Posted: September 8, 2007
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Despite its best efforts at a second-half comeback, a 17-point second quarter deficit was too much for Lehigh to overcome, as the Mountain Hawks fell to Villanova 30-20 in front of 9,619 fans on Volunteer Day at Goodman Stadium. Senior quarterback Sedale Threatt threw a career-high 53 passes, and junior Sekou Yansane caught eight passes for 99 yards, but three turnovers doomed the Mountain Hawks, who drop their season opener for the second straight year.
"The kids gave great effort today," head coach Andy Coen said afterwards. "I had concern about our conditioning going in. We played very hard up to the end; I thought offensively we had some chances but we didn’t make some third down conversrsions." He continued, "First game mistakes, you cant let a punt hit your foot. You don’t want to spot anyone 20 points, let alone a team with scholarships like Villanova."
Villanova received the opening kick-off but the Mountain Hawks defense forced the Wildcats to punt. The ensuing kick went off of a Lehigh player however, giving the ball right back to the visitors. Villanova took advantage of the miscues, scoring six plays later on a one-yard run by Matt Dicken to make the score 7-0. Lehigh came right back though, and got on the board when Jason Leo kicked a 29-yard field goal to make the score 7-3 at the 7:06 mark of the opening quarter.
The Wildcats answered Leo’s field goal with a 12 play, 73 yard drive, that resulted in a 15 yard touchdown pass from Antwon Young to Michael Bradway, making the score 14-3 after one quarter.
A second Lehigh miscue allowed Villanova to increase its lead early in the second quarter. After Josh Pastore fumbled the ball away to Villanova, the Wildcats went for the long ball and on the very next play Young connected with Brandyn Harvey on a 60 yard scoring strike. The extra point failed, and Lehigh trailed 20-3. The Mountain Hawks did muster a six play drive late in the half, and Leo’s second field goal of the half, a 34-yarder at the end of the half, made it 20-6 Villanova at the break.
Lehigh clawed back within a touchdown in the third quarter as Threatt connected with Yanasne on a 38-yard scoring strike to make it 20-13. The touchdown capped off a six play, 76 yard drive for the Brown and White.
On the first play of the fourth quarter, Joe Marcoux kicked a 35 yard field goal to extend the Villanova lead back to 10, but the Mountain Hawks again marched down the field, this time covering 53 yard in 10 plays before freshman Kwesi Kankam plunged in from a yard out to make the score 23-20 Villanova with 10:47 to play. "It felt pretty good to score my first collegiate touchdown" Kankam explained afterwards. "My offensive line and fullbacks have always been encouraging me; it felt great.”
It took just three plays for Villanova to answer Lehigh’s score with another big play, as Young connected with wide receiver Phil Atkinson on a 47-yard catch and run, making the score 30-20.
Threatt finished 29-of-53 passing for 302 yards, with a touchdown and an interception. He was also the leading ground-gainer with 58 yards on 12 rushes. In addition to Yansane’s eight grabs, junior Mike Fitzgerald caught six balls for 47 yards, and classmate Nick Johnson added 4 receptions for 67 yards. Defensively, the Mountain Hawks recorded four sacks on the day, including 2.5 from junior Brian Jackson.
Young was 15-of-22 for 257 yards and three scores through the air for the Wildcats, who improve to 1-1 on the season. Dicken rushed 26 times for 95 yards and a touchdown for Villanova.
The Mountain Hawks will return to action next weekend when Lehigh visits Princeton Saturday night, with kickoff set for 6 p.m. The game will be televised live on WFMZ Channel 69, FSN Pittsburgh and FCS Atlantic with Steve Degler and Penske Hall of Famer Marty Horn ‘86. The game will also be broadcast online at Lehighsports.com with streaming video and audio powered by Yahoo! Sports.
EXTRA POINTS … Monday, September 10 marks the debut of The Andy Coen Report, which will air live on ESPN Radio of the Lehigh Valley (1230 and 1320 AM) as well as on Lehighsports.com. The show begins at 6:05 PM and allows Lehigh football fans to interact with Lehigh head football coach Andy Coen to talk about the team’s recent game. To reach the show, fans can call (877) ESPN-NOW or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your name and home town along with your e-mail … the last time Lehigh lost its opener in consecutive years was 1995 and 1996… the visiting team has won all three meetings in the Lehigh-Villanova series since it was revived in 2004.