Oct. 1, 2013
Patriot League Football Release: Week 6
CENTER VALLEY, Pa.
- Patriot League play begins with a pair of games on Saturday, including No. 10/13 Lehigh visiting No. 12/13 Fordham at Noon on CBS Sports Network in the first top-25 League matchup since 2009.
Patriot League Twitter Notebook - @PatriotLeagueFB
*No. 10/13 Lehigh visits No. 12/13 Fordham on Saturday at Noon on CBS Sports Network.
*The game will not count towards the Patriot League standings for either team.
*It is the first matchup of ranked Patriot League teams since 2009, when three such games were played.
*All six top-25 Patriot League matchups since 2003 have been won by the home team.
*Lehigh moved up seven spots to No. 10 in the FCS Coaches Poll and eight to No. 13 in The Sports Network top 25 Monday.
*The jump comes on the heels of the Mountain Hawks' 34-27 win over No. 7/10 New Hampshire on Saturday.
*That was Lehigh's 12th consecutive win in a game decided by seven points or less.
*The Mountain Hawks have won their last 15 regular-season road games, and last 10 Patriot League road contests.
*Lehigh has its second consecutive 5-0 start after opening 9-0 last season.
*The Mountain Hawks are 25-3 since the start of 2011 season, the fourth-best mark in Division I in that time.
*The Rams have started 5-0 for the first time since 1988, when they were still a Division III member and opened 6-0.
*Fordham and Lehigh are among the 12 undefeated teams in the FCS.
*Bucknell and Lafayette square off in Easton with first place in the League standings on the line.
*Holy Cross quarterback Peter Pujals was named FCS Freshman of the Week by The Sports Network on Monday.
Patriot League Notebook
NATIONALLY-RANKED SHOWDOWN ON NATIONAL TV
Lehigh and Fordham each moved up in the polls on Monday, with the Mountain Hawks jumping to No. 10 in the FCS Coaches Poll and No. 13 in The Sports Network top 25 and the Rams moving to No. 12 in The Sports Network and No. 13 in the FCS Coaches Poll. Lehigh was ranked in the FCS top 25 polls for the 37th consecutive week, the sixth-longest streak in the nation, and reached the top 10 for the third year in a row. Fordham and Lehigh are among the 12 undefeated teams in the FCS, but one will fall from the ranks Saturday when the Mountain Hawks visit the Rams. The contest will kick off at Noon from Jack Coffey Field and be shown on CBS Sports Network, the 24-hour cable home of CBS Sports and place for Patriot League football, basketball and lacrosse. Ben Holden, Tom Bradley and Rashan Ali will call the action. With Fordham ineligible for the Patriot League title, the game will not count towards the League standings for either team.
HOME TEAMS SUCCESSFUL IN TOP 25 PATRIOT LEAGUE MATCHUPS
Fordham has not found success in its matchups with Lehigh, as the Mountain Hawks have won the meeting in each of the past five seasons and have a 23-2 lead on the Rams all-time. But history is on Fordham's side in another category. Saturday's game will be the seventh top-25 Patriot League matchup since 2003, and the previous six have all been won by the home team. Four of the six contests were decided by seven points or less, and none by more than 14 points.
Here's a look at the recent Patriot League top-25 matchups.
Nov. 14, 2009: at No. 13/14 Holy Cross 28, No. 20/20 Lafayette 26
Nov. 7, 2009: at No. 24/25 Lafayette 56, No. 18/20 Colgate 49
Oct. 24, 2009: at No. 22/22 Holy Cross 42, No. 17/17 Colgate 28
Oct. 31, 2004: at No. 12 Lehigh 21, No. 18 Colgate 14
Nov. 15, 2003: at No. 7 Colgate 14, No. 19 Fordham 3
Nov. 8, 2003: at No. 10 Colgate 17, No. 24 Lehigh 10
BUCKNELL, LAFAYETTE FACE OFF FOR PATRIOT LEAGUE LEAD
While the Lehigh-Fordham game has the most significance on the national profile, the Patriot League standings will only be affected by the Bucknell-Lafayette game on Saturday. The teams square off in Easton each looking to sit at the top of the Patriot League with a 1-0 mark. Two other squads are in action against regional rivals from the Ivy League on Saturday as Colgate pays a visit to Cornell and Holy Cross hosts Harvard in a game available on Patriot League Network.
