Posted: October 9, 2004
Worcester, MA – Quarterback Mark Borda was 18-for-24 through the air for a career-high 295 yards and five touchdowns as Lehigh rolled past Holy Cross by a 42-14 score in the Mountain Hawks’ Patriot League opener at Fitton Field on Saturday afternoon.
The victory, Lehigh’s third in a row, improves the 17th-ranked Mountain Hawks to 4-1 overall (1-0 Patriot League); the setback keeps the Crusaders winless at 0-5 overall and 0-2 in league play.
After forcing a Holy Cross punt on the game’s opening drive, Lehigh began its first drive on the Holy Cross 48-yard line, and the Mountain Hawks got to work right away. Four plays later, Mark Borda found Kevin Zebluim in the back of the end zone on a terrific catch in traffic to give the Mountain Hawks an early 7-0 lead.
The defense held strong once again, and thanks in part to a Tristan Lawrence sack, the Crusaders were forced to give up the ball on a three-and-out series. The Lehigh offense immediately went to work. After Borda scrambled 17 yards for a first down, he found Marques Thompson on a screen, and the sophomore did the rest. Thompson darted 32 yards into the end zone for his team-leading fifth touchdown of the season. The three play, 63-yard drive gave the Mountain Hawks a 14-0 lead with still 5:29 to go in the first quarter.
Two more Lehigh defensive sacks (Larewnce, and Jim Norris) forced the Crusaders to punt the ball back to the Mountain Hawks. A sustained drive of eight plays, 49-yards resulted in another Lehigh touchdown as Borda found senior tight end Adam Bergen on a 13-yard touchdown strike to make the score 21-0 Lehigh with 13:25 remaining in the first half. The completion was Borda’s eighth of the game, as he began the game a perfect 8-of-8.
Holy Cross made its first defensive stop of the day on the ensuing Lehigh drive, and the Crusaders then used that momentum to mount an 11 play, 76-yard drive to cut the Lehigh lead to 21-7 with 6:07 remaining in the first half.
Lehigh responded, with a eight play, 48 yard drive that ended with an Eric Rath four-yard scamper into the end zone. The touchdown made the score 28-7, but Lehigh wasn’t done. After a Crusaders punt gave Lehigh excellent field position, the Mountain Hawks went right to work. Borda quickly found junior Gerran Walker on a 33-yard strike, and thanks to some terrific footwork to avoid several tackles, Walker found the end zone, making the score 35-7. In the final seconds of the first half, Anthony Graziani picked off a Jarrod Betz pass, setting up a Justin Musiek field goal attempt. The 30-yard try against a stiff wind sailed wide, and the Mountain Hawks led 35-7 at the break.
In the third quarter, offensive penalties plagued Lehigh. Under immense pressure, Mark Borda threw a pass that was intercepted by Holy Cross senior Kyle Trodden, who brought the ball back 20-yards for a Crusaders score, reducing the Lehigh lead to 35-14.
The Mountain Hawks extended their lead in the fourth quarter with an eight play, 74-yard drive capped off with an 18-yard Borda TD strike to Lee Thomas. The touchdown pass was Borda’s fifth of the afternoon – the most in one game from a Lehigh quarterback since Kyle Keating threw six TD passes in a win at Georgetown in 2003.
For his efforts on the afternoon, Borda earned the John Turco Memorial Trophy, given to the most valuable player of Holy Cross' homecoming game each season.
The Mountain Hawks return to action on October 16, when Lehigh visits the Yale Bowl to take on the host Bulldogs, who are 3-1. Kick-off from New Haven is set for just after 1:00.