Patriot League: Week 10 Review an Power Rankings

Week 10 of the Patriot League season was highlighted by Lafayette and Lehigh keeping their title hopes alive and Chase Edmonds finally capturing the All-Time PL rushing record. Unfortunately for Edmonds, his Ram squad was dominated in the second half in a 42-20 loss to Holy Cross. Speaking of dominating, Lafayette’s defense did just that in their Royal Rumblesque 7-0 win over Georgetown. Meanwhile, Lehigh’s dumpster fire of a “D” played its best game of the year their Mountain Hawks 41-20 win over Bucknell.

Lehigh 42 Bucknell 21

Lehigh (3-6, 3-1) kept their Patriot League title hopes alive and ruined Bucknell’s (4-5, 1-3) Homecoming with a decisive 42-21 win on a picture perfect early November afternoon. It was the Mountain Hawk’s 18th win in the last 20 meetings against the Bison. Lehigh was able to force two 1st quarter turnovers (4 for the game) which propelled them to a commanding 28-7 lead after the opening 15 minutes of play. Outside of Freshnock (16 carries 174 yards 3 TDs) being the latest running back to shred the Lehigh defense, Bucknell struggled on both sides of the ball for much of the game. The 342 (198 rushing, 144 passing) yards of total offense Bucknell amassed were amazingly the fewest the Lehigh “D” surrendered all season. The Mountain Hawks did a really good job getting after Bison QB Matt Muh early and often. As a result of the improved pressure, Muh never found his rhythm which caused the senior to struggle (22-37 144 yards 2 INTs) in his first start since 2016.

Both teams punted on their opening possessions of game. On Bucknell’s second drive Lehigh LB Matt Walker delivered a hard hit on Muh at the Bison 34 yard line which caused a fumble. Walker then alertly picked the ball up and raced towards the end zone before being shoved out of bounds at the 9 yard line. Two plays later, Brad Mayes (17-25 193 yards 2 TDs 1 INT) found Gatlin Casey in the corner of the end zone for an 8 yard TD. It would not take long for Bucknell to respond. On Bison’s ensuing possession Chad Freshnock busted loose for an 85 yard TD run (5th longest in BU history) to even the score with 8:49 left in the 1st quarter. Lehigh would continue the scoring bonanza 16 seconds later when Central Pennsylvania native Dom Bragalone (21 carries 136 yards 3 TDs) broke free for a 44 yard TD. Bucknell’s Stefone Moore-Green would fumble the kickoff return which would be recovered by Lehigh’s Brian Olshanski. 4 plays later Bragalone added his second TD of the day to extend the Lehigh lead to 21-7. Back-up running back Micco Brisker’s 22 yard TD run at the 1:03 mark would close out the 1st quarter scoring for Lehigh.

Freshnock’s 23 yard TD run and Bragalone’s 29 yard TD scamper would be the only scoring in the 2nd quarter. When the first 30 minutes was over Lehigh owned a commanding 35-14 lead. The Mountain Hawks wouldn’t completely put the game away until late in the 3rd quarter. That’s when Mayes’s hit Casey for a 47 yard TD on a deep post pattern to push the score to 42-14.

Up Next: Lehigh’s next hurdle in their attempt to repeat as league champs is Holy Cross at Goodman Stadium. Meanwhile, after two ugly losses Bucknell will try to get back to .500 against the downtrodden Georgetown Hoyas.

Holy Cross 42 Fordham 20

Holy Cross’s (4-6, 3-2) return trip to the Bronx was much more successful than last year’s embarrassment (54-14 loss) at Yankee Stadium. The pride of Worcester reclaimed the Crusader-Ram Cup with a 22 point win over Fordham (3-7, 2-3) by using a dominating rushing attack (354 yards). The defense also contributed in a big way. Nick McBeath’s scoop and score 61 yard TD on Fordham’s first possession helped set an early tone for the Crusaders. The lone bright spot for Fordham on the afternoon was Chase Edmonds return and his subsequent record breaking run. The once in a generation talent was finally able to reach the top of the All-Time Patriot League rushing rankings (Edmonds 5,677 passed Jordan Scott 5,621) after battling through an ankle injury for the majority of the season.

