain Hawks, and make a lot of people forget their early season struggles.
On a sunny 75 degree day, Yale’s offense racked up 420 yards on the Mountain Hawk defense as the Bulldogs (2-1, 1-0) pummeled Lehigh (0-5, 0-1) 34-0.
The number of monkeys on this Lehigh football team’s backs are beginning to mount.
The greatest thing about this rivalry game every year is that the stakes are always higher, and in recent years the fact that it has been earlier in the schedule has meant that there is a critical nature of this game.
BETHELEHEM, PA – Lehigh’s offensive woes continued against a daunting, precise Princeton team, losing 32-0 in front of a crowd of 7,050 at Murray Goodman Stadium this afternoon.
In facing nationally-ranked Villanova, nationally-ranked Richmond, the Mountain Hawks have played two teams that are loaded with 4th- and 5th- year talent that are built to make a run in the FCS Playoffs.
Princeton will be no easier.
It took twenty-three years for Richmond to invite Lehigh back.
Villanova RB Justin Covington ran 18 times for 156 yards and 2 touchdowns, including a 51 yard power run in the second quarter, as the Wildcats cruised to a 47-3 win over Lehigh at Murray Goodman Stadium.
Don’t accuse the Patriot League anymore of not challenging themselves in the scheduling department.
Lehigh will need all the home field advantage it can – Villanova is ranked 16th in the STATS FCS Top 25 and 15th in the FCS Coaches’ Poll.
Lehigh’s offensive struggles don’t have one single source, but what is clear is that any success the Mountain Hawks have in 2021 will have to come from vast improvements across the board.
The success of the 2021 Mountain Hawks will start with the defense – a unit that was, quietly, outstanding last spring and will be the rock on which Lehigh leans as the offense tries to get back to the teams of its offensive-minded past.
644 days… That’s how long it will be between games for NCCU when the Eagles take the field on Saturday against Alcorn State in the Cricket MEAC/SWAC Challenge.
At Lehigh there is the hope that less restrictive practices and a return to a normal fall practice will mean a return to more familiar winning ways.
Reading the entire 52 page decision, including the majority opinion written by Judge Neil Gorsuch and concurring opinion by Judge Brett Kavanaugh, one thought repeatedly returns to my mind: What the hell was the NCAA thinking?
Holy Cross survived a season of long COVID pauses and a chaotic schedule the same place they were at the conclusion of the 2019 football season – Patriot League Champions. This time, however, they ended with a perfect 3-0 record.
After watching and following all spring, here’s my prediction of who’s in and who’s out of the FCS Playoff bracket this spring. The selection special is at 11:30 AM Sunday and will be unveiled on ESPNU.
No matter when the game is played, when Lafayette and Lehigh get together on the gridiron, it almost always seems to be close and come down to a few plays.
This April, the same weekend as The Masters, Lehigh and Lafayette will be playing the first-ever Rivalry football game in the spring, a most atypical 156th meeting in the most-played college football game that’s simply called “The Rivalry”.
When you look at it in terms of the development of this team – and how this leads into next fall – there’s a lot more positives to draw than a normal fall season when the team is 0-2.
Two Ethan Torres FGs, one 26 yards, and one 24 yards, were enough to put the Bucknell Bison atop the Patriot League South Division, shutting out Lehigh at Murray Goodman Stadium 6-0.
An already-crazy Patriot League season still had some craziness left to reveal this week, as the 156th meeting between Lafayette and Lehigh was postponed due to a Tier 1 exposure in the Lafayette program.
In a way it’s fitting during this strange season that two of the teams playing this weekend are in their season openers, while their opponents are coming off of two weeks off after winning their openers. It is a byproduct of this crazy Patriot League spring, and results in two fascinating games that are basically playoff games. And with no game film on Bucknell or Fordham, it feels like anything can happen.
In a way, the opening drive which ended with zero Lehigh points summed up the entire afternoon.
BETHLEHEM, PA – The Holy Cross Crusaders beat the Lehigh Mountain Hawks 20-3 at Murray Goodman Stadium in the first college football game contested by both schools in over 450 days.
It is uncharted waters for both teams, with plenty of questions to answer playing an unprecedented Patriot League spring football season. But many of the principal contributors in that 24-17 game more than a year ago in Bethlehem will be suiting up tomorrow.
For this Lehigh team, who has gone through this unique journey back to playing games that count, it feels like this weekend is almost as much a celebration of what football means to them as much as it is a Patriot League conference game against Holy Cross at Murray Goodman Stadium at noon this Saturday.
It’s been a very, very long wait, but this weekend, finally, we have a weekend of Patriot League football to look forward to.
On February 1st, Northeast Conference Commissioner Noreen Morris announced revised regular season competition and NEC Championship formats for fall-to-spring, winter and spring sports, which included football.
“I’ve been very impressed with the enthusiasm and attitude across the board,” Lehigh head coach Tom Gilmore told me. “Getting the opportunity to be on the field and to be working towards competitive opportunities has really motivated everyone. It just feels different out there this semester. There’s an excitement in the air whenever we’re on the field.”
Five players including RB Quay Holmes from East Tennessee State, RB Pierre Strong Jr. from South Dakota State, QB Cameron Burston from Tarleton State, Devon Krzanowski from North Dakota, and Hayden Olsen from Tennessee Tech have been selected as the College Sports Journal All-Stars for the week ending Dec. 14, 2020 from the NCAA Division I FBS Group of Five schools.
It was supposed to be the triumphant return of FCS football competition, this time in the spring. The MEAC tried very hard, ingeniously, to celebrate an anniversary football season, even pushing it to the spring of 2021. But in the end, it couldn’t be saved.
Today, the Patriot League was the final FCS football conference to unveil their spring competition schedule to the public, as a part of their release announcing the schedules of twenty-two different sports being contested in the spring.
The signing day celebrations sometimes came with masks, but that didn’t make them any less important or meaningful to a group of athletes that have had a senior year like no other.