Leopards Look to Keep Title Hopes Alive
Nov. 2, 2010
Oct. 27, 2010
MATCH-UP: Lafayette and Colgate meet on Saturday in Hamilton, N.Y. for a Patriot League matchup. The Leopards are looking to make it two in a row for the first time this season, while the Raiders are trying to snap a mini two-game slide.
PATRIOT LEAGUE DESTINY: After an 0-5 start that included a four-point, season-opening loss to Patriot League foe, Georgetown, it may be hard to believe that Lafayette holds its Patriot League title fate in its own hands. The Leopards are 1-1 in the Patriot League with games remaining against Colgate, Holy Cross and Lehigh -- all of whom could win the title. Lehigh sits at 2-0 with Holy Cross, Georgetown and Lafayette remaining. Georgetown (2-2) only has one conference game (Lehigh) to be played. Holy Cross (1-1) has Lehigh, Lafayette and Bucknell left while Colgate (1-2) has Lafayette and Bucknell remaining.
NINE IS FINE: Lafayette secured a 33-22 win at Bucknell on Oct. 30. The victory was the Leopards' ninth straight over the Bison and it evened Lafayette's conference record at 1-1.
SECONDS FOR MPUTU: Freshman TB Pat Mputu only played the first half in Lafayette's 33-22 win at Bucknell, but his efforts put the Leopards off to a quick start and earned him his second Patriot League Rookie of the Week selection in three weeks. On the second play from scrimmage, Mputu took a short screen pass and turned it into a 75-yard touchdown catch. He finished with two catches for 84 yards and the score and seven carries for 55 yards on the ground. Mputu helped Lafayette to a 16-7 lead at the half, but did not play in the second half due to an ankle injury. The freshman's 102-yard day vs. Stony Brook on Oct. 16 also garnered conference rookie of the week honors on Oct. 18. Academically, Mputu has yet to declare a major, but is taking Modeling & Differential Calculus, 21st Century Literacies, Drawing I and Public Speaking during the fall semester.
A FAMILY AFFAIR: Saturday's game will have special significance for Pat Mputu whose brother, Jonathan, is a sophomore wide receiver for the Raiders.
AND THE QB IS...: Late in the second half at Bucknell, head coach Frank Tavani replaced junior QB Ryan O'Neil with senior QB Marc Quilling. Quilling went on to complete 13-of-20 passes (including 9-of-10 in the second half) for 213 yards and three touchdowns. Quilling had nothing but success against Bucknell. In 2008, Quilling passed for 274 yards and three touchdowns and was 17-for-26 with no interceptions in his first career start. In that game, he stepped in for an injured Rob Curley. O'Neil has started all but one game under center this season after winning the job in the preseason. He has completed 65 percent (148-for-225) of his passes and has thrown for 1,625 yards. If Quilling starts on Saturday, it would be his fourth career start and first of the 2010 season while it would represent O'Neil's ninth start (all this season).
THE SAFETY DANCE: LB Mike Schmidlein's sack of Bucknell QB Brandon Wesley was the first safety the Lafayette defense has produced since Nov. 22, 2008 against Lehigh.
SIMMONS, ELLIS STEPPING IN FRONT: Lafayette has two interceptions in the past two weeks. At Bucknell, CB Brandon Ellis stopped a late first-quarter drive with his pick near midfield. Free safety Kyle Simmons' interception at Fordham was even more timely, coming at the Lafayette two-yard line and preventing a Rams' score. Simmons ran back his first career interception 21 yards. Coming into the Fordham game, the Lafayette defense only had one interception in 2010, and that came at the hands of defensive lineman Mike Phillips who returned the pick 25 yards for a TD at Penn in week two.
DECLARING HIS CANDIDACY: In a season during which four players have been the top tailback, sophomore Alan Elder is the most recent candidate to assert himself. Elder had 27 carries for 104 yards at Bucknell. In the first game that he saw significant playing time, Elder put together his first 100-yard rushing game, carrying 28 times for 103 yards at Princeton.
