156th Edition of Lehigh-Lafayette Set For Saturday in Easton

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BETHLEHEM, PA. – For the first time, the most-played rivalry in college football will take place in the spring when Lehigh travels to Lafayette for the 156th meeting at Fisher Stadium. The COVID-19 pandemic has postponed the game from the Saturday before Thanksgiving to April 10th. This game was originally scheduled for April 3rd but has been postponed for a week due to a COVID issue in Lafayette’s program. Instead, Lehigh hosted Bucknell last Saturday and fell 6-0 despite continued strong defensive efforts. Lafayette entered the game 1-1 when the Leopards beat Colgate on March 13, but in their final game at Bucknell on March 27 dropped a 38:13 decision. Lehigh has won nine of the last 12 rivalry games, with Lafayette’s 17:16 win at Bethlehem in November 2019 snapping a four-time winning streak for the Mountain Hawks.

Lafayette admitted a limited number of invited team guests to Lehigh on Saturday. These guests are made available in advance by the team members. No other Lehigh spectators are allowed to play.
Lafayette College Audience Policy

Lehigh and Lafayette will meet on the grate 140 days after the original meeting of the teams at Fisher Stadium in the originally planned 2020 regular season finale. While 2020 was the first year since 1896 without a Lehigh Lafayette soccer game, these two programs will clash for the 124th consecutive year.

While Leigh’s defensive success in the first two games may not come as a surprise, the game of several young Mountain Hawks in secondary school opened some eyes. Lehigh leads the Patriot League in pass defense, allowing only 119 yards per game through two games. The Mountain Hawks played with two first-year rookies at the sophomore cornerback, Jack Bush and freshman LaTreil Wimberly, while the second saw Mitch Lawhead and newbies Donovan Thomas, Corey Melzer and Spencer Roof all safe. A week after a 12-receiving, 179-yard try against Lafayette, Bucknell’s Brandon Sanders of Lehigh was held for 24 yards to three catches, with Wimberly leading the cover effort. Senior Divine Buckrham and sophomore TyGee Leach are veterans safe. Leach got off to a great start against Holy Cross with nine tackles, two tackles against loss and his first career interception that set the Mountain Hawks’ field goal.

Sophomore Cross Wilkinson has started Lehigh’s first two games at the quarterback. Wilkinson is a well-respected West Virginia prospect who joined Lehigh after two seasons in Toledo. He has completed a solid 61 percent of his passes in two games, but throws only 223 meters. Since the 2000 season, Lehigh has been 6-6 in rivalry games in which his quarterback makes his first start against Lafayette. Quarterbacks won on their first starts against the Leopards include Brant Hall (2000), Kyle Keating (2003), JB Clark (2008), Chris Lum (2010), Mike Colvin (2012) and Brad Mayes (2017) ).

Lehigh’s offensive couldn’t keep up with the success of his defense as the Mountain Hawks only scored one field goal in two games. Last week’s loss to Bucknell was Lehigh’s first home defeat since Villanova at the 2010 home game 35-0 to the Mountain Hawks. The Bucknell game was the first Lehigh game in which no team scored a touchdown since October 9, 1976, when Lehigh lost 3-0 to Bucknell. Lehigh hasn’t scored a touchdown in consecutive games for the first time since 1966, when the Engineers were banned from Bucknell and Lafayette in their last two games.

Lafayette brings a 1-1 record in Rivalry 156. The Leopards opened their season with a 24-10 home win over Colgate, but fell 38-13 in Bucknell on March 27th. After a strong offensive against Colgate, the Leopards were arrested Check from Bucknell as Lafayette only won 284 yards while Leopard Quarterbacks threw four interceptions. Senior Cole Northrup has started the first two games at the quarterback for Lafayette. The leopards show the Patriot League defensive player of the year Malik Hamm in the defensive line. Hamm has 14 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and 0.5 sacks this season. Defender Jordan Anderson and linebacker Major Jordan are also in double digits this season. Jaden Sutton is the leading rusher at 97 yards while Quinn Revere was the top receiver at 128 yards with nine catches.

One of the great moments in Lehigh’s rivalry and football history celebrated its 25th anniversary in November. The 131st meeting, held at Goodman Stadium on November 18, 1995, was the first rivalry game and Lehigh’s first game of any kind to be decided in extra time. Lehigh was between 30 and 14 by the middle of the fourth quarter but took off fiercely to end the game between 30 and 30. After a goalless first extension, Lehigh took the lead in the first possession of the second extension. As darkness fell on Goodman Stadium, broad receiver Brian Klingerman reached for a pass from Bob Aylsworth in the back of the end zone with one hand to give Lehigh a 37-30. A defensive stand in Lafayette’s possession in the second extension saved the win and the Patriot League No. 2 championship for Lehigh. Klingerman was named Most Valuable Player of the Game.

When Lehigh and Lafayette did not meet in the 2020 calendar year, it was the first year since 1896 that there was no Lehigh-Lafayette soccer game. Since The Rivalry was born in 1884, 1896 was the only year Lehigh and Lafayette didn’t meet on the grate. The cancellation was due to an eligibility dispute related to Lafayette center-back George Barclay that was not resolved in time for the game. Lehigh ended a week at the start of a 2-5 season with a 26-0 win over Maryland Athletic Club.

Lehigh and Lafayette meet for the 156th time, with the Leopards having a lead of 79-71. There were also five draws in the series, the last being in 1964. The Mountain Hawks have won 17 of the last 26 meetings in the series. While Lafayette dominated the rivalry’s early years, Lehigh has had an impressive 44-24-2 record since 1950. This is the 74th meeting in Easton and the seventh since the Fisher Stadium renovation. Lehigh has won the last five games at Fisher Stadium. Tom Gilmore was 3-1 against Lafayette as Lehigh’s defensive coordinator and 8-6 against the Leopards when he was head coach at Holy Cross.

Saturday’s game starts just after 12:30 p.m. at Fisher Stadium in Easton. Lehigh’s television program will be broadcast in Lehigh Valley on Service Electric Network 2/502 and streamed on ESPN +, while audio will be available on Fox Sports Radio 1230/1320 AM and 94.7 FM Allentown and LVFoxSports.com. The pre-game radio broadcast begins at 12 noon

After Bucknell made the Patriot League South Division cliché last weekend, the bison will play in the Patriot League Championship Game. After rivalry 156, Lehigh will shift preparations to the fall 2021 campaign.

Date: April 10, 2021
Opponent: Lafayette leopards
Kicking off: 12:35 p.m.
Stadion: Fisher Stadium / 13,132 / FieldTurf
Place: Easton, Pa.
Lehigh’s record: 0-2 overall, 0-1 PL South
Lafayette’s record 1-1 overall, 0-1 PL South
Series: Lafayette leads 79-71-5
watch TV Service Electric Network 2/502 and ESPN + with Steve Degler and Doug Heater
radio Fox Sports Radio 1230/1320 and 94.7 FM Allentown with Matt Kerr and Lance Haynes ’94 from 12 noon
Internet broadcast: Video on ESPN + (PatriotLeague.TV)
Audio at LVFoxSports.com
Important statistics: • Lehigh’s leads the Patriot League in overall defense (224.0 ypg) and pass defense (119.0 ypg.) And ranks second in goal defense (13.0 ppg.).
• The Bucknell game was the first Lehigh football game since 1976 that neither team scored a touchdown.
• Lehigh have won 35 of 55 games against Lafayette since the teams drew 6-6 at the 100th meeting in 1964.

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