Sept. 10, 2013
Patriot League Football Release - Week 3
CENTER VALLEY, Pa.
- An upset win for Fordham and a huge comeback for No. 19/22 Lehigh highlighted last week's Patriot League football action, but both teams will have to go on the road to maintain the momentum on Saturday.
Patriot League Twitter Notebook - @PatriotLeagueFB
*Fordham aims for its first 3-0 start at the FCS level when it visits Temple on Saturday at 1 p.m. on ESPN3.
*Two Patriot League teams play CAA foes as Colgate visits No. 9/12 New Hampshire and Lafayette hosts William & Mary.
*No. 19/22 Lehigh heads to Monmouth in search of its second straight 2-0 start to the season.
*The Mountain Hawks are ranked in the FCS polls for the 34th consecutive time.
*Fordham was just outside both top 25 polls after its 27-24 win over No. 8/11 Villanova on Saturday.
*Lehigh has won nine consecutive non-League regular-season games, and nine in a row decided by seven points or less.
*Georgetown will try to start the year with a 2-1 record for the fourth straight season.
*Colgate quarterback Gavin McCarney leads all active FCS players with 281.1 yards of total offense per game in his career.
*McCarney and Bucknell's Brandon Wesley are both among the active FCS leaders in multiple categories.
*Wesley and Lehigh's Brandon Bialkowski are in the FCS top five in passing efficiency after their openers.
*Four Patriot League quarterbacks rank in the top 20 of FCS in total offense per game this season.
*Lafayette's Mark Ross leads the nation in receptions per game, while Lehigh's Lee Kurfis is top in receiving yards per game.
*Kurfis had the 12th-most receiving yards in Patriot League history, and top since 2009, with 222 against CCSU Saturday.
*Bucknell's Sean Sellers leads the nation in sacks per game after recording two against Marist on Saturday.
Patriot League Notebook
FORDHAM GOES FOR BEST START SINCE 1988
The last time Fordham started the season 3-0, Ronald Reagan was President of the United States, cell phones were nowhere to be found and college seniors were not even born yet. And the Rams were not even an FCS program, as their last 3-0 open to a year came in their final season in Division III in 1988. Fordham has a chance to change that on Saturday when it shoots for a 3-0 start while visiting FBS member Temple at 1 p.m. on ESPN3. The Rams opened 2-0 for the first time since 2003 when they upset No. 8/11 Villanova 27-24 on Saturday. Fordham also goes for the first win by a Patriot League team over an FBS opponent since Colgate beat Buffalo in 2003.
LEHIGH CONTINUES TO WIN THE CLOSE ONES
Facing a 20-point deficit with just over 10 minutes to play is a daunting task for any team, but No. 19/22 Lehigh has shown an ability to just win over the last three seasons. The Mountain Hawks pulled off the remarkable comeback against Central Connecticut by using big passing plays to tie the score at 37-37 late in the fourth quarter and went on to a 51-44 victory in double overtime on Saturday. Lehigh won its ninth consecutive non-League regular-season game, and also won a ninth-straight contest decided by seven points or less. Both streaks date back to a 48-41 overtime loss against New Hampshire in 2011. Lehigh was ranked in the FCS top 25 polls for the 34th consecutive week on Monday, marking the fifth-longest streak in the nation.
CAN COLGATE PULL OFF ANOTHER UPSET?
Patriot League teams have now beaten a top-ten opponent for three consecutive seasons after Fordham took down No. 8/11 Villanova on Saturday. One of those wins came from Colgate, which knocked off No. 5/8 Lehigh 35-24 on Nov. 10 last season to win the Patriot League title. The Raiders have a chance to do it again on Saturday when they pay a visit to No. 9/12 New Hampshire. Colgate is also trying to avoid its first 0-3 start since 1996, the first season for 18th-year Head Coach Dick Biddle.
