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November 19, 2013

149th Lafayette-Lehigh Game will Decide Patriot League Title

Lafayette will play Lehigh 12:30 p.m. Saturday at Goodman Stadium for the 149th game in college football’s most-played rivalry. This year, the winner will take the Patriot League Championship, as both teams are tied 3-1 in conference play.

View a photo gallery of the rivalry’s historic moments

Tailback Ross Scheuerman '15 carries the ball during last year's game.

Tailback Ross Scheuerman ’15 carries the ball during last year’s game.

For those who can’t make the game in person, Lafayette and Lehigh alumni will host more than 60 telecast parties in 34 states and the United Kingdom.

Register for a party in your area

The Lafayette Sports Network telecast of the game can be seen on MASN2 (DirecTV 641, Dish Network 433), RCN-TV (Boston, New York, City, Philadelphia, Lehigh Valley, and Washington, D.C.), and WBPH-60, and will be streamed live on GoLeopards.com.

This is also the fourth year of the Lafayette-Lehigh Giving Challenge, a spirited competition to engage alumni and students by seeing which school can rally the greatest number of donors. The challenge kicked off Nov. 13 and goes through halftime of the game.

The goal of the competition is to have more donors, not dollars. Make a gift online or call the Annual Fund office, (610) 330-5034. You can also text PARD followed by your name and class year to 20222 to make a $10 gift to the Maroon Club. Follow the competition by visiting the Lafayette/Lehigh Challenge website.

149th Lafayette-Lehigh Game Notes

MATCH-UP: Lafayette (4-6, 3-1) travels to Lehigh Saturday when the two teams meet for the 149th time in college football’s most-played and longest continuous rivalry (117 games). The game moves to Bethlehem in a series that began in 1884 and will see the 150th game played in Yankee Stadium Nov. 22, 2014.

This season, the Patriot League championship and an NCAA Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) playoff berth add to the already high stakes in the winner-take-all game. Both teams are 3-1 in Patriot League play. The Leopards have won three of their last four and the Mountain Hawks five of six.

LAST TIME OUT: Lafayette registered one of the biggest wins in program history Nov. 16 with a 27-14 win over No. 5 Fordham. The Rams were the highest ranked opponent Lafayette had ever faced in Fisher Stadium and it marked the first time since Nov. 7, 2009 that Lafayette beat a Top 25 team (No. 20/18 Colgate).

THE SERIES: College football’s most-played rivalry dates back to 1884 when Lafayette shut out Lehigh 50-0 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 cancelled the game. The Leopards lead the series 76-67-5. Lafayette leads 41-29-5 when playing in Easton and Lehigh has a 37-35 edge over the Leopards in Bethlehem. Lehigh is 1-0 at neutral sites. Lehigh has won the last five meetings and Lafayette won the four games prior.

A WIN OVER LEHIGH… awards Lafayette its first Patriot League title since 2006 and its seventh overall…vaults Lafayette into the NCAA FCS playoffs for the first time since 2006…would make Lafayette 5-6…hands Lafayette its first win over Lehigh since 2007.

1000 x 2?: The Lafayette offense has a chance to do something no other Leopard offensive unit has accomplished—boast of a 1,000-yard receiver and a 1,000-yard rusher in the same season. Wide receiver Mark Ross ’14 needs 80 yards to reach 1,000 in a season for the second time in his career and tailback Ross Scheuerman ’15 is 72 short of 1,000 on the ground.

A LITTLE MOMENTUM: For the first time since 2007, Lafayette will be coming off a win entering the Lafayette-Lehigh game. In the Frank Tavani era (since 2000), Lafayette is 0-6 against Lehigh when losing the week prior but 5-2 when winning the week before.

RETURN ENGAGEMENT: Cornerback Matt Smalley ’16 is sixth in the nation in kick return yardage, averaging 31 yards per return. He has returned two kicks for TD’s this season, setting school records with 98-yard and 99-yard returns.

2013 NON-LEAGUE OPPONENTS: Lafayette’s 2013 non-conference opponents are a combined 47-14 (Sacred Heart 10-2, William & Mary 7-4, Penn 4-5, Princeton 8-1, Harvard 8-1, and Fordham 10-1) for a .770 winning percentage. In terms of overall strength of schedule Lafayette has played the 16th toughest schedule in the nation with the cumulative opposition (past and future) posting a 59-39 mark.

THE SERIES MVP: Media members will vote on the Lafayette-Lehigh game’s Most Valuable Player,  an award established in 1960. In 2012, Lehigh senior QB Michael Colvin won the honor. Rob Curley ’10 was the last Lafayette player to claim the title (2007), which traditionally goes to a player on the winning team. Curley engineered the game-winning drive in a 21-17 win, going 15-for-25 for 257 yards with one TD.

There have been eight two-time winners: Brad Maurer ’07 (2004, 2006), Tom Costello ’92 (1988, 1989), and Erik Marsh ’95 (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).