HEAD COACHES: Frank Tavani (Lebanon Valley '75) is in his 11th season as Lafayette head coach and 24th on the Lafayette coaching staff. In his time as the head man, he has transformed Lafayette into a consistent championship contender. Lafayette has spent time in the Top 25 each of the last six seasons and is the only Patriot League program to boast a winning record in every regular season during that span. The Leopards are coming off a 2009 season in which they were 8-3 (two losses to Top 25 opponents), including a 4-0 record vs. Ivy League opponents. Tavani, who became Lafayette's 27th head coach on Dec. 11, 1999 and is under contract through 2014, led his program to a 26-10 Patriot League record over the last six years. In that span, Lafayette won three consecutive Patriot League championships from 2004 to 2006 and finished a game out of the title hunt in 2009. During that '04-'06 championship run, the Leopards made the first three postseason appearances in school history, laying claim to the Patriot League's automatic NCAA bid in 2004 and 2006, while earning the program's first at-large berth in 2005. In addition to Patriot League championships and NCAA Playoff appearances, Lafayette has taken care of business close to home, beating its cross-valley rival Lehigh four of the last six times in College Football's Most Played Rivalry. The win in 2007 at Lehigh allowed the Class of 2008 to leave College Hill without ever having lost to its archrival, a feat not achieved since the Class of 1950. Tavani has been a part of six Patriot League titles, helping guide the Leopards to crowns as an assistant coach in 1988, 1992 and 1994, to go with the last three championships as head coach. In his playing days, Tavani became the first player in Lebanon Valley College history to rush for 1,000 yards in a season. In that senior campaign, he also garnered All-America honors and has since been named to four athletic halls of fame. Tavani signed as a free agent with the Philadelphia Eagles out of college in 1976 before jumping into coaching at Franklin and Marshall. His son, Daniel, carried on the college football tradition as an all-conference selection at Wofford. Of his other three children, Liam and Meghan both graduated from Lafayette and his youngest, Bridget, is a sophomore on the women's soccer team. Tavani's career record stands at 62-59.
Dick Biddle (Duke '71) is in his 15th season at Colgate, having won six Patriot League titles. He holds a 117-55 overall record. Biddle has been named the Patriot League Coach of the Year four times and was named the AFCA National Coach of the Year in 2003. He has guided the Raiders to six Patriot League titles and six appearances in the FCS playoffs.
Colgate was 9-2 overall in 2009 and 4-2 in Patriot League play, including a 56-49 loss in last year's shootout. The Raiders finished tied for second in the Patriot League.
The Raiders are 4-4 in 2010, opening the season with a one-point win over Monmouth before losing to Furman and Syracuse. Colgate then reeled off three straight, beating Georgetown (34-3), Princeton (44-10) and Cornell (44-3). Colgate lost its last two games -- 31-24 vs. Holy Cross and 44-14 vs. Lehigh. The Raiders have not lost three in a row since opening the 1996 season 0-4.
Offensively, Colgate relies on its running game. Junior TB Nate Eachus does the work with 235 carries for 1,295 yards and 14 touchdowns. He leads the nation with 161.9 yards per game. The Raiders' QB, senior Greg Sullivan, is also a significant threat to run with 496 yards and six rushing TD's. As a team, Colgate is second in the nation with 276.3 yards per game on the ground. Sullivan, who missed the Lehigh game with an ankle sprain, is an efficient passer, completing 63 percent (84-for-132) of his passes to go with four TD's.
Defensively, senior LB Chris DiMassa leads the team with 71 tackles (6 for loss). The Raiders lead the Patriot League in total defense, allowing just 315 yards per game.
