Dec. 1, 2010
Center Valley, Pa. - After scoring a pair of third-quarter touchdowns to come from behind for a 14-7 victory at Northern Iowa in the first round of the NCAA Division I Football Championship, No. 19/18 Lehigh faces an even stiffer test in the second round as it plays at No. 5 Delaware of the Colonial Athletic Association on Saturday at 12 p.m.
Patriot League Football Release - NCAA Division I Football Championship Second Round
The Blue Hens own the No. 3 overall seed in the field after going 9-2 overall and 6-2 in conference play during the season. But Lehigh (10-2, 5-0 PL) comes in with all of the momentum as the victory on Saturday gave the Mountain Hawks an eight-game winning streak that is the top mark for any FCS team still playing in the postseason.
The last four of those victories have all come on the road, and Lehigh has a five-game winning streak and 6-1 record overall away from Bethlehem this season.
Lehigh's only losses this season came against opponents from the CAA, as the Mountain Hawks fell to Villanova on Sept. 11 and New Hampshire on Sept. 25. To keep their postseason run alive, the Mountain Hawks will have to do something that has proven very difficut for Patriot League teams in the postseason: beat an opponent from the CAA. Patriot League teams are just 4-13 all-time in the postseason against CAA foes, and have lost all three matchups against Delaware.
Lehigh and Delaware have a rich history that includes a postseason matchup in 2000 where the Blue Hens beat the Mountain Hawks, 47-22, in a quarterfinal contest. Delaware also posted a 34-33 win over the Mountain Hawks in Newark in 2005, and has won eight of the past nine games in the series. Lehigh's lone win in that stretch was a 42-35 triumph on the road in 1999. Delaware has a 29-16 advantage in the all-time series between the schools.
Under the new 20-team format for the NCAA Division I Football Championship, the teams are playing in the first set of second-round games. The contest will be televised in the Lehigh Valley on WFMZ-TV Channel 69, and also broadcast on audio on ESPN Radio 1230 and 1320. NCAA.com will provide both a live stream and Gametracker coverage on Saturday, with all links available at www.patriotleague.org.
Patriot League NCAA Notebook
No. 19/18 Lehigh Earns First-Round Win at No. 16 Northern Iowa
Lehigh earned the first postseason victory for a Patriot League team since 2003 by going on the road and claiming a 14-7 win at No. 16 Northern Iowa, the champion of the Missouri Valley Football Conference, in a first-round game of the NCAA Division I Football Championship on Saturday. The Mountain Hawks scored a pair of third-quarter touchdowns to overcome a halftime deficit. Lehigh's win snaps a nine-game playoff skid overall and eight-game losing streak in the first round for the Patriot League. For a complete recap and notebook from the game, visit www.patriotleague.org or go to page five of the football release.
Mountain Hawks Try to Go to New Heights
With the win on Saturday, Lehigh improved to 4-2 in the first round of the FCS postseason, and 4-5 overall in the event. The Mountain Hawks have the most postseason victories among Patriot League teams, and now have half of the League's win total in postseason action. But now Lehigh will try to do something that has only been accomplished once in Patriot League history: win a game after the first round. The Mountain Hawks have failed to win in their three previous games beyond the first round, and the only team that has done so was Colgate in 2003 when the Raiders advanced to the national championship game. Lehigh lost quarterfinal contests to Massachusetts (1998), Delaware (2000) and Furman (2001). They will play in the first set of second-round games, with the extra round added this year as the playoff field expanded to 20 teams.
Saturday will present a very common opponent for Lehigh. The Mountain Hawks have faced Delaware 45 times in school history, with the Blue Hens holding a 29-16 advantage. Delaware won the only FCS playoff meeting when it beat Lehigh, 47-22, in the quarterfinals in 2000, and has claimed eight of the past nine matchups overall. It will be the fourth time that a Patriot League team faces Delaware in the postseason, with the Blue Hens winning each meeting. Delaware defeated Colgate, 40-0, for the 2003 national championship, and beat Lafayette, 28-14, in a first-round contest the next season. Patriot League teams are 1-11 all-time against Delaware, with Lehigh's road win in 1999 standing as the only victory. It is the first time a Patriot League team will face Delaware since both Lehigh and Holy Cross squared off against the Blue Hens in 2005.
Familiar Foe, Part II
The matchup with the Blue Hens will also extend the Patriot League's long playoff history against opponents from the Colonial Athletic Association. Patriot League teams have a 4-13 postesason record against foes from the CAA, accounting for the bulk of the Patriot League's 8-17 record overall. A Patriot League team has now faced an opponent from the CAA in all 14 seasons since the PL began going to the playoffs in 1997. The last win against a CAA opponent came in 2003, when Colgate defeated Massachusetts in the first round on its way to the national title game. Patriot League teams have dropped the past eight postseason meetings between the conferences.
Mountain Hawks Complete Perfect Patriot League Season
By winning at rival Lafayette on Nov. 20, Lehigh became just the second Patriot League team in the past seven seasons and 16th of all-time to finish with a perfect League record. The Mountain Hawks completed a 5-0 campaign to finish with an unblemished League record for the first time since 2001 and fifth in school history. That ties Holy Cross for the most undefeated League seasons in Patriot League annals.
Lehigh the Hottest Team in the Field
With the win at Northern Iowa on Saturday, Lehigh now has an eight-game winning streak that is the longest among teams remaining in the NCAA Division I Football Championship. The Mountain Hawks are just ahead of Eastern Washington's seven-game streak for teams in the postseason, and one off the overall FCS lead of nine.
