Posted: October 15, 2005
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – No. 20 Lehigh used a total team effort on both sides of the ball to down Yale 28-21 in overtime in front of 10,414 in attendance at Goodman Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The Lehigh defense held strong throughout the fourth quarter and overtime period, holding Yale scoreless, and helped the Mountain Hawks pick up victory number four on the season, sending their record to 4-2 overall, while the Bulldogs fall to 2-3 on the year.
The victory was head coach Pete Lembo’s 40th of his career, Lehigh’s fifth straight over Yale, and the Mountain Hawks first victory in overtime since defeating Fordham 26-23 in the Bronx, in 2002.
With over half the fourth quarter expired, Lehigh got the ball off of a punt, and began its game-tying march down the field. Senior quarterback Mark Borda was forced to leave the game with a leg injury, which thrust sophomore Sedale Threatt into the game at quarterback. Showing great poise under center, Threatt completed a three-yard touchdown pass to senior fullback Greg Fay that sent the Goodman faithful into a frenzy and brought the Mountain Hawks to within two with the ensuing conversion looming. Threat then found a wide open Pete Morelli for the two points, and with 4:42 remaining, the game was knotted at 21. The Lehigh drive that tied the game consisted of nine plays and covered 56-yards in 4:05.
Following a pair of punts, Yale had the ball with the clock winding down, but Mroz was intercepted in the back of the end zone as time expired, and so the teams headed for overtime. Lehigh got the ball first in the extra session and wasted little time in scoring, using only five plays to score. Senior Eric Rath wiggled his way through the defense for a six-yard touchdown, putting Lehigh in front 28-21. Next, it was Yale’s turn with the ball, and after picking up a first down, forced the Mountain Hawk defense to step up their play, and that’s exactly what they did. The Lehigh “D” held strong for four downs, chasing Mroz into several tough throws, including one on fourth down that sailed over a Yale receiver’s head, sending the Brown and White to the victory.
Early on, Lehigh wasted little time in getting on the board, as the Mountain Hawks took the opening kickoff and drove 68 yards in ten plays for the game’s first touchdown. The scoring play was a six-yard pass from Borda to classmate Winfred Porter. The extra point was blocked, leaving Lehigh with a 6-0 lead at the 10:57 mark. Neither team would score for the remainder of the quarter.
Yale got its first points of the day following a long, 14-play, 91-yard drive that resulted in a five-yard touchdown pass from senior Jeff Mroz to fellow senior Todd Feiereisen. The Bulldogs kicked the extra point and with 2:26 remaining in the half, had a 7-6 lead. The visitors then got the ball back off of an interception of Borda, and quickly capitalized. They drove 37 yards in 1:03, and added another seven points, when Mroz hit junior Ashley Wright on a five-yard score, to send the teams into halftime, with Yale ahead 14-6.
For the half, Lehigh was out gained 211 to 140, and had only seven first downs to the Bulldogs 13. The Mountain Hawks rush defense was more than up to the challenge of stopping the Yale ground game though, limiting the visitors to just 36 yards rushing in the opening 30 minutes. Borda finished the half 12 of 20 for 127 yards and the one score, while Mroz completed 18 of 25 passes for 175 yards and two touchdowns. Time of possession was nearly identical, as Lehigh held the ball for 13:47 and Yale had it for 16:13.
Lehigh kicked off to begin the second half, and Yale picked up right where it left off in the first, taking the ball 61 yards on nine plays in 5:01 for another score. This time, Mroz found Feiereisen on an 11-yard pass to put the Bulldogs ahead 21-6 with 9:59 remaining in the quarter.
The Mountain Hawks cut into that deficit as Borda led the Brown and White on an 11-play, 91-yard drive that ended when he found junior Lee Thomas in the back of the end zone on a 12–yard pass. Following the extra point, Lehigh was down by just eight, 21-13, as the game entered the final quarter, setting up a very exciting and entertaining finish on South Mountain.
Four different receivers caught passes for Lehigh on Saturday, including Thomas’s team-high nine catches. Porter and Adam Kovacs both finished with seven passes caught, while Kevin Zebluim added five. Rath wound up with 65 yards rushing, and Borda completed 31 of 46 passes for 333 yards and two touchdowns. Feiereisen finished the day with 13 catches for 133 yards, while Mroz was 34 of 52 for 309 yards and three scores.
Lehigh returns to action next Saturday, as the Mountain Hawks return to Patriot League play, traveling to Lewisburg to take on the Bison of Bucknell. Kickoff is set for three minutes after 1:00. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN Radio 1230 and 1320 AM as well as lehighsports.com with streaming audio provided by Yahoo! Sports. Veteran Matt Kerr and Kody Fedorcha will provide the commentary.
Photos (c) 2005, Chris Christian/Lehigh Athletics.
EXTRA POINTS … Saturday was Lehigh’s annual Alumni Reunion Day, which featured numerous festivities for all alumni that returned campus … Lehigh honored two of its former championship football teams at halftime. The 1950 squad was the first team in school history to record a perfect season (9-0), and the 1975 team won the Lehigh’s fourth Lambert Cup … For the first time in weeks, the Lehigh Valley received significant amounts of sunshine, as the rain that had been soaking the area finally came to a halt. Saturday’s game was played under sunny skies with a strong breeze .. Lembo is now 9-2 all-time against teams from the Ancient Eight … Lehigh is 9-1 versus teams out of the Ivy League in games played at Goodman Stadium since 1998 ... Saturday marked the first regular season overtime game played at Goodman since a Lehigh 31-24 victory over Princeton in 1998. The Mountain Hawks 27-24 victory over Hofstra in the 2001 I-AA Playoffs was the last overtime game at Goodman.