Posted: September 3, 2005
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Senior quarterback Mark Borda threw for 344 yards and a school record-tying six touchdowns, while classmate Gerran Walker caught seven passes for a career-high 157 yards, and added 144 yards in kick returns, as No. 14 Lehigh opened up its 2005 season with a 54-26 victory over Monmouth in front of 8,063 at Goodman Stadium on Kids Day.
Borda’s six touchdown passes tied the mark set by Scott Semptimphelter versus Lafayette in 1993 and Kyle Keating at Georgetown
in 2003, and the Mountain Hawks 54 points were the most by a Lehigh team since posting 69 vs. Georgetown during the 2002 season
The win was Lehigh’s eighth straight opening day victory, and runs head coach Pete Lembo’s mark to 5-0 in season openers.
Walker’s previous high in receiving yards was 123 versus Bucknell on October 23, 2004, and were the most by a Mountain Hawk since Adam Bergen hauled in 173 yards worth of passes at Princeton on September 20, 2003. Borda’s 344 passing yards were his most since he threw for 385 yards at Holy Cross last season.
Lehigh wasted little time in getting on the scoreboard as Walker took the opening kickoff back 52 yards to midfield and set the Mountain Hawks up in great field position. Borda found Walker on a ten-yard pass in the end zone four plays later and in less than two minutes, Lehigh was ahead 7-0. Monmouth was not intimidated however, as the Hawks marched down the field in 4:46, and scored a touchdown of their own on a two-yard run by Bobby Smith to tie the score at seven.
Following an interception, Monmouth got the ball and took advantage of its chance. Junior quarterback Brian Boland found Adam San Miguel on a short three yard pass, and the Hawks went up 14-7, which is how the score would remain at the end of one.
Lehigh began the second quarter deep in Monmouth territory with the ball at the Hawks four-yard line, but facing a fourth and goal. The Mountain Hawks elected to kick a field goal, and junior Justin Musiek split the uprights from 26 yards out to pull Lehigh to within four at 14-10. After the ball switched hands several times, a Monmouth punt pinned Lehigh deep inside of its own territory. But Borda and Walker hooked up once again, this time on a nice 52-yard connection that gave the Mountain Hawks some breathing room. The drive ended on an 11-yard touchdown pass from Borda to junior Frank Trovato, and the Mountain Hawks went ahead 17-14 with five minutes left to play in the opening half.
Lehigh kept the momentum going, as senior defensive lineman Royce Morgan forced a fumble on the ensuing Monmouth possession to give the ball back to the Brown and White. On the very next play, Borda hooked up with junior Kevin Zebluim from 20-yards out, in the back corner of the end zone, and Lehigh went in front 24-14 with 3:54 left in the half. Monmouth kicker Sean Dennis added a 37-yard field goal as time expired in the half, to make the score 24-17 in favor of Lehigh heading into halftime.
Monmouth received the ball coming out of halftime, but the Lehigh defense forced the Hawks to punt. A botched snap and unsportsmanlike conduct penalty followed, putting the Mountain Hawks in prime position on the Monmouth 19 yard line. After the drive stalled, Lehigh was forced to attempt a field goal, and after yet another Monmouth penalty pushed the Brown and White closer, Musiek connected on his second try of the day, this time from 28-yards out to put the home team in front 27-17 with 12:16 left in the quarter.
Borda and Walker then hooked up yet again, this time on a 20-yard pass in which Walker made a beautiful finger-tip grab, and Lehigh was in control 34-17 midway through the third quarter. Senior running back Eric Rath added a 17-yard scamper to pay dirt as Lehigh continued to pour it on towards the end of the quarter and put the game out of reach heading into the final stanza.
Lehigh gained only 49 yards on the ground, led by Borda’s 21 yards, and the Hawks accumulated even less, at 33 total yards rushing. Boland had a very nice day throwing the ball for Monmouth as he connected on 28 of 39 passes for 348 yards and two scores, while San Miguel and Miles Austin combined for 286 yards receiving and two touchdowns.
Lehigh returns to action on September 10, when the Mountain Hawks travel to Newark, Del., to take on the No. 10 Delaware Fightin’ Blue Hens. Game time is scheduled for 7:00 with all of the action broadcast live on ESPN Radio 1230 and 1320 AM, as well as lehighsports.com, with Matt Kerr and Kody Fedorcha providing all of the commentary.
Photos copyright (c) 2005, Chris Christian/Lehigh Athletics.
EXTRA POINTS … A collection was taken prior to the game by the Lehigh Graduate Student Senate to contribute to the Hurricane Katrina Relief fund. All of the money will be donated to the Red Cross … Saturday was Lehigh’s annual Kids Day, which featured inflatables and various other activities prior to the game for youngsters to take part in … Delaware has announced that next week’s game is sold out. The contest will be televised however locally on WFMZ Channel 69, as well as on CN8.