Sept. 24, 2013
Patriot League Football Release - Week 5
CENTER VALLEY, Pa. - No. 17/21 Lehigh hosts No. 7/10 New Hampshire in Saturday's marquee matchup as five teams take the field in the final football weekend before Patriot League play begins.
Patriot League Twitter Notebook - @PatriotLeagueFB
*Lehigh has won 11 consecutive non-League regular-season games, and 11 in a row decided by seven points or less.
*Both streaks started after a 48-41 overtime loss against UNH on Sept. 10, 2011.
*Fordham and Lehigh are both in the top 20, giving the Patriot League a pair of top 20 teams for the first time since 2009.
*The Rams moved up five places to No. 16 in both the FCS Coaches Poll and Sports Network top 25 on Monday.
*The Rams have started 4-0 for the first time since 1988, when they were still a Division III member.
*Lehigh aims for its second consecutive 4-0 start on Saturday after opening 9-0 last season.
*Fordham and Lehigh are among the 12 undefeated teams with at least three wins in the FCS.
*Lehigh has rallied from 19 points or more twice this season, and overcame a fourth-quarter deficit in all three games.
*Lehigh's Brandon Bialkowski is in the top-five nationally in passing yardage, completions and total offense per game.
*Fordham's Mike Nebrich stands in the top 15 in passing yards, completions and total offense per game and pass efficiency.
*Colgate's Gavin McCarney has set the Patriot League record for rushing yardage by a quarterback at 2,422.
*Bucknell is trying to get to 2-1 for the second time in the last three years and win a fourth-straight home game.
*Colgate and Lafayette each have their bye week on Saturday.
Patriot League Notebook
PATRIOT LEAGUE PLACES A PAIR IN TOP 20
For the first time since 2009, the Patriot League has two top 20 teams. Fordham moved up five places to No. 16 in both The FCS Coaches Poll and Sports Network top 25 on Monday, while Lehigh came in at No. 17 in the FCS Coaches Poll and No. 21 in The Sports Network. The last time multiple Patriot League teams were ranked in the top 20 came when Holy Cross was at No. 14 and Colgate was No. 20 in the FCS Coaches Poll following the 2009 postseason. Lehigh was ranked in the FCS top 25 polls for the 36th consecutive week, the sixth-longest streak in the nation. Fordham and Lehigh are among the 12 undefeated teams with at least three wins in the FCS.
COMEBACK KIDS DO IT AGAIN
First-half deficits and close calls certainly don't seem to bother the Lehigh Mountain Hawks. For the second time this season, Lehigh came back from at least a 19-point margin when it rallied from a 22-3 halftime deficit to beat Princeton 29-28 on Saturday. Lehigh previously came from 20 down in the fourth quarter to defeat Central Connecticut 51-44 in double overtime on Sept. 7 and also rallied in the fourth quarter for a 28-25 win at Monmouth on Sept. 24. Lehigh has now won 11 consecutive non-League regular-season games, and also 11 straight contests decided by seven points or less.
UNH-LEHIGH HIGHLIGHTS FINAL WEEKEND BEFORE LEAGUE PLAY BEGINS
The upcoming football weekend is a light one with just five teams in action. But what the slate lacks in quantity it makes up for in quality as No. 17/21 Lehigh plays host to No. 7/10 New Hampshire in a matchup that can be seen on Patriot League Network and Service Electric 2 Sports. Lehigh's 11-game non-League regular-season win streak and 11 straight wins by seven points or less both started after a 48-41 overtime loss to the Wildcats on Sept. 10, 2011. The other games feature No. 16/16 Fordham at St. Francis (PA) and Bucknell hosting Sacred Heart (on Patriot League Network) in matchups against the Northeast Conference while Georgetown hosts Princeton and Holy Cross goes to Dartmouth in clashes with the Ivy League
If it seems like Fordham makes history every week now, that's because it does. First it was the first home win against a top-10 FCS team with a 27-24 triumph over No. 8/11 Villanova on Sept. 7. Then it was a 30-29 victory at Temple on Sept. 14 that was the school's first over an FBS opponent and first for the Patriot League against an FBS foe from a BCS automatic-qualifying conference. Those wins gave Fordham a 3-0 start for the first time since 1988, when the Rams were still in Division III. There wasn't quite as much history on Saturday, but there were still some memorable nuggest from the 52-7 win over Columbia. Fordham had the highest point total for either team in the series against its intra-city rival, and Head Coach Joe Moorhead became the second-fastest to reach 10 wins in school history. Fordham also moved to 4-0 to continue the best start since 1988, when the team opened 6-0 for the year.
