BETHELEHM, Pa. – On the heels of the program’s third straight ten-win season, Lehigh head coach Andy Coen announced the Mountain Hawks 2013 football schedule on Tuesday. The 11-game slate features five games at picturesque Goodman Stadium, including a visit from perennial playoff team New Hampshire, and the 149th meeting of the Lehigh-Lafayette rivalry.
“Our goal every year is to win the Patriot League Championship,” explained Lehigh head coach Andy Coen. “We know what we need to do to get there. The only way to ensure that happens is to win every game in the league. We don’t look at games strictly as development games, but when you have new players playing, as we will, we have a good schedule of non-league games that should give us a sense of where we’re at as a football team before we head into league play.”
The Mountain Hawks will open 2013 against a Northeast Conference foe as Central Connecticut State visits Goodman Stadium on September 7. Lehigh opens at home for the second straight season as the Mountain Hawks will face a CCSU squad they defeated 35-14 last season in New Britain, Conn.
Lehigh will travel to West Long Branch, N.J. the following week for their first road game of the season against the Monmouth Hawks. Monmouth finished last season at 5-5 and will compete as an independent in 2013 before joining the Big South Conference for football in 2014
On September 21, Lehigh will return to New Jersey to face Princeton. The Tigers showed significant improvement in 2012, going 5-5 overall and 4-3 in the Ivy League. Lehigh has won the last three meetings in the series, including a 17-14 win at Goodman Stadium last season. The Mountain Hawks and Tigers have met in each of the last seven seasons, with the last three games in the series serving as Princeton’s season opener.
After the Princeton game, the Mountain Hawks will return home to host CAA member New Hampshire in a homecoming contest September 28. The Wildcats were 8-3 in 2012 and advanced to the NCAA FCS playoffs for the ninth straight season, bowing to Wofford in the second round. Lehigh and UNH last met in 2011 with the Wildcats posting a 48-41 overtime win at Goodman Stadium. The Mountain Hawks would rebound from that loss to win their next 18 regular season games.
“We’re excited to have New Hampshire back on the schedule,” Coen said. “We’ve always wanted to play CAA teams, but we’ve had a harder time getting some of those guys on the schedule. We like to challenge ourselves against the best competition that we can. That prepares you for the league and I think most of the league feels the same way.”
The Mountain Hawks will spend the next two Saturdays in New York beginning with an October 5 road game at Fordham in what will be the Mountain Hawks’ first look at a Patriot League opponent. Jake Peery’s 23-yard field goal at the final gun propelled Lehigh to its fifth straight win over Fordham, 34-31 last September 29. The following weekend Lehigh will return to the Big Apple to face Columbia. The Lions were 3-7 a year ago and dropped a 35-14 decision to the Mountain Hawks at Goodman Stadium.
“The back-to-back trips to New York City is something we’ve never done in my tenure,” Coen explained. “Columbia, under head coach Pete Mangurian was much improved towards the end of the season. Fordham will have four scholarship classes on their team and last year they pushed a lot of teams, including us. They’re still not eligible for the automatic bid in the Patriot League but they’re going to be a very talented football team.”
Lehigh will return home to host the Georgetown Hoyas on October 19, its first of five-straight Patriot League games to close out the regular season. The Mountain Hawks have won 12 straight games over the Hoyas since Georgetown joined the Patriot League for football in 2001.
The Mountain Hawks will look to extend another long league winning streak the following weekend when they travel to Bucknell on October 26. Lehigh has won 15 straight games against the Bison including a 42-19 win last season at Goodman Stadium.
The Holy Cross Crusaders will then travel to Bethlehem on November 9, looking to avenge their narrow 36-35 loss to the Mountain Hawks last season. The last two Lehigh-Holy Cross games have been tightly contested; with the Mountain Hawks winning a narrow 14-7 decision in 2011 and then winning last year’s game where Mike Colvin threw the go-ahead touchdown to Ryan Spadola with two minutes remaining before the Crusaders missed a game-winning field goal attempt at the final gun.
On November 16, Lehigh will play its final road game when it travels to Hamilton, N.Y. to face the defending Patriot League Champion Colgate Raiders. Colgate snapped Lehigh’s 18-game regular season win streak and denied the Mountain Hawks a third straight league title with a 35-24 win at Goodman Stadium.
The Mountain Hawks will conclude the regular season when they host the 149th Lehigh-Lafayette game, November 23 at Goodman Stadium. The Mountain Hawks have won their last five games against the Leopards in college football’s most-played rivalry. The 150th meeting of Lehigh-Lafayette will be played at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, N.Y. in November 2014, with game No. 151 coming back to Bethlehem in 2015.
“Parity continues to be what the Patriot League is about,” Coen said. “There’s no question that Colgate currently has the best player in the league. We learned last year that you can’t afford any slip-ups in league games. One bad half cost us dearly. This should be another competitive schedule for our team. We have a lot of work to do, and I’m glad we have a lot of time to get ready for September.”
Lehigh posted a 10-1 record in 2012, that included wins in nine straight games to open the season. The Mountain Hawks own a 31-6 mark over the last three seasons and won back-to-back outright Patriot League Championships in 2010 and 2011.
Season ticket renewals will be sent out in mid-May, while new season tickets will go on sale in early June.
Also on Tuesday, Coen announced Lehigh’s tentative spring practice schedule. Lehigh will begin its spring practice segment on Friday, March 22. The annual Brown and White Spring Game is set for April 21 at 10 a.m.
2013 Lehigh Football Spring Practice Schedule
Friday, March 22 – 4:30 p.m.
Saturday, March 23 – 10:30 a.m.
Tuesday, March 26 – 4:30 p.m.
Friday, March 29 – 4:30 p.m.
Saturday, March 30 – 10:30 a.m.
Tuesday, April 2 – 7:15 p.m.
Friday, April 5 – 4:30 p.m.
Saturday, April 6 – 10:30 a.m.
Tuesday, April 9 – 4:30 p.m.
Thursday, April 11 – 4:30 p.m.
Saturday, April 13 – 11 a.m.
Monday, April 15 – 4:30 p.m.
Tuesday, April 16 – 4:30 p.m.
Thursday, April 18 – 4:30 p.m.
Saturday, April 20 – Brown and White Spring Game, 10 a.m.^
^inside Goodman Stadium
Please note that all practice dates, times and locations are subject to change due to adverse weather conditions and other factors.