A QUARTERBACK LEAGUE ONCE AGAIN
The Patriot League has been known for its quarterbacks in recent years, from Dominic Randolph to Chris Lum to last year's All-American, Gavin McCarney. There were questions about which other signal-callers would join McCarney as stars in 2013, but those doubts are being answered early in the season. In his starting debut, Lehigh's Brandon Bialkowski threw for 366 yards and four touchdowns in a 51-44 double overtime win against Central Connecticut on Saturday. Bucknell's Brandon Wesley opened up his season by going 12-of-16 for 176 yards and two touchdowns and also rushing for 51 yards in a 27-14 win over Marist. Bialkowski and Wesley both rank in the top five in FCS in passing efficiency for their performances. Fordham's Michael Nebrich led the Rams to another victory by rushing for 102 yards and two touchdowns and completing 26-of-35 passes for 190 yards in the upset win over Villanova on Saturday. Not to be forgotten is McCarney, who completed 25-of-31 passes for 301 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 95 yards and a score in Saturday's loss to Albany. Lafayette's Zach Zweizig threw for 282 yards and a score in his season opener, and each of the five quarterbacks ranks in the FCS top 20 in at least one statistical category early in the season. Georgetown's Isaiah Kempf has also started strong with five touchdowns through the first two games as the quarterback position looks strong again in the Patriot League.
WHO'S CATCHING THE PASSES?
When quarterbacks are putting up big numbers, wide receivers are usually doing the same. And that was the case for the Patriot League's Lehigh Valley schools over the weekend. Lehigh's Lee Kurfis became the first Patriot League wide receiver since 2010 to be named Offensive Player of the Week after he hauled in seven catches for 222 yards and two touchdowns in the comeback win over Central Connecticut. Lafayette's Mark Ross totaled his fourth-straight 100-yard receiving game with 11 catches for 156 yards and a score against Sacred Heart. Kurfis leads the nation in receiving yards per game with his performance, while Ross is first in receptions per game and third in yards per contest with his outing. Ross also stands second among all active FCS players with 5.9 receptions per game for his career.
DRAMA ON PATRIOT LEAGUE NETWORK
The new Patriot League Network broadcast each of the big wins for the League over the weekend. The free online action started with Lehigh's dramatic comeback win over Central Connecticut in the afternoon, and wrapped up with Fordham's upset of Villanova in the evening. There are no Patriot League Network broadcasts this weekend, with three set for next week.
PATRIOT LEAGUE FOOTBALL RETURNS TO CBS SPORTS NETWORK
The four programs which have combined to win the last six Patriot League football titles will each be shown on national television in 2013 as CBS Sports Network broadcasts the Lehigh at Fordham contest on Oct. 5 at Noon EST and the Colgate at Holy Cross matchup on Oct. 19 at Noon EST. CBS Sports Network (CBSSN) is the 24-hour cable home of CBS Sports.
TRIO NAMED AS CANDIDATES FOR AFCA GOOD WORKS TEAM
Patriot League seniors Gary Acquah (Holy Cross) and Brad Bormann (Lafayette) and junior Josh Brake (Bucknell) were among the 150 nominees for the prestigious All State AFCA Good Works Team, which recognizes a select group of college football players who have made a commitment to enriching the lives of others while contributing to the good of their communities.
SIX-TEAM RACE FOR PATRIOT LEAGUE TITLE
For the fourth, and final, season, just six teams will vie for the Patriot League championship. Fordham remains ineligible for the title because it began awarding athletic merit aid with the freshman class that entered in the fall of 2010. The Rams' contests are still considered League games, but will not count in the standings for either team.
PATRIOT LEAGUERS COME FROM ALL OVER THE COUNTRY
This year's Patriot League football student-athletes come from 34 different states, as well as the Virgin Islands and four other countries. There are a League-high 125 student-athletes from Pennsylvania, with 116 from New Jersey. New York (63), Florida (53) and Ohio (32) round out the top five states for Patriot League players.
FOUR FORMER PATRIOT LEAGUERS MAKE NFL ROSTERS
For the fourth straight year, a Patriot League rookie hooked on to an NFL roster as former Lehigh wide receiver Ryan Spadola made the New York Jets. Also returning to NFL active rosters are offensive lineman Will Rackley (Lehigh/Jacksonville Jaguars), linebacker Blake Costanzo (Lafayette/Chicago Bears) and defensive back Isa Abdul-Quddus (Fordham/New Orleans Saints).