BIALKOWSKI, NEBRICH LEAD THE WAY FOR THEIR TEAMS
Lehigh and Fordham are similar in many ways, from their unblemished records to their home wins over top-10 opponents from the Colonial Athletic Association. But perhaps the teams are no more similar than at quarterback, where Lehigh's Brandon Bialkowski and Fordham's Mike Nebrich each enjoyed an outstanding first month of the season. Both have won a pair of Patriot League Offensive Player of the Week awards, and each is among the FCS top 20 in a number of statistical categories. Take a look at a breakdown of the season statistics for the two QBs below.
Brandon Bialkowski, Lehigh: 115-177 (65.0%), 1,530 yards, 11 TD, 5 INT, 152.4 passing efficiency
Mike Nebrich, Fordham: 129-175 (73.7%), 1,377 yards, 12 TD, 1 INT, 161.3 passing efficiency/286 rush yards, 3 TD
AMAZING RUN OF SUCCESS FOR LEHIGH
Lehigh rallied from a 16-point second-quarter deficit to defeat No. 7/10 New Hampshire on Saturday, scoring the final three touchdowns to overcome a 27-13 margin in the second half. Of course, coming back is no big deal for the Mountain Hawks. It was the third big rally this season, as Lehigh overcame a 22-3 halftime deficit to beat Princeton 29-28 on Sept. 21 and came from 20 down in the fourth quarter to defeat Central Connecticut 51-44 in double overtime on Sept. 7. The Mountain Hawks also rallied in the fourth quarter for a 28-25 win at Monmouth on Sept. 14 in their other victory. Lehigh has won 12 straight contests decided by seven points or less, and has a record of 25-3 since the start of the 2011 season. Take a look at the charts below to see where that ranks among Division I teams, and also where Lehigh stands among FCS squads in the past 15 years.
Division I Records Since 2011
School W-L Pct.
1. North Dakota St. 32-2 .939
2. Alabama 29-2 .933
3. Oregon 28-3 .900
4. LEHIGH 25-3 .893
FCS Records Since 1998
School W-L Pct.
1. Montana 161-43 .789
2. Harvard 111-40 .735
3. LEHIGH 133-48 .735
4. Appalachian St. 147-54 .731
In an already memorable season for Fordham, the Rams have a chance to add another significant win on Saturday. If Fordham can beat Lehigh, the Rams would match the 1988 team with a 6-0 start to the season. The last time Fordham started with more than six wins was 1930, when it opened at 7-0. Fordham has already recorded its first home win against a top-10 opponent when it beat No. 8/11 Villanova on Sept. 7, and has a chance to do it again on Saturday. The Rams also earned
the school's first win over an FBS opponent and first for the Patriot League against an FBS foe from a BCS automatic-qualifying conference when they beat Temple 30-29 on Sept. 14.
WIDE RECEIVERS PUTTING ON A SHOW FOR LEHIGH, FORDHAM
With prolific passing offenses, wide receivers from both Lehigh and Fordham are putting up outstanding numbers this season. That is especially true for Lehigh senior Lee Kurfis, who leads the FCS with 702 receiving yards and is second with 41 receptions for the season. His teammate Sergio Fernandez-Soto is in the top 60 in both receptions and receiving yards per game while the Fordham trio of Sam Ajala, Brian Wetzel and Tebucky Jones stands in the top 50 in receptions per game and top 100 in FCS in receiving yards per contest.
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 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. McCarney ranks No. 2 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 last week.
Patriot League Football Weekly Awards (Sept. 28)
Offensive Player of the Week
BRANDON BIALKOWSKI, LEHIGH Sr., QB, 6-1, 200; Gilbert, Ariz./Gilbert
Bialkowski is named Patriot League Offensive Player of the Week for the second straight time after leading No. 17/21 Lehigh to a 34-27 comeback win over No. 7/10 New Hampshire on Saturday. He completed 31-of-52 passes for 359 yards and two touchdowns, including the go-ahead score on a 15-yard strike to Derek Knott with 12:19 to play. Bialkowski has thrown for at least 300 yards and two touchdowns in all four games this season, and stands in the top five nationally in passing yards, completions and total offense per game. He completed passes to seven different receivers, with both Lee Kurfis and Sergio Fernandez-Soto going over 100 yards. Bialkowski is the first Lehigh quarterback since Chris Lum (2011) to throw for 300 yards or more in four consecutive games.