BIALKOWSKI, NEBRICH LEAD THE WAY FOR THEIR TEAMS
The success of top-20 squads Lehigh and Fordham can be traced to a number of areas, but none more so than their first-year starters at quarterback. Brandon Bialkowski entered the lineup in his senior season at Lehigh and has thrown for 1,171 passing yards and nine touchdowns this season, ranking in the top five nationally in passing yards, completions and total offense per game. Bialkowski has thrown for at least 300 yards in all three of Lehigh's games, and was named Patriot League Offensive Player of the Week for the first time on Monday. Fordham junior Mike Nebrich already has a pair of Offensive Player of the Week awards in his first season as the starter under center. Nebrich 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. He is among the top 15 players in the nation in passing yards, completions and total offense per game as well as passing efficiency.
DON'T FORGET ABOUT McCARNEY
While Bialkowski and Nebrich have grabbed headlines at quarterback this season, they still have a ways to go to acheive the career of Colgate's Gavin McCarney. The preseason Walter Payton Award candidate missed the Raiders' contest with New Hampshire, but returned Saturday to throw for 140 yards and a score and rush for 136 and a touchdown. McCarney is up to 2,422 career rushing yards, setting the record for a Patriot League quarterback. He broke theprevious mark of 2,337 held by his predecessor and now Colgate assistant coach Greg Sullivan. McCarney ranks No. 1 among all active FCS players with 281.1 yards of total offense per game for his career, and surpassed the 7,000-yard mark for total offense on Saturday.
KURFIS REACHES ANOTHER MARK IN LEAGUE RECORD BOOK
Lehigh senior wide receiver Lee Kurfis became the first player in Patriot League history to record back-to-back 200-yard receiving games when he had 222 against Central Connecticut and 211 against Monmouth to open the season. Both of those marks landed in the Patriot League single-game top 20, and Kurfis posted another single-game high on Saturday. His 13 receptions, for 152 yards, against Princeton were tied for the ninth-highest single-game total in League history. Kurfis has
30 catches for 585 yards and four scores this season, and leads the FCS with 195.0 receiving yards per game while placing second with 10.0 receptions per contest.
PATRIOT LEAGUE FOOTBALL GOING NATIONAL
Lehigh's thrilling 29-28 win at Princeton Saturday on NBC Sports Network kicked off a stretch where Patriot League teams play a nationally-televised contest four times in five weeks. The Mountain Hawks are part of three of those games as they also visit Fordham on Oct. 5 at Noon on CBS Sports Network and travel to Columbia on Oct. 12 at Noon on NBC Sports Network. The nationally-televised run concludes with Colgate at Holy Cross on Oct. 19 at Noon on CBS Sports Network, the 24-hour cable home of CBS Sports and place for Patriot League football, basketball and lacrosse.
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.
Patriot League Football Weekly Awards (Sept. 21)
Offensive Player of the Week
BRANDON BIALKOWSKI, LEHIGH Sr., QB, 6-1, 200; Gilbert, Ariz./Gilbert
Bialkowski completed a school-record 42-of-57 passes for a career-high 430 yards and two touchdowns to lead No. 18/22 Lehigh to a come-from-behind 29-28 win at Princeton Saturday evening. The Mountain Hawks trailed 22-3 at halftime before rallying for the win as Bialkowski went 25-for-32 for 253 yards and two touchdowns in the second half. Bialkowksi completed passes to nine different receivers as he went over 300 yards through the air for the third time in as many games this season. It was the sixth-highest single-game passing total in school history and first over 400 yards since Chris Lum against Fordham in 2011. Bialkowksi has 1,171 passing yards and nine touchdowns this season, and ranks in the top five nationally in passing yards, completions and total offense per game. He is named Patriot League Offensive Player of the Week for the first time.
