Lehigh’s football schedule for the 2016 season has been released, marking Sept. 3 as the season debut.
The Mountain Hawks will face Monmouth University first, then four more out-of-conference games will be played before Patriot League play begins with Colgate University Oct. 8. