Posted: September 11, 2004
Bethlehem, PA – Lehigh jumped out early but couldn’t hold off a late rally in a heart-breaking 22-16 loss to No. 8 Villanova on Saturday at Goodman Stadium before a crowd of 12,235. Despite leading 16-0 early in the second quarter and looking as if they would continue to dominate, the Mountain Hawks saw their offense grind to a halt and the defense surrender 22 unanswered points. The game-winning touchdown for Villanova came on a 1-yard run by Senior running back Terry Butler after an interception by junior linebacker Brian Hulea deep in Lehigh territory. Lehigh attempted a comeback of its own, but junior quarterback Mark Borda, who threw for a career-high 220 yards, was incomplete on 4th down after moving the offense into Villanova territory. The loss drops Lehigh to 1-1 overall while Villanova improves to 2-0.
The Mountain Hawks got off to a great start and led 9-0 after the first quarter as they outgained the Wildcats 159 yards to ten. Lehigh moved the ball deep into the red zone on the game’s opening possession, but was forced to settle for a field goal. Junior running back Eric Rath played a big role early and scored the game’s first touchdown on a two yard run later in the quarter. After going three-and-out on its first two possessions, Villanova saw its third drive come to an abrupt end on an interception by senior linebacker Jon Guynes at the Wildcats’ 32.
After a penalty, Borda connected with standout senior tight end Adam Bergen on a spectacular 33-yard pass to close the period. Lehigh made the score 16-0 three plays later on a 6-yard TD catch by sophomore running back Marques Thompson. Villanova finally earned a first down during a 10-play, 80-yard scoring drive late in the second quarter. Junior wide receiver J.J. Outlaw’s 8-yard TD catch with 1:07 on the clock cut the Wildcats’ halftime deficit to 16-7.
After the teams exchanged punts, Villanova started with good field position and moved down the field quickly. Junior running back Martin Gibson capped off the drive and cut the lead to two with a 16 yard touchdown run. Villanova kicker Adam James missed what would have been a go-ahead field goal early in the 4th quarter before each team punted, setting up Borda’s late interception.
Rath had a stellar first quarter, gaining 89 yards from scrimmage, including a 39-yard catch-and-run that set up the field goal. Bergen had five catches for 56 yards. Lehigh gained 191 of its 280 yards before halftime.
Villanova quarterback Marvin Burroughs struggled throughout, throwing for only 100 yards and one touchdown while being intercepted twice. But the Wildcats rushed for 119 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-winner.
Lehigh returns to action next week when they travel to Virginia to take on the Liberty Flames under the lights. Game time is set for 7:00.