About the Opponent
No. 5 Delaware rose up the national rankings throughout the season, and the Blue Hens were ranked No. 1 in both major national polls before losing their regular-season finale against Villanova. Delaware still earned the No. 3 overall seed in the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision field after finishing 9-2 overall and earning a share of the CAA title with a 6-2 mark. Delaware is making its 10th postseason appearance and fourth in the past nine years, a stretch that includes a national championship season in 2003. The Blue Hens advanced to the title game in their last appearance in 2007 before falling to Appalachian State. Delaware defeated three top 10 teams this season, and ranks in the top five nationally in both scoring and total defense.
NCAA Division I Football Championship - Second Round
No. 19/18 Lehigh Mountain Hawks (10-2, 5-0) at No. 5 Delaware Blue Hens (9-2, 6-2 CAA)
Delaware Stadium; Newark, Del.; Saturday, 12 p.m.
Series: Delaware, 29-16 TV: WFMZ, NCAA.com
Streak: Delaware, Two Wins Last Meeting: Delaware, 34-33 (9.10.2005)
Last Lehigh Win: 42-35 (10.16.1999) Last Five Games: Delaware, 4-1
Two teams with a rich series history meet in the FCS postseason for the second time when No. 19/18 Lehigh goes to No. 5 Delaware in second-round action of the NCAA Division I Football Championship on Saturday at 12 p.m...The game will be televised on WFMZ-TV Channel 69 and streamed live on NCAA.com, with an audio broadcast on ESPN Radio 1230 and 1320 in the Lehigh Valley...The Blue Hens are the No. 3 seed in the postseason field...The teams are playing for the first time since 2005, when the Blue Hens earned a victory at home in a 34-33 thriller...The lone FCS postseason matchup came in the previous meeting, as Delaware beat Lehigh, 47-22, in Newark in the quarterfinals in 2000...That was one of three postseason matchups for the Patriot League against Delaware, with the Blue Hens coming out on top all three times...Delaware beat Colgate in the national championship game in 2003, and took down Lafayette in the first round in 2004...Patriot League teams are 4-13 all-time against opponents from the Colonial Athletic Association...That accounts for the bulk of the League's 8-17 playoff record...It is the first time a Patriot League team plays a second-round game under the new 20-team FCS playoff format...Lehigh has a 4-5 mark in the FCS postseason, but has lost its previous three trips past the first round...The Mountain Hawks have more postseason wins than any other Patriot League team...Delaware leads the all-time series over the Mountain Hawks, 29-16, with eight wins in the past nine contests...Lehigh's lone win in that stretch was a 42-35 triumph at Delaware Stadium in 1999...Lehigh's eight-game winning streak is the longest of any team remaining in the FCS postseason, and longest since an eight-game stretch in 2004.
Lehigh No. 19/18 Lehigh earned the first playoff win for a Patriot League team since 2003 by going on the road and knocking off No. 16 Northern Iowa, 14-7, on Saturday...The Mountain Hawk defense kept the score within 7-0 at halftime, and Lehigh went ahead in the third quarter on a 62-yard touchdown pass from Chris Lum to Jake Drwal with 10:08 to play and a 28-yard strike from Lum to Ryan Spadola
following a John Kennedy interception with 2:07 remaining...The Mountain Hawk defense made it hold up with a blocked field goal, another missed field goal by the Panthers and finally a stop on fourth-and-18 from the Lehigh 42 to seal the win with 1:08 to go... Colin Newton paced the outstanding defensive effort with 10 tackles, 3.5 for a loss and a 2.5 sacks, while Al Pierce had 11 tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss...Lum finished 18-of-37 for 267 yards with two touchdowns and an interception...Spadola was the top target with nine catches for 127 yards, while Drwal finished with three grabs for 80 yards...Lehigh (10-2) becomes the first Patriot League team to win a postseason game since Colgate advanced to the national title contest in 2003...The victory snaps a nine-game overall and eight-game first-round playoff losing streak...Patriot League teams improved to 6-12 in first-round contests and 8-17 all-time in the FCS postseason...The seven points allowed matched Lehigh's win over Western Illinois in 2000 (37-7) and Colgate's triumph over Massachusetts in 2003 (19-7) as the fewest by a Patriot League team in the postseason...During the regular season, Lehigh became the 16th Patriot League team to finish with an unblemished League record, and just the second in the past seven years... Lehigh finished undefeated in League play for the fifth time, tying Holy Cross for the most of any program in League history...The Mountain Hawks won their ninth Patriot League title, three more than any other program...It is Lehigh's first title since 2006, and first outright crown and automatic playoff berth since 2001..Lehigh was honored for its strong season on with a League-high 18 selections to the All-Patriot League Team, inclduing nine first-team honorees...Lum, Spadola, Mike Groome, Pierce and Jarard Cribbs all made the first team along with Will Rackley, a unanimous choice as the top offensive lineman in the League, Jay Campbell, Ricky Clerge and Kennedy, who made the first team as a return specialist and the second at defensive back...Rackley, Cribbs and Kennedy each became part of a 65-player group of three-time All-Patriot League selections, with Rackley as one of 19 all-time to make the first team on three occasions...Senior Tom Randazza and junior Tanner Rivas were named to the inaugural football Academic All-Patriot League Team...Andy Coen was named the Patriot League Coach of the Year and a finalist for the Eddie Robinson Award, given to the top coach in the FCS...Coen earns his first Patriot League Coach of the Year award...Lehigh moved up four spots in the final weekly FCS Coaches Poll to No. 18, and three in The Sports Network/Fathead.com rankings to No. 19...The Mountain Hawks stand sixth in the ECAC Lambert Meadowlands FCS Top 10.