Defensive Player of the Week
KYLE YOUNG, HOLY CROSS Fr., LB, 6-0, 200; Roxbury, N.J./Roxbury
Young had five tackles, a tackle for loss and two key forced fumbles as Holy Cross rallied for a 31-28 win at Dartmouth on Saturday. The first forced fumble came in the third quarter and set up a Holy Cross touchdown that tied the score at 21-21, while the second was on a kickoff return with 46 seconds left in the game to give the Crusaders possession after they had taken a 31-28 lead. Young is named Patriot League Defensive Player of the Week after claiming the Rookie of the Week award on Sept. 16. He is the first freshman named Defensive Player of the Week since at least the 2000 season.
Special Teams Player of the Week
JOHN MACOMBER, HOLY CROSS Sr., P/K, 5-11, 206; Vienna, Va./Georgetown Prep
Macomber hit the game-winning 23-yard field goal with 51 seconds left to send Holy Cross to a 31-28 win at Dartmouth on Saturday. He also made all four of his extra-point attempts, and averaged 40.5 yards on six punts and 59.7 yards on six kickoffs. Macomber earns his first Special Teams Player of the Week honor of the year and the second of his career.
Rookie of the Week
PETER PUJALS, HOLY CROSS Fr., QB, 6-2, 185; Glenview, Ill./Loyola Academy
Pujals had a breakout performance in Holy Cross' 31-28 win at Dartmouth on Saturday, completing 25-of-37 passes for 290 yards and two touchdowns without an interception while also rushing for 125 yards and two scores on 17 carries. He led the Crusaders back from 14-0 in the first quarter, 21-14 in the third quarter and 28-21 in the fourth. Pujals led a 14-play, 67-yard drive that ended up in the game-winning field goal with 51 seconds left. He is named Patriot League Rookie of the Week for the second straight time, and gives Holy Cross its fourth honor in the first five weeks.
MIKE NEBRICH, FORDHAM Jr., QB, 6-1, 205; Burke, Va./Lake Braddock Secondary
Nebrich completed 31-of-41 passes for 253 yards and three touchdowns and ran for 39 yards in Fordham's 38-20 win at St. Francis (Pa.) on Saturday.
TYLER WARD, LEHIGH Sr., DB, 6-0, 180; Charlottesville, Va./West Albemarle
Ward had nine tackles, a tackle for loss and three pass breakups in Lehigh's 34-27 win over New Hampshire on Saturday.
JORGE SOLANO, FORDHAM Fr., WR, 5-9, 185; Coral Springs, Fla./Coral Springs Charter
Solano returned the opening kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown in Fordham's 38-20 win over St. Francis (Pa.). It was the third-longest kickoff return in school history.
RICHARD SHANKLE, GEORGETOWN Jr., DL, 6-1, 248; Atlanta, Ga./South Gwinnett
Shankle had a career-high 11 tackles and a sack against Princeton on Saturday.
BRANDON LEAKS, LEHIGH Fr., DB, 5-11, 175; Simpsonville, S.C./Hillcrest
Leaks averaged 28.3 yards on six kickoff returns in Lehigh's 34-27 win over New Hampshire on Saturday.
This Week in the Patriot League
No. 10/13 Lehigh Mountain Hawks (4-0, 0-0 PL) at No. 12/13 Fordham Rams (5-0)
Jack Coffey Field; Bronx, N.Y. - Saturday, 12 p.m.
TV: CBS Sports Network
*No. 10/13 Lehigh visits No. 12/13 Fordham in a top-25 nationally-televised showdown on CBS Sports Network Saturday.
*Ben Holden, Tom Bradley and Rashan Ali will call the action from Jack Coffey Field.