SERIES FRESHMEN: The last first-year student to win the series MVP was Lehigh QB Phil Stambaugh in 1996. The Last Lafayette first-year student to win the award was Costello in 1988…The last Lafayette first-year student to start at QB in the Lafayette-Lehigh game for the Leopards was Marko Glavic ’04 in 2000.

FAMILIAR SCENARIO: Saturday’s game is the seventh time Lafayette and Lehigh will play with the Patriot League title at stake and the fourth time with the league’s automatic qualifier also up for grabs. Five of those games have been won by the hosts. Lafayette is 4-2 in “title” games vs. Lehigh.

GRADUATION SUCCESS: Lafayette football boasted the fourth best Graduation Success Rate in the NCAA, achieving a mark of 96. Overall, for the 18 sports measured at Lafayette, a total of 14 registered a graduation rate of 100 percent, the fourth best mark in the NCAA. Lehigh had an overall mark of 90 and 81 in football.

WITH PURPOSE: Scheuerman ranks ninth in the nation and first in the Patriot League in all-purpose yards, averaging 155 yards per game. He racked up 291 all-purpose yards against Colgate, carrying 15 times for 56 yards and a touchdown while also reeling in a career-high five catches for a career-best 91 yards and two receiving touchdowns. Scheuerman also managed five kick returns for 144 yards (28.9 yards per return) with a long of 41 yards. The Creamridge, N.J., native followed with 201 all-purpose yards in the win over No. 5 Colgate, slashing his way to 169 yards on the ground for two touchdowns and three catches for 32 yards in the air.

DEFENSIVELY VS. FORDHAM: Lafayette held Fordham’s fourth-ranked offensive attack to 113 total yards after intermission. Fordham (10-1) came into the game with the 12th-highest scoring offense among FCS teams at 39.1 points per game, and the Leopards’ defensive unit limited the Rams to their lowest total of the season (14).

Cornerback DeOliver Davis ’14 led the way with two interceptions, while the defense sacked Rams QB Peter Maetzold five times on the day including two from defensive end James Coscia ’15. Linebacker Mike Boles ’14 had nine stops and a sack.

REED’S RECORDS: In a short stint as the starting quarterback, Drew Reed ’17 has broken Lafayette and Patriot League records. He holds the Patriot League record (along with Fordham QB Mike Nebrich) for consecutive completions in a game (20 in a row at Holy Cross). His 21-of-22 (95.5%) performance in that game is also the top completion percentage game at Lafayette, topping 87.5% games by Rob Curley in 2009, Brad Maurer in 2004, and Frank Baur ’90 vs. Kutztown in 1988.
Reed has completed 74 percent of his passes (92-125-5) which is also the top season mark all-time at Lafayette (minimum 75 attempts). His 14 touchdowns this season are tied for the 10th best single-season effort at Lafayette.

ROSS ATOP THE LISTS: Mark Ross is the College’s career receiving leader. He holds the all-time marks for receptions (186, which ranks ninth all-time in the Patriot League), receiving yards (2,653, which is 10th all-time in the Patriot League) and receiving touchdowns (26, which is sixth all-time in Patriot League). Ross shares the record for catches in a game (13 in 2012 at Robert Morris) while ranking second for catches in a season (75 in 2012) and fourth, fifth, and ninth for receiving TD’s in a season (10 in 2012, nine in 2011, and seven in 2013).

ABOUT LEHIGH: Lehigh comes into the 149th meeting with an 8-2 overall record and is 3-1 in league play. The Mountain Hawks are ranked 15th in the coaches’ poll and 17th in The Sports Network poll. Lehigh topped Colgate, 31-14, last week to set up the title game matchup on Saturday.
• Freshman QB Nick Shafnisky has taken over as the signal caller after an injury to senior Brandon Bialkowski ended his season. Shafnisky is 22-33-1 for 270 yards and four TD passes in back-to-back wins over Holy Cross and Colgate, earning Patriot League Rookie of the Week honors following both of those games.
• Senior TB Keith Sherman has carried the team as of late, compiling 923 yards on the ground this season on 158 carries with seven touchdowns. Like Shafnisky, he’s won Patriot League honors the last two weeks. Versus Holy Cross, he racked up 196 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns. At Colgate, Sherman rushed a career-high 27 times for a career-best 184 yards and a touchdown. He also caught two passes for 40 yards, giving him a career-high 224 all-purpose yards.
• Senior WR Lee Kurfis in third in the FCS with 1,272 receiving yards with a team-leading 92 catches and eight touchdowns. He set a Goodman Stadium record with 222 receiving yards in a win over Central Connecticut State in the first game of the year.
• The Mountain Hawks’ offense ranks 15th in the FCS in total offense (460.3 ypg) and is 11th in passing (308.8 ypg).
• Senior DB Tyler Ward leads the defensive unit with 89 stops, 3.5 tackles for loss and two interceptions.
• Andy Coen (Gettysburg ’86) is in his eighth season as head coach. He has guided Lehigh to three Patriot League titles.

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