Patriot League Football Weekly Awards (Sept. 7)
Offensive Player of the Week
LEE KURFIS, LEHIGH Sr., WR, 6-2, 190; West Chester, Pa./Bayard Rustin
Kurfis notched seven receptions for 222 yards and two touchdowns to lead a dramatic Lehigh comeback for a 51-44 double overtime win against Central Connecticut on Saturday. He came up huge in the fourth quarter and overtime as the Mountain Hawks rallied from a 37-17 deficit with just over 10 minutes to play. Kurfis caught a 62-yard touchdown that cut Lehigh's margin to 37-31, and then notched a career-long 77-yard reception that set up the game-tying touchdown later in the fourth quarter. He also hauled in a 25-yard touchdown reception on Lehigh's opening play in the first overtime to tie the score at 44-44 and send the contest to a second OT. Kurfis had four receptions for 202 yards and the two scores in the second half and overtime. The 222 receiving yards set a Goodman Stadium record and were the fifth-best single-game total in school history. The yardage total was the highest for a Patriot League player since 2009 and the 12th-best in League annals. Kurfis was also named the Wide Receiver of the Week by College Football Performance Awards, and is selected as Patriot League Offensive Player of the Week for the first time. Kurfis is the first wide receiver to earn the Offensive Player of the Week honor since his former teammate, Ryan Spadola, in 2010.
Defensive Player of the Week
VICTOR DiFUSCO, FORDHAM Jr., LB, 6-1, 230; Mahopac, N.Y./Mahopac
DiFusco played a key role in Fordham's 27-24 upset of No. 8/11 Villanova on Saturday by recording seven tackles, three tackles for loss, two forced fumbles and one recovered fumble in the contest. The tackle total was a career high that included six solo stops. DiFusco played a role in two of the five turnovers, all fumbles, that Fordham forced in the game. The Rams beat a top 10 FCS team at home for the first time, and were the first Patriot League team to beat a non-League ranked opponent since 2011. DiFusco is named Patriot League Defensive Player of the Week for the first time.
Special Teams Player of the Week
MATT SMALLEY, LAFAYETTE So., DB/KR, 5-10, 187; Philadelphia, Pa./Father Judge
Smalley returned the opening kickoff for a school-record 98-yard touchdown in Lafayette's 26-24 loss to Sacred Heart on Saturday. The opening return came in his first game as a kick returner as Smalley went on to average 47.0 yards on three returns for the evening. He also had a 28-yard return that set up the go-ahead score in the fourth quarter. Smalley made six tackles and broke up a pass on defense as the starting cornerback for the Leopards. He is named Special Teams Player of the Week for the first time.
Rookie of the Week
RYAN PANDY, LEHIGH Fr., K, 5-11, 185; Clearwater, Fla./Countryside
Pandy made 6-of-7 extra points, hit his only field goal attempt and recorded five touchbacks on kickoffs in Lehigh's 51-44 double overtime win against Central Connecticut on Saturday. He shook off a missed extra point that would have put Lehigh ahead late in the fourth quarter and made both of his attempts in overtime. His five touchbacks helped Lehigh control field position in the game. Pandy is named Patriot League Rookie of the Week for the first time.
MIKE NEBRICH, FORDHAM Jr., QB, 6-1, 205; Burke, Va./Lake Braddock Secondary
Nebrich rushed for 102 yards and two touchdowns and completed 26-of-35 passes for 190 yards in Fordham's 27-24 win over Villanova.
ISAIAH KEMPF, GEORGETOWN Sr., QB, 6-3, 208; Glendale, Calif./Bridgton Academy
Kempf completed 16-of-23 passes for 185 yards and two scores and ran for 37 yards and another touchdown to lead Georgetown to a 42-6 victory against Davidson.
EVAN BYERS, BUCKNELL Jr., LB, 6-0, 225; Roaring Brook, Pa./Wyoming Seminary
Byers totaled 12 tackles, a sack and a fumble recovery in Bucknell's 27-14 win over Marist.
