‘Spillane on Sports’ Column: Football season still alive

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Brendan Spillane

Brendan Spillane

The Lehigh football team’s shootout loss (59-42) against Fordham University on Oct. 24 invited several opinions about the team’s overall season performance.

For one, Fordham (7-1, 3-0 Patriot) is a football powerhouse and has won three games in a row, sitting in first place in the Patriot League. Losing by only 17 points to a powerhouse football team is not terrible. However, the worst part about this loss is that Lehigh (3-4, 1-1 Patriot) lost the game for themselves. Fordham didn’t necessarily beat them.

Lehigh turned the ball over five times throughout the game. Junior quarterback Nick Shafnisky and freshman replacement quarterback Brad Mayes threw four interceptions combined, and Lehigh also gave up a fumble.

Freshman kicker Ed Mish missed a 34-yard field goal in fourth quarter, which hit the goal post.

“The first thing I told the guys was that I was pleased with their effort and how they competed,” coach Andy Coen said in the press conference after the game. “That part of the game was awesome. Unfortunately, we’re still our own worst enemy. Whether its penalties or turnovers, you can’t beat a good team with those. They’re trying to learn that lesson.”

Although coming off a tough loss to Fordham, Lehigh does have something to look forward to in the future. It will play two consecutive home games against Georgetown University (4-4, 2-1 Patriot) on Oct. 31, and College of the Holy Cross (3-4, 1-2 Patriot) on Nov. 7.

These are teams that are beatable for Lehigh. However, before getting too far ahead, the game that Lehigh needs to — and will — focus on is the Georgetown game this Saturday.

Saturday’s game is also Family Weekend, which normally brings in greater attendance than a normal game, as family and friends will travel to Lehigh. During last years’ Family Weekend game against Fordham, the attendance was 9,372 as compared to 6,249, the average attendance for home games in 2014.

This will be an especially important game for Lehigh because it will set the tone for the rest of the season. By winning this game, the team will not only have the opportunity to boost fan popularity with a larger crowd, but also an opportunity to possibly finish with a winning record at the end of the year. After Georgetown University and Holy Cross, Lehigh will play games against Colgate University and Lafayette College to cap off the 2015 season.

After a 3-8 record last year, a finishing this year over .500 for the Lehigh football team should not be considered a terrible year. If Lehigh beats Georgetown this coming Saturday, the Hawks’ overall record will be at 4-4 going into its three remaining games. This will give the team a chance to finish a strong season.

It is very important for the Lehigh football team to finish strong because Coen, and the football program as a whole, does not want Lehigh to be a losing football program.

The Lehigh football team and Coen are not yet near this point of having multiple, consecutive losing seasons. However, this gives all the more reason as to why the game against Georgetown is so important for Lehigh to win, as it can help propel the team to end the season with that coveted winning record.

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