Lafayette, Lehigh, Fordham Win on the Road Saturday

PATRIOTLEAGUEDOTORG Mike Colvin gave Lehigh the lead for good with a 68-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter at Liberty.
Mike Colvin gave Lehigh the lead for good with a 68-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter at Liberty.

Sept. 22, 2012

CENTER VALLEY, Pa.- Lafayette and Lehigh remained undefeated on the season and Fordham took down intra-city rival Columbia as the trio emerged victorious on a day where all five games involving Patriot League teams went down to the wire.

Lafayette improved to 3-0 for the first time since 2008, and more importantly took the early lead in the race for the Patriot League title, as the Leopards went on the road and beat Bucknell 20-14 in the League opener which was shown on CBS Sports Network.

Lehigh is 4-0 for the first time since going undefeated in the regular season in 2001 while the Mountain Hawks also extended the longest regular-season winning streak in the nation to 13 games by posting a 28-26 win at Liberty. Michael Colvin had a 68-yard touchdown run and Billy Boyko recorded a 38-yard interception return for a score as Lehigh went ahead in the fourth quarter, and the Mountain Hawks stopped a two-point conversion attempt in the final minute to preserve the victory.

Fordham had the shortest road trip of the trio, and the Rams made good use of their journey across New York City by defeating Columbia 20-13 in the annual Liberty Cup game. Senior running back Carlton Koonce led the way with 250 yards on the ground, including a Patriot League record-tying 92-yard touchdown run that helped the Rams record their first 3-1 start since 2004.

It was nearly a great day for non-League action, but Colgate and Holy Cross were dealt heartbreaking defeats. The Raiders led throughout the second half at No. 20 Stony Brook only to see the Seawolves score a late touchdown for a 32-31 victory at home. The Crusaders had a 10-0 lead at home on Dartmouth, but a late fumble led to the Big Green kicking the game-winning field goal with one second left for a 13-10 victory.

The close contests follow Friday night's nail-biter when Georgetown won 21-20 at Princeton on a field goal by Matt MacZura with 14 seconds to go. To read about that game, go here

Over the last two weeks, 11 of 13 games involving Patriot League teams have been decided by seven points or less. That includes all eight matchups with the Ivy League, with the Patriot League holding a 5-3 edge in a series that has featured five games decided by three points or less.

Lafayette and Lehigh are among a group of only 14 FCS teams that remain undefeated after the weekend action.

Every Patriot League team will be in action next week, including Fordham at Lehigh in a League contest that will not count towards the standings as the Rams are ineligible for the 2012 title. Lafayette will try to extend its undefeated record at Robert Morris.

Recaps and box scores from Saturday's games are included below.

Lafayette 20 at Bucknell 14
Box Score | Bucknell Video Highlights

LEWISBURG, Pa.- Lafayette improved to 3-0 for the first time since 2008 and won its Patriot League opener for the first time since 2009 as an opportunistic defense forced three turnovers in a 20-14 win at Bucknell (1-2, 0-1) on Saturday at Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium. The game was shown on CBS Sports Network.

The Leopards defeated Bucknell for the 10th time in the last 11 seasons, and the sixth in a row in Lewisburg. Lafayette won its Patriot League opener after losing it in the past two years, while the Bison saw a string of four straight years with a League-opening victory come to an end.

Lafayette cashed in on a turnover for its score, as a Kyni Scott interception set up the Leopards for a five-play, 58-yard drive that made the score 7-0 when Greg Kessel rushed in from one yard out with 7:48 left in the first period. It stayed that way until Ryan Gralish booted a 46-yard field goal in the second quarter, but Bucknell got to within 10-7 on a 12-yard touchdown pass from Brandon Wesley to Nick Gatto with 5:20 left in the period. Lafayette responded with a nine-play, 70-yard drive to re-gain a 10-point lead when Andrew Shoop threw an eight-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Hall for a 17-7 advantage that the Leopards carried into the half.

The Bison missed a field goal to get closer in the third period, and Lafayette again used a turnover to set up a score when Jared Roberts' interception and 37-yard return led to a 26-yard field goal by Gralish that made it 20-7 with 6:44 to play in the game. Wesley led the Bison right down the field, and Bucknell got back to within 20-14 when the junior quarterback ran in from 12 yards out with 2:34 to play. Bucknell did not recover the ensuing onside kick, but still got possession back at its own 20 yard line down by six with 2:04 to go. Bucknell advanced to its 45 yard line, but a sack by Chris Brockman helped the Leopards stop the Bison on downs and go on to the victory.