NOAH ROBB, LEHIGH So., LB, 6-3, 210; Orefield, Pa./Allentown Central Catholic
Robb notched 10 tackles, a tackle for loss and an interception in Lehigh's comeback victory over CCSU.
This Week in the Patriot League
Colgate Raiders (0-2, 0-0 PL) at No. 9/12 New Hampshire Wildcats (0-1, 0-0 CAA)
Cowell Stadium; Durham, N.H. - Saturday, 12 p.m.
*Colgate meets New Hampshire for the first time since the first round of the 2005 FCS playoffs.
*The Wildcats won that game 55-21, and have won the last four games against the Raiders overall.
*New Hampshire leads the all-time series 4-1, with Colgate's win coming in 1986.
*That accounts for the only win for the Patriot League against UNH (1-14).
*Colgate tries to beat a top 10 foe for the second straight year after beating No. 5/8 Lehigh for the 2012 Patriot League title.
*The Raiders are trying to avoid their first 0-3 start since 1996, the first season for 18th-year Head Coach Dick Biddle.
Fordham Rams (2-0) at Temple Owls (0-2, 0-0 AAC)
Lincoln Financial Field; Philadelphia, Pa. - Saturday, 1 p.m.
*Fordham aims for its first 3-0 start since 1988 when it visits FBS member Temple on Saturday at Lincoln Financial Field.
*The Rams have never started 3-0 at the FCS level, last doing so in their final season as a Division III member.
*Fordham is the first Patriot League member to take on Temple.
*The Rams lead the Owls 4-0 in the all-time series played from 1950-53.
*It is the fourth FBS game in the last three years for Fordham, who fell to UConn and Army in 2011 and Cincinnati in 2012.
*Fordham goes for the Patriot League's first win over an FBS opponent since Colgate beat Buffalo in 2003.
No. 19/22 Lehigh Mountain Hawks (1-0, 0-0 PL) at Monmouth Hawks (0-2)
Kessler Field; West Long Branch, N.J. - Saturday, 1 p.m.
*No. 19/22 Lehigh plays its first road contest when it visits Monmouth on Saturday afternoon.
*The Mountain Hawks lead the all-time series 4-0, with wins in each of the last two seasons.
*Lehigh beat Monmouth 27-17 at home last year and 49-24 on the road in 2011, both in season openers.
*The Mountain Hawks have won all four meetings by double digits.
*Patriot League teams are 13-5 against Monmouth, which is an FCS Independent before joining the Big South next year.
*Lehigh is trying to start the year with two victories for the second straight season.
William & Mary Tribe (1-1, 0-0 CAA) at Lafayette Leopards (0-1, 0-0 PL)
Fisher Stadium; Easton, Pa. - Saturday, 6 p.m.
TV: Lafayette Sports Network (RCN-4, RCN-8, WBPH-60)
*Lafayette tries to rebound from a last-second loss in the opener when it hosts William & Mary on Saturday night.
*The Leopards won the first meeting between the schools last year with a 17-14 victory on the road.
*That win improved Patriot League teams to 5-14 all-time against William & Mary.
*Lafayette aims to avoid a third time in four years with an 0-2 start, and end a five-game losing streak going back to last year.
Holy Cross Crusaders (0-2, 0-0 PL) at CCSU Blue Devils (0-2, 0-0 NEC)
Arute Field; New Britain, Conn. - Saturday, 6 p.m.
Free Online Webcast: NEC Front Row
*Two teams still looking for a victory meet when Holy Cross travels to Central Connecticut on Saturday evening.
*It is the first meeting between the schools.
*Patriot League teams are 3-2 all-time against CCSU, including Lehigh's dramatic comeback win on Saturday.
*Holy Cross is trying to avoid starting 0-3 for the second consecutive season.
Marist Red Foxes (0-2, 0-0 Pioneer) at Georgetown Hoyas (1-1, 0-0 PL)
Multi-Sport Field; Washington, D.C. - Saturday, 6 p.m.
