#21 Lehigh (6-2 Overall, 1-1 Patriot League, 3-0 Home) returns to action after their Bye Week to face the Holy Cross Crusaders (3-7 Overall, 1-2 Patriot League, 3-2 Road). Lehigh is coming off a rough 48-10 loss to Bucknell two weeks ago, in which Senior QB Brandon Bialkowski suffered a season-ending collarbone injury. Junior Matt McHale is expected to make his first start today for the Mountain Hawks. In the six games he has appeared in this season, he is 10-17 with 81 yards through the air and 89 rushing yards on 19 attempts. Holy Cross’ lone Patriot League win came over the same Bucknell team back on October 12. Last week, the Crusaders were edged out by an undefeated Fordham team.
Lehigh returns to Goodman Stadium for the first time since their win over Georgetown on October 19.
Holy Cross Offense vs. Lehigh Defense
Points Per Game: 28.3 (3rd PL) vs. 32.2 (6th PL) Edge: PUSH
Rush Yards Per Game: 171.0 (3rd) vs. 232.8 (7th) Edge: Holy Cross
Passing Yards Per Game: 237.7 (4th) vs. 226.4 (5th) Edge: Lehigh
Lehigh’s defense let up 509 yards last week, 213 in the air and 296 on the ground. Andy Coen won’t let that happen again. The main keys (once again) for the Mountain Hawks are stopping the ground game and more importantly, forcing turnovers. Lehigh last forced a fumble four weeks ago against Columbia and their last interception was against Princeton over a month ago. They forced no turnovers against Bucknell. Holy Cross Offense Edges out Lehigh Defense
Lehigh Offense vs. Holy Cross Defense
Points Per Game: 31.9 (2nd PL) vs. 30.5 (4th PL) Edge: Lehigh
Rush Yards Per Game: 128.5 (5th) vs. 181.4 (3rd) Edge: Holy Cross
Passing Yards Per Game: 341.0 (2nd) vs. 268.8 (7th) Edge: Lehigh
Lehigh is coming off a season-low 316 total yards of offense. The injury to Bialkowski will certainly affect the passing game. The Mountain Hawks still have WR Lee Kurfis however. He was able to gain 84 yards on 10 catches against Bucknell and he is the FCS leaderin recpetions and receiving yards. Expect Lehigh to not repeat the FIVE turnover performance from two weeks ago. Running Back Kieth Sherman only gained 31 yards after a spectacular performance against Georgetown. Holy Cross was lit up for 700 yards last week against Fordham so they’ll be tightening up just as Lehigh’s Defense will be. Lehigh Offense edges out Holy Defense
Both of these teams let up a TON of yards in each of their last games. Expect the defense to tighten up on both sides.The X-Factor is the Lehigh Offense. A new QB under center and an inconsistent running game. Lehigh is riding three straight wins over Holy Cross. I see this game as a low scoring, defensive affair in which Lehigh bounces back. Lehigh wins against Holy Cross 21-17.