Rivalry 152 -- Saturday 12:30 p.m.
Nov. 15, 2016
| Lafayette vs. Lehigh -- 152nd Meeting
|Gameday Info||GoLeopards.com Gameday|
|Date||Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016 at 12:30 p.m.|
|Location||Easton, Pa. | Fisher Stadium|
|Tickets||Lafayette Athletics Ticket Office|
|Game Notes||Lafayette | Lehigh|
|TV|| Lafayette Sports Network (MASN, RCN 4/8, 1004/608 HD, WBPH-60)
Play by Play: Gary Laubach
Analyst: Mike Joseph
Sideline: John Leone
Gary Laubach, Mike Joseph, John Leone
|Satellite Radio|| SIRIUS 157, XM 205
Gary Laing, Austin Ward
|Social Media||Twitter & Facebook|
The Match-up: The Leopards and Mountain Hawks are set to take to the gridiron for the 152nd time in college football's most-played and longest continuous rivalry. Kickoff is set for 12:40 p.m. from Fisher Stadium in Easton, Pa. The game can be seen nationally on MASN.
Back On The Hill: Saturday's game is the first contest back on the Leopards' home turf since 2012. Lafayette graciously gave up its home game for the 150th meeting played at Yankee Stadium in 2014.
World Series Champion: Joe Maddon '76, manager of the World Series champion Chicago Cubs, will be in attendance at Saturday's game. Maddon is expected to take part in a variety of events during the weekend beginning with the Maroon Club Hall of Fame induction dinner on Friday night and continuing into Saturday.
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 78-68-5. The rivalry has been played every year since 1897 without interruption, reaching 120 consecutive years in 2016, 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. In 2013, Lafayette freshman QB Drew Reed won the honor after a 378-yard passing day during which he completed 20-of-27 for three touchdowns. In 2014, no vote was necessary as Ross Scheuerman '15 ran for a school-record 304 yards to lead the Maroon and White to a 27-7 win. Last season, Lehigh QB Nick Shafnisky took home the award.
There have been eight two-time winners: Brad Maurer (2004, 2006), Tom Costello (1988, 1989) and Erik Marsh (1992, 94) from Lafayette and Kim McQuilken (1972, 73), Marty Horn (1983, 85), Ron Jean (1998, 99) and J.B. Clark (2008, 09) from Lehigh. In the series, there have been co-MVP's only twice (1976 and 2006).
Academic All-District: Lafayette senior defensive linemen Collin Albershardt and Andy Labudev have been named to the Academic All-District II Team selected by CoSIDA. It is the second straight selection for Albershardt who has started nine games at defensive end this season with 23 tackles and, 3.5 tackle for loss, including three sacks. The Economics major maintains a 3.61 cumulative GPA and is a team captain.
Like Albershardt, Labudev has started every game this season. The defensive tackle has registered 17 tackles on the season with three tackles for loss (all sacks). An Economics and International Affairs dual major, Labudev holds a 3.60 GPA. He has played in 23 games during his Leopard career.
Albershardt and Labudev are the 31st and 32nd student-athletes during Tavani's tenure to achieve Academic All-District Status with 47 selections since 1995.
A Little More Rivalry History: The last time Lafayette entered the Lehigh game with just two wins was Nov. 20, 2010, a 20-13 Lafayette loss at home. Nov. 25, 1922 was the last time the Lafayette-Lehigh game wasn't the regular-season finale for Lafayette.
Mrazek Moves Up: With four catches vs. Georgetown, junior WR Matt Mrazek continued his ascent up Lafayette's top 10 list for career receptions. Mrazek has 134 career grabs, ranking ninth all-time and needing two more catches to slide up to eighth. Mrazek needs 106 receiving yards to crack Lafayette's all-time top 10.
Mrazek made 11 catches for 109 yards and three touchdowns (all career highs) vs. Holy Cross, the first time since 2014 that a Lafayette player had 11 or more catches. It was the second three-touchdown performance of the season for Mrazek, who achieved the feat in the season opener at Central Connecticut State. He has eight touchdowns and leads the team with 64 receptions for 673 yards (both single-season career highs).
Mrazek was the team's wide receiver MVP in 2015, despite missing the final three and a half games after fracturing his clavicle. In the abbreviated season, he led the team in receiving yards (495) and was second with 44 catches.
