It was a game that lived up to all of the billing, with hard hitting, timely plays and tons of emotion. However, in the end, Lehigh came up on the short end of a 17-10 score against Colgate at Andy Kerr Stadium in Hamilton, N.Y., on Saturday afternoon.
The Mountain Hawk defense played an outstanding game, but the offense struggled to put points on the board. As a result, the Mountain Hawks suffered their first Patriot League loss of the season, with their record now at 4-1 in the league and 6-3 overall.
With the win, the Raiders extended their winning streak to a Division I best 16 games, and they remain perfect at 10-0 overall, putting themselves in the driver's seat in the Patriot League at 5-0.
Lehigh returns to action Saturday when the Mountain Hawks travel to Lewisburg to take on Bucknell. Kick off is set for 1 p.m.
The Lehigh defense was up for the challenge of stopping Colgate’s high-powered offense, which came into the game averaging almost 36 points per game. After Colgate received the ball on the opening kickoff, junior Neal Boozer Gallman intercepted Raider quarterback Chris Brown on the second play of the game to set up Lehigh deep in Colgate territory.
The Mountain Hawks then capitalized as junior quarterback Kyle Keating hit sophomore Winfred Porter from 17-yards out for a touchdown and Lehigh grabbed the 7-0 lead.
Senior defensive back Lawrence Williams then intercepted his second pass in as many weeks, as the Lehigh defense continued to dominate, befuddling Brown with different schemes and formations. Senior Matt Douglas kicked a career-long 51-yard field goal, and the lead for Lehigh was up to 10.
Brown continued to force the issue against Lehigh, but seniors Mike Taggart and Trevor Micklos intercepted the Colgate signal caller on consecutive possessions, to bring the turnover total to four for the Raiders in the first quarter alone. The offenses both sputtered toward the end of the first, and Lehigh took its 10-0 lead into the second quarter.
Colgate was the team that got into is rhythm once the second quarter got underway, as junior kicker Lane Schwarzberg connected from 25 yards out, and the Raiders were on the board. The ball changed hands several times over the next few minutes, and after a three-and-out series, Lehigh was forced to punt from its own endzone.
But, a simple punt turned into disaster, as Keating, who doubles as the Mountain Hawks punter, kicked the ball off of his personal protector, and the Raiders recovered on the Lehigh two-yard line. Brown then waltzed into the end zone on third down, and the game was tied, 10-10. The score would remain tied until halftime, when the teams got a break from the cold, blustery conditions.
The third quarter saw each team go back and forth on offense, with neither team able to generate any scoring opportunities, until the Raiders were able to put together a solid drive that put them on the Lehigh doorstep with a chance to take the lead. Brown then kept the ball on a roll-out play and darted into the end zone from five yards out, giving Colgate the 17-10 lead, and eventually the game.
Sophomore Mark Borda came in to replace Keating at quarterback when Lehigh got the ball back, but he too struggled against the stifling Colgate defense. Borda continually tried to manufacture plays, but the Raider secondary was in blanket coverage on all Mountain Hawk receivers, forcing Borda into numerous scrambling plays.
Lehigh seemed to have one last chance at a comeback, but a costly turnover gave Colgate the ball back.
Not to be overlooked was the Lehigh defense holding the Raider offense to 100 yards below its average. The Mountain Hawk front four, led by senior Mike Gregorek, and the linebacking corp, led by seniors Taggart and Tom McGeoy, held the nation's leading rusher, Jamaal Branch, nearly 50 yards below his average.
But the Mountain Hawk offense struggled just as much as the defense was good, with Lehigh only able to muster 76 yards of total offense in the second half.
Posted on Tuesday, November 11, 2003