NICE CATCH, HAYES: Quietly, junior WR Kyle Hayes has become the Leopards' most consistent receiver. Hayes is second on the team with 31 receptions (nine behind Mark Layton), but has 51 more receiving yards (469) than his cohort. Hayes had a breakout game at Princeton, catching five balls for 136 yards, including a career-long, 78-yard reception from Ryan O'Neil. He finished the game with a pair of touchdowns. For the season, Hayes leads all receivers with five touchdowns. He made six catches for 81 yards against Fordham and followed with six catches for 97 and two touchdowns at Bucknell.
A PROUD TRADITION...OF KICKING?: With 241 points, Davis Rodriguez occupies third place in the Patriot League annals for career kick scoring leaders. Lafayette now holds the top three spots (Jason McLaughlin - 255; Jim Hodson - 254). He also ranks fourth in career points per game for kickers with 5.9 per game.
CLOSE, BUT...: Four of Lafayette's losses have come by a total of 16 points: 28-24 to Georgetown, 19-14 at Penn, 36-33 in double overtime at Princeton and 14-10 at Fordham.
THE MARK OF SUCCESS: Senior WR Mark Layton is moving up the all-time receiving lists at Lafayette. With six receptions against Harvard, Layton moved past three of Lafayette's top career receivers. With three catches at Bucknell, Layton, who has 122 for his career, passed Jeremy Burkes '04 (120). Layton has 1,450 career receiving yards, needing to rack up 56 additional yards to move into 10th place, a mark also held by Burkes with 1,506 yards. Layton reeled in a career-best 11 catches (for 92 yards) against Georgetown, one short of tying John Weyrauch's single-game record set in 2002. The senior made 65 catches in 2009. He has 40 catches this season.
PATRIOT PROWESS X 2 (10/18): Junior CB Brandon Ellis and freshman TB Pat Mputu secured Patriot League Defensive and Rookie of the Week honors, respectively. Ellis helped lead Lafayette to its first victory of the season by recording a career-high 16 tackles and breaking up two passes in a 28-21 triumph over Stony Brook. Nine of Ellis' tackles were solo stops. An Economics major, Ellis is enrolled in four classes: African Cultural Institutions, Economics of Sports, Marketing Science and Intro to Film & Media Studies. He also serves as a peer mentor in the College's Academic Tutoring and Training Information Center. Mputu also had a breakout performance vs. Stony Brook, rushing for 102 yards on 23 carries for his first-career 100-yard outing. He racked up 48 yards on a scoring drive that gave Lafayette a 20-14 lead late in the fourth quarter. Mputu was making his second start of the year as he had been pressed into action due to injuries to Lafayette's top three tailbacks, Jerome Rudolph (still out), Vaughn Hebron (out for season) and Alan Elder (now healthy).
PRESSED INTO SERVICE: With a rash of injuries in the secondary, the Lafayette coaching staff has put WR Mark Layton in at corner in obvious passing situations beginning with the Harvard game.
O'NEIL AT QB: Junior Ryan O'Neil has been the Leopards' signal caller for the majority of 2010. He has completed 65 percent (148-for-228) of his passes and has thrown for 1,625 yards. He ranks 22nd in the nation in completions per game (18.5) and 30th in passing efficiency (134.9). O'Neil has 10 touchdowns to five interceptions in six and a half games (he was knocked from the Georgetown game with an injury and held out for all but two fourth-quarter drives at Penn; he was replaced late in the first half at Bucknell). At Princeton, O'Neil completed 24-of-36 for 283 yards. Against Harvard, the junior was 27-of-42 for 210 yards. At Columbia, O'Neil completed 18-of-24 attempts for a pair of touchdowns, but also threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown. He completed 15-of-24 for 142 yards and two touchdowns vs. Stony Brook and was 18-of-35 with a TD and a pick. O'Neil was 5-of-11 for 116 yards and one TD at Bucknell.
A FRESH 100: Pat Mputu was the first Lafayette freshman to rush for 100-plus yards since Jerome Rudolph had 140 against Fordham on Oct. 25, 2008. Lafayette had 484 yards of total offense in that game en route to a 48-13 win. Mputu rushed for 73 yards in his last outing at Fordham.