Defensive Player of the Week
IAN WILLIAMS, FORDHAM Sr., DB, 6-1, 199; West Palm Beach, Fla./The King's Academy
Williams recorded six tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble to lead a stout effort on defense in No. 21/21 Fordham's 52-7 win over Columbia on Saturday. Williams led the team in tackles and also recorded a pair of pass breakups. The forced fumble was recovered by the Rams in the end zone to put Fordham up 17-0 in the third quarter. Williams earns his first Patriot League Defensive Player of the Week award, and is the third consecutive Ram to claim the honor.
Special Teams Player of the Week
KYLE SULLIVAN, BUCKNELL Sr., P/WR/PR, 5-11, 205; Wilmington, Del./St. Mark's
Sullivan did it all on special teams for the Bison in a 45-13 loss to Cornell on Saturday, including a 59-yard punt return for a score that put Bucknell ahead 7-0 in the first quarter. He became the first Bison to return a punt for a touchdown since Dante Ross in 2003, and it was the longest punt return by a Bucknell player since 1993. Sullivan also punted three times for a 37.0 average, was the holder on field goals and saw significant time at wide receiver with a catch for 12 yards. Sullivan is named Patriot League Special Teams Player of the Week for the first time.
Rookie of the Week
PETER PUJALS, HOLY CROSS Fr., QB, 6-2, 185; Glenview, Ill./Loyola Academy
Pujals came off the bench in the second half and nearly led the Crusaders to a comeback win as he had 151 yards of total offense and two passing touchdowns in a 21-14 loss to Monmouth on Saturday. Pujals led the final four offensive drives for the Crusaders and produced touchdowns on the last two with a 15-yard strike to Mike Fess with 4:25 left and a 16-yard pass to Elad Covaliu with 1:23 to play in the game. Pujals completed 12-of-19 passes for 129 yards and also led the team in rushing with 22 yards on nine carries. Pujals is the third Crusader named Patriot League Rookie of the Week this season, following teammates Gabe Guild and Kyle Young.
MIKE NEBRICH, FORDHAM Jr., QB, 6-1, 205; Burke, Va./Lake Braddock Secondary
Nebrich was outstanding again as he completed 32-of-38 passes for a career-high 347 yards and three touchdowns and also ran for 85 yards in a 52-7 win over Columbia on Saturday.
TYLER WARD, LEHIGH Sr., DB, 6-0, 180; Charlottesville, Va./West Albemarle
Ward had 10 tackles and an interception to lead No. 18/22 Lehigh to a 29-28 win at Princeton on Saturday. It was his second-straight game with double-digit tackles and a pick.
This Week in the Patriot League
No. 16/16 Fordham Rams (4-0) at St. Francis (PA) Red Flash (1-2, 0-0 NEC)
DeGol Field; Loretto, Pa. - Saturday, 12 p.m.
Coverage:: NEC Front Row
*No. 16/16 Fordham tries to keep rolling when it visits St. Francis (PA) on Saturday afternoon.
*It is the first meeting between the schools since 1948 when Fordham posted a 41-0 victory.
*Fordham is just the second Patriot League team to play the Red Flash, with Georgetown winning a matchup in 2004.
*The Rams try to keep up their best start to a season since 1988 when they opened 6-0.
*Free streaming of the game is available via NEC Front Row.
No. 7/10 UNH Wildcats (1-1, 0-0 CAA) at No. 17/21 Lehigh Mountain Hawks (3-0, 0-0 PL)
Goodman Stadium; Bethlehem, Pa. - Saturday, 12:30 p.m.
Coverage: SE2 Sports, Patriot League Network
*It's a top-25 clash when No. 17/21 Lehigh hosts No. 7/10 New Hampshire on Saturday afternoon.
*The game will be televised on Service Electric 2 Sports and carried on Patriot League Network.
*New Hampshire has an 11-2 lead in the all-time series, including a 48-41 overtime win at Lehigh in 2011.
