Lehigh/Colgate Preview

#17/20 Lehigh (7-2 Overall, 2-1 Patriot League, 3-2 Road) hits the road to Hamilton, NY for a huge matchup with the Raiders of Colgate University (4-6 Overall, 2-1 Patriot League, 0-4 Home).  Lehigh is coming off a well fought 34-20 win over Holy Cross last week. Freshman QB Nick Shafnisky came off the bench in the second quarter to replace Matt McHale. Shafnisky’s play earned with Patriot League Rookie of the Week honors. Sr RB Keith Sherman earned PL Offensive Player of the Week after rushing for 166 yards, including a 60-yard touchdown run, as well as two catches for 30 yards, both for touchdowns. Colgate is coming a THRILLA in Easton last week in which the Raiders held off the Leopards off that school 28-24. Lafayette scored 14 points in second half compared to 0 Colgate points. That win, gives this game a big, BIG, purpose.

On the FBS level, everyone is talking about how these remaining three or four games affect each team’s BCS chances or a player’s chances for the Heisman. But here on the FCS level, there are only two game left. And for Lehigh, they mean everything for the Patriot League. If Colgate wins today, the Raiders are your 2013 Patriot League Champs. If Lehigh wins… Next week gains one more thing amongst EVERYTHING. I’m really trying to hold off my excitement for the 149th matchup until after today, regardless of today’s outcome.

That doesn’t mean I don’t care about today. I certainly do, which is why I’m blogging this game. Because while I despise that school more than any college team, I REALLY hate Colgate. If not just for my own reasons, but also because of this game one season ago. Colgate scored 14 fourth quarter points to overcome the Mountain Hawks for the Patriot League title last year at Goodman Stadium. Lehigh is playing for revenge.

STADIUM:

Andy Kerr Stadium

Andy Kerr Stadium has Field Turf and sits 10,221

Colgate Offense vs. Lehigh Defense

Points Per Game: 23.3 (5rd PL) vs. 30.9 (6th PL) Edge: PUSH

Rush Yards Per Game: 196.2 (1st) vs. 217.0 (7th) Edge: Colgate

Passing Yards Per Game: 174.1 (6th) vs. 231.1 (4th) Edge: Lehigh

Lehigh’s Defense let up only 96 rushing yards last week against Holy Cross, a season low. Colgate’s SO RB Demetrius Russell (from Taft School) was the runner up for PL Offensive Player of the Week after rushing for 96 yards and scoring three touchdowns. Lehigh FINALLY forced a turnover, forcing a fumble and an interception. They’ll need to key in on forcing turnovers against this Raiders team. The Mountain Hawk D is trending upward so Lehigh Defense edges out Colgate Offense.

Lehigh Offense vs. Colgate Defense

Points Per Game: 32.1 (2nd PL) vs. 30.4 (4th PL) Edge: Lehigh

Rush Yards Per Game: 143.1 (5th) vs. 203.4 (5th) Edge: Colgate

Passing Yards Per Game: 324.0 (2nd) vs. 223.3 (3rd) Edge: Lehigh

The rushing game stats are deceiving. Lehigh 260 yards on the ground last week against a statistically better Holy Cross defense. The ground game has really stepped up to support the freshman QB. They’ll need to continue that this week. They’ll need to make sure the hold onto the ball. More on that after I tell you: Lehigh Offense edges out Holy Defense

The good news for Lehigh is that Colgate is a very similar team in terms of turnovers. The Raiders have a -7 turnover margin vs Lehigh’s -9. It’s really hard to win when you turnover the ball. Lehigh’s been able to do so earlier this season, but it’ll be MUCH easier without the turnovers today. The Mountain Hawks have shown all aspects of their offense this season. I see Lee Kurfis having a big game today, he still leads the FCS in receiving yards. In the last 16 years, it’s been Lehigh, Colgate, or they’ve shared a piece in 14 of these. Let’s not let the Raiders win two in a row. Lehigh wins against Colgate 34-24.

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