BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Behind 517 yards of total offense including 393 passing yards from senior quarterback Chris Lum, No. 6/6 Lehigh defeated Georgetown 34-12 to clinch the Mountain Hawks’ second-straight Patriot League Championship and league-best 10th title, Saturday in front of 6,044 at Goodman Stadium. With the win, Lehigh qualifies for the NCAA FCS Playoffs for the second-straight year as the Mountain Hawks used 14 unanswered third-quarter points to put the game away for good.
“I’m very, very proud of these guys,” said head coach Andy Coen. “There was a mindset with this team that developed at the end of last year. The seniors have been great leaders and I can’t say enough about how these guys approach the game and how important it is to them and everyone. You have to have that mindset to be successful.
Coen added, “I thought we had a chance to repeat when the season started and I saw some really good signs early in the year but it was just a matter of trying to get better. I really felt that we should win this championship.”
Lum was 32-for-48 passing and rushed for a touchdown while senior wide receiver Jake Drwal caught 11 passes for 158 yards and junior wide receiver Ryan Spadola caught seven passes for 131 yards. When Spadola caught a 15-yard pass in the third quarter, he set a new single-season record at Lehigh for receiving yards with 1,330 yards. He is also now 109 yards away from the Patriot League single-season record of 1,439.
While Lehigh’s No. 1 nationally ranked offense went to work, the defense shut down Georgetown’s offense, holding the Hoyas to 158 yards of total offense. Junior quarterback Isaiah Kempf was 10-for-25 for 106 yards and sacked four times. Georgetown entered the game with the nation’s No. 2 rushing attack but was held to just 48 yards on the ground.
Georgetown won the toss and deferred as Lehigh got the ball to start the game. On the third play of the game, quarterback junior Mike Colvin fumbled the ball on Lehigh’s own 40 yard line to give Georgetown a short field. Two plays later, Georgetown almost gave it back when wide receiver Zack Wilke fumbled it but the Hoyas managed to recover the ball for a first and goal at the 10 yard line. Lehigh’s defense stood strong as Brett Weiss missed a 23-yard field goal wide right.
On the ensuing drive, Lehigh converted a pair of third downs as part of an 11-play, 80-yard drive which resulted in a senior Matt Fitz six-yard touchdown run for a 7-0 lead with 6:06 to go in the opening quarter. Teams exchanged possession but there were no further scores as Lehigh had the 7-0 edge heading into the second quarter behind an efficient 12-for-14 for 115 yards effort from Lum.
In the second quarter, Lehigh started with the ball at Georgetown’s 23 yard line as it took advantage of an illegal batting penalty on a Hoyas punt. Lehigh got the ball down to the 12 yard line and settled for a 23-yard field goal by sophomore Tim Divers to put Lehigh up 10-0 with 13:32 to go in the first half.
On the following Georgetown possession, it used a 43-yard kickoff return from Jeremy Moore to get in good field position but the Hoyas settled for 38-yard field goal from senior Brett Weiss to cut the deficit to 10-3 with 11:41 to go in the half.
Lehigh stormed right back and put together a seven-play, 84-yard drive that ended in a one yard rushing touchdown by Colvin to give Lehigh a 17-3 lead with 9:24 to go in the half.
On the kickoff, Moore took it for 70 yards to Lehigh’s 21 yard line as Moore had 153 yards on four returns for the game. The Hoyas got to as close as the six yard line but the Lehigh defense stepped up to hold Georgetown to a 21-yard field goal as Lehigh led 17-6 with 7:15 to go to cap four straight scoring drives in the game.
On Lehigh’s next possession, it was driving looking to answer but Fitz fumbled the ball for Lehigh’s second turnover of the game. With Georgetown trying to cut into Lehigh’s lead, the Hoyas gave the ball right back as junior Bryan Andrews picked off Kempf as Lehigh took over on Georgetown’s 46 yard line with 3:18 to go in the half.
The Mountain Hawks turned the interception into three points as Divers connected on a 32-yard field goal to extend Lehigh’s lead to 20-6 with 1:25 left in the half.
After the Lehigh held Georgetown to a 12-second possession, the Mountain Hawks got the ball with a chance to extend its lead before halftime. With a minute to go and a pair of timeouts, Lum found Drawl on the first play for a 48-yard pass to get the ball down to Georgetown’s 20 yard line. But after a few incomplete passes and a holding call, Divers attempted a 46-yard field goal but it fell short.
Despite being outplayed in the first half, Georgetown came right out in the third quarter and on its first possession went seven plays, 59 yards that ending in a six-yard touchdown from Kempf to junior Max Waizenegger as Lehigh’s lead was cut to 20-12 after a failed PAT.
Looking like momentum may have turned; Lehigh’s defense came up with a game-changing play. Georgetown wide receiver Patrick Ryan couldn’t handle a pass as Andrews came up with his second interception of the game, returning this one for a 26-yard touchdown to give Lehigh a 27-12 lead with 11:20 to go in the third quarter.
On the Mountain Hawks’ next drive, Lehigh’s lead ballooned to 34-12 after Lum rushed for a five-yard touchdown to finish off a nine-play, 68-yard drive with 4:40 to go in the third quarter.
The fourth quarter was quiet as the teams exchanged possessions. With 7:23 to go in the game, Kenyatta Drake got his first interception of the season to shut down any hope of a Georgetown comeback. Lehigh held onto the ball for 10:50 in the fourth quarter to help secure the victory.
The Mountain Hawks return to Goodman Stadium for their final game of the regular season as Lehigh hosts Lafayette in the 147th meeting of college football’s most played rivalry. Kickoff is set for just after 12:30 p.m.
“Our season certainly isn’t over yet,” said Coen. “We have the great traditional game next week, the best one in the country. That’s a chance for a 10-win season and for our senior class, it’s a chance for them to win four straight against Lafayette, something they will never forget.”
The Lehigh-Lafayette game is sold out, but will be televised on WFMZ Channel 69, Fox College Sports Atlantic and DirecTV channel 623. Streaming video of the contest will also be available at Lehighsports.com.
EXTRA POINTS … Lehigh now has 11 straight wins over Georgetown … When the Mountain Hawks beat the Hoyas last season, it was also to clinch the Patriot League title and an FCS Playoff berth … Lehigh had 25 first downs to Georgetown’s 10 … Lehigh was 6-for-17 on third down … Bill Dokouslis led the defensive effort with 1.5 sacks … Divers was 2-for-3 on field goals despite tough conditions with winds up to 25 miles per hour …. It was Fan Appreciation Day at Goodman Stadium as fans received game free programs while supplies lasted… Lehigh has now won 13 straight games the week prior to its Lafayette game.