STONING THE RUNNING BROOK: The Leopards held Stony Brook and the nation's then-20th-ranked rushing offense to 159 yards on the ground, 57 below the Seawolves' average of 216 per game coming into the game. Thirty-nine of those yards came on the last play of the first half with the Leopards in a prevent formation.
HALF WAY THERE: Lafayette has held a halftime lead in five of its eight games this season: 24-14 vs. Georgetown, 14-6 at Penn, 14-10 at Princeton, 10-7 vs. Stony Brook and 16-7 at Bucknell.
FINISHING WHAT THEY STARTED: Lafayette has maintained a double-digit lead in five of its games: 21-7 in the second quarter vs. Georgetown, 14-3 in the second quarter at Penn, 21-10 in the third quarter at Princeton, 28-14 in the fourth quarter vs. Stony Brook and for the final 22 minutes of the Bucknell game.
SPECIAL JET: Freshman kick returner Jethro "Jet" Kollie was named the Patriot League Football Special Teams Player of the Week on Oct. 11. Kollie returned five kickoffs for 114 yards at Columbia. He had a long return of 30 yards while averaging 22.8 on the five touches. Kollie has been used more frequently in recent weeks out of the slot. Kollie received the Special Teams Player of the Week award for the first time in his brief career and it follows teammate Davis Rodriguez's Patriot League Special Teams honor on Sept. 27.
SO, YOU'RE SAYING THERE'S A CHANCE?: Lafayette was 0-5 for the first time since 1994. During that season, Lafayette started 0-6 but rallied to win its final five games to finish 5-6 with a perfect 5-0 league mark and a Patriot League title.
WOUNDED: Sophomore TB Vaughn Hebron is out for the season after sustaining a knee injury in practice on Sept. 30. He joins senior WR Nathan Padia (broken finger), starting LB Nate Dixon (knee), starting CB Donald Ellis (knee) on a growing list of key players who are out for the season. In total, 12 players who were on the team's preseason roster have been lost for the season due to injury.
LEOPARD CUBS: A quick look at the depth chart shows how inexperienced the Lafayette team is. On both sides of the ball, seven players are in their first seasons as full-time starters.
SPREADING IT AROUND VS. HARVARD: Lafayette completed 29 passes vs. Harvard to 11 different players. Mark Layton made six catches for 50 yards while fellow senior Mitch Bennett added five for 42 yards. Freshman FB Greg Kessel made his only catch of the afternoon count, reeling in an 18-yard touchdown pass from sophomore QB Andrew Shoop near the end of the game.
SPECIAL AWARD: Senior PK Davis Rodriguez converted all four of his field goal attempts en route to Patriot League Special Teams Player of the Week honors (9/27). Each of his field goals came in the second half or overtime at Princeton. After making field goals in regulation to put Lafayette up 24-16 and 27-24, he extended the game to a second overtime by making a 35-yarder to even the score at 30-30. Rodriguez capped his night by making a 26-yard kick on Lafayette's possession in the second overtime. He is the first Lafayette kicker to make four field goals in a game since Jim Hodson on Sept. 8, 1990. Rodriguez also connected on all three extra-point tries. He earns his first Special Teams honor of the season and extends his Patriot League record of career special teams awards to six.
SOME PERSPECTIVE: Lafayette's 0-5 start puts into perspective the program's success over the last eight seasons. During that time (2002-2009 inclusive), the Leopards were 25-14 in their first 40 games.
WINNING NUMBERS: Lafayette football has been a consistent Patriot League contender in recent seasons. The Leopards are 35-21 since 2002 which was a breakthrough year for head coach Frank Tavani's Leopards after he took over the program in 2000 (7-5, 5-2). Since 2000, Lafayette has been at least two games above .500 in six of eight seasons.