After falling behind 7-0 the Rams leaned on Edmonds (20 carries 63 yards 2 TDs) in the 1st half to keep them in the game which he did. His two early 2nd quarter touchdowns (10 yards, 7 yards) gave Fordham a 14-7 lead with 10:29 left before half. Unfortunately, the positive mojo wouldn’t last long as Anderson was knocked out of the game midway through 2nd quarter and was replaced by Austin King (10-16 173 yards 1 TD 1 INT). The Rams would remain in the lead until Gabe Guild (10 carries 107 yards 1 TD) capped an 8 play 66 yard drive with a game tying 15 yard TD run with less than 3 minutes remaining in the first half.

Holy Cross’s offense would take control of the game in second half. The Crusaders opened the 3rd quarter with a 7 play 76 yard TD (Miles Alexander 40 yard TD run) drive that gave them their first lead (21-14) of the day. The Crusaders extended their advantage to 28-14 on Peter Pujals’s (15-25 175 yards 2 TDs) 1 yard TD toss to Jayke Simsheuser with 3:35 remaining in the 3rd quarter. Pujals’s 24 yard TD pass to Blaise Bell early in the 4th quarter made the score 35-15 and effectively put the game out of reach.

Up Next: Holy Cross concludes their 2017 season with a trip to Bethlehem, PA to take on Lehigh. Fordham is on a late season bye before concluding their season against Bucknell on the 18th.

Lafayette 7 Georgetown 0

Lafayette’s (3-6, 2-1) 7-0 win over Georgetown (1-8, 0-4) didn’t disappoint when it came to ugliness and offensive ineptness. Two of the very worst offenses in FCS put on a pillow fight that only the true die-hards could enjoy. Neither team surpassed 200 yards of total offense and each managed a mere 12 first downs during the 60 minutes of “action”. Hoya quarterback Gunther Johnson had an especially horrible outing (12-26 76 yards 4 INTs) in the loss. The Arizona transfer had shown quite a bit of potential when he took over for an injured Tim Barnes in early October but has been regressing in recent weeks. If Georgetown is to have any shot at avoiding the league O’fer, Johnson and the rest of the offense need to step-up and make plays. The coaches have to be willing to take some chances too. Sgarlatte and company made some extremely conservative, borderline suspect, calls against Lafayette in key situations. The Hoyas have literally nothing to lose at this point so it’s time to go for broke.

Lafayette still controls their destiny in the race for the Patriot League Title and auto-bid into the playoffs thanks to their defense (allowing 7.5 points in PL play). The unit notched Lafayette’s first shutout since 2007 and Georgetown did not reach Leopard territory until the 4th quarter in the 7-0 win. The pass defense had been the strength of the unit all season and they were again against the Hoyas (76 yards passing, 4 INTs). The leader in the secondary is Phil Parham. The senior snatched his league leading 6th interception against the Hoyas.

For as good as their defense has been in recent weeks the Leopards still have to score points. Sean O’Malley’s (17-25 101 yards 1 TD) 11 yard TD pass to Pearson with 4:31 left in the 2nd quarter was good enough to beat the Hoyas won’t cut it against Colgate and Lehigh. If Lafayette wants to shock the league by winning their final two games O’Malley must lead the charge. The freshman has the weapons on the outside to be effective if the offensive line gives him time. The big uglies have to because the 9.5 ppg the Leopards have been averaging will result in a 0-2 finish to the season.

Up Next: Lafayette hosts Colgate in an elimination game for the Patriot League Title. Georgetown heads to Lewisburg, PA to take on Bucknell in what figures to be another low scoring slugfest.

Power Rankings

  1. Colgate – The Raiders enjoyed a late season bye to prepare for a huge game against Lafayette. Assuming Colgate didn’t take a week long nap, the Leopards figure to be in big trouble.
  2. Lehigh – The Mountain Hawks are here by default at this point. Their offense continues to rack up points while their defense makes opposing running backs look like Barry Sanders each week.
  3. Holy Cross – Brian Rock’s club has now won two straight and can close out their season by ending Lehigh’s title hopes. Pujals’s last game in purple could be a special one.
  4. Lafayette – The Leopards still sit on top of the league standings but with Colgate invading Easton this weekend that figures to change.
  5. Fordham – That was terrible performance against Fordham. Losing Anderson was a major blow but the energy from the Lehigh win did not carry over one bit.
  6. Bucknell – The offense is in disarray and the usually stout defense is giving up points in bunches. The Bison still have a shot at a winning record but it won’t be easy.
  7. Georgetown – The 7-0 loss to Lafayette pretty much sums up Hoya football at this point. Close, yet so far away…..

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