2009 Lafayette Football Slate Announced
March 25, 2009
EASTON, Pa. - The Lafayette football team is scheduled to play an 11-game slate that kicks off on Sept. 12 at Georgetown and concludes with the 145th playing of College Football's Most-Played Rivalry at Lehigh on Nov. 21. The schedule includes six Patriot League contests and five non-league games with four of the Leopards' non-league opponents boasting winning records in 2008.
The Leopards' season opener at Georgetown comes one week after the bulk of the nation's Division I schools open the 2009 season, as Lafayette's open week will be Sept. 5 instead of during the season as it has been each season since 2002. The matchup at Georgetown will be the Hoyas' first night game since the team made Multi-Sport Field its home during the 2005 season.
After the initial Patriot League battle with Georgetown, Lafayette will play five straight non-conference games beginning with a home tilt vs. Liberty on Sept. 19 at 6 p.m. Liberty captured its second straight Big South Conference title in 2008. Lafayette won the first matchup between the two schools last season, knocking off a Flames' squad which was ranked No. 14 in the nation at the time and went on to a 10-2 mark.
The first of four straight Ivy League opponents will come to Fisher Stadium Sept. 26 when Penn makes the short trip from Philadelphia for Lafayette's Family Weekend. The two teams will meet for the 86th time with Lafayette having won the last two meetings. Lafayette secured a 24-17 victory in 2008 and eked out an 8-7 thriller in 2007.
Lafayette will play Yale for the first time since 2006 when the Leopards travel to New Haven, Conn. on Oct. 3. Lafayette head coach Frank Tavani will face first-year head coach Tom Williams who takes over for Jack Siedlecki who retired after 12 seasons as Yale's head coach. When the two teams last met, Lafayette was on the short end of a 37-34 shootout in Easton.
Columbia and Lafayette will play in week five and have squared off every season since 2000 with the exception of 2006. Lafayette is 7-1 during that span, but had to battle for a 13-3 win in New York City in 2008. The game will be the final of three home night games all beginning at 6 p.m.
A second New England trip in three weeks potentially will pose the biggest challenge of the Leopards' slew of Ivy League opponents. Harvard is emerging from its second straight Ivy League title after posting a 9-1 record. The Crimson have won the last eight meetings, all of which have come since 2000.
October 24 marks homecoming weekend at Lafayette when the Leopards will take on Fordham at 1 p.m. at Fisher Stadium. Lafayette roughed up the 2007 Patriot League champs last season, notching a 48-13 victory behind 484 yards of total offense and 140 on the ground from tailback Jerome Rudolph. Lafayette has won four out of the last five against the Rams.
The Leopards' second most-played opponent, Bucknell, comes to Easton on Halloween for the second of three straight home games. Lafayette has won seven straight over the Bison, recently having slowed Bucknell's spread option attack with defensive coordinator John Loose's deft manipulation of the playbook. Lafayette leads the all-time series 48-32-6, having played one more game all-time against the Bison (86) than against Penn (85).
The final of six home dates comes against reigning Patriot League champion Colgate on Nov. 7. The Raiders and their running game have given Lafayette the most trouble of any conference opponent in Tavani's tenure, as the Maroon and White are 1-8 vs. Colgate since 2000 with the Raiders twice accounting for the Leopards' only conference losses in Patriot League championship seasons.
The 145th meeting of college football's most played rivalry will close out the regular season on Nov. 21 when Lafayette and Lehigh square off. Lehigh made it a rivalry again in 2008, snapping a four-game Lafayette winning streak.
Lafayette returns 14 starters in 2009 and is coming off its second straight 7-4 season. Lafayette is the only Patriot League program to record a winning record in each of the last five regular seasons while also holding a Top 25 national ranking in each season.
The Leopards will open spring football on Friday, March 27. The spring season will conclude with the annual Maroon and White game which will be played April 17 at 7:30 p.m. under the lights of Fisher Stadium. Season ticket packages, which include all six home contests and the Lafayette-Lehigh game, will go on sale at the annual Maroon vs. White game. Prices are $95 for adults, $65 for seniors ages 65 and older and $47 for children 13 and younger. Single-game tickets will go on sale Aug. 3.
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