500 CLUB: Lafayette put up 500 yards of total offense against Georgetown, something the Leopards did not do all of last season. Junior QB Ryan O'Neil was 33-of-43 for 304 yards while junior tailback Jerome Rudolph churned out 131 yards on the ground. Lafayette finished the night with 509 yards of total offense, the highest output since Nov. 11, 2006 against Georgetown (511), a 45-14 victory.
PROUD OF THE PROGRAM: Since 2004, Lafayette is 45-31 and 26-11 in Patriot League play. Lafayette stands as the only Patriot League program to record a winning record in each of the last six regular seasons while also holding a Top 25 national ranking each year.
129th SEASON: Since fielding its first college football team in the fall of 1882 (the same year Robert Ford shot Jesse James and that Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture debuted), Lafayette has had a proud, colorful gridiron tradition on the way to a total of 658 victories (658-552-39). Lafayette ranked 31st among all college football teams in all-time wins entering the 2010 season, posting its first win in 1883 (25-0 vs. Rutgers). Lafayette accumulated 100 victories by 1900, 200 by 1915 and 300 by 1934.
PHILLIPS TAKES IT TO THE HOUSE: Senior NT Mike Phillips had a standout game at Penn. He intercepted the first pass of his career and returned it 25 yards for a touchdown and also recovered a fumble to give the Leopards the ball back for one last offensive drive. He also finished with six solo tackles.
WORRYING ABOUT WHAT OTHER PEOPLE THINK: Lafayette was picked second in the Patriot League Preseason Poll of head coaches and sports information directors. The Leopards (36 points) received two first-place votes. This season, Colgate (46 points, six first-place votes) was picked first followed by Lafayette, Lehigh (35 points, three first-place votes), Holy Cross, Bucknell and Georgetown. In 2009, Lafayette was picked third and ended in a tie for second.
THE MAN IN THE MIDDLE: A constant in John Loose's defenses is stellar linebacker play. Maurice Bennett '06, current NFL player Blake Constanzo '06, Andy Romans '09 and Mark Leggiero '10 have passed the mantle (or shoulder pads in this case) to senior Mike Schmidlein. The senior co-captain led the team and ranked 23rd in the nation in tackles (100) in 2009. The Economics & Business major recorded two sacks, had an interception and also forced a fumble in 2009. In 2010, Schmidlein made 11 tackles at Penn, nine at Princeton, 10 vs. Harvard, 11 at Columbia and 12 vs. Stony Brook. He is second in the Patriot League in tackles with 9.8 per game. When you ask the coaching staff who is next in the long line of stud linebackers, Ben Eaton's name pops up. The 6-0, 220-pound Eaton is a physical specimen, bench pressing 425 pounds while featuring four percent body fat. Eaton had seven tackles at Penn, along with a blocked punt, made six tackles in the opener vs. Georgetown, nine stops at Princeton, six at Columbia and seven vs. Stony Brook. Eaton also led the team with 10 tackles at Fordham and eight at Bucknell while his compadre, Schmidlein had nine and eight, respectively.
ABOUT THE KICKER: Senior Davis Rodriguez is in his fourth and final season as the Leopards' starting placekicker. He has played in 40 games during his career and is 41-of-61 (67%) in field goals and 118-of-124 (95%) in PATs. He made a season-long 45-yard field goal against Harvard. This season, as he did for part of 2007, Rodriguez is handling kickoff duties. The St. Petersburg, Fla. native was named All-Patriot League Second Team in 2008 while collecting Sports Network All-America Honorable Mention status. Rodriguez, who is a Government and Law major, spends much of his free time volunteering with groups including the Muscular Dystrophy Association, the Saint Vincent DePaul soup kitchen, at an orphanage in Costa Rica and with Lauren's First and Goal Football Camp which raises funds for pediatric brain tumor research and for impacted families.
