Posted: October 22, 2005
LEWISBURG, Pa. – Lehigh senior running back Eric Rath carried the ball 20 times for 109 yards and a touchdown as the Mountain Hawks built a 28-3 first half lead and rolled to a 42-10 win over host Bucknell in front of 2,695 in a steady rain at Christy-Mathewson Memorial Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The victory improves No. 21 Lehigh’s record to 5-2 on the season (1-1 Patriot League), while Bucknell drops to 1-6 overall and 1-2 in the league.
“This was a good win, a league win on the road,” said Lehigh head coach Pete Lembo. “I am encouraged that we only gave up ten points, but we have to play better defensively beginning next week.”
On Lehigh’s opening drive of the afternoon, the Mountain Hawks drove 82 yards on 11 plays, and sophomore quarterback Sedale Threatt found senior fullback Greg Fay on a 13-yard pass play in the end zone to give the Mountain Hawks an early lead. The ensuing extra point made the score 7-0 Lehigh with 9:18 remaining in the first. Threatt – making his first collegiate start in place of injured captain Mark Borda – was six-of-seven through the air on the opening drive for 62 yards.
The Bison responded with a drive of their own, and freshman kicker Will Carney connected on a 43-yard field goal, slicing the Lehigh lead to 7-3 with 6:34 to go in the first.
Following the kickoff, Threatt rolled to his right on a first-and-ten from the Lehigh 39. He cut back and threw a beautiful ball across his body to a wide-open Gerran Walker on turned the play into a 54-yard gain. Two plays later on a third-and goal from the four, Threatt ran right up the middle on a quarterback draw for the score. Musiek’s extra point gave Lehigh a 14-3 advantage with 6:00 remaining in the first quarter.
On Lehigh’s third drive of the game, the Mountain Hawks methodically moved the ball once again, and Threatt found junior Lee Thomas on a 13-yard strike for the touchdown, extending the lead to 21-3 following the first quarter. In the opening 15 minutes, the Lehigh offense was five-for-five on third down conversions.
In the second quarter freshman Jason Leo’s second punt of the afternoon was set to pin yet another opponent inside the ten yard line. But Dante Ross muffed the fair catch and Lehigh recovered the ball. On the first play following the change of possession, Threatt gave the ball to senior Eric Rath on the reverse. Rath promptly handed the ball off to Walker on a second exchange, and Walker ran into the end zone along the far side for another score. Lehigh led 28-3 with 7:13 to play in the first half.
Bucknell scored its first touchdown on the afternoon on the following drive, as the Bison capped a 68-yard march with a ten yard run from senior Dante Ross, cutting the Lehigh lead to 28-10 at halftime.
In Lehigh’s second series of the second half, fullback Greg Fay powered his way up the middle for a career-long 21-yard touchdown run – his second score of the afternoon. The score capped an efficient four play, 46-yard drive. With 8:53 still on the clock in the third quarter, Lehigh had built a 35-10 lead.
With 1:23 left in the third, the Mountain Hawks added to their lead when Rath rushed for a one-yard touchdown – Lehigh’s fourth rushing touchdown of the afternoon – in helping Lehigh roll out to a 42-10 advantage.
Threatt played the first three quarters in his starting debut 13-of-25 through the air for 226 yards and two touchdowns, with one interception. Threatt also rushed seven times for 60 yards and a score.
“Last night I roomed with [Mark] Borda, and we were viewing plays and he was quizzing me,” Threatt said after the game. “I was doing pretty well, and he said to me, ‘You got this, now go out and do it.’”
On the day, the Mountain Hawks compiled a season high 510 yards of total offense – the most since racking up 604 yards in a 69-0 whitewashing of Georgetown in 2002.
Rath’s 109-yard effort marked his third 100-plus yard afternoon in 2005.
The Lehigh offense was 10-of-15 on third down conversions in Saturday’s win. “Our third down conversion percentage was pretty good,” Lembo said, “and it will be critical that we convert next week.”
Lehigh returns to action on October 29, as the Mountain Hawks hit the road once again to visit perennial league power Colgate. Game time is set for 1:00 from Hamilton, N.Y., and the contest will be televised live on WFMZ-TV (channel 69), FSN Pittsburgh, and FCS Atlantic.
EXTRA POINTS … Saturday’s contest marked Lehigh’s first on an artificial surface in 2005, as Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium boasts a FieldTurf playing surface which was installed prior to the 2001 season. Lehigh will play on a similar-type surface again on November 13 at Fordham … Saturday marked the second time in three weeks that Lehigh was forced to play under heavy downpour … Lehigh’s Marching 97 braved the elements, and the band entertained the crowd during halftime festivities … The Lehigh victory improved fifth year head coach Pete Lembo’s career record to 23-6 against league opponents. Under Lembo, Lehigh is now 5-0 against Bucknell … The Mountain Hawks registered their third 40-plus point performance of the 2005 season. Lehigh is 13-0 under Lembo when scoring 40 or more points in a game.