*A Patriot League team takes on Marist for the second week in a row when Georgetown hosts the Red Foxes on Saturday.
*Bucknell defeated Marist 27-14 on Saturday to bring the Patriot League mark to 24-4 against the Red Foxes.
*Georgetown is 12-3 all-time against Marist, including an 8-0 mark at home.
*Georgetown beat Marist in the last two matchups in 2010 and 2011, and has won three of the last four overall.
*The Hoyas are trying to start the year with a 2-1 record for the fourth straight season.
Bucknell The Bison won their season opener for the third year in a row with a convincing 27-14 victory over Marist on Saturday...The Bison did most of their damage in the first half, taking a 24-7 lead at the break...It was the highest first-half point total for Bucknell since 2011, and the Bison accumulated 270 of their 353 yards before intermission...Brandon Wesley completed 12-of-16 passes
for 176 yards and two touchdowns and also ran for 51 yards...The fourth-year starter moved into first place in program history with 5,628 yards of total offense...Bucknell recorded six sacks, its most since 2011 vs. Holy Cross...Sean Sellers led the way with two of the sacks, while four other players notched one...Bucknell improved to 8-1 all-time against Marist, including 5-0 in Lewisburg...The Bison are off this week, and return to action on Sept. 21 when they visit Cornell.
Colgate Colgate fell behind 24-7 in the first half and could not get all the way back in a 37-34 loss to Albany on Saturday...The Raiders closed to within 30-27 on a touchdown run by Demetrius Russell to open the fourth quarter...Colgate had a chance to take the lead, but was stuffed at the goal line on three consecutive plays and turned it over with 4:26 left...Albany padded the lead to
37-27 with 1:34 left before Russell scored with 18 seconds to play...Gavin McCarney completed 25-of-31 passes for 301 yards and a touchdown and also ran for 95 yards...It was his second career 300-yard passing game...The Raiders held a 586-518 edge in total yardage, but were outgained 338-283 on the ground...Colgate dropped a home opener for the first time since 2008...The Raiders start 0-2 for the second consecutive season...It was the 200th game for Colgate Head Coach Dick Biddle, who is 133-67 in his 18th season...Colgate goes to No. 9/12 New Hampshire on Saturday, trying to avoid its first 0-3 start since Biddle's first season in 1996.
Fordham Fordham knocked off a top 10 FCS team at Jack Coffey Field for the first time when it held on in the fourth quarter for a 27-24 victory over No. 8/11 Villanova on Saturday...The Rams earned the first non-League top 25 win for a Patriot League team since Lehigh beat No. 8/9 Towson in the 2011 FCS playoffs second round...Fordham snapped a 13-game losing streak against Villanova,
beating the Wildcats for the first time since 1920...The Rams became the first Patriot League team to beat Villanova since Lehigh in 2006...Junior quarterback Michael Nebrich had the eventual game-winning touchdown when he put the Rams up 27-24 on a four-yard run early in the fourth quarter...Nebrich had 102 rushing yards and two touchdowns, and completed 26-of-35 passes for 190 yards...Fordham scored the final 10 points and held Villanova scoreless for the final 26:52...Fordham's defense and special teams forced five Villanova fumbles in the game...Victor DiFusco forced two of those fumbles, and also totaled seven tackles and three tackles for loss to be named Patriot League Defensive Player of the Week...Stephen Hodge totaled nine tackles, a sack and a fumble recovery and was named a weekly National All-Star by College Sporting News...The Rams outgained the Wildcats 363-332 and controlled the ball for over 38 minutes...Fordham opens the season at 2-0 for the first time since 2003...The Rams visit FBS member Temple on Saturday as they look to open 3-0 for the first time since 1988, Fordham's last season in Division III before jumping to the FCS level.
