Posted: October 16, 2004
New Haven, CT – Lehigh rallied from a 14-point deficit and hung on for a dramatic 30-24 victory over Yale inside the Yale Bowl on Saturday.
The No. 18 Mountain Hawks overcame a 21-7 second quarter hole, and held the potent Bulldogs’ offense to just three second half points en route to the victory.
The Mountain Hawks improve to 5-1 with the win; Yale falls to 3-2.
Yale began the game with an all-out attack on the Lehigh defense. Despite starting deep in its own territory, Yale began to move the chains. The Bulldogs mounted an 11 play, 89 yard drive that resulted in seven points when fifth year senior quarterback Alvin Cowan found tight end Ralph Plumb in the corner of the end zone to give Yale a quick 7-0 lead. The touchdown marked the first time this season that Lehigh has surrendered a first quarter score.
The Bulldogs padded their lead early in the second, as running back Robert Carr scored on a six yard scamper to make the score 14-0 in favor of the home team. Again, the story of the drive was Yale moving the ball up the field on the stingy Lehigh defensive unit. This time, the Bulldogs’ scoring drive was 13 plays and 94 yards.
Trailing by two touchdowns for the first time this season, the Mountain Hawks responded. Lehigh put together its first sustained drive of the day. 10 plays and 72 yards later, junior tailback Eric Rath snuck into the end zone on a two-yard run to cut the deficit in half at 14-7.
Yale turned to its ground game to answer the Lehigh score. The Bulldogs mounted a 70-yard drive, and regained a 14-point advantage on a 16-yard scoring run from Carr with just 1:11 to go in the first half.
The Mountain Hawks used the remaining clock and their timeouts efficiently, and Lehigh picked up three points as time expired on a season-long 41 yard field goal from Justin Musiek. That kick made the score 21-10 in favor of the Bulldogs at halftime.
In the third quarter, Lehigh came out with a renewed sense of urgency. The defense stepped up and made some key stops, and the offense got into its groove. With 9:09 to go in that stanza, Lehigh drew to within four as Rath ran for his second score of the afternoon, this one also from two yards out. On its next possession, Lehigh took the lead for the first time on the afternoon. Marques Thompson raced into the end zone from nine yards out to take a 24-21 lead late in the third. A 38-yard field goal from Yale’s Andrew Sullivan tied the score at 24 heading into the fourth quarter.
Both defensive units buckled down in the fourth quarter, keeping the fans at the Yale Bowl on the edge of their seats. Lehigh had a chance to take the lead on a Justin Musiek field goal attempt, but the try was blocked. The Mountain Hawks defense then forced a three-and-out, giving Lehigh decent field position following the punt.
The Mountain Hawks methodically drove 67 yards on 12 plays, eventually producing what proved to be the game-winning score as Mark Borda scrambled into the end zone for a touchdown with just 2:07 to play. Justin Musiek’s extra point attempt was blocked, making the score 30.24.
Yale had two more opportunity to score in the final two minutes, but was unable to come away with a last-second TD, and Lehigh hung on for the win.
Lehigh amassed 464 yards of total offense in the win. Mark Borda continued to shine under center. The QB was 24-of-33 for a career-high 291 yards. All four of Lehigh’s touchdowns came on the ground. Rath scored two, Thompson one, and Borda added what proved to be the difference.
Junior captain Kaloma Cardwell again led Lehigh’s defensive efforts, with 10 tackles out of the secondary.
For Yale, quarterback Alvin Cowan threw for 287 yards and a TD in a losing effort.
The Mountain Hawks’ victory marked the first time since October of 2002 that Lehigh rallied from a 14-point deficit to earn a win.
The Mountain Hawks return to Goodman Stadium next week to host Patriot League rival Bucknell on Young Alumni Day. Kick-off is set for just after 1:00, and tickets may be purchased by calling (610) 7LU-GAME or on-line anytime at lehighsports.com.