‘Spillane on Sports’ Column: Expectations for Fordham football game


As the bye week sets in for the Lehigh football team, there is a lot to be said on the past six weeks. Going 3-3, the Lehigh football team is off to a mediocre start. Two of the victories are against Central Connecticut State University and the University of Pennsylvania, both of which are below .500 on the year so far.

Beating Bucknell University, for a very much needed win, was still against a team who is 3-2, and won two games by five points or less. Putting this all together, the Lehigh football team beat three teams that have a combined record of six wins and nine losses.

This may seem like the year that many people expected from Lehigh. Losing against Lafayette College last year in Yankee Stadium by an embarrassing score of 27-7, and capping off a 3-8 overall record, brought out emotions felt by many fans and players.

“We’ve got such great, loyal fans at Lehigh and so many of them were in attendance today,” Coen said after the Lafayette loss,  according to an article in The Morning Call. “We wanted to play well and win this football game for all of those people. It’s the people who make the experience for me at Lehigh, and I don’t like letting people down.”

Even after going 3-3 to start off the year, the Lehigh football team still has a chance to be successful. The bye week seems to come at a perfect time — halfway through the season. It gives a chance for Lehigh to regroup and focus on what it wants to accomplish throughout the rest of the season. 

The first game back will be against Fordham University (5-1) and will most likely be the best team that Lehigh will play all season. Lehigh will be coming off both a bye week and good performances from junior quarterback Nick Shafnisky and freshman running back Dominick Bragalone.

Against Bucknell, Shafnisky went 22-for-33 for 203 yards, adding 63 yards on the ground. He had a combined three touchdowns with one interception. Bragalone had 107 yards rushing on 18 attempts.

“It was a great feeling,” Bragalone said, according to an article in The Morning Call. “We knew we were going against a great defense today, one of the best in the nation. We just worked hard. Everybody did their job, we executed and came away with a great win.”

The Fordham game will prove to be a great challenge as the Rams hold the best overall record in the Patriot League. Fordham has beaten multiple good teams, including a 37-35 victory against Army to start off its season. Combine Fordham’s record with an away game for Lehigh, and it seems to be that Lehigh will be an underdog.

However, this isn’t always a bad thing. The expectations for the Lehigh-Fordham football game might be set pretty low for Lehigh. Although this may come off as a bad thing at first glance, it actually gives Lehigh an opportunity to surpass expectations set for them. Even if the team does not win, it will have a chance to play against a stellar team, and it will make them better as a football team.

After Lehigh plays Fordham, the schedule becomes much easier. They will face Georgetown University and College of the Holy Cross, which both have overall records of .500 or less. Both these games will be at Goodman Stadium.

It cannot be stressed enough how important the games against Georgetown and Holy Cross will be for the Lehigh football team. These two games will provide an opportunity for Lehigh to win two games and go into the final stretch of its season with a chance to go above .500 and end the season on a high note against a beatable Lafayette College team on Nov. 22.

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