Georgetown The Hoyas led 28-6 by halftime on their way to a 42-6 victory in the home opener against Davidson on Saturday...Six different players scored touchdowns, including the first for Patriot League Preseason Defensive Player of the Year Dustin Wharton on a 24-yard interception return late in the second quarter...Quarterback Isaiah Kempf completed 16-of-23 passes for 185 yards and
two touchdowns, while rushing for 37 yards and another one...Kempf, who missed the 2012 season with an injury, has accounted for five touchdowns in the first two games...Georgetown held a 190-76 edge in rushing yardage and 375-290 in total offense...Georgetown beat Davidson for a fourth straight season and has won eight of the last nine meetings between the schools...The Hoyas will try to get to 2-1 for the fourth consecutive season when they host Marist on Saturday.
Holy Cross No. 5/6 Towson scored the final 42 points on its way to a 49-7 win over Holy Cross on Saturday at Fitton Field...Mike Fess caught a 31-yard touchdown from Ryan Laughlin to even the score at 7-7 in the first quarter....The Crusaders were outgained 525-263 in the game...Freshman running back Gabe Guild had 59 rushing yards and two catches for 21 yards, and has totaled 190 all-purpose yards in the first two games...Holy Cross starts 0-2 for the second straight season and loses its home opener for the third year in a row...The Crusaders try to avoid a second straight 0-3 start to the year when they visit Central Connecticut on Saturday.
Lafayette The Leopards suffered a heartbreaking 26-24 loss when Sacred Heart's Alec Finney made a 42-yard field goal as time expired...Ross Scheuerman had put Lafayette up 24-23 on a 12-yard touchdown run with 2:02 to play...Mark Ross had a third-quarter touchdown reception to tie the score at 17-17 as he caught 11 passes for 156 yards...It was his school record 20th touchdown reception...Ross notched his 10th 100-yard receiving game and fourth straight dating back to last season...He stands in the top 10 in school history in receptions (135) and receiving yards (1,889)...Matt Smalley opened the game with a school-record 98-yard kickoff return for a touchdown and totaled 141 yards on three returns in the game...Scheuerman ran for 95 yards and the score, while Zach Zweizig completed 24-of-34 passes for 282 yards and the touchdown...Lafayette was outgained 322-130 on the ground and 474-412 overall...The Leopards dropped their season opener for the third time in the last four years, and now will try to avoid an 0-2 start for the third time in four years.
Lehigh The Mountain Hawks won a classic on Saturday, rallying from 20 points down in the fourth quarter for a 51-44 win in double overtime against Central Connecticut...Lehigh scored a pair of touchdowns in a two-minute span to close a 37-17 deficit to 37-31 with 8:12 to play...The Mountain Hawks tied the score at 37-37 on a two-yard TD run by Sean Farrell with 3:32 to play...The score
was set up by a 77-yard completion from Brandon Bialkowski to Lee Kurfis...The game went to overtime when CCSU missed a 39-yard field goal attempt with 22 seconds left...CCSU scored to start the first overtime, but Lehigh answered on its first play with a 25-yard strike from Bialkowski to Kurfis...Farrell scored on an 11-yard touchdown rush to put Lehigh up 51-44 in double overtime...CCSU did not pick up a first down on its possession as Lehigh forced three straight incompletions...Kurfis had seven catches for a career-high 222 yards and two touchdowns, with the other coming on a 62-yard catch that cut Lehigh's deficit to 37-31...The 222 yards were the highest total in Goodman Stadium history and the 12th-most for a Patriot League player...It was the highest receiving yardage total for a Patriot League player since 2009...Kurfis became the first wide receiver since former teammate Ryan Spadola in 2010 to be named Patriot League Offensive Player of the Week...Bialkowski finished 18-of-29 for 366 yards and four touchdowns in his first-career start...The 95 combined points marked the highest single-game total in Goodman Stadium history...It was the biggest comeback for a Patriot League team since Colgate rallied from 28-0 down for a 31-28 overtime win against Dartmouth in 2007...The Mountain Hawks won their season opener for a fourth straight year....Lehigh has won nine consecutive non-League regular-season games, and nine straight games decided by seven points or less...It was ranked at No. 19/22 in the FCS polls on Monday....With Appalachian State dropping out of the polls, Lehigh's streak of 34 consecutive weeks is the fifth-longest active mark in the FCS...Lehigh tries to get to 2-0 for the second straight year on Saturday at Monmouth.