CENTER VALLEY, Pa.- For the third straight weekend, Patriot League football teams combined for a winning record. With all seven teams in action, four squads pulled out victories including three that faced off with Ivy League opponents on Saturday.
The Lehigh Valley remains perfect in 2012, as both No. 13/16 Lehigh and Lafayette held off second-half rallies to post victories. The Mountain Hawks built a 17-0 edge over Princeton and held on for a 17-14 win, moving to 3-0 for the first time since 2003 and extending the longest regular-season winning streak in the Football Championship Subdivision to 12 games. The Leopards used a school record-tying seven interceptions to derail Penn, building a 21-0 first-quarter lead and holding on for a 28-21 victory for their first 2-0 start since 2008.
Fordham and Colgate also got in the win column at home behind outstanding performances from their running backs. Carlton Koonce ran for 176 yards and two touchdowns and Fordham scored four second-half touchdowns in a 34-27 win over Cornell, while Jordan McCord went for 167 yards and two scores as Colgate scored three third-quarter touchdowns to top Sacred Heart 35-14.
Two teams lost in heartbreaking fashion. Georgetown had three red-zone turnovers, including one in the final minute, in a 24-21 loss at home against Yale while Holy Cross gave up a 21-10 fourth-quarter lead as Brown scored the game-winning touchdown with 1:24 left for a 24-21 win in Worcester. Bucknell, which was the only Patriot League team to go on the road Saturday, was very close into the third quarter against No. 13/14 Delaware before falling 19-3 to the Blue Hens.
It was the last weekend of exclusively non-League action, as the Patriot League schedule begins on Saturday when Lafayette visits Bucknell at Noon on CBS Sports Network. It is one of two nationally-televised games on the schedule, as Georgetown also plays at Princeton on Friday at 7 p.m. on ESPNU. Lehigh, Colgate, Fordham and Holy Cross will play non-League contests on Saturday.
Recaps and box scores from Saturday's games are included below, along with a synopsis of each contest and video highlights from the Patriot League and schools.
BETHLEHEM, Pa.- Lehigh improved to 3-0 for the first time since 2003 by dominating the first half and holding on after intermission for a 17-14 win over Princeton (0-1) on Saturday at Goodman Stadium.
With Sam Houston State's loss to Baylor on Saturday evening, Lehigh's 12-game regular-season winning streak is now the longest mark in the Football Championship Subdivision.
The Mountain Hawks were outstanding in the first half, particularly on defense. The unit did not allow a first down until Lehigh had built the 17-0 lead, and only gave up two for the entire period. The offense cashed in for three scores. Zach Barket ran in from five yards out for a 7-0 lead with 4:29 to play in the first period, Jake Peery hit a 23-yard field goal midway through the second quarter and Keith Sherman had a two-yard touchdown run with 3:34 to go until halftime to give Lehigh the 17-0 advantage.
The Lehigh offense was the one that bogged down in the second half, as the Mountain Hawks only picked up two first downs on their first six possessions. Princeton was able to take advantage to get back into the game, with Akil Sharp scoring a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns to cut Lehigh's lead to 17-14 with 4:54 to go. Princeton took over possession down by three with 3:15 left, but the Lehigh defense stepped up to force a three-and-out. Then the Lehigh offense came through when it mattered most, as Michael Colvin had a 27-yard completion to Dylan Colgate and a 10-yard run for another first down that allowed Lehigh to run out the clock and seal the win.
Lehigh held a 405-206 edge in total offense, and forced 12 Princeton punts in the game. Colvin completed 21-of-34 passes for 176 yards without a touchdown or interception, while also leading the team with 57 rushing yards. The trio of Colvin, Barket and Sherman combined for 133 yards on the ground. Ryan Spadola caught seven passes for 102 yards for his 14th-career 100-yard receiving game, and also became the sixth Patriot Leaguer and third Mountain Hawk to go over 3,000 yards in his career. The 14 100-yard games tie Spadola with Fordham's Javarus Dudley (2000-03) for the most in Patriot League history. Nigel Muhammad had a big day for the defense with 12 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss and two sacks, while Sam Loughery added nine tackles. Tim Divers averaged 40.1 yards on nine punts to aid Lehigh in the field position battle.
