Sept. 21, 2013
CENTER VALLEY, Pa. - One did it with another thrilling comeback, while the other cruised from start to finish. In the end, the Patriot League's top 25 football teams both remained undefeated on Saturday as No. 18/22 Lehigh rallied past Princeton 29-28 and No. 21/21 Fordham routed Columbia 52-7.
With a national audience watching on NBC Sports Network, Lehigh (3-0) engineered another big comeback as it rallied from a 22-3 halftime deficit for the win over the Tigers. Sean Farrell scored the winning touchdown on a one-yard run with 2:45 left, while Isaiah Campbell clinched the victory with an interception with 1:50 to go. Brandon Bialkowski completed a school-record 42-of-57 passes for 430 yards and two touchdowns, while Lee Kurfis had 13 catches for 152 yards as the duo continued to shine early in the season.
The offensive stars were out for Fordham (4-0) as well, with Mike Nebrich completing 32-of-38 passes for 347 yards and three touchdowns while Carlton Koonce ran for 158 yards and two scores as team racked up 606 yards in the game. The Rams led 10-0 at halftime before pulling away with 28 points in the third quarter.
Two other schools nearly pulled off comebacks, but fell just short. Lafayette and Holy Cross each scored two straight touchdowns to get close in the fourth quarter, but the Leopards (0-3) fell 27-21 at Penn and the Crusaders (1-3) dropped a 21-14 final at home against Monmouth.
Three Patriot League teams fell by double digits, with Colgate (0-4) losing 39-22 at home against Yale, Bucknell (1-1) dropping a 45-13 final at Cornell and Georgetown (1-3) falling 45-7 at Brown.
Five Patriot League teams are in action next week on the final Saturday before League play begins. The matchups include Lehigh hosting New Hampshire in a likely top 25 showdown.
Recaps, box scores and a synopsis of each contest are included below.
No. 18/22 Lehigh 29
at Princeton 28
*Lehigh rallied for another close victory as it overcame a 22-3 halftime deficit for a 29-28 win at Princeton.
*The Mountain Hawks took a 23-22 lead in the fourth quarter on a three-yard pass from Brandon Bialkowski to Dylan Colgate, completing a run of 20 straight points.
*After Princeton went back up 28-23, Lehigh answered with the winning touchdown on a one-yard run by Sean Farrell with 2:45 to play.
*Isaiah Campbell sealed the win with an interception with 1:50 left.
*Bialkowski set a school record with 42 completions (42-of-57) while throwing for 430 yards and two touchdowns.
*Bialkowksi has thrown for 1,171 yards and nine touchdowns in three games this year.
*Lee Kurfis had 13 receptions for 152 yards, and has 30 catches for 585 yards and four scores this season.
*Both teams went over 500 yards of total offense, with Lehigh holding a 513-501 advantage.
*The Mountain Hawks are averaging 524.7 yards of total offense per game.
*Lehigh has won 11 consecutive games decided by seven points or less.
*The Mountain Hawks have also won 11 straight non-League regular-season games, and 16 straight on the road in the regular season.
*The contest was televised to a national audience on NBC Sports Network.
at No. 21/21 Fordham 52, Columbia 7
*Fordham continued its best start since 1988 with the 52-7 win over Columbia.
*Fordham also kept the Liberty Cup for the fourth year in a row.
*Mike Nebrich had his second-straight 300-yard passing game by completing 32-of-38 passes for 347 yards and three touchdowns.
*Nebrich also ran for 85 yards to rack up 432 yards of total offense in the game.
*He is completing 73% of his passes for 1,124 yards and nine touchdowns this year, and has also rushed for 247 yards and three scores.
*Carlton Koonce rushed for 158 yards and two touchdowns and caught seven passes for 38 yards.
*Brian Wetzel caught eight passes for 116 yards and two touchdowns.
*Fordham racked up 606 yards in the game, with a balance of 347 through the air and 259 on the ground.
*Fordham scored 28 third-quarter points to break open a contest that was 10-0 at halftime.
*The Rams scored over 50 points for the second time this year, and are averaging 40.0 per contest.
*Fordham had five sacks in the game, with a pair by Ian Williams.
*Fordham had its first sellout since 2007 and improved to 3-0 at home this season.
at Penn 27, Lafayette 21
*Lafayette rallied from a 20-point deficit and had the ball late in the fourth quarter, but could not get all the way back in a 27-21 loss at Penn.
*The Leopards came back from a 27-7 gap to 27-21 on a pair of rushing touchdowns by Ross Scheuerman.
*Lafayette got into Penn territory on its final possession, but went backwards and turned it over on downs.
*Scheuerman ran for 55 yards and two scores, while Mark Ross had six receptions for 70 yards and a touchdown.
*Lafayette falls to 0-3 for the first time since 2010.
Monmouth 21 at Holy Cross 14
*Holy Cross scored two late touchdowns, but could not come all the way back in a 21-14 loss to Monmouth.
*Mike Fess caught a 15-yard touchdown from Pete Pujals and Elad Covaliu hauled in a 16-yarder from Pujals to get within a score.
*The Crusaders could not recover an onsides kick after they scored with 1:23 left.
*It was the first-ever Saturday night game at Fitton Field, and just the third all-time.
*The Crusaders were outgained 224-55 on the ground after rushing for 419 yards last week.
Yale 39 at Colgate 22
*Colgate continued its longest season-opening losing streak since 1996 with a 39-22 loss to Yale on Saturday.
*The Raiders fell behind 20-0 in the first half and never got within single digits.
*Colgate has been outscored 112-34 in the first half this season.
*Gavin McCarney returned to the lineup and led the team with 136 rushing yards and a touchdown while throwing for 140 yards and a score.
*McCarney is up to 2,422 career rushing yards, setting the record for a Patriot League quarterback.
at Cornell 45, Bucknell 13
*Bucknell turned the ball over six times as it could not hold an early lead in a 45-13 loss at Cornell.
*The Bison opened the scoring on a 59-yard punt return by Kyle Sullivan in the first quarter.
*Cornell took the lead for good with 10 points in a 14-second span late in the second quarter.
*The Big Red scored 21 points in the third quarter, including two fumble recoveries for touchdowns, to pull away for the win.
*Bucknell held a 230-17 edge in rushing yardage, led by 148 yards on 30 carries by freshman CJ Williams.
*The Bison outgained the Big Red 348-302 and possessed the ball for 39:30.
at Brown 45, Georgetown 7
*The Hoyas fell to 1-3 with their 45-7 loss at Brown on Saturday.
*The Bears took a 31-0 lead at halftime on the way to the win.
*Georgetown scored the last touchdown of the game on a 14-yard pass from Isaiah Kempf to Michael Cimilluca.
*Georgetown leading tacklers Dustin Wharton and Nick Alfieri were out for the second consecutive week.