*Since then, Lehigh has won 11 straight non-League regular-season contests and 11 in a row decided by seven points or less.
*The Wildcats also beat the Mountain Hawks at home in 2010 in the only other meeting since 1996.
*New Hampshire has won the last nine meetings since Lehigh's latest victory in 1982.
*The Mountain Hawks aim to start 4-0 for the second straight season.
*Lehigh is trying to beat a top-10 opponent for the first time since a 40-38 win over No. 8/9 Towson in the 2011 FCS playoffs.
*The Patriot League owns one win over a top-10 squad this year when Fordham beat No. 8/11 Villanova on Sept. 7.
*Patriot League teams are 1-15 all-time against UNH, including Colgate's loss on the road on Sept. 14.
Princeton Tigers (0-1, 0-0 Ivy) at Georgetown Hoyas (1-3, 0-0 PL)
Multi-Sport Field; Washington, D.C. - Saturday, 2 p.m.
Coverage: Hoya Vision
*Georgetown plays an Ivy League opponent for the second week in a row when it hosts Princeton on Saturday.
*The Hoyas scored their first-ever victory against the Tigers with a 21-20 win on the road last season.
*Princeton had won the previous five meetings between the schools from 1903-1923.
*Both teams fell to an opponent from the other's conference last week.
*Patriot League teams are 33-37 all-time against Princeton after Lehigh's 29-28 victory on Saturday.
Sacred Heart Pioneers (4-0, 0-0 NEC) at Bucknell Bison (1-1, 0-0 PL)
Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium; Lewisburg, Pa. - Saturday, 6 p.m.
Coverage: Patriot League Network
*Bucknell tries to hand Sacred Heart its first loss of the season when the Bison host the Pioneers on Saturday.
*The contest will be streamed on Patriot League Network.
*The schools are meeting for the first time.
*Sacred Heart won 26-24 on a last-second field goal at Lafayette on Sept. 7.
*Even with that result, Patriot League teams hold a 4-2 all-time advantage against the Pioneers.
*Bucknell is trying to get to 2-1 for the second time in the last three years and win a fourth-straight home game.
Holy Cross Crusaders (1-3, 0-0 PL) at Dartmouth Big Green (1-0, 0-0 Ivy)
Memorial Field; Hanover, N.H. - Saturday, 7 p.m.
Coverage: Ivy League Digital Network
*Holy Cross plays the first of two straight Ivy League opponents when it visits Dartmouth on Saturday.
*The teams are deadlocked 36-36-4 in the all-time series.
*Dartmouth won 13-10 at Holy Cross last year, but the Crusaders posted a 25-17 victory over the Big Green in 2011.
*Holy Cross won six straight meetings from 2004-09 and has taken seven of the last nine overall.
*The teams are facing off for the 14th consecutive season.
*Patriot League teams are 32-25 all-time against Dartmouth, the second-best record versus an Ivy League opponent.
Bucknell Bucknell turned the ball over six times as it could not hold an early lead in a 45-13 loss at Cornell on Saturday...The Bison opened the scoring on a 59-yard punt return by Kyle Sullivan in the first quarter...Sullivan went on to be named the Patriot League Special Teams Player of the Week as well as the FCS Punt Returner of the Week by College Football Performance Awards...It was the first
punt return touchdown for Bucknell since Dante Ross in 2003, and the longest punt return for the Bison since 1993...Cornell took the lead for good with 10 points in a 14-second span late in the second quarter, and scored 21 points in the third quarter to pull away...Bucknell held a 230-17 edge in rushing yardage, led by 148 yards on 30 carries by CJ Williams...The 148-yard day made Williams the first Bucknell freshman to top the century mark since Rashod Bumpers in 2006...The Bison outgained the Big Red 348-302 and possessed the ball for 39:30...Bucknell leads the nation with a 37:14 average time of possession, and is also first in rushing defense with 28.0 yards per game allowed...The Bison return home to face Sacred Heart on Saturday before opening League play at Lafayette on Oct. 5.
Colgate 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...He broke the previous mark of 2,337 held by his predecessor and now Colgate assistant coach Greg Sullivan...The Raiders have their bye this week before returning for final non-League games at Cornell on Oct. 5 and home for No. 23 Stony Brook on Oct. 12.
