Quick scores and running the ball led Lehigh’s football team all the way its first Patriot League win of the season.
Led by a career-high 187 receiving yards by freshman wide receiver Troy Pelletier, Lehigh defeated Georgetown University 27-19.
Lehigh will move to 2-6 overall on the season and 1-2 in the conference while Georgetown falls to 2-7 overall and 0-4 in the league.
Georgetown began to fight back late in the game after cutting the lead to eight halfway through the fourth quarter, but Lehigh’s defense held strong and stopped the Hoyas on fourth down on back-to-back drives.
The Mountain Hawks ran the ball early and did not give up, rushing 46 times as a team for 154 yards. Senior running back Rich Sodeke led the rushing attack with 23 carries for 110 yards and a touchdown.
Sophomore quarterback Nick Shafnisky also bounced back from last week’s loss and had a great passing performance, going 17/26 for 345 yards and two touchdowns. The passing yards were a career-high for him, and it was his first 300-yard game since the team’s loss to Yale University on Sept. 20.
For just the second time all season, Lehigh out-gained its opponent in total yardage. The Mountain Hawks picked up 499 yards while the Hoyas picked up just 363. It’s the most yards Lehigh has gained in a win this season.
Lehigh quickly jumped to a 10-0 lead after a 23-yard field goal by sophomore kicker Ryan Pandy and a 16-yard touchdown catch by Pelletier. Pelletier’s touchdown came just four minutes after the field goal after Lehigh forced a fumble on a kickoff and recovered the ball in good field position.
The momentum shifted for a short time when Lehigh missed a field goal and Georgetown made one of its own, but Lehigh bounced back and got another field goal late in the second quarter to make the score 13-3.
The score remained the way it was for most of the third quarter until Lehigh put together a 10-play drive that was capped off by an 8-yard touchdown catch by Sodeke. It was Sodeke’s first multi-touchdown game of his career.
The momentum shifted again after a high snap went over the head of Shafnisky and bounced out the back of the end zone for a safety to make the score 20-5. Georgetown then quickly drove down the field and scored a touchdown, but the extra point was blocked. Lehigh’s lead was cut to 20-11.
Just a minute and a half later, Lehigh had a quick drive of its own, led by a 69-yard catch by Pelletier, which was a career long for him. Sodeke finished off the drive with a 6-yard touchdown run.
Georgetown scored a touchdown and got a 2-point conversion a few minutes later, but it was too little, too late for the Hoyas.
Lehigh was great in terms of fourth downs, both offensively and defensively. The Hawks converted on all three of their fourth downs in the first half and stopped Georgetown on two key fourth downs late in the fourth quarter.
The Mountain Hawks will look to string a couple of wins together as they stay on the road to take on College of the Holy Cross next Saturday at 12:30 p.m.