The Lehigh football team fought hard, but in the end it wasn’t enough as Division I-A Connecticut defeated the Mountain Hawks by a score of 35-17 in front of 35,322 fans at Rentschler Field. The Huskies (4-2) took advantage of three Lehigh turnovers all inside the Lehigh 30-yard line for touchdowns en route to the win. With the loss, the Mountain Hawks have lost back-to-back games for the first time since the 1997 season.
The Mountain Hawks (3-2) came out strong early, and were the first team to dent the scoreboard. After the Lehigh defense forced a UConn punt on the opening possession, the Mountain Hawks offense began a nine play drive that resulted in a 32 yard Matt Douglas field goal to give Lehigh the early lead.
Late in the quarter, the 24th-ranked Mountain Hawks were marching again when UConn’s Justin Perkins picked off a pass setting up an eventual Huskies touchdown. The score remained 7-3 for the bulk of the second quarter, as the Lehigh defense kept the potent UConn offense in check. Late in the quarter, the Huskies capitalized on a Lehigh fumble. UConn quarterback Dan Orlovsky found Brandon Young on a 25 yard touchdown strike to put the Huskies up 14-3 at the half.
In the third, the Huskies took advantage of a second Lehigh interception for seven more points. After Justin Perkins picked off his second pass of the afternoon, Orlovsky found O’Neil Wilson on an 18 yard pass to give UConn a 21-3 advantage.
Following Kyle Keating’s career-best 57 yard punt, the Huskies drove down the field and added a score as Orlovsky fired his third TD pass of the day, this time to Keron Henry as UConn looked to pull away.
However, the Mountain Hawks refused to give in. The Lehigh offense put together an 11 play, 82 yard drive to pick up its first touchdown of the afternoon. Chad Schwenk capped the drive by finding Adam Bergen on a six yard pass to make the score 28-10.
UConn responded with an eight yard touchdown run by Chris Bellamy. Lehigh’s final score came on a three yard pass from backup quarterback Kyle Keating to Jason Beck.
Lehigh returns to action on October 11, when the Mountain Hawks host Saint Mary’s (Ca.) at Goodman Stadium. Kickoff is set for 1:00, and tickets can be purchased by calling (610) 7LU-GAME or on-line via the Lehigh web site at www.lehigh.edu
.Photograph courtesy of Connecticut athletics communications.