Posted: November 3, 2007
HAMILTON, N.Y. – Lehigh hung tough all afternoon long on Saturday, receiving a spirited effort from its defense, but in the end Colgate outlasted the Mountain Hawks 21-7 at Andy Kerr Stadium. With the loss, Lehigh falls to 4-5 overall and 1-3 in the Patriot League, while the Raiders keep their hopes of a Patriot League title alive and improve to 6-3 overall and 3-1 in the league. The Mountain Hawk defense was up to the challenge of slowing Colgate All-America running back Jordan Scott, who came in averaging 172 yards, and was held to 114, but untimely turnovers proved to be the difference as Lehigh’s three-game win streak against the Raiders was snapped.
“I can’t say the kids didn’t give a great effort today because they fought their tails off until the very end,” Lehigh head coach Andy Coen said in the post-game press conference. “We just need to cut down on the mistakes we’re making, and it’s my job as the head coach of this football team to figure out how to do that.” He continued, “When you’re playing a team as good as Colgate you can’t afford to have a turnover here or a dropped pass there. I thought the defense played one heck of a game and there were things we did well on offense, but we just have to bring it all together.”
Colgate received the opening kickoff and was making its way down the field, but a Brian Jackson sack of Raider quarterback Alex Relph forced a punt and Lehigh got the ball at its own ten-yard line. From there, the Lehigh offense went to work with a plethora of formations and personnel changes as senior Sedale Threatt got the start at quarterback but quickly moved to wide receiver and sophomore Chris Bokosky went under center. The constant changes seemed to keep the Colgate defense on its heels as the Mountain Hawks engineered a 13 play, 90-yard drive that chewed up 6:42 on the clock and ended on a two-yard rushing touchdown by Threatt to put the visitors ahead 7-0.
The Raiders responded with a quick scoring drive of their own as Relph hit Pat Simonds on a 34-yard scoring pass to tie the game at seven, which is how the teams would end the first quarter. The second quarter featured a number of hard hits, turnovers and good-old fashioned smash-mouth football, but neither team was able to put any points on the board, and so the Mountain Hawks and Raiders retired for halftime tied at seven points apiece.
Lehigh out gained its opposition 149-128 in the opening 30 minutes, led by a 77-yard rushing performance on 20 carries. Freshman Jaren Walker did the bulk of the work load on the ground with 42 yards on ten carries. Bokosky finished the half six-of-11 for 72 yards, while Sekou Yansane was the Mountain Hawks leading receiver with two receptions for 33 yards. Raider running back Jordan Scott rushed for 43 yards on 14 carries, while Relph completed five-of-nine passes for 86 yards and the one score. Lehigh held the ball for 15:36 and Colgate possessed it for 14:24.
Colgate took the lead for the first time all day when Relph scored from three-yards out, which was his first career rushing touchdown, and put the Raiders in front 14-7 with 5:45 left on the third quarter clock. The Raider drive lasted 12-plays and covered 57 yards. That was the lone scoring play of the quarter, but Colgate had the ball at the Lehigh 26-yard line as the fourth quarter began and on the very first play, senior J.J. Bennett scampered to pay dirt to put the Raiders ahead 21-7 with 14:52 remaining in the contest. Lehigh had several chances down the stretch to pull closer, but the offense had trouble moving the ball and two late turnovers sealed the Mountain Hawks fate.
Lehigh out gained Colgate the Raiders 297 to 274 in total yards, including 220 yards passing from Bokosky on a 15-of-31 showing. Walker finished his first career start with 69 yards rushing on 16 carries and the Las Vegas native added two receptions for 28 yards. Senior Pete Donchez hauled in a team-best five receptions for 72 yards, while Yansane finished with 76 yards receiving. Lehigh’s leading tackler for the game was once again Tim Diamond who registered a game-high 13 tackles, while senior Ernest Moore and sophomore Matt Cohen each added seven.
“It’s definitely frustrating knowing that we could have won this game,” Cohen said afterwards. “After having a number of games that we lost by a few points last year and then to have the same type of thing happen this year, the best word to describe it is frustrating.” He concluded, “We have two more games left though. We need to do everything we can to try and win these last two, especially for the seniors.”
Relph completed nine of the 13 passes he threw for 120 yards and no interceptions, while Erik Burke caught three of those passes for 23 yards. Mike Barry led the Raider defense with nine total tackles, while Greg Hadley finished with eight tackles, including two tackles for loss, one forced fumble and a fumble recovery.
Lehigh returns to action next Saturday when the Mountain Hawks head west to take on the Bucknell Bison in Lewisburg in Lehigh’s final road game of the 2007 season. Kick-off from Christy Mathewson Memorial Stadium is set for 1:00. The game will not be televised, but live audio coverage will begin at 12:00 PM on ESPN Radio 1230 and 1320 as well as around the world on Lehighsports.com. Matt Kerr and Jeff Tourial will provide the audio commentary.
EXTRA POINTS … Colgate’s Andy Kerr Stadium now features the ever-popular FieldTurf surface. The 2007 season is the first season of the synthetic surface … after rushing for a career-high 128 yards last week versus Georgetown, Lehigh junior running back Matt McGowan was forced to miss Saturday’s game due to injury … temperatures were in the early-50’s around kick-off with mostly cloudy skies and light wind … Saturday’s game will be re-played on Sunday morning on Service Electric 2 Sports beginning at 9:30 AM.