Posted: November 19, 2005
– No. 12 Lehigh fell to archrival Lafayette
23-19 on Saturday afternoon at Goodman Stadium in one of the most exciting games played between the long time rivals.
The 141st edition of college football’s most played rivalry was seen by 16,017 fans in attendance, the fourth largest crowd in Goodman Stadium history. Lafayette
senior Pat Davis found junior Jonathan Hurt in the end zone for the game-winning touchdown with 38 seconds remaining as Lafayette
won its second straight over the Mountain Hawks.
With the loss, Lehigh falls to 8-3 overall and 4-2 in the Patriot League, while Lafayette
improves to 8-3 overall and wins a share of the 2005 Patriot League Championship with a record of 5-1 in league action.
With just over two minutes remaining, Lehigh had the ball with a chance to run the clock out, but the Mountain Hawks failed to convert on third down and were forced to punt, giving Lafayette the ball inside its own 15-yard line. The Leopards then moved the ball to the Lehigh 37 with 46 seconds left where they faced a fourth and ten, setting up the dramatic game-winning score. Hurt finished with 125 yards rushing and 32 yards receiving, and for his efforts, was named the game’s Most Valuable Player.
Both teams came out a little tight in the first quarter, as evidenced by seven combined punts and only three total passes completed. It appeared as though the first 15 minutes would end scoreless, but a bad snap on a Lehigh punt gave the Leopards the ball at the Mountain Hawks five-yard line with only 51 seconds remaining. Two plays later senior Archie Fisher caught a five-yard touchdown pass from classmate Pat Davis and Lafayette took a 7-0 lead into the second quarter.
Lehigh got on the board for the first time when freshman Jason Leo connected on a 34-yard field goal at the 8:55 mark, which came at the conclusion of a 15-play, 50-yard drive that ate up 6:14 of clock, and made the score 7-3 in favor of Lafayette. With just over one minute remaining in the opening half, the Leopards tacked on three more points, when Rick Ziska hit a 45-yard field goal putting the visitors up 10-3 at the half.
Lehigh was out gained 125 yards to 88 in the half, with Eric Rath leading the way on the ground with 33 yards on nine carries. Sedale Threatt rushed eight times for 27 yards, with a long of 21 and completed just 6 of 16 passes for 23 yards.
Jonathan Hurt was the leading rusher for both teams in the opening half, gaining 106 yards on eight carries, which included a 62-yarder down the left sideline. Davis finished 4 of 11 for 17 yards and the one touchdown, while Shaun Adair was the leading receiver with two catches for 17 yards.
The Mountain Hawks came out from halftime and played inspired football, grabbing the lead as the teams moved into the final quarter. Lehigh’s first points of the third came on a 25-yard field by Leo that brought the Brown and White to within four at 10-6 with 8:36 on the clock. The Mountain Hawks then got the ball again, and senior Gerran Walker took the ball on a short pass from Threatt and darted 79-yards to pay dirt, putting the home team ahead 13-10 with 6:38 left, which is how the score stayed heading into the final quarter.
Leo continued to add to the Lehigh lead in the fourth, connecting on field goals from 22 and 35-yards out, and with 10:25 remaining, the Brown and White found themselves ahead 19-10. But Lafayette came right back, cutting the lead to just two with 8:02 left, when Hurt dove over the line for a one-yard score that capped a seven-play, 65-yard drive, which made the score 19-17.
Lehigh out gained the Leopards 340 to 322 on the afternoon and had 16 first downs to Lafayette’s 18. Rath finished with 46 yards rushing, while Threatt added 43. The Lehigh sophomore quarterback threw for 232 yards and the one score, while Davis wound up with 178 yards passing and 22 yards rushing.
Photo copyright 2005, Chris Christian/Lehigh Athletics.
EXTRA POINTS … Saturday’s crowd was slightly larger than the one in 2003, when 16,000 fans packed into Goodman and it was the second largest amount of fans the Mountain Hawks played in front of in 2005, behind the 22,537 that filled Delaware Stadium in early-September … as a sophomore in 2003, Walker caught three passes for 100 yards in Lehigh’s 30-10 victory over the Leopards, including a 53-yard touchdown for the game’s first points … … temperatures on Saturday were in the upper 40’s with plenty of sunshine and very light wind … Hurt was the first junior to earn MVP honors since Lehigh’s Ronald Jean in 1998 … the four field goals by Leo on Saturday were the most by a Lehigh kicker since Matt Douglas connected on four in an overtime win at Fordham in 2002.