The Lehigh defensive line rushes the quarterback on Nov. 1 against Georgetown. Lehigh fell to Holy Cross in this game 27-20.

Late interception lifts Holy Cross over Lehigh football 27-20

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For just the fourth time since 1970, Lehigh’s football team has seven or more losses in a season.

After shutting out the College of Holy Cross in the first quarter, the mistakes began to pile up for Lehigh as it fell to the Crusaders 27-20.

Lehigh had one last chance to score, but a pass that bounced off the hands of freshman wide receiver Sasha Kelsey was intercepted with just over a minute left, effectively ending the game.

Missed opportunities continue to haunt the Mountain Hawks, and this game was no exception. Lehigh was stopped on a key fourth and goal situation in the first quarter, shifting the momentum. Holy Cross scored 17 unanswered points to end the first half.

With the loss, Lehigh falls to 2-7 overall and 1-3 in the Patriot League. It was Lehigh’s first loss to Holy Cross since 2009.

Lehigh’s offense struggled to get anything going in the first half, but they bounced back in the second half, out-gaining Holy Cross 470-306 in total yardage in the game. Sophomore quarterback Nick Shafnisky led the passing attack, going 24/38 for 390 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. The 390 yards through the air was a career high for Shafnisky

The first interception was a costly one, as it gave Holy Cross good enough field position to score another touchdown just before the end of the first half.

On a good note for Lehigh, freshman wide receiver Troy Pelletier set a new career high in both receptions and yards in this game, getting 10 catches for 214 yards and a touchdown. He was injured early in the fourth quarter, though and did not return to the game, which prevented Lehigh’s passing attack from being as strong.

Unlike the past couple of weeks, Lehigh could not get anywhere running the ball. Senior running back Rich Sodeke was stopped to just 26 yards on 12 carries, including just two carries in the second half. Sophomore running back Brandon Yosha, who has slowly been working back into the rotation after his injury, did have an 11-yard touchdown late in the fourth quarter that cut the Holy Cross lead to seven, but it wasn’t enough.

After coming into the second half with no momentum, Lehigh jumped back into the game quickly after Shafnisky fired a pass to Pelletier for a 58-yard touchdown just over a minute into the third quarter.

Holy Cross responded with a field goal on its next drive, pushing its lead back out to 24-10. After that, the two teams then traded field goals to end the third quarter, making the score 27-13 going into the final quarter of the game.

Lehigh’s defense made some big stops in the fourth quarter, forcing Holy Cross to go three and out and punt on multiple occasions. Lehigh finally cut the lead to one score after Yosha’s touchdown, but the interception a few minutes later by Shafnisky sealed its fate.

Lehigh will return home next Saturday to face Colgate University at 12:30 p.m.

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