Lehigh beat Princeton for the third straight time and 11th in the last 14 meetings. The Mountain Hawks are 47-22-1 against Ivy League members since the formation of the Patriot League in 1986.
EASTON, Pa.- A school record-tying seven interceptions and eight overall turnovers lifted Lafayette to its first 2-0 start since 2008 with a 28-21 victory over Penn (0-1) on Saturday at Fisher Stadium.
The biggest two interceptions of the night came from Darius Safford, who had a 31-yard return for a score in the first quarter and the game-clinching pick with 1:19 to go. Lafayette first set the school record of seven interceptions in 1944 against Ursinus. The total was just two off the Patriot League record set by Holy Cross in 1986 against Harvard.
More than half of the picks came in the first quarter as Lafayette built a 21-0 lead. Kasheem Hill had the first interception and returned it 42 yards to the Penn 14, and the Leopards cashed in with a four-yard touchdown rush by Zach Zweizig for a 7-0 lead with 11:28 to go. Two plays into Penn's next possession, Safford brought his interception back 31 yards to the endzone to put Lafayette ahead 14-0 with 10:46 left in the period. Ben Aloi picked off a pass on Penn's next possession, and the Leopards went on a 13-play, 56-yard drive capped by Zweizig's 17-yard touchdown pass to Rodney Gould for the 21-0 lead late in the period.
Jared Roberts and Colton Kirkpatrick also picked off passes in the first half, but Penn cut it to 21-7 by the break. Lafayette picked up where it left off after intermission, as Kyni Scott had an interception that led to Zweizig's 26-yard touchdown pass to Mike Duncan that gave the Leopards a 28-7 edge with just 22 seconds left in the third period. Penn would not go away, however, scoring less than a minute later to cut the gap to 28-14 and getting within 28-21 with 5:24 to play in the game. The Quakers had the ball near midfield as they tried to tie the score, but Safford came up with the big seventh interception to seal the victory for the Leopards.
Zweizig completed 13-of-20 passes for 134 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions, and also ran for 17 yards and the score. Ross Scheuerman and Vaughn Hebron combined for 87 yards on the ground as the Leopards rushed for 102 in the game. Lafayette was outgained 423-236, but was helped by the interceptions and a strong day by punter Ethan Swerdlow, who averaged 41.3 yards on six attempts. Scott had nine tackles and an interception, while Aloi had eight tackles, an interception and a fumble recovery. Six different players had an interception led by Safford's two picks.
The Leopards beat Penn for the fifth time in the last six meetings, and third in a row in Easton.
BRONX, N.Y.- An offensive explosion in the second half, led by running back Carlton Koonce, lifted Fordham (2-1) to a 34-27 win over Cornell (0-1) on Saturday at Jack Coffey Field.
Koonce finished with 31 carries for 176 yards and two touchdowns in the shootout, while quarterback Ryan Higgins completed 19-of-26 passes for 281 yards and two touchdowns and Brian Wetzel hauled in eight balls for 153 yards and a score. The Rams won despite an outstanding performance from Cornell quarterback Jeff Mathews, who completed 38-of-56 passes for 489 yards and three touchdowns.
It didn't look like a shootout in the first half, as Fordham took the lead on 30 and 29-yard field goals by Patrick Murray before Cornell scored late in the period for a 7-6 lead that it took into halftime. The Big Red scored the first touchdown of the third period for a 14-6 lead, but Fordham's offense was nearly unstoppable from that point. The Rams cut the gap to 14-12 on a 15-yard run by Koonce with 6:17 left in the third quarter, then went ahead just over three minutes later when Higgins' 35-yard strike to Sam Ajala and the subsequent two-point conversion made it 20-14. Fordham got some breathing room three minutes into the fourth quarter when Higgins found Wetzel for a 23-yard touchdown that made it 27-14. Cornell got back to within a score with 9:37 to go, and took over possession in Fordham territory down 27-21 with 6:46 left. The Ram defense came through to force a three-and-out, with a second-down sack by Jake Rodriques as the big play. Fordham's offense sealed the win, going on a 71-yard drive that was capped off by a 10-yard Koonce touchdown run with 54 seconds to go that gave the Rams a 34-21 lead before Cornell scored on the game's final play for the 34-27 final.
