Posted: October 28, 2006
WORCESTER, Mass. – Senior Marques Thompson rushed for a career-high 141 yards, and sophomore Matt McGowan scored three touchdowns as Lehigh rolled past Holy Cross 28-14 on Saturday afternoon at a rain-soaked, muddy Fitton Field. The Mountain Hawks defense was stellar all day long in shutting down the high-powered Holy Cross passing game as the Brown and White move to .500 on the season at 4-4 and remain perfect in league play at 3-0. The Crusaders see their five-game winning streak come to an end and fall to 6-3 overall and 3-1 in league action.
Thompson’s 141-yard effort marked his third career rushing high in three league games this season. For his efforts, he was given the Dr. Edward N. Anderson Award, given annually to the most valuable player in the Holy Cross family weekend game.
"The footing wasn't that great out there," Thompson said afterwards. "You just had to make one move and then go with it. All the credit goes to my offensive line and to my full back, Greg Fay. Those guys opened up the holes for me and I just ran through them." He added, "It feels great. We know that we have the bulls-eye on our backs now, but that is ok. We just have to continue doing what we've been doing and we'll be fine."
"Total team effort, by everyone out there today," head coach Andy Coen said. "Our defense was outstanding, they really came to play today. We got great pressure on their quarterback, our secondary was up to the challenge of going up versus (Holy Cross quarterback Dominic) Randolph, and we executed great on offense." He added, "We are right where we need to be, but we have to maintain our focus and continue to work hard, worry about what we can control and take care of business out on the field."
Lehigh got on the board first when McGowan scored his third touchdown of the season from two yards out to give the Mountain Hawks a 7-0 lead with 3:27 remaining in the first quarter. McGowan’s score capped off a solid, 16-play, 69-yard drive that chewed up 5:57 on the clock.
After a Lehigh punt gave the ball to Holy Cross, senior Julian Austin scooped up a Crusader fumble and sprinted 21-yards to paydirt, making the score 14-0, which is how it would remain heading into the second quarter. Holy Cross cut the Lehigh lead in half when Randolph hit Thomas Harrison on a beautiful 53-yard pass down the right sideline, making the score 14-7 with 10:17 left in the second.
From there, Lehigh took control of the rest of the half as McGowan punched in two more scores, one from two-yards, and another from three out as Lehigh went up 28-7 with just over one minute remaining in the half. With 36 seconds to go however, lightning began to strike in the area, forcing the game to be delayed for close to one hour. When play did resume, Holy Cross threatened to score from deep within Lehigh territory, but the Mountain Hawk defense stood tall, and kept the Crusaders out of the end zone to take a 24-7 lead into halftime. Due to the weather delay earlier, the two teams would head right into the third quarter.
Thompson finished the first half with 87 yards rushing on 14 carries, while McGowan totaled 28 yards and the three scores. Threatt finished the opening 30 minutes by completing seven of 11 passes for 65 yards, while senior Landon Maggs hauled in two catches for 34 yards. The Crusaders were led by Randolph’s 309 yards through the air, which came on 26 of 53 passing, while Mike Kielt’s 29 yards rushing were a team-high. Harrison caught six balls for 91 yards and the one score.
Playing with the lead, Lehigh was in no hurry in the third quarter, and continually went to the ground, feeding Thompson and/or McGowan play-after-play. Holy Cross on the other hand, went to a steady diet of passing plays, but Lehigh’s defense again came up large, as sophomore Quadir Carter picked off his second pass of the season and gave the Mountain Hawks the ball back.
As the game moved into the fourth quarter, the rain began to let up, but Holy Cross did not, as the Crusaders cut the deficit in half with 5:16 remaining on Randolph’s second touchdown pass of the afternoon, this one going 19 yards to Ryan Maher.
After two failed on-side kick attempts by the Crusaders, the Mountain Hawks managed to move the ball and chew up the clock.
Threatt was 8-of-14 through the air for 86 yards, and he added 25 more on the ground. With Thompson’s 141 yards and 47 more from McGowan, Lehigh as a team carried 52 times for 214 yards on the day.
Randolph did his part through the air. Despite nearly impossible throwing conditions, the sophomore was 26-of-53 for 309 yards and two touchdowns.
Lehigh dominated time of possession, controlling the clock for over 37 minutes on the day.
The Mountain Hawks return to action next Saturday afternoon when they welcome 2006 Patriot League preseason favorite Colgate to Goodman Stadium on Family Day. Kick off is set for 12:37 and tickets can be purchased in one of three ways: in person at the Lehigh Athletics Ticket Office located in Grace Hall, by calling 610-7LU-GAME during normal business hours or by logging onto lehighsports.com at anytime.
EXTRA POINTS … For the third time in the last five years (2002, 2005, 2006), the Lehigh – Holy Cross game was played in monsoon-like conditions. In 2002, the Mountain Hawks prevailed at muddy Fitton Field by a 21-12 score, while last season the Crusaders snapped a seven-game losing streak against the Brown and White with a 13-10 victory … Lehigh’s game versus Penn, whom Andy Coen was the offensive coordinator for, was also delayed due to lightning in 2003 at Goodman Stadium. That contest was delayed for 65 minutes before giving way to bright sunshine and blue skies … McGowan’s three rushing touchdowns were the most by a Mountain Hawk since Eric Rath rushed for four scores in a win at Colgate on October 29, 2005 … Lehigh has now won eight straight games at historic Fitton Field.