*The game will not count towards the League standings for either team with Fordham ineligible for the League title.
*It is the first Patriot League matchup between ranked opponents since 2009, when three such games occurred.
*The last of those was a top-20 matchup as No. 13/14 Holy Cross beat No. 20/20 Lafayette 28-26 on Nov. 14, 2009.
*The six top-25 Patriot League matchups since 2003 have all been won by the home team.
*Lehigh has dominated the all-time series with Fordham, holding a 23-2 lead in the matchup.
*The Mountain Hawks have won the past five meetings, including a 34-31 last-second victory at home in 2012.
*Lehigh won 34-12 the last time the teams matched up in the Bronx in 2011.
*Fordham's only victories over Lehigh came at home in 2007 (28-18) and 1997 (42-35 in OT).
*Lehigh has opened the League slate with a win in five straight seasons, beating Fordham to do it in 2008, 2010 and 2012.
*Fordham has not won its first League game since 2007, when the Rams beat the Mountain Hawks in the Bronx.
*The Mountain Hawks have won their last 15 regular-season road games, and last 10 Patriot League road contests.
*Lehigh has also won its last 12 contests decided by seven points or less.
*Fordham is trying to match the 1988 team with a 6-0 start, which is the best for the program since 1930.
*Lehigh aims for its second consecutive 5-0 open to the year after rolling to a 9-0 record last season.
*Both teams are trying to beat a ranked opponent for the second time this season.
Bucknell Bison (1-2, 0-0 PL) at Lafayette Leopards (0-3, 0-0 PL)
Fisher Stadium; Easton, Pa. - Saturday, 3:30 p.m.
TV: Lafayette Sports Network (RCN-4, RCN-8, WBPH-60)
*Bucknell and Lafayette face off with the chance to earn the first win of the year towards the Patriot League standings.
*The contest can be seen through the Lafayette Sports Network on RCN-4, RCN-8 and WBPH-60.
*Lafayette opened the League schedule with a 20-14 win at Bucknell last season.
*The Leopards have won 10 of the last 11 meetings, with a stretch of nine in a row from 2002-10.
*Bucknell broke that run with a 39-13 win when the teams last matched up in Easton in 2011.
*The Leopards lead the all-time series 51-33-6, with a 19-8 edge in Patriot League games.
*Lafayette has opened Patriot League play with a victory in seven of the last nine seasons.
*Bucknell has won its League opener in four of the last five seasons, with the loss to Lafayette breaking a four-year streak.
Colgate Raiders (0-4, 0-0) at Cornell Big Red (1-1, 0-1 Ivy)
Schoellkopf Field; Ithaca, N.Y. - Saturday, 12:30 p.m.
Coverage: Ivy League Digital Network
*Colgate comes off a bye to make the short trip to Cornell on Saturday afternoon.
*The Raiders earned a 35-28 overtime victory against Cornell in the last matchup in 2011.
*Colgate has won the last four meetings and 14 of the past 16 overall, though Cornell still leads 48-43-3 all-time.
*The teams played every season from 1999-2011 before taking last year off from the series.
*Colgate won its 600th game with a 44-3 victory in the last meeting in Ithaca in 2010.
*Patriot League teams are 34-35-1 against Cornell, with Bucknell falling at Schoellkopf Field on Sept. 21.
Harvard Crimson (2-0, 1-0 Ivy) at Holy Cross Crusaders (2-3, 0-0 PL)
Fitton Field; Worcester, Mass. - Saturday, 1 p.m.
TV: WCTR-TV 3, Patriot League Network
*Holy Cross hosts Harvard on Saturday at Fitton Field as the teams continue their annual series.
*The contest will be broadcast on WCTR-TV 3 and available on Patriot League Network.
*The teams have alternated wins and losses for the past seven years, with the home team winning each of the contests.
*Holy Cross' wins in that stretch came in 2011 (30-22), 2009 (27-20) and 2007 (31-28).
*Harvard posted a 52-3 win at home last season and has a 40-24-2 lead in the all-time series.
*Holy Cross is playing an Ivy League opponent for the second straight week after a 31-28 win at Dartmouth last Saturday.
