BETHLEHEM, Pa. – The Lehigh football team tied a Patriot League record with four blocked kicks in its win over Bucknell Saturday at Goodman Stadium. Freshman Laquan Lambert accounted for two of the blocks and on Monday, he was recognized as both the league’s Special Teams Player of the Week and the Sports Network’s National Special Teams Player of the Week.
Both of Lambert’s blocks came in the first half as Lehigh built a 21-6 halftime advantage en route to a 42-19 win, the Mountain Hawks eighth straight to open the season. Lambert first came through from the right of Bucknell punter Ryan Gutowski and for a clean block which he scooped up and returned 60 yards for the game’s first touchdown.
The blocked punt return touchdown was the first for Lehigh since Jonathon Littlejohn scored off a Shane Ryan block in the 2010 Lehigh-Lafayette game in Easton.
Lambert’s second block came early in the second quarter and gave Lehigh the ball at the Bucknell 15 yard line. Two plays later quarterback Mike Colvin connected with junior Lee Kurfis for a 14 yard touchdown, which put the Mountain Hawks up 21-6.
On the ensuing kickoff, Lambert made his only tackle of the day, tripping up Brian Regan at the Bison five yard line.
For the season, the Chichester, Pa. native has three tackles. He has seen time in every game, contributing primarily on Lehigh’s punt rush and kickoff coverage units. Lambert is the second Lehigh player to be recognized as the league’s Special Teams Player of the Week and the first non-kicker, punter or return specialist in the league to win the award this season. He is also the seventh different Mountain Hawk to win a weekly football award in 2012 and the third Lehigh freshman. Lambert is the second Lehigh player to earn a national award, joining senior linebacker Billy Boyko who was named Defensive Player of the Week for his performance at Liberty on September 22.
In addition to Lambert’s two blocked punts, senior Anthony Verderame blocked the extra point on Bucknell’s first touchdown in the first quarter, and sophomore Tashan Mitchell got his hand on a Gutowski punt on the last play of the first half.
Kurfis also received an honorable mention from the league after catching eight passes for 129 yards and two touchdowns.
Lehigh enters its bye week at 8-0 overall and 2-0 in the Patriot League, marking its best start since 2001, when the Mountain Hawks were 10-0 in the regular season and won their first 11 games before losing in the quarterfinals. The current Lehigh squad has won 17 straight regular season games dating back to last year and has won its last 17 games against Patriot League opponents.
The Mountain Hawks moved up one spot in both national polls, coming in at No. 6 in the FCS Coaches Poll and No. 8 in the Sports Network FCS Top 25. Lehigh received three first place votes in the media poll for the second straight week.
Following their bye week, the Mountain Hawks will return to action on Saturday November 3 when they travel to Worcester, Mass. to face the Holy Cross Crusaders at 12:30. Lehigh’s next home game will be a nationally-televised showdown with Colgate on November 10.