Last Time Out: Colgate used a potent mix of the run and pass to rack up 437 yards of offense in a 38-17 win over Lafayette in Hamilton, N.Y. The Leopards pulled within a touchdown with 11 minutes left in the third quarter, but Colgate added two late scores to finish off the game.
Lafayette's Rob Hinchen was the first player since Mike Schmidlein in 2010 to register an individual safety when he did so in the third quarter.
Palumbo Steps In: With Matt Mrazek drawing much of the opposing defenses' attention, junior wide receiver Rocco Palumbo made the most of his first start of the season. Palumbo made seven catches for a career-best 103 yards and a 36-yard touchdown vs. Colgate.
Reed In the Record Books: Drew Reed ranks third in career completions at Lafayette (611) and his 202 passing yards at Colgate pushed him into third place with 6,748 passing yards (passing Tom Kirchhoff '93 with 6,721). He is also the school record holder for single-season completion percentage (72.5% in 2013) and is second in career completion percentage (65.1%).
The Tennessee native was the Patriot League Rookie of the Year runner up and a finalist for the Jerry Rice Award (top FCS freshman) in his freshman season of 2013 when he threw for 1,887 yards, 17 touchdowns and five interceptions in eight games. In his first career start, he completed 21-of-22 at Holy Cross for 283 yards and five touchdowns, setting a school single-game record for accuracy while completing his final 20 passes (a Patriot League record). He was the first ever player to win the Patriot League Offensive Player of the Week and Rookie of the Week honors in the same week (doing it twice).
Young Leopards: Lafayette has seen 14 freshmen or sophomores start a game in 2016. Overall, 34 players make up the senior (13) and junior (21) classes while sophomores (23) and freshmen (28) account for 51 of the team's 85 players.
Who's Back at Tailback?: Lafayette will likely continue its rotation at tailback. Junior DeSean Brown led the team with 15 carries for 91 yards at Colgate. Sophomore Tyler West and freshman Mike Dunn have each made strong cases in the past three games for increased opportunities.
Defensive Effort: Lafayette held Georgetown to just three points, the lowest score by an opponent this season. It was the first time since Sept. 13, 2014 against Robert Morris that Lafayette did not allow a touchdown.
Linebackers Rob Hinchen and Jerry Powe led the team with 12 tackles apiece, combining for 5.5 tackles for loss and three sacks. As a team, Lafayette had six sacks.
Lehigh enters the 152nd matchup with Lafayette ranked 17th in the FCS Coaches Poll and 19th in the STATS Poll. The Mountain Hawks have won eight in a row, beating Penn, Princeton, Yale, Colgate (45-31), Georgetown (35-3), Holy Cross (46-14), Fordham (58-37) and Bucknell (20-13) to run the season record to 8-2 overall and 5-0 in Patriot League play. Lehigh, which is coming off a bye week, lost its first two games of the season to Monmouth and No. 19 Villanova by a combined seven points.
Lehigh was 6-5 a season ago, finishing in third place in the conference standings with a 4-2 clip. The Mountain Hawks returned eight starters on offense and six on defense along with 43 letterwinners.
Lehigh has featured two top-notch quarterbacks in senior Nick Shafnisky and sophomore Brad Mayes in the passing game. Shafnisky has been the starter for the most part, completing 163-of-246 (66%) for 2,180 yards and 17 touchdowns. Mayes has played in five games, throwing 74 completions for 1,090 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Juniors Gatlin Casey and Troy Pelletier are the key beneficiaries of the Mountain Hawks' passing game, each with 1,000 receiving yards in 2016. Pelletier has 80 receptions for nine TD's while Casey has 53 catches for 13 touchdowns.
Shafnisky is a key part of the running game, carrying 88 times for 289 yards and nine scores. Tailback Dom Bragalone is just four yards short of 1,000 yards for his sophomore season, averaging 5.7 yards per carry for nine touchdowns.
The Lehigh defense has allowed nearly 400 yards of total offense per game, 200 on the ground and 190 through the air. Senior linebackers Colton Caslow and Evan Harvey have 129 tackles combined. Caslow leads the team with 10 tackles for loss.
Lehigh is coached by Andy Coen (Gettysburg '86) is in his 11th season in Bethlehem, holding a 76-48 overall record and a 6-4 mark against the Leopards.