Senior defensive lineman Greg Palma lines up with the rest of Lehigh's football team before a play against Georgetown University on Saturday, Oct. 31, 2015 at Goodman Stadium. Lehigh beat Lafayette College 49-35, its first win over the Leopards since 2012. (Chris Barry/B&W Photo)

Mayes, Bragalone lead Lehigh football over Georgetown

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The Mountain Hawks were led by the freshman duo of quarterback Brad Mayes and running back Dom Bragalone — both of whom had big games in their 33-28 win Saturday against Georgetown University.

Mayes was 18-for-24 passing and racked up 214 yards and two touchdowns. Bragalone picked up 169 yards on 20 attempts for his third straight game over 100 yards rushing.

The two were able to compliment each other as their run game helped set up opportunities for Lehigh (4-4, 2-1 Patriot) in the passing game.

“We game-planned all week to establish the run and take some shots deep,” Mayes said. “Coaches did a really good job getting us prepared and we just executed what they prepared us with.”

Mayes completed five passes over 20 yards on the day as big plays were a big part of Lehigh’s success. Sophomore wide receiver Troy Pelletier was the recipient of 11 passes from Mayes and had a strong performance, catching two touchdown passes and picking up 99 yards. This was Pelletier’s fourth game of the season with double digit catches, and he leads the team in all the major receiving categories.

Another factor of Lehigh’s success was the avoidance of turnovers, which had been a problem in previous games. It was a clean game by both teams in that there were no interceptions thrown and no fumbles lost. Lehigh only committed three penalties on the day — their second fewest in a game this season — making up for a problem that had been prevalent throughout the season.

Lehigh was never behind in the game and seized control from the start by scoring the game’s first 17 points before Georgetown responded with a touchdown in the first quarter. Despite jumping out to an early lead, Georgetown continued to fight though and kept the game within reach throughout.

A key moment came in the fourth quarter with Lehigh up 27-21 and stuck on the Georgetown 1-yard line on fourth down. Rather then kick the field goal, coach Andy Coen decided to take a risk and go for the touchdown. He sent in junior quarterback Nick Shafnisky for the play, and he ran the ball in to get the points and put the Mountain Hawks up 33-21.

Georgetown’s big performers were quarterback Kyle Nolan and wide receiver Jake DeCicco. Nolan had an excellent game completing 25 of 38 passes for 355 yards and four touchdowns. DeCicco caught 10 passes for 195 yards and a touchdown. But the effort from these two players proved to come too late, as they were unable to close the large gap Lehigh put up early.

Bragalone’s big day for Lehigh included some long runs, such as a 37-yard burst in the second quarter, which set up a field goal, and a 41-yard run in the third quarter that set up another field goal. Bragalone credited his offensive line for their role in his performance.

“This whole year I feel like the offensive line has just been getting stronger and stronger,” Bragalone said. “We talked about at the beginning of the week that we have to execute and the offense, the line, the whole entire team came out and executed.”

Senior rover Randall Lawson was a key player on defense and had a big game, recording 11 tackles and one pass defensed. Lawson’s effort and a solid performance by the rest of the defense was enough to hold off a late surge form Georgetown that put them within five points of Lehigh with 1:40 left in the 4th quarter.

After the game, Coen was pleased with the teams performance and credited their resolve.

“It was a good win for our guys today,” Coen said. “We didn’t make it easy, but I liked how our guys kept battling.”

After Lehigh’s defeat of Georgetown and Colgate University’s win over Fordham University on Saturday, the Patriot League standings were shaken up. Lehigh currently sits in third place in the league.

The Hawks will face off against College of the Holy Cross, which is sixth in Patriot League standings, on Nov. 7 at 12:30 p.m.

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