*Patriot League teams are 28-37 all-time against Harvard, with Lafayette visiting the Crimson on Oct. 19.
Bucknell Bucknell turned the ball over six times in its 16-0 loss to Sacred Heart on Saturday...It was the second straight six-turnover performance for the Bison, who played without four-year starting quarterback Brandon Wesley, starting right guard Nevin Hagman, All-Patriot League defensive end Sean Sellers and running back Matt DelMauro, who were held out due to injury...Bucknell's defense forced 11 punts in the game, with Matthew Steinbeck tallying 11 tackles and Evan Byers
making 10...The Bison are third in the nation in rushing defense with just 70 yards per game allowed, and rank 13th in total defense...Sacred Heart scored on a long touchdown pass and field goal in the second quarter, and added a late touchdown...Bucknell saw its three-game home winning streak come to an end...The Bison have Patriot League play for the next two weeks, going to Lafayette on Saturday before hosting Holy Cross on Oct. 12.
Colgate Colgate had a bye last week before heading to regional rival Cornell on Saturday...The Raiders have two more non-League games left, as they will also host Stony Brook on Oct. 12 before hitting a final stretch of their six Patriot League games...Gavin 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...McCarney is 16th in the nation with 284.0 yards of total offense per game...At 0-4, Colgate has its longest season-opening losing streak since 1996, and a loss to Cornell would be the longest opening stretch without a win since an 0-11 campaign in 1995.
Fordham Fordham scored the final 21 points to overcome a fourth-quarter deficit and knock off St. Francis (Pa.) 38-20 on Saturday...The Rams improve to 5-0, continuing their best start to a season since opening 6-0 in 1988...It is the most non-League wins for Fordham since the 2003 season when they won five contests...Fordham bumped up in the polls on Monday to No. 12 in The Sports
Network top 25 and No. 13 in the FCS Coaches Poll...Mike Nebrich threw a 23-yard touchdown pass to Tebucky Jones on the first play of the fourth quarter to put Fordham up for good against St. Francis (Pa.)...The Rams added an eight-yard touchdown run by Carlton Koonce and four-yard pass from Nebrich to Brian Wetzel to pull away later in the period...Nebrich went 31-of-41 for 253 yards and three touchdowns without an interception, and also ran for 39 yards...He stands second in the FCS with a completion percentage of nearly 74%, and also has a spot in the FCS top 15 in five other statistical categories...Koonce ran for 126 yards and a score and caught six passes for 21 yards...The senior Walter Payton Award candidate stands 11th in the country with 125.0 rushing yards per game this season, and is just 54 yards away from the 2,500-mark for his career...Jones had nine receptions for 118 yards and a score, while Wetzel and Dan Light each had 40 receiving yards and a touchdown...Jones, Wetzel and Sam Ajala are all in the top 50 nationally in receptions per game, and each in the top 100 in receiving yards per contest...The Rams had a pair of big plays on special teams, with a 96-yard kickoff return touchdown by Jorge Solano to open the game and a school-record 84-yard punt return by Wetzel to set up the final score...Solano's kickoff return was the third-longest in school history...Fordham held a 416-382 edge in total yardage, though the Rams did give up more than 300 yards on the ground...Fordham is in the top 20 in FCS in both total and scoring offense, and has scored at least 27 points in all five of its games this season... The 198 points scored by the Rams are the most ever over the first five games for a Fordham squad... The Rams have consecutive Patriot League games coming up, hosting Lehigh on Saturday on CBS Sports Network and visiting Georgetown on Oct. 12.
Georgetown The Hoyas lost their third straight game in a 50-22 final against Princeton on Saturday...Georgetown had an early 12-8 lead and was down 29-15 at halftime before Princeton broke the game open in the second half...Nick Campanella rushed for a season-high 88 yards and also scored two touchdowns for Georgetown, putting him at 18 rushing touchdowns for his career...Richard Shankle had a career-high 11 tackles with a sack, while Patrick Boyle, Nick Alfieri and
Alec May each had 10...Georgetown completed its non-League schedule, and will open Patriot League play on Oct. 12 at home against Fordham following its bye this week.