Shoop completed 22-of-34 passes for 278 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions, accounting for nearly all of Lafayette's offense as the Leopards were held to 11 rushing yards as a team. Jamel Smith had six receptions for 71 yards, while Rodney Gould caught six passes for 55 yards. Mike Boles led the defense with 10 tackles, while Shane Dorner totaled five tackles and three sacks.

Wesley did most of the damage for Bucknell, completing 18-of-33 passes for 239 yards with a touchdown and also rushing for a team-high 76 yards and the score. Jake Flaherty caught six passes for 58 yards while Josh Brake had four receptions for 81 yards. Ryan Morgan led the defense with 10 tackles and two tackles for loss, while Lee Marvel had seven tackles with 3.5 for a loss. The Bison had 13 tackles for loss and four sacks as they snuffed out the Lafayette running game all day.

No. 13/16 Lehigh 28, Liberty 26
Box Score

LYNCHBURG, Va.- After blowing a 14-0 lead, Lehigh (4-0) used a pair of big plays to go back in front and stopped a two-point conversion in the final minute to top Liberty (0-4) by a 28-26 final on Saturday at Williams Stadium.

The Mountain Hawks extend the nation's longest regular-season winning streak to 13 games, and start 4-0 for the first time since going undefeated in the regular season in 2001.

Lehigh was not intimidated playing in front of a packed house of 17,139, as the Mountain Hawks took a 14-0 lead early in the second quarter behind one-yard touchdown runs from Keith Sherman and Michael Colvin. But Liberty battled back late in the period, scoring two touchdowns in the final five minutes to even the score at 14-14 going into the half.

The Flames kept the momentum with a field goal in the third quarter and another in the fourth, but Lehigh battled back with two plays that proved decisive in the win. After Liberty went up 20-14, Colvin came back with a 68-yard touchdown run that gave Lehigh a 21-20 edge with 7:41 to go. On Liberty's next possession, Billy Boyko stepped up with a 39-yard interception return for a touchdown to give Lehigh a 28-20 lead with 6:06 to play. Liberty took the ball down the field and scored with 59 seconds to go, but Lehigh's Bryan Andrews broke up the two-point coversion attempt to preserve the two-point lead. Lehigh recovered the ensuing onside kick and picked up a first down to run out the clock and go home with the 28-26 win.

Colvin completed 14-of-24 passes for 195 yards without an interception and also led the team with 77 rushing yards and a score. Boyko led the defense with 14 tackles and a sack to go with the interception return for a touchdown while Billy O'Brien had 13 tackles and a sack and Sam Loughery added 11 stops. The Mountain Hawks won despite being outgained 488-301, possessing the ball for 17:35 and picking up just nine first downs in the game.

Lehigh defeated Liberty for the third time in as many meetings, with the second straight tight finish after a 27-24 win in Bethlehem last season.

Fordham 20 at Columbia 13
Box Score

NEW YORK, N.Y.- Fordham (3-1) retained the Liberty Cup against intra-city rival Columbia (1-1) by riding a 250-yard rushing day from senior Carlton Koonce to a 20-13 win over the Lions on Saturday at Kraft Field.

The Rams improved to 3-1 for the first time since 2004, and beat the Lions for the third straight year and fifth in the last six seasons. The Rams improved to 7-4 against Columbia in Liberty Cup games, which was instituted to honor the alumni of both schools and all people who were lost in the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

After falling behind 3-0, Fordham took the lead for good when Koonce tied for the longest scoring rush in Patriot League history. He scampered for a 92-yard touchdown to give Fordham a 7-3 lead with 6:00 left in the first quarter, and later added an 18-yard reception for a touchdown as the Rams built the lead to 14-3. Columbia got back to within 14-10, and the teams exchanged field goals in the final minute of the second quarter as the Rams took a 17-13 lead into the half. Fordham got the lead back to seven points when Patrick Murray drilled a 51-yard field goal, his third 50-yarder of the season, for a 20-13 lead with 13:01 left in the game. Columbia twice drove into Fordham territory trying to tie the score, but Michael Martin forced and recovered a fumble to end a drive at the 14 yard line and an illegal forward pass ended another with 1:17 left to seal the win for the Rams.