Fordham Fordham continued its best start since 1988 with the 52-7 win over Columbia on Saturday...The Rams opened 6-0 that year for their longest season-opening win streak since 1930...It is the first 4-0 start for the Rams to the FCS level...Fordham also kept the Liberty Cup for the fourth year in a row by beating the Lions...The Rams were rewarded on Monday by moving up five places to
No. 16 in both the FCS Coaches Poll and Sports Network top 25...Mike Nebrich had his second-straight 300-yard passing game by completing 32-of-38 passes for 347 yards and three touchdowns...He also ran for 85 yards to rack up 432 yards of total offense in the game...Nebrich 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...He is among the top 15 players in the nation in passing yards, completions and total offense per game as well as passing efficiency...Carlton Koonce rushed for 158 yards and two touchdowns and caught seven passes for 38 yards...Koonce had his 10th career 100-yard rushing game and is 10th in the FCS with 124.8 rushing yards per game this season...Brian Wetzel caught eight passes for 116 yards and two touchdowns in the win...Fordham racked up 606 yards in the game, with a balance of 347 through the air and 259 on the ground...The Rams are 13th in FCS with 476.3 yards of total offense per game...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 Patriot League Defensive Player of the Week Ian Williams...Fordham had its first sellout since 2007 and improved to 3-0 at home this season...Joe Moorhead became the second-fastest Fordham coach to reach 10 wins, doing so in his 15th game...The fastest was James Crowley, who reached 10 wins in 14 games from 1933-34...The Rams are at St. Francis (Pa.) Saturday before opening League play at home against No. 17/21 Lehigh on Oct. 5.
Georgetown The Hoyas fell to 1-3 with a 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...Kempf ranks in the top 20 in the nation with 22.0 completions per game...The Hoyas wrap up their non-League schedule on Saturday at home against Princeton, then have the first of two bye weeks before starting League action on Oct. 12 versus Fordham.
Holy Cross Holy Cross scored two late touchdowns, but could not come all the way back in a 21-14 loss to Monmouth on Saturday...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...Pujals came off the bench in the second half to go 12-of-19 for 129 yards and two scores and also lead the team with 22 rushing yards...He became the third different Crusader in the past four weeks to be named Patriot League Rookie of the Week...The Crusaders join the 2006 Bucknell team for the only instances of three different players from the same team being named Patriot League Rookie of the Week in a four-week span...Holy Cross plays its final two non-League games against Ivy League opponents, visiting Dartmouth on Saturday before hosting Harvard on Oct. 5.
Lafayette 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 on Saturday...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...Ross is second among all active FCS players with 5.8 receptions per game for his career, and stands 11th in the country this year with 7.3 receptions per contest...Lafayette is 0-3 for the first time since 2010 as it heads into a bye week to prepare for its Patriot League opener at home against Bucknell on Oct. 5.
Lehigh The comeback kids did it again, as Lehigh rallied for another close victory by overcoming 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...It was the second time this year Lehigh rallied from a deficit of at least 19 points, and the Mountain Hawks have overcome a fourth-quarter deficit to win in each of their first three games this season...Bialkowski set a school record with 42 completions (42-of-57) while throwing for 430 yards and two touchdowns...He has thrown for 1,171 yards and nine touchdowns in three games this year, and ranks in the top five in the country in passing yards, completions and total offense per game...Bialkowski received his first Patriot League Offensive Player of the Week award on Monday...Lee Kurfis had 13 receptions for 152 yards, and has 30 catches for 585 yards and four scores this season...Kurfis leads the FCS with 195.0 receiving yards per game and is second with 10.0 receptions per contest...Both teams went over 500 yards of total offense, with Lehigh holding a 513-501 advantage...The Mountain Hawks are sixth in the country with an average of 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...Both of the 11-game runs date back to a 48-41 overtime loss against New Hampshire on Sept. 10, 2011...No. 17/21 Lehigh has a chance to earn payback for that contest when it hosts the No. 7/10 Wildcats in a top-25 clash at Goodman Stadium on Saturday.