3-4 or 4-3 OR ????...WAIT AND SEE: Change is a constant in John Loose's defensive schemes. Loose perennially has adjusted formations to match up with opponents' formations and schemes. This season, the Leopards have spent more time in a 3-4 configuration than in previous seasons which have primarily featured a 4-3. In recent weeks, Loose and head coach Frank Tavani have favored the 4-3, a likely choice against the Colgate run game. Statistically in 2009, Lafayette was 11th in the nation in rushing defense, allowing just 99.6 yards per game. The Leopards were 45th in total defense (331.8) and just 76th in passing defense (127.6). In 2010, Lafayette surrendered 265 yards against Georgetown, 392 against Penn, 363 at Princeton, 402 against Harvard, 418 at Columbia, 359 vs. Stony Brook, 351 at Fordham and a season-low 305 vs. Bucknell.
CATCHING UP WITH MITCH BENNETT: Senior wide receiver Mitch Bennett is putting his fingers to the keyboard in his Catching Up blog on GoLeopards.com.
THROW ME THE BALL: Lafayette features one of the top receiving corps at the FCS level and one that Frank Tavani calls the best during his head-coaching tenure. The group is led by seniors Mark Layton and co-captain Mitch Bennett. In 2009, Layton caught 65 passes, the second most in Lafayette single-season history, for 838 yards (seventh in single-season history). He also pulled down 11 touchdowns, tying him for the second-best Lafayette single-season effort. Bennett reeled in 40 passes as a junior, catching touchdown passes in four games. He finished with 596 receiving yards, but has been slowed by a foot injury in 2010. Juniors Greg Stripe and Kyle Hayes, are also go-to receivers.
RUNNING THE BALL: In 2009, it was tailback by committee, but all but one member of that committee graduated. Junior Jerome Rudolph, who made the switch from No. 32 to No. 27 for 2010, is the lone holdover and is at the top of the depth chart. Rudolph battled a leg bruise throughout the preseason, but showed no ill effects in the season opener vs. Georgetown. He had 24 carries for 131 yards and a score. He was the team's third-leading rusher in 2009, racking up 215 yards on the ground with an average of 5.1 yards per carry. Rudolph missed the Harvard and Princeton games after sustaining a concussion but returned against Columbia to carry nine times for 55 yards. He has sat out the last three games. On his heels was sophomore Vaughn Hebron who forced his way into the discussion during spring ball and in the preseason. A bigger, stronger back, Hebron is the son of the former NFL player of the same name who played for Philadelphia and Denver. Hebron carried five times for 21 yards vs. Georgetown and had his first career touchdown at Princeton on Sept. 25. His season came to an end with an ACL tear Sept. 30. Fellow sophomore, Alan Elder, grinded out a 103-yard rushing game at Princeton and had 104 at Bucknell. He leads the team with 85 carries. Freshman Patrick Mputu, who had 102 vs. Stony Brook, and is second on the team with 54 carries.
PATRIOT LEAGUE TITLES: Lafayette won three titles in 2004, 2005 and 2006. The Leopards begrudgingly shared the title with Lehigh in 2004 and 2006, and with Colgate in 2005. The championships also led to three straight NCAA Playoff appearances, making Lafayette one of six teams in the country to appear in the 16-team field in three straight years. The Leopards have won six PL championships in the 24-year history of the league (1988, 1992, 1994, 2004, 2005, 2006).
STANDING OUT IN THE CLASSROOM: Under head coach Frank Tavani, Lafayette football players have excelled as student-athletes. Twenty-three have earned CoSIDA Academic All-District selections and 39 have earned the distinction since 1995, including Doug Gerowski in 2009. Gerowski, junior CB Brandon Ellis and senior LB Nick Nardone were nominated for the award this season. Lafayette had 20 student-athletes qualify for the Patriot League Academic Honor Roll in 2009 for which they must achieve a minimum of a 3.2 GPA. Lafayette also has laid claim to four Patriot League Scholar Athletes of the Year.
