Posted: September 15, 2007
PRINCETON, N.J. – Lehigh picked up its first win of the season on Saturday night, with a 32-21 win over Princeton at Princeton Stadium. The Mountain Hawks forced five turnovers and also blocked a punt on the evening. Senior captain Brannan Thomas picked off a pair of passes and forced a fumble, as Lehigh improves to 1-1 on the season. Princeton falls to 0-1 with the setback.
"I'm definitely pleased that we were able to get our first win of the season here tonight," head coach Andy Coen said afterwards, "but there are plenty of things that we still need to work on. We had too many opportunitites in the opening half that we didn't capitalize on and in the second half we weren't able to put them (Princeton) away. But, we did get the win and we'll enjoy that tonight."
Princeton received the opening kick off but Lehigh’s defense quickly got the ball back when Thomas caused a fumble and junior Paul Bode scooped it up giving the Mountain Hawks the ball at the Tiger 33. Reigning Patriot League Rookie of the Week Kwesi Kankam cashed in on the turnover seven plays later when he dove over the pile from one-yard out to give Lehigh a 7-0 lead with 11:47 remaining in the opening quarter.
Thomas got the ball back for Lehigh yet again on the next Tiger possession as he picked off his tenth career pass and gave the Mountain Hawks the ball on their own 49. Lehigh marched right down the field and after converting a fourth-and-one from inside the ten-yard line, Threatt hit junior tight end Troy Healion on a three-yard touchdown pass to put the visitors in front 13-0. The ensuing extra point was missed keeping the Mountain Hawk lead at 13. The Mountain Hawks got the ball back one more time in the quarter but the drive stalled and an attempted field goal sailed wide, leaving the Brown and White with a 13-0 cushion at the end of 15 minutes of play.
The Mountain Hawks added to their lead with 10 points late in the second quarter. Thomas showed his versatility, returning a punt to the Princeton 30, and junior Jason Leo booted a 25-yard field goal to extend Lehigh’s lead to 16-0. On the ensuing kickoff, freshman Tom Randazza’s short kickoff was mishandled by the Tigers and junior Brendan VanAckeren recovered at the Princeton 23 yard line. Six plays later, Threatt rushed in from two yards out to give the Mountain Hawks a 23-0 advantage at the half.
Threatt finished the half 12-of-27 passing for 129 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Kankam rushed 16 times for 54 yards and the one score, while classmate Jaren Walker bruised his way to 19 yards on five carries. Senior Pete Donchez snared four passes for 37 yards while junior Mike Fitzgerald pulled down three passes for 38 yards.
Lehigh received the opening kick after halftime but was forced to punt giving the Tigers the ball. After the Princeton drive stalled, the Tigers were forced to try a punt of their own, but Lehigh sophomore Jesse Sanchez blocked the attempted kick and the ball was recovered in the end zone by the Princeton punter giving Lehigh two punts on a safety. That score put the Brown and White ahead 25-0 with 12:25 left in the third.
Princeton finally got on the board with 5:25 left on the third quarter clock when quarterback Bill Foran hit Rob Toresco on a seven-yard strike which made the score 25-7 in favor of the Mountain Hawks. The Tigers then pulled to within 11 at 25-14 on a 15-yard strike from Foran to Adam Berry at the 1:39 mark of the third, which is how the score remained as the teams entered the final quarter of play.
Lehigh put the game out of reach with a 13-play drive that chewed up 7:28 on the clock and ended on a two-yard touchdown run by Walker, as the Mountain Hawks led 32-14 with 6:18 left on the clock.
Threatt finished the game 14-of-33 for 144 yards. Kankam was the top ground gainer with 73 yards on 23 carries, while Walker added 59 yards on 18 rushes. The Mountain Hawks controlled the clock, holding the ball for over 39 minutes on the evening.
Lehigh returns to action on Saturday, September 22 when the Mountain Hawks welcome VMI to Goodman Stadium on Kids Day. The game is set to kick off at 1:07 with Kids Day activities commencing at 11:30 AM. Tickets for the game are available by calling 610-7LU-GAME, by stopping into the Lehigh Athletics Ticket Office located in Grace Hall, or by logging onto Lehighsports.com at anytime.
EXTRA POINTS … Lehigh is now accepting Alumni names on a waiting list for Lafayette game tickets. Please click on the link above for more information … the Lehigh – Princeton tilt will be re-played on Sunday morning beginning at 9:00 AM on Service Electric 2 Sports or anytime on-demand at Lehighsports.com … game-time temperatures were in the low-60’s with a light breeze, a marked change from last week’s heat and humidity with temperatures nearing 100 degrees … the last time Lehigh scored a safety in a game was November 5, 2005 vs. Georgetown. The Mountain Hawks went onto win that game 46-14 … with the win Lehigh improves to 8-2 in night games since 1999.