Koonce carried 35 times for 250 yards and the score, recording the 15th-highest rushing total in Patriot League history. The 92-yard touchdown tied Lehigh's Ronald Jean (1998) and Rabih Abdullah (1994) for the longest scoring rush in Patriot League history. Ryan Higgins completed 17-of-25 passes for 168 yards and a touchdown, with Brian Wetzel catching seven balls for 55 yards. Murray made 2-of-3 field goal attempts, all from beyond 40 yards, and also punted seven times for a 43.6 average with three downed inside the 20. Martin paced the defense with seven tackles, a sack, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery, while Austin Hancock had 12 tackles, a sack and a fumble recovery.

at No. 20 Stony Brook 32, Colgate 31
Box Score

STONY BROOK, N.Y.- Colgate (1-3) never backed down against one of the top teams in the nation, but No. 20 Stony Brook scored the game-winning touchdown in the final minutes to hold off the Raiders 32-31 on Saturday at Kenneth LaValle Stadium.

The Raiders, who were playing a high-caliber opponent on the road for the third time this season, nearly pulled off the upset even after falling behind 17-0 in the second quarter. Colgate dominated the final five minutes of the period, scoring three touchdowns to take a 21-17 lead into the half. Jordan McCord got Colgate on the board with a one-yard run with 4:45 to play until the half, Gavin McCarney threw a 51-yard touchdown to Ed Pavalko to cut the gap to 17-14 with 2:30 to go and then McCarney ran in from five yards with 13 seconds left in the period to give Colgate a 21-17 lead at the break.

After Stony Brook trimmed the lead to 21-20, Colgate took a 28-20 advantage on a 14-yard fumble recovery for a score from Austin Dyer with 6:32 left in the third period. Stony Brook got back within 28-26 early in the fourth quarter, but Colgate boosted the lead to 31-26 with 9:38 to play in the game. Stony Brook completed the second-half comeback on its next possession, scoring a touchdown with 3:31 left g to take a 32-31 lead. Colgate crossed midfield in the final minute trying to take the lead, but McCord was stopped on a fourth-and-short play and Stony Brook held on for the win.

McCord ran for 116 yards and a touchdown to continue his run of 100-yard efforts to open the season. McCarney rushed for 35 yards and the score, and completed 14-of-24 passes for 163 yards and the touchdown. Kris Kent led the defense with 17 tackles, while Jonathan Mputu added 10 stops.

Dartmouth 13 at Holy Cross 10
Box Score

WORCESTER, Mass.- Holy Cross (0-3) fell in heartbreaking fashion for the second straight week, as Dartmouth kicked the game-winning field goal with one second left to deal the Crusaders a 13-10 loss on Saturday at Fitton Field.

The Crusaders drop to 0-3 for the first time since 2004, the first season for ninth-year Head Coach Tom Gilmore. Holy Cross lost all three games at home, and dropped a tight game to an Ivy League opponent for the second straight week after Brown scored a touchdown in the final two minutes for a 24-21 triumph last Saturday.

Holy Cross started in fine fashion, with a one-yard touchdown run by Eddie Houghton and 46-yard field goal by John Macomber leading to a 10-0 lead in the first quarter. Dartmouth tied it up in the second quarter, and it stayed that way until the final moments. Holy Cross turned it over at its 31 yard line with 11 seconds to play, and Dartmouth then used a 17-yard completion to set up the 31-yard game-winning field goal with one second to go.

It was a battle of the defenses, with Dartmouth holding a 277-199 edge in total yardage. Ryan Laughlin completed 21-of-30 passes for 106 yards, while Houghton led the way on the ground with 55 yards and the score. Kyle Toulouse totaled six receptions for 35 yards. Roman SanDoval led the defense with 14 tackles, two tackles for loss and a sack while Scotty O'Donoghue had seven tackles and a sack.

Holy Cross saw a four-game home winning streak against the Big Green come to an end, losing to Dartmouth at Fitton Field for the first time since 2003. The Big Green evened the all-time series at 36-36-4.