Posted: October 18, 2008
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Harvard linebacker Glenn Dorris recovered a Lehigh fumble on the Crimson’s 19 yard line with just 1:07 to play, and Harvard was able to run out the clock to hang on for a 27-24 victory over the visiting Mountain Hawks at Harvard Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Lehigh scored 17 second-half points and looked poised to go in for the winning score, but the untimely turnover prevented that from happening. With the win, Harvard improves to 4-1 on the season, while Lehigh drops to 2-4 with the setback.
"Obviously a tough, tough loss for us today," Lehigh head coach Andy Coen said during the post game press conference. "The game was lost in the first half; we made too many mistakes and didn't make the big play."
He continued, "We gave them 14 points off of turnovers (in that first half). I will say this about our kids. They gave great effort. The second half was probably the best half of football I've seen this team play in my two-plus years as the head coach. We talked about it at halftime, just playing within yourself, taking it one snap at a time. And in the second half we did that, and gave ourselves a chance to win."
Trailing 24-10 at the break, Lehigh rallied in the second half, limiting the defending Ivy League champs to just three points – but that proved to be enough for the home team, which held on for the win in front of 11,242.
Despite the setback, senior captain Matt McGowan carried 16 times for 105 yards, surpassing the 1,000 yard mark rushing for his career. He also became the first opposing running back to rush for over 100 yards against the Crimson in over three years.
Senior Sekou Yansane Yansane caught 11 passes for 132 yards and a TD, and classmate Mike Fitzgerald added four catches for 56 yards and two scores. Yansane's 11 catches and 132 yards were both a career-high and the most by a Mountain Hawk since Adam Bergen hauled in 14 receptions for 156 yards in 2003 vs. Georgetown. Sophomore quarterback J.B. Clark was 21-for-43 for 239 yards. He threw three touchdown passes and one interception.
As a team, Lehigh racked up 394 yards of total offense.
For the Crimson, senior Chris Pizzottti was 25-for-40 through the air for 302 yards. He threw three touchdowns, as well as his first interception since Harvard’s first game.
Nearing the end of the first quarter, Harvard drove deep into Lehigh territory, but the Mountain Hawks defense stiffened and forced the Crimson into a field goal attempt which was missed. Lehigh turned the ball over on the very next play however when the snap hit a receiver coming in motion, and Harvard took advantage, scoring a touchdown on its first play on a pretty 26-pass from Pizzotti to Matt Luft in the back corner of the end zone giving the home team a 7-0 lead with 2:48 remaining in the opening quarter. It marked the first time this season Lehigh has surrendered a single point in the first quarter.
Lehigh got on the board for the first time when senior Jason Leo booted a 30-yard field goal with 14 seconds left in the first making the score 7-3 in favor of Harvard. The Mountain Hawks score was aided by a beautifully called fake punt in which junior Matt Cohen took the snap and made his way up the left side line for 25 yards, setting the Brown and White up at the Crimson 17-yard line.
Harvard tacked on three more points on a 32-yard field goal by Patrick Long, making the score 10-3 with 8:18 remaining in the half, and on Lehigh’s next possession, a 21-yard interception return by Glenn Dorris put the Mountain Hawks in a 14-point hole at the 7:18 mark.
Clark hooked up with Fitzgerald for a 21-yard touchdown pass with 3:47 on the clock, but Harvard responded with a 28-yard strike from Pizzotti to Luft making the score 24-10 in favor of the home team, which is how the score remained until halftime.
Lehigh gained 170 yards of total offense in the first half, led by Clark’s 111 yards through the air on eight-of-20 passing. Yansane caught four of those passes for 72 yards, while McGowan totaled 17 rushing yards on six carries. Four Mountain Hawks ended the half with five tackles apiece, including Jarard Cribbs, Tim Diamond, Heath Brickner and BJ Benning.
Pizzotti threw for 181 yards and two scores in the first half, with Luft hauling in four receptions for 75 yards and the two scores. Ben Jenkins was the team’s leading rusher with 32 yards on nine carries. The Crimson converted six-of-10 third down attempts and held Lehigh to 1-of-7 in the same situation.
The Mountain Hawks received the ball first in the second half and strung together a strong 14-play, 75-yard drive that ended with a seven-yard touchdown pass from Clark to Yansane making the score 24-17 in favor of Harvard with 8:51 remaining in the third.
Another field goal by Long, this one from 23-yards out pushed Harvard’s lead back to ten, 27-17 with just over one minute left in the third. The ball changed hands several times over the course of the next few minutes, but following the first career interception by sophomore defensive back Casey Eldemire and a nice return, Lehigh marched 50-yards down the field and pulled within three points on a nine–yard touchdown pass from Clark to Fitzgerald at the 6:27 mark of the fourth quarter.
From there, Lehigh’s defense held strong – thanks in part to two key sacks from Cohen and Diamond – forcing Harvard to punt the ball back to the Mountain Hawks. Lehigh methodically moved the ball nearly 45-yards into field goal range, before Harvard’s Matt Curtis knocked the ball free from Clark with just 67 seconds to play.
Senior Quadir Carter totaled double digits for Lehigh on the day with 12 tackles, while Cohen racked up eight tackles, including a team best three for loss, as well as one-and-a-half sacks. Diamond was solid as usual with nine tackles, including 0.5 sack.
Lehigh returns to action next weekend when the Mountain Hawks once again travel to New England to face the Holy Cross Crusaders at Fitton Field on September 25. Kick-off is set for 1:00 and all of the action will be televised live on WFMZ-TV with Steve Degler and Mike Yadush ’93 on the call. The game will also be shown live worldwide on Lehighsports.com. The contest will be broadcast live in the Lehigh Valley on ESPN Radio 1230 and 1320 AM with Matt Kerr, Kody Fedorcha ’00 and Matt Markus providing the commentary.
EXTRA POINTS … the Lehigh Athletics Partnership and the Alumni Association sponsored a tailgate on Saturday morning that took place on the banks of the Charles River. The tailgate, which included Lehigh Alumni, friends and families was tied in with the Mountain Hawks rowing program and their involvement in the prestigious Head of the Charles Regatta … Lehigh senior defensive lineman Paul Bode left the game during the second quarter with a knee injury and did not return … J.B. Clark has now thrown two or more touchdown passes in three games this season … Matt McGowan’s 37-yard rush in the third quarter was the longest of his career … Sekou Yansane now has four career games of 100+ receiving yards.