The Lehigh football team practices at Whitehead Football Practice Fields on Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2014. Lehigh is playing its first Patriot League road game this Saturday, Nov. 1, 2014, against Georgetown. (Andrew Garrison, B&W Photo)

Hawks and Hoyas to battle for first Patriot League win

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The Mountain Hawks and the Georgetown University Hoyas are the only squads in the Patriot League without a conference win. The two teams will battle it out Saturday in pursuit of their first Patriot League win of the season.

Lehigh football looks to move on after a tough home loss to Fordham University during homecoming weekend.

The Hawks surrendered nearly 600 total yards this past Saturday against the Rams and will need to improve both their rushing and passing defense to defeat the 2-6 Hoyas. With the loss, Lehigh fell to 1-6 overall on the season and 0-2 in the Patriot League.

On Saturday, the Hawks yielded 296 rushing yards and 292 passing yards against a dominant Fordham team. Lehigh’s rush defense proved to be their demise as the Rams ran the ball 50 times, averaging 5.9 yards per carry. Moreover, Fordham’s five rushing touchdowns proved to be the difference in the game. With the win, Fordham now moves to 7-1 overall and 3-0 in the Patriot League.

Lehigh Football 2014

However, Lehigh certainly has some positives to draw from its game against the potential Patriot League champions. Although Fordham displayed superior passing attack throughout the game, Lehigh’s pass defense proved to be stout in the red zone, allowing just one passing touchdown. Additionally, Lehigh remained disciplined on both sides of the ball, committing just four penalties for 38 yards compared to Fordham’s 11 penalties for 115 yards.

“As far as what we are looking at to carry into next week, we are looking at the positives from this week’s game to improve on the mistakes that we made,” junior center Steven Camasta said. “We need to have confidence going into the last four games of the season and play with pride.”

This week, Lehigh will be traveling to the nation’s capital to face the Hoyas. History has been kind to the Hawks — they have a 13-game winning streak against the Hoyas. However, Georgetown will not be an easy win because the team has the Patriot League’s best scoring defense. The team surrenders an average of just 19.1 points per game, which is nearly half of Lehigh’s average scoring defense at 37.9 points per game.

Conversely, the Hoyas’ scoring offense is the worst in the conference. The team averages a mere 12.8 points per game. Due to this lack of offense, Georgetown is 2-6. In its six losses, Georgetown has scored no more than 21 points, and in three losses, the team has been limited to single digits in points.

Lehigh will look to senior running back Rich Sodeke to ride his hot streak into this game, and hopefully to a victory. Over the past two games, Lehigh has leaned on Sodeke to facilitate the rushing attack and control the time of possession. Last week against Fordham, Sodeke notched 12 carries for 93 yards and a touchdown. In Lehigh’s first win against Cornell University on Oct. 18, Sodeke erupted for 154 yards on 23 carries and one touchdown.

Last season in Goodman Stadium, the Hawks dominated Georgetown in the first half by firing out of the gate to a 38-3 lead. The Hoyas rallied in the second half, but ended up falling short and losing 45-24.

Despite the recent losses, Lehigh remains confident in its preparation and in its outlook on the season as it faces Georgetown this weekend.

“The attitude has been better than most people would think; everyone is just trying to do their job and help us win a game,” Camasta said. “The preparation has been the same nearly every week. We need to have a good week of practice to go out there and win the game on Saturday.”

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