Holy Cross John Macomber kicked the game-winning 23-yard field goal with 51 seconds left to send Holy Cross to a 31-28 win at Dartmouth on Saturday...The Crusaders trailed 14-0 early and did not take their first lead until Macomber's winning kick...Holy Cross tied the score at 14-14, 21-21 and finally 28-28 on a 58-yard touchdown run by Peter Pujals early in the fourth quarter...Dartmouth
fumbled the kickoff following Macomber's field goal as Holy Cross held on for the win...The comeback from the 14-0 deficit was the largest for the Crusaders since rallying from the same margin against Colgate in 2007...Pujals completed 25-of-37 passes for 290 yards and two touchdowns without an interception and ran for 125 yards and a score...Mike Fess caught nine passes for 138 yards, while Kalif Raymond had seven receptions for 56 yards and a touchdown...Fess leads all active Patriot League wide receivers with 163 catches, just 21 away from the top 10 in League history...Roman SanDoval led the defense with 12 tackles, while Matt Bhaya had 10...Kyle Young had five tackles and two key forced fumbles in the victory...Young, Macomber and Pujals all won weekly honors from the Patriot League...Pujals was also named Sports Network FCS Freshman of the Week...Holy Cross held a 525-496 edge in total offense, and took a 37-36-4 lead in the series with Dartmouth...The Crusaders complete their non-League slate on Saturday against Harvard.
Lafayette Lafayette opens Patriot League action at home on Saturday when it welcomes Bucknell...The Leopards defeated the Bison in Lewisburg in last year's League opener for their first 1-0 start since 2009...Lafayette is 0-3 for the first time since 2010, and has a seven-game losing streak going back to last season...Mark Ross continues to shine, and is second among all active FCS players with 5.8 receptions per game for his career and third with 81.1 receiving yards per contest...Ross ranks in the top 20 nationally with 7.3 receptions and 98.0 receiving yards per game this year...Lafayette still has two more non-League games after hosting Bucknell, visiting Princeton and Harvard on Oct. 12 and 19.
Lehigh Lehigh scored the final 21 points of the game to come back for a 34-27 win over No. 7/10 New Hampshire on Saturday...With the win, Lehigh moved up seven spots to No. 10 in the FCS Coaches Poll and eight to No. 13 in The Sports Network top 25...The Mountain Hawks trailed 19-3 in the first half, and have now come back from 20, 19 and 16-point deficits in victories this season...Lehigh tied the score at 27-27 on a pair of one-yard touchdown runs by Sean Farrell in the third quarter...The second was set up by a 72-yard pass from Brandon Bialkowski to Sergio Fernandez-Soto...The Mountain Hawks scored the winning touchdown on a 15-yard pass from Bialkowski to Derek Knott with 12:19 to play...New Hampshire drove to the Lehigh 11 in the final minute, but the Mountain Hawks forced a turnover on downs to preserve the win...Bialkowski completed 31-of-59 passes for 359 yards and two touchdowns, and has gone over 300 yards in all four of Lehigh's games this season...He is among the top five players in the country in passing yards, completions and total offense per game, and was named Patriot League Offensive Player of the Week for the second straight time on Monday....Lee Kurfis had 11 receptions for 117 yards, his fifth-consecutive 100-yard game dating back to last season...Kurfis leads FCS with 175.5 receiving yards per game and is second with 10.3 receptions per contest...Fernandez-Soto made seven receptions for 123 yards...The Mountain Hawks outgained New Hampshire 465-441 and held the ball for nearly 33 minutes....Lehigh converted 13-of-20 third downs and both of its fourth-down attempts in the game...The Mountain Hawks have converted third downs at a high rate all year, standing fifth in FCS at 51.6% for the season...Tyler Ward and Cody Kondas each led the defense with nine tackles, while three different players had a sack....The Mountain Hawks start the season at 4-0 for the second year in a row...Lehigh won its 12th straight non-League regular-season game, and 12th in a row decided by seven points or less...Both streaks started after a 48-41 overtime loss to UNH at home in 2011...Lehigh finishes its non-League slate at Columbia on Oct. 12, then plays its five Patriot League games that count towards the standings in succession to finish the season.