H-BACK/TE/FB: Some new combinations of letters have found their way onto the Lafayette roster. Without an experienced fullback, the Leopards may employ h-backs (not to be confused with the old school half back) to supplement the running game. Junior Kevin Doty was initially slated to fill that role with converted defensive lineman Erin Murray adding depth at that spot. Backing up Doty at tight end is freshman Brandon Hall. The Leopards have not abandoned any one of the positional groupings, instead utilizing each of them in different offensive situations. Freshmen Pat Creahan and Greg Kessel have spent time at fullback with Creahan seeing the bulk of the snaps.
100+ IN 2009 AND 2010: With the Leopards' offense focused on the passing game in 2009, Lafayette had just two 100-plus rushing yard games. Maurice White '10 was responsible for both with 21 carries for 131 yards at Yale and 24 carries for 107 yards vs. Fordham. Eight games into the 2010 season, Jerome Rudolph has a 131-yard rushing performance, Alan Elder has a 103-yard effort and a 104-yard game and Pat Mputu has a 102-yard day.
IN THE NFL RANKS: Blake Costanzo '06 is in his fourth season in the NFL. The Ramapo, N.J. native is in his second season with the Cleveland Browns. He had three defensive/special teams fumble recoveries in 2009, tying him for first in the AFC and third in the NFL. He led the team with 14 special teams tackles and was later selected as the special teamer on SI.com's All-Pro team. Costanzo, who wears No. 54 for the Browns, has played in 40 games over the past three seasons. He played his first two seasons with the Buffalo Bills.
ALL-PATRIOT LEAGUE RETURNERS: Lafayette placed 15 players on the All-Patriot League first and second teams in 2009, and five of them return in 2010: first-teamer junior WR Mark Layton, senior LB Mike Schmidlein, senior WR Mitch Bennett, senior P Tom Kondash and junior DB Brandon Ellis.
IVY ITINERARY: In 2009, for the first time in program history, Lafayette went 4-0 against Ivy League opponents. The previous best record against Ancient Eight foes was 3-0, accomplished most recently in 1982. In 2009, Lafayette beat Yale, Penn, Columbia and Harvard. All four victories extended or snapped significant streaks. The Leopards had won three and eight straight over Penn and Columbia, respectively. Meanwhile, the victory over Yale was the first in program history in eight tries, and the win at Harvard marked the first Lafayette triumph since 1996, snapping an eight-game skid. This season, it was a role reversal, as Lafayette posted an 0-4 mark against the Ivies when facing a similar slate with Princeton replacing Yale.
HISTORIC FISHER STADIUM: Fisher Stadium has hosted the College's home football games since 1926. The facility underwent a $35 million transformation that gave Lafayette one of the premier FCS football venues in the nation. New spectator seating was built and additional visitors' seating was added for a maximum capacity of 13,132 fans. A state-of-the-art in-fill synthetic surface, lights, a press box and a 19-by-35 foot video board were installed, and improved restroom and vending areas were also included. The Bourger Varsity Football House includes a locker room, offices and team meeting rooms, as well as sports medicine and strength and conditioning areas. Now in its 84th season, Fisher Stadium has been host to 414 Lafayette football games with the Leopards enjoying an overall record of 246-155-13 for a winning percentage of .612. Of the previous 83 seasons, Lafayette has produced 12 undefeated home seasons with the most recent being the 1992 Patriot League champion Leopards that went a perfect 5-0 - the first undefeated home season for Lafayette at Fisher Stadium since 1970. During the 1991, 1992 and 1993 seasons, Lafayette won 10 straight home games--tying the Fisher Stadium school record for consecutive wins first set in 1926 and 1927 in the first 10 games ever played in the stadium.
LAFAYETTE ON THE RADIO: The Lafayette Sports Network radio broadcasts will be available on WJRH 104.9. Veteran broadcaster Dick Hammer is in his 44th season as the Leopards' play-by-play man and will be joined on occasion in the booth at home by Phil Ng '88.