Cornell outgained the Rams 518-470, but Fordham held a decisive 165-29 edge in rushing yardage. Michael Martin led the defense with 10 tackles and a half-sack, while Rodriques had eight tackles and the big sack. Murray, who has earned numerous Patriot League and national honors in the first two weeks of the season, had another strong day by going 2-for-2 on field-goal attempts and punting four times for a 44.0 average.
Fordham has exceeded its win total from last year's 1-10 season. The Rams evened the all-time series with Cornell at 4-4, and the win gave Patriot League teams a 34-33-1 all-time edge versus Cornell.
HAMILTON, N.Y.- Colgate (1-2) scored three second-half touchdowns to break open a tie game at the half and racked up more than 300 yards on the ground in a 35-14 win over Sacred Heart (0-2) on Saturday at Andy Kerr Stadium.
Jordan McCord, who came into the weekend fourth in the FCS in rushing yardage, led the way with 28 carries for 167 yards and two third-quarter touchdown runs that put the Raiders ahead for good. Colgate has now gone 16 consecutive seasons without starting the season with three losses.
Colgate never trailed in the game, but the first half was a back-and-forth affair. Gavin McCarney had a one-yard touchdown run for the only score of the first quarter. Sacred Heart notched the equalizer in the first minute of the second quarter, but Colgate went back ahead 14-7 when McCarney hit Chris Looney with a 22-yard strike with 6:23 left in the period. Sacred Heart sent the game to the half tied at 14-14 by scoring its second touchdown with 10 seconds to go in the period.
Colgate had three quick touchdown drives in the third quarter to pull away. McCord finished an 8-play, 91-yard drive that spanned 1:57 by scoring from five yards out with 9:06 left in the period. Colgate started its next possession at the Sacred Heart 27, and McCord's two-yard touchdown run with 6:40 left in the period came less than a minute into the drive. McCarney capped the big quarter with a 27-yard touchdown pass to Looney that proved to be the final score in the 35-14 win.
Colgate held a 304-99 edge in rushing yardage, and a 445-244 advantage in total offense. In addition to McCord, Jimmy DeCicco gained 92 yards on only seven carries and McCarney totaled 35 and the touchdown on the ground. McCarney also completed 10-of-19 passes for 141 yards and the two touchdowns to Looney, who caught four passes for 73 yards. Patrick Friel led the Colgate defense with nine tackles and one of the team's four sacks.
It was Colgate's first-ever matchup with Sacred Heart. The win makes the Patriot League 4-1 against the Northeast Conference this season, and 9-1 in the past two years.
WASHINGTON, D.C.- Despite a number of big plays and outstanding individual performances, three red-zone turnovers proved costly as Georgetown (2-1) fell 24-21 to Yale (1-0) on Saturday at Multi-Sport Field.
For the third straight season, Yale denied Georgetown's bid at its first 3-0 start since 1999. The Bulldogs have beaten the Hoyas in each of the past six years.
Yale led 7-0 through the first quarter, but the Hoyas took the lead with a pair of touchdown returns separated by just 1:17 in the second period. First, Kevin Macari put the Hoyas on the board and tied the score at 7-7 with a 79-yard punt return for a score with 8:42 to go until half. Jeremy Moore followed with a big play of his own, as his 41-yard interception return for a touchdown gave the Hoyas a 14-7 lead with 7:25 left until the half. Yale added a field goal, and the tide turned in the final minute of the half. Georgetown's Aaron Aiken fumbled on a first-and-goal at the Yale 8, and the Bulldogs came right out with a 98-yard touchdown pass on the next play to go ahead 17-14 with 33 seconds left in the half.
