Lehigh football was on its way to one of its strongest offensive outputs of the season, but Fordham University running back Chase Edmonds spoiled that outing.
Edmonds’ 347 rushing yards was not only a career high, but also a Patriot League single-game record. He now leads the entire nation — including both FBS and FCS teams — in rushing yards.
The Mountain Hawks fell short 59-42 in their game against the Rams on Saturday, once again dropping to a losing record. Lehigh held a lead at halftime, and even made a comeback in the fourth quarter after falling behind by 24 points. However, this energy got them as close as 10 points before Edmonds burst for a 75-yard touchdown, his third of the day.
“The first thing I told the guys was that I was pleased with their effort and how they competed, I thought that part of the game was awesome,” coach Andy Coen said. “Unfortunately we’re still our own worst enemy, whether its penalties or turnovers… you can’t beat a good team.”
Through film the team was able to observe the Rams’ shortcomings on the defensive side, which Lehigh hoped to take advantage of. The team counted on Fordham giving up a lot of points as a result of aggressive offensive attacks on Lehigh’s part in the middle of the field, where Fordham defense struggles most.
“Going into the game we knew they were one of the better teams we would play this year…they have been the top team in the Patriot League for the past two years,” senior wide receiver Derek Knott said. “As far as strategy, we had two weeks to prepare for this game, so we watched a lot of film on them to get familiar with their tendencies and find weak spots in their schemes.”
Lehigh’s offensive end took a hit when it lost junior quarterback Nick Shafnisky after he injured his hip in the first half. He was replaced by freshman quarterback Brad Mayes, who threw for two touchdowns, but also threw three interceptions.
“We moved the ball at will for most of the game, and then they started adjusting and stopped us,” junior quarterback Nick Shafnisky said. “They just had more explosive plays than we did I’d say and that helped them a lot…they’ve beaten us for the past three years but it is always a good game.”
Lehigh totaled five turnovers, which he says is near impossible to come back from.
Mayes pushed past a slow start to complete 16-of-38 passes for 205 yards. Sophomore wide receiver Gatlin Casey was Lehigh’s top receiver with 88 receiving yards and a touchdown on six receptions. Sophomore wide receiver Troy Pelletier contributed five for 84 yards and sophomore wide receiver Sasha Kelsey caught five for 65 yards and two touchdowns.
Freshman running back Dominick Bragalone notched his second consecutive 100-plus yard rushing game, and the third of his career, with 109 yards on 19 carries.
Towards the end of the game, in Lehigh’s final push, its defense got the ball back again and moved down the field. Unfortunately, after several mistakes in the red zone, freshman kicker Ed Mish’s 34-yard field goal attempt banged off the left upright. Two plays later, Edmonds capped the game with his fourth total touchdown.
“The kids were in the right frame of mind and have been all year, and it’s a great group of guys,” Coen said. “They just have to learn from themselves what they need to do to really be a good football team. They were a beatable football team for us today, we just couldn’t get it done.”
Lehigh will make its return to Goodman Stadium next Saturday to host the Georgetown Hoyas on Family Weekend. Kickoff is set for 12:30 p.m.