Another comeback for Lehigh
Posted: September 19, 2003
Bethlehem, PA – The 12th ranked Lehigh football team led once – and only once – in its game against No. 24 Harvard, but the Mountain Hawks’ timing couldn’t have been better. Lehigh took its first lead of the game with 48 seconds remaining on a Jermaine Pugh go-ahead touchdown, en route to a dramatic 36-35 victory over the visiting Crimson. With the win, Lehigh improved to 4-1, 1-0 in the Patriot League.
Lehigh fell behind 28-14 in the first half, in what has become a trend for the late-surging team, and was constantly trying to get back into the contest. Lehigh’s opponent, Harvard (2-1, 1-0 Ivy League), took advantage of several Lehigh miscues, including two interceptions and two fumbles. The crowd of more than 9,000 at Goodman Stadium was growing impatient with their Mountain Hawks who were again battling from behind until the fourth quarter rolled around. The victory marked Lehigh’s 26th straight at home, the longest current streak in the Patriot League.
Early in the second quarter, after a 57-yard punt return by Jermaine Pugh, freshman Eric Rath continued his stellar play and scored on a seven-yard run that tied the score at seven. Harvard then turned its game up a notch and scored 14 unanswered points, which included a touchdown on the first play after a Pugh fumble.
Coming out after halftime, Lehigh again looked to the defense to come up big, and they came through as they have been doing all year. Tom McGeoy stuffed a fourth and one rushing attempt by Harvard, giving the ball back to the Mountain Hawks. The Brown & White seemed poised to tie the score up at 28, but Pugh fumbled again and the Crimson took full advantage by scoring to take a 35-21 lead.
The start of the fourth quarter brought about the typical Lehigh combination of stellar defense and timely scoring. The Brown and White scored on a Brian Kelley 29-yard field goal and later on a Pugh rushing touchdown to bring the score to 35-30. With just under five minutes remaining, the Mountain Hawks got the ball back and marched down the field to score the winning touchdown. Pugh atoned for his early fumble troubles and ran the ball six yards for the go-ahead score with just 48 seconds remaining in regulation. A huge pass interference penalty pushed Lehigh to the Harvard 24 and gave the Mountain Hawks the chance they needed to score the go-ahead touchdown.
Pugh finished with 122 yards and three touchdowns, while Michael Sutton bounced back from last week’s game with 11 catches for 204 yards, including a 73-yard touchdown. Chad Schwenk, who did not start as coach Pete Lembo decided to go with Matt Shiels, came in and threw for 256 yards and one touchdown.
Lehigh returns to action next Saturday as the Mountain Hawks travel to Maryland to take on the Tigers of Towson University. Game time is slated for 1:00.
Time of Possession
Ryan Fitzpatrick, Harvard
Matt Shiels, Lehigh
Chad Schwenk, Lehigh
Nick Palazzo, Harvard
Jermaine Pugh, Lehigh
Eric Rath, Lehigh
Carl Morris, Harvard
Kyle Cremarosa, Harvard
Michael Sutton, Lehigh
Jermaine Pugh, Lehigh
Adam Bergen, Lehigh
For more information, please contact Jeff Tourial, Lehigh Sports Media Relations.
Posted October 5, 2002