Rich Sodeke, '15, practices at Whitehead Football Practice Fields on Oct. 29. The senior running back hopes to help lead his team to a win against Colgate on Nov. 15. (Andrew Garrison/B&W Staff)

Lehigh football survives late comeback, beats Colgate for first home win of season

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It took the entire season, but Lehigh football finally did it: It won a game at Goodman Stadium. And it will be the last home game of the seniors’ careers at Lehigh.

Despite a bit of a comeback in the end, Lehigh defeated Colgate University to win the game 30-27 on Senior Day.

Lehigh will now improve to 3-7 on the season while Colgate will fall to 4-7. Both teams are now 2-3 in the Patriot League.

Colgate had an opportunity to tie the game late in the fourth quarter, but it missed a 30-yard field goal and Lehigh took over on offense.

Lehigh’s offense kept the turnovers to a minimum, which was a big part of its success. It totaled 361 yards in the game, including 157 on the ground.

After freshman wide receiver Troy Pelletier stole the show on offense the past two weeks, senior running back Rich Sodeke stepped up and was arguably Lehigh’s most important player. He ran the ball 19 times for 54 yards and a touchdown and ran back an 85-yard kick return touchdown towards the end of the second quarter. It was Lehigh’s first kick return touchdown since 2009.

Sophomore quarterback Nick Shafnisky was accurate in this game, completing 19 of 22 passes for 204 yards and a touchdown. One of his favorite targets of the game was senior wide receiver Josh Parris, who caught six passes for 84 yards.

Pelletier still had another great game, though, getting seven catches for 89 yards and a touchdown. He also added six carries for 31 yards.

Lehigh started off strong on offense, working the clock down and maintaining drives. Sodeke scored his first touchdown of the game with less than two minutes left in the first quarter to make it 7-0.

Colgate appeared to begin a comeback after a blocked punt late in the second quarter that led to a touchdown, cutting the Mountain Hawk lead to three. But Lehigh scored 10 points in the final minute of the first half to bring its halftime lead to 20-7.

Lehigh extended its lead in the third quarter with another field goal from sophomore kicker Ryan Pandy and a touchdown by Pelletier.

Pandy’s three field goals in the game were a career high for him for most in a single game. His 42-yard field goal in the second quarter was also the longest of his career.

But, Colgate began to make a comeback in the fourth quarter with a couple scores of its own. They scored two touchdowns in two quick possessions, both of which were in the first half of the fourth quarter.

Colgate missed the field goal late in the game, but it did get one final chance at scoring. The Raiders had to start the drive deep in their own territory though and struggled to get anything going. Eventually, junior defensive back LaQuan Lambert picked off a pass for Lehigh to end the game.

Lehigh will finish its season next week at Yankee Stadium when it takes on rival Lafayette College for the 150th time in college football history.

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