Posted: September 4, 2004
Bethlehem, PA – No. 22 Lehigh defeated Stony Brook by a score of 25-2 in front of 7,116 at Goodman Stadium on Saturday afternoon to open the 2004 season for both teams.
The Lehigh defense was more than up to the challenge of handling the NEC’s top offense from a season ago, as the Mountain Hawks held the Seawolves to just 234 yards of total offense. Junior
running back Eric Rath gained 134 yards on the ground for Lehigh to lead the offense and help preserve the victory.
After Lehigh received the opening kickoff and went three and out, the Mountain Hawks punted away to the Seawolves. Stony Brook was then forced to also punt, but a botched snap allowed senior Neal Boozer-Gallman the opportunity to sneak through the line and tackle punter Josh Duadash. Lehigh, however could not capitalize on an opportunity deep in the opposition’s territory as junior quarterback Mark Borda was intercepted in the end zone.
Lehigh got the ball back however, as junior Andrew Nelson made an acrobatic interception to set up the Mountain Hawks at their own 35-yard line. The Brown and White took the ball and drove to the 23-yard line when freshman Matt McNelis booted a 40-yard field goal to put the home team in front 3-0 with 3:21 remaining in the opening quarter.
Stony Brook began the second quarter deep in Lehigh territory but the Mountain Hawk defense was up to the challenge, forcing the Seawolves to attempt a field goal, which senior Jason Murray swatted down to keep the score at 3-0 in favor of the Mountain Hawks. The two offenses then went into seclusion for the rest of the half, with Lehigh only able to muster two 42-yard field goal attempts, both of which were missed. The score remained 3-0 in favor of Lehigh as the teams retired for halftime.
Stony Brook received the ball first in the second half, and was forced to punt, but the ensuing snap sailed well over Dudash’s head and resulted in a safety for Lehigh, which made the score 5-0 at the 13:37 mark of the third quarter. The Mountain Hawks were moving the ball well on the next drive, but a holding penalty stalled the drive and McNellis was forced to attempt yet another field goal, which he once again just missed.
After another Stony Brook punt Lehigh finally got its offense in gear and drove 57-yards down the field for a touchdown that was capped off by a 15-yard touchdown pass from Borda to senior tight end Adam Bergen. The Mountain Hawks failed to convert on their two-point conversion and the score was 11-0 with 7:51 left in the third quarter.
Lehigh opened the fourth quarter by capping off another nice drive, this time covering 52 yards, which ended in an 11-yard touchdown run by Eric Rath to put the Mountain Hawks in front 18-0 with 14:07 left in the contest.
Stony Brook finally got on the board late in the fourth when Borda was sacked in the end zone for a safety, but Boozer-Gallman made his second big defensive play of the afternoon, as he intercepted a pass and raced 98 yards for a touchdown and put Lehigh in front 25-2 with just over two minutes remaining in the game.
Borda finished the game 13 of 30 for 174 yards and one touchdown, while junior Gerran Walker caught three passes for 18 yards. For Stony Brook, quarterback T.J. Moriarty completed 30 of 54 passes for 279 yards, while he also rushed for 25 yards. On defense, Tom Alfsen had nine tackles for Lehigh, while junior captain Kaloma Cardwell had eight tackles and an interception.
Lehigh returns to action next Saturday as the Mountain Hawks play host to nationally ranked Villanova at Goodman Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:00. Tickets can be purchased by calling (610) 7LU-GAME, or by visiting the Lehigh Ticket office (Grace Hall) on Monday through Friday from 10-4. Tickets can also be purchased on-line anytime at Lehigh's official website, lehighsports.com.
Photos (c) 2004, Lehigh Athletics/Chris Christian