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Rivalry 153 - Lafayette vs. Lehigh on Saturday at 12:30 p.m.

Nov. 14, 2017

 Lafayette at Lehigh -- #Rivalry153
 Gameday Info Gameday 
 Date & Time  Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017 - 12:30 p.m.
 Location  Bethlehem, Pa. | Goodman Stadium
 Tickets  Lafayette Athletics Ticket Office
 Game Notes  Lafayette Get Acrobat Reader | Lehigh Get Acrobat Reader
 TV  Lafayette Sports Network (RCN 1004/608 HD, WBPH-60 HD, MASN)
 Play by Play: Gary Laubach
 Analyst: Mike Joseph
 Sideline: John Leone
 Live Streaming
 Live Stats  Lehigh Live Stats
 Social Media  Twitter & Facebook

The Match-Up: Lafayette travels to Lehigh on Saturday for the 153rd meeting of College Football's Most-Played Rivalry. Kickoff is set for 12:30 p.m. at Goodman Stadium. Lehigh has won the last two series meetings (but the Leopards' fans count the Yankee Stadium win as two victories), but a win on Saturday would even the Class of 2018's record in the series to 2-2.

The Series: College football's most-played rivalry dates to 1884 (one year after standardized football rules were instituted in the U.S.) when Lafayette beat Lehigh 56-0 in Easton. The two teams met twice a year from 1884-1901 (three times in 1891) and once a year (for the most part) since then, with the exception of 1896 when a player eligibility dispute between the schools canceled the game. The Leopards lead the series 78-69-5. The rivalry has been played every year since 1897 without interruption, reaching 121 consecutive years in 2017, the longest streak of consecutive years in the nation.

Series MVP: Media members vote on the Lafayette-Lehigh game's MVP, an award established in 1960. Ross Scheuerman '15 was the last Leopard to win the award in 2014, running for a school-record 304 yards to lead the Maroon and White to a 27-7 win at Yankee Stadium in Rivalry 150.
There have been nine two-time winners: Jon Hurt (2005, 06) Brad Maurer (2004, 06), Tom Costello (1988, 89) and Erik Marsh (1992, 94) from Lafayette and Kim McQuilken (1972, 73), Marty Horn (1983, 85), Ron Jean (1998, 99), J.B. Clark (2008, 09) and Nick Shafnisky (2015, 16) from Lehigh. In the series, there have been co-MVP's only twice (1976 and 2006).

National Numbers: Senior linebacker Brandon Bryant currently ranks third in the nation in tackles with 124 (12.4 per game) and eighth for solo tackles with 64 (6.4 per game). Bryant's 124 tackles are the most for a Leopards since Maurice Bennett in 2005 (133). He is also tied for the seventh-most tackles in a game in 2017 (19 - Harvard). He is averaging 14.6 tackles per game over the last five contests and 12.4 in league play.

Parham's Picks: Senior cornerback Phillip Parham is first in the nation with seven interceptions (0.7 per game). He has 12 interceptions for his career. The Lincoln Park, Mich. native is also first in the nation in passes defended [pass breakups (12) + interceptions (7)], averaging 1.9 per game. His seven INT's are the most for a Lafayette player since current LSN analyst Mike Joseph '88 had seven in 1986.

On the Line: Lafayette still has a chance to earn a share of the Patriot League title with a win over Lehigh and a Colgate loss to Georgetown. Lehigh needs a win to claim the title and the FCS Playoff berth outright. Lehigh is tied with Colgate, both at 4-1 in conference play, but holds the head-to-head tiebreaker via a 41-38 win over Colgate on Oct. 7. A Lafayette win and a Colgate win over Georgetown would give Colgate the Patriot League title and the conference's automatic berth into the FCS Playoffs. A Lafayette win and a Colgate loss would result in Colgate earning the league's automatic playoff bid.

The Garrett Era: John Garrett began his first head-coaching assignment on Dec. 21, 2016 when he was introduced at a press conference on the Lafayette College campus. Garrett, the Fred M. Kirby '42 Head Football Coach, brings more than 25 years of coaching experience at the NFL, NCAA FBS and NCAA FCS levels. His most recent stints included offensive coordinator gigs at Richmond and Oregon State. In his first season, Garrett is handling the offensive play-calling duties, taking over a Leopard squad that was 3-19 over the last two seasons.

Family Familiarity: First-year head coach John Garrett has known about the Lafayette-Lehigh rivalry his entire life, as his father's first coaching job came with the Engineers in 1958.

Shutout in the Last Time Out: The Lafayette offense was shut out for the second time this season, losing 27-0 vs. Colgate. The Raiders used their running game to possesses the ball for 11 minutes while managing three scores in the third quarter to pull away.

Flags & Fumbles: The Leopards are first in the nation in fumbles lost, with just one lost in 10 games. Lafayette is seventh in the nation in penalty yards per game (40.1 yards per game).

Shutting Out Georgetown: The Lafayette defense managed its first shutout since Oct. 6, 2007 (29-0 vs. Columbia) in a 7-0 win over Georgetown on Nov. 4. The Leopard defense has given up 6.8 points per game over the last three games (obviously excluding points scored by the opponents' defenses).

Nice to Have Him Back: Sophomore WR Nick Pearson made his return to the lineup at Georgetown after missing five games with a shoulder injury. Pearson, who was sidelined during the Villanova game on Sept. 16, was on the receiving end of the Leopards' only scoring play at Georgetown, an 11-yard pass from Sean O'Malley in the second quarter.

Punting Prodigy: Freshman Michael Turk has been outstanding in his first season. He is averaging 43.0 yards per attempt (which would rank him first in single-season average at Lafayette) with a long of 64 yards and 16 punts of 50-plus yards. He has landed 18 punts inside the opponent's 20-yard line. Turk is ranked 12th in the nation in punting average. Against Georgetown, he averaged 44.7 yards per punt and placed three punts inside the Hoyas' 10-yard line, garnering him Patriot League Special Teams Player of the Week honors.
Turk developed his skills in 2016, training with his uncle Matt Turk, who was an NFL punter for 19 seasons. Prior to that, he had not punted in high school.

Opponent: Lehigh (4-6, 4-1) enters the 153rd meeting having won four of its last five games with the lone blemish a 45-35 loss at Fordham.

Lehigh's offense has been the story, averaging 475 yards per game with a balanced attack led by junior RB Dom Bragalone who is third in the nation with 1,200 rushing yards. Junior QB Brad Mayes is seventh in the nation with 3,156 passing yards and has 25 touchdowns to 12 interceptions. Senior WR Troy Pelletier is third in the nation for receptions per game (8.6) and has seven touchdown catches to go along with Gatlin Casey's 10 TD's.

Lehigh's defense is allowing 488 yards and 40.2 points per game, both near the bottom of the NCAA.

Andy Coen is in his 12th season as head coach of the Mountain Hawks and holds an 81-55 record.