Posted: September 9, 2006
VILLANOVA, Pa. – Sophomore running back Matt McGowan scored on a 15-yard run with three minutes to play to give Lehigh a come-from-behind 31-28 win over Villanova Saturday night at Villanova Stadium. The Mountain Hawks seemingly had to play catch-up all night, erasing three deficits, including a 14 point second quarter hole, but battled back to pick up Andy Coen’s first win as a head coach and pull the Brown and White even at 1-1 on the season. The loss drops Villanova to 0-2 on the year.
“I couldn’t be happier for these kids and all of the coaches in the program,” said a visibly elated Coen following his first career victory. “Obviously it wasn’t the beginning we wanted (being down 14-0), but we re-grouped and kept fighting through to the end. This is a great win over a tremendous team and I could not be more excited for us.”
The first quarter had little rhythm to it as both teams were marred by penalties, resulting in a nearly 40 minute opening quarter. Lehigh did put together a nice drive towards the end, which featured several Threatt to Lee Thomas hookups to go along with Matt McGowan’s bruising short yardage rushing. However, the drive would end on an attempted fourth down conversion when Threatt fumbled the ball away to the Wildcats.
Villanova would take full advantage of the Mountain Hawk turnover, scoring as the second quarter got underway on a one-yard Matt Dicken plunge. On the ensuing kickoff, Lehigh again fumbled the ball away, and as it did the first time, Villanova quickly took advantage, scoring a touchdown on the very first play from scrimmage to on a 26-yard scamper by Aaron Jones to go in front 14-0 with 13:33 remaining in the first half.
Despite being down, Lehigh battled its way back and cut the deficit in half when Threatt hit senior Marques Thompson with a screen pass that the running back took 18 yards for a score, making it a 14-7 ballgame with 8:26 to go in the half. After forcing ‘Nova to punt the ball, senior Frank Trovato electrified the Lehigh faithful with a 57-yard return down the right sideline to paydirt, tying the score at 14 with 6:10 remaining. The Wildcats would come back however, and jumped ahead once again on an eight-yard touchdown run by Dicken at the 2:56 clip. Lehigh did have a drive going late but could not put any more points on the board and retired to the locker room trailing by seven.
The two teams combined for 12 penalties in the opening 30 minutes, but there was plenty of offense as the Mountain Hawks put up 208 total yards to the Wildcats 159. Threatt threw for 165 yards and the one score, while Marvin Burroughs went 5 of 7 for 60 yards. Threatt was also the Mountain Hawks leading rusher in the half, while Jones led the home team with 45 yards on the ground and one touchdown.
The Mountain Hawks received the second half opening kickoff and quickly tied the game at 21 on a 10 play, 76 yard drive that ended when Threatt hit Trovato for an 18 yard score for the Bethlehem native’s second career receiving touchdown.
With three and a half minutes remaining in the quarter, sophomore Jason Leo gave Lehigh its first lead, as he connected on a 30 yard field goal to put the Mountain Hawks up 24-21.
The Wildcats came back early in the fourth, re-taking the lead on a four yard run by Burroughs. Villanova was looking for some insurance midway through the fourth quarter, but Joe Marcoux missed a 24 yard field goal, giving Lehigh a chance to drive for the win.
Senior tailback Marques Thompson then put Lehigh into scoring position breaking a 43 yard run to put the football deep into Wildcat territory. A few plays later, McGowan raced around left end for his first career touchdown, giving the Mountain Hawks the lead for good.
Burroughs tried to bring Villanova back, but junior defensive back Daynin Blake sacked the Wildcat quarterback on fourth and seven to end the threat.
Threatt finished 18-of-29 for 223 yards and two scores through the air, and also led the Mountain Hawks with 77 rushing yards on 13 carries. Thompson added 54 yards on the ground, while McGowan racked up 49 yards on nine carries. Trovato led the receiving corps with five grabs for 73 yards.
Lehigh will be back in action next Saturday when the Mountain Hawks return to Goodman Stadium and welcome the Tigers of Princeton to town on Community Day. Kick off is set for 1:07 and tickets can be purchased in one of three ways: in person at the Lehigh Athletics ticket office located inside of Grace Hall during normal business hours, by calling 610-7LU-GAME during normal business hours, or anytime on-line at lehighsports.com.
EXTRA POINTS … Saturday’s weather was a stark contrast to last weekend, when Lehigh was forced to play in wet, windy conditions. Temperatures hovered in the mid-70’s with clear skies for the entire evening at Villanova Stadium … Trovato’s punt return for a touchdown was Lehigh’s first since Jermaine Pugh returned a punt 85 yards for a score versus Lafayette in 2002 ... Lehigh’s last win over an A-10 opponent was a 27-24 triumph over Hofstra at Goodman Stadium in the 2001 playoffs.