SARTORIAL SCHEMES: The Leopards' perfect mark in black jerseys came to an end in 2008 with a one-point loss to Holy Cross on Nov. 15 and a setback vs. Lehigh (black pants and jerseys). Lafayette is now 4-3 in the black jerseys. They wore black to beat Lehigh in 2004 and again in 2006 to win Patriot League titles. Fordham was also victim to the black jerseys in 2005. The only other time they've paired black jerseys with black pants was in a driving rain storm with standing water on the old Fisher Field grass surface against Columbia in 2005, a 14-7 victory. The Leopards pulled out the black pants against Holy Cross in week 10 in 2007, beating the Crusaders 31-21. Lafayette did not wear its black jerseys or pants in 2009. In 2010, black jerseys made their debut against Harvard in a 35-10 loss. In other combinations, Lafayette donned the black pants with white jerseys at Columbia, maroon pants at Princeton, stayed with traditional white on white at Penn, Fordham and Bucknell, and wore maroon jerseys and white pants vs. Georgetown.
A HISTORY OF NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS: The Lafayette football program has claimed three national championships -- 1896, 1921 and 1926 -- and recorded five undefeated seasons -- 1896 (11-0-1), 1921 (9-0-0), 1926 (9-0-0), 1937 (8-0-0) and 1940 (9-0-0). Of recent note, the Leopards have won six Patriot League championships -- 1988, 1992, 1994, 2004, 2005 and 2006 -- and made their first three appearances in the NCAA FCS Playoffs.
LAFAYETTE'S FOOTBALL INVENTORS: Two primary elements of the game of football -- the helmet and the huddle -- were invented by former members of the Lafayette football program. George "Rose" Barclay from the Class of 1898, one of Lafayette's all-time great running backs, invented the helmet when the "threat of cultivating cauliflower ears" led him to piece three thick leather straps around his head for the 1896 game against Penn. Former Lafayette coach Herb McCracken (1924-35; 59-40-6) devised the first huddle system during the 1924 season after learning the Pennsylvania football team had stolen Lafayette's signals. Lafayette became the first team to huddle before each play and this system was immediately adopted by other teams.
CYBER LUNCH: New in 2010, all of Lafayette's media luncheons will be streamed live on GoLeopards.com beginning at 12:30 p.m.
ALL SEASON ON LSN: The Lafayette Sports Network, a national leader in Division I FCS television coverage, will televise all 11 regular-season Lafayette football games for the eighth straight year. Now in its 14th year, LSN has become a staple for Leopard fans both regionally and across the country. LSN's traditional live distribution to more than 10 million homes on RCN-4 and WBPH-60 covering all of Eastern Pennsylvania will be enhanced this season by live coverage on all of RCN's cable systems in major markets along the East coast. RCN subscribers in Boston, New York City, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. can watch all 11 Lafayette games on RCN-8. Nationally, LSN telecasts will be picked up for the 10th straight year by DIRECTV and DISH Network outlets, available to more than 90 million viewers via the Mid Atlantic Sports Network (MASN). MASN, which is available regionally and nationally on DIRECTV channel 640 and DISH Network channel 432, is the official television home of the Baltimore Orioles, Washington Nationals and Baltimore Ravens and reaches nearly 6 million homes in a seven-state region from Harrisburg, Pa. to Charlotte, N.C. A complete broadcast schedule follows.
LAFAYETTE SPORTS NETWORK ALL-ACCESS: If it doesn't air on ESPN3.com, LSN telecasts will be available live through LSN All-Access, which streams Lafayette contests and other programming worldwide to any high-speed internet connection. In all, more than 75 Lafayette athletic events are scheduled for broadcast through LSN All-Access this year at a rate of $9.95 per month and $79.95 for the entire year. The CBSSports.com ULive package, which includes content from all CBS Interactive collegiate member institutions, is available for $14.95 monthly or $119.95 annually.
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