It stayed that way into the third quarter until the Hoyas re-gained the lead. After a turnover set Georgetown up in Yale territory, it took only three plays for the Hoyas to go ahead on a 32-yard touchdown run by Dalen Claytor. Georgetown turned it over inside its own 20 on its next possession, and Yale took advantage to go back ahead 24-21 with 2:43 left in the period. Georgetown had three straight drives stall in Yale territory, but the Hoyas seemed poised to tie or take the lead when they got a first down on the Yale 17 with 40 seconds to go. However, the fourth turnover of the day did in the Hoyas as Aiken was intercepted in the end zone and Yale held on for the win.
The mistake-filled game featured nine turnovers overall, which helped negate a Georgetown rushing attack that churned out 260 yards. Aiken led the way with 72 on the ground, and four running backs combined for 179 yards. Aiken completed 11-of-25 passes for 94 yards and the interception. The standout performances were on defense, where four players had at least 12 tackles. Moore had 12 tackles, two interceptions including the touchdown return, two tackles for loss and a forced and recovered fumble. Robert McCabe continued his outstanding start to the season with 16 tackles and a sack, while Dustin Wharton registered 13 tackles and a sack and Nick Alfieri had 12 tackles and an interception.
WORCESTER, Mass.- Brown (1-0) scored a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns to rally for a 24-21 win over Holy Cross (0-2) on Saturday at Fitton Field.
The teams played a scoreless first quarter and Brown got on the board first with a field goal, but Holy Cross went ahead on a one-yard touchdown run by Kevin Watson midway through the second quarter. The lead held into the third period when Watson tossed a six-yard strike to Alex Schneider for a 14-3 edge with 9:33 left. Brown answered with a touchdown, but Holy Cross built the lead back to double digits on a one-yard touchdown run by Eddie Houghton that made it 21-10 with 27 seconds left in the third.
Brown stormed back in the fourth quarter to earn the win. The Bears answered the Holy Cross touchdown with a 13-play, 75-yard drive that cut the Crusader lead to 21-17 with 10:17 left. Holy Cross was only able to pick up one first down on its next possession, and the Bears then embarked on a 13-play, 84-yard drive to take a 24-21 lead with 1:24 to go. Holy Cross had one more chance, but Ryan Laughlin's pass was intercepted and the Bears held on for the win.
Watson completed 26-of-40 passes for 223 yards and the score, while Houghton led the ground game with 62 yards and the touchdown. Gerald Mistretta, Kyle Toulouse and Mike Fess combined for 20 receptions and 164 yards. Tom Mannix led the defense with 14 solo tackles and an interception.
The teams played a game decided by seven points or less for the sixth time in the last seven seasons, but Brown ended a stretch of four consecutive years where the home team earned the victory. Holy Cross starts the season with two losses for the first time since 2008.
NEWARK, Del.- Bucknell (1-1) held tough with one of the top teams in the FCS for a half, but No. 13/14 Delaware (3-0) pulled away after intermission for a 19-3 victory over the Bison on Saturday at Delaware Stadium.
It was a battle of field goals in the first half, with Sean Cobelli converting for the Bison from 21 yards out on the first play of the second quarter to tie the score at 3-3. Delaware added another field goal for a 6-3 lead at the break, and went up 9-3 early in the third quarter. The Blue Hens finally found the end zone later in the period for a 16-3 lead, and added another field goal in the fourth quarter for the 19-3 win.
Bucknell's defense acquitted itself well against the perennial FCS power, holding the Blue Hens to 322 yards with 161 both through the air and on the ground. Brandon Wesley completed 21-of-37 passes for 197 yards for the Bison, with Victor Walker hauling in six receptions for 74 yards. Jeremiah Young ran for 44 yards and caught four balls for 42 yards. Evan Byers led the Bucknell defense with 10 tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss, while Sean Sellers totaled seven tackles and 1.5 sacks.
It was the first matchup between the teams since 1985. Bucknell was trying to open the year at 2-0 for the second straight season.