Mountain Hawks To Face Another Ranked Foe With Visit To No. 22/25 Richmond
09/07/2021 1:25:00 p.m.
BETHLEHEM, Pennsylvania – Lehigh takes to the streets for the first time this fall, waiting for the Mountain Hawks, another ranks of the Colonial Athletic Association. The Mountain Hawks travel to Richmond to play the Spiders for the second time ever and for the first since Lehigh’s thrilling 24-23 win from behind in the opening round of the 1998 playoffs. Lehigh dropped his opener against Villanova when the Wildcats dropped 24 points of six Mountain Hawk sales. Senior Pete Haffner led Lehigh’s defensive performance with 11 tackles and 1.5 tackles for the loss, while Junior Mikhari Sibblis scored a sack and runner-up Mike DeNucci recorded his first career interception for Lehigh’s lone takeaway. Richmond opened their season with a 38-14 home win over Howard.
While Lehigh’s defense has improved over the past two seasons, the numbers show that the Mountain Hawks have done better defensively against Patriot League opponents. In nine games against Patriot League opponents since the beginning of 2019, Lehigh allows 19.1 points and 302.1 yards per game. In six games outside of the league, those numbers rise to 26 points and 392.3 yards per game. Lehigh goes one step further and allows in 13 games against teams other than Villanova under Tom Gilmore 18.7 points and 320.6 yards per game. In two games against Villanova, Lehigh allowed an average of 42.5 points and 452.5 yards.
The fans were welcomed back to Goodman Stadium, but the 4,000-plus crowd saw Lehigh 47-3 fall on # 15/16 Villanova. The Wildcats converted six Lehigh turnovers into 24 points and opened a 20-3 game with 24 points in the third quarter. The otherwise strong defense of Lehigh stood on the field for 37 minutes and gave in more than 500 yards. The setback was Lehigh’s worst season opener since 1996, when the Mountain Hawks fell 49-7 in Delaware. The seven sales were Lehigh’s most in nine years.
Tight end Alex Snyder has proven to be an offensive weapon for Lehigh over the past two seasons. He had 23 catches for 355 yards in 11 games in 2019 and added six catches for 58 yards last spring. Snyder’s second season was highlighted by a four-catch, 128-yard performance at Fordham. He was the first Lehigh tight end to win 100 yards in a game since Adam Bergen had seven catches for 101 yards and two touchdowns at Holy Cross on October 9, 2004. Prior to Snyder’s 2019 season, Lehigh Tight Ends only had 10 receptions in the 2017 and 2018 seasons combined, including two from Snyder as a freshman. Snyder led the Mountain Hawks in reception against Villanova by 56 yards on a career high of five receptions.
Richmond opened their season with a 38-14 home win over Howard. Quarterback Joe Mancuso made 347 yards overall offensive and three touchdowns to lead the Spiders to their 16th straight win in their home openers. Jasiah Williams had eight receptions for 85 yards and was named CAA Rookie of the Week. The Spiders also stormed for 226 yards with Aaron Dykes in the lead. The Richmond Defense is led by linebacker Tristan Wheeler and defensive lineman Kobie Turner, both of whom were preseason All-Americans and were named on the watchlist for the Buck Buchanan Awards of the preseason. The Spiders were down 3-1 in the spring with a win over William & Mary and two wins over Elon, while their defeat went to James Madison. Richmond went 5-7 in 2019 and was voted fourth in the CAA preseason poll this fall.
Lehigh and Richmond only met once, in the opening round of the 1998 playoffs, in which the Mountain Hawks claim a 24-23 victory. The second ever meeting on Saturday will see Richmond level Albany and Stony Brook on Lehigh’s second most-played opponent among current CAA members. Lehigh has never faced Elon before.
In the last 15 seasons Lehigh has three wins against CAA opponents; a win at Villanova in 2006, a win at Towson in the second round of the 2011 FCS playoffs and a 2013 triumph over New Hampshire at Goodman Stadium. The Mountain Hawks make their way to Richmond to stop a 10-game slide against CAA enemies. The makeup of the CAA has changed in recent years, with Massachusetts becoming FBS and Albany, Elon, and Stony Brook joining the League for Football. Lehigh is playing for the first time since 2014, when the Mountain Hawks opened the season at home against James Madison and then traveled to New Hampshire, against CAA opponents for consecutive weeks.
Saturday’s game begins just after 2 p.m. at Robins Stadium in Richmond, Virginia. The game will be televised on NBC Sports Washington and streamed on FloFootball. Lehigh audio coverage will be available at Lehighsports.com/watch.
The Mountain Hawks will return to Goodman Stadium on September 18th as Lehigh hosts Princeton as part of PSECU-presented Family Weekend. Lehigh has competed regularly against the Ivies in the past, but due to a scheduling anomaly, the Mountain Hawks did not face any Ivies in 2019. The Ivy League did not participate in athletics in the 2020-21 school year. The game time is set at noon.
|Date:||September 11, 2021|
|Opponent:||No. 22/25 Richmond Spiders|
|Kicking off:||2:07 pm|
|Stadion:||Robins Stadium / 8,700 / FieldTurf|
|Lehigh’s balance sheet:||0-1 overall, 0-0 Patriot League|
|Richmond’s balance sheet:||1-0 overall, 0-0 CAA|
|Series:||Lehigh leads 1-0|
|TV:||NBC Sports Washington with Bob Black and Chris Anderson|
|Video:||Stream at FloFootball|
|Internet audio:||Lehighsports.com/watch from 1:45 a.m. with Matt Kerr and Matt Markus|
|Key statistics:||• Lehigh led the Patriot League in the spring season 2021, finishing seventh nationally in overall defense (252.7 yards allowed / game) and goalscorer defense (15.3 allowed points / game).
• In the Tom Gilmore era, Lehigh only allowed 18.7 points and 320.6 yards in 13 games against non-Villanova teams (42.5 points and 452.5 yards in two games against the Wildcats).
• Lehigh’s three lowest single game rushing totals in the past 20 seasons were all in the season openers (-12. 2021; 07/07/2006; 11/11/2019).
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