Junior quarterback Brad Mayes throws the football during Lehigh's loss against Villanova on Saturday, Sept. 2 at Goodman Stadium. Lehigh will play Yale 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 16 at Goodman Stadium. (Andy Bickel/B&W Staff)

Lehigh football returns to Goodman to battle Ivy League opponent

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Searching for its first win of the season, the Lehigh football team (0-2) will return home to take on Yale University at Goodman Stadium on Saturday.

Last year, junior starting quarterback Brad Mayes led the Mountain Hawks to a victory against Yale, toppling the Bulldogs 63-35. Mayes entered the game as a backup in place of injured quarterback Nick Shafnisky, ’17, and threw a record-breaking 524 yards. He also tied the school record with six passing touchdowns.

This year, the team is coming to the game with an eyes-forward approach. 

“It’s a whole new Yale team,” freshman wide receiver Jorge Portorreal said. “We’re not really looking at last year’s game, we’re just trying to approach every game looking for a win. It all comes down to who wants it more and who is tougher.”

The Mountain Hawks’ offense has been preparing for the game by studying the Bulldogs’ defense in last year’s games.

“As we go through Yale, we’re going to see what plays in our system will fit best among their defensive personnel and scheme,” offensive coach Andy Marino said. “I think that once we have the correct plays, we just need to focus on a little execution. I think then we will be fine.”

Lehigh lost its first game of the year to Villanova, 38-35, on Sept. 2, and lost its second game of the year to Monmouth, 46-27, on Sept. 9. The team also started its year 0-2 last season before winning nine straight games en route to a Patriot League title and FCS playoffs appearance. Coincidentally, those first two losses also came against Villanova and Monmouth.

“It’s a wake up call when we start the season zero and two, but we were in the same spot last year,” Mayes said. “We’ve been making some minor mistakes here and there, and if we want to be at a level where our goals are, we got to clean up those minor mistakes. I had two turnovers last week, and I’m going to cut down on the turnovers. You really just got to focus on one play at a time.”

The team is excited to return to Goodman Stadium for this weekend’s game.

Mayes said having a home game and playing in front of the home crowd goes a long way in the end, and Marino said the team appreciates the atmosphere. 

“We love playing at Goodman Stadium,” Marino said. “It’s usually a nice day, the crowd is great and we’re playing on the grass. The guys love that, it’s a great venue and a great place to play.”

After Saturday’s matchup, Lehigh will take on its second Ivy League team, University of Pennsylvania, at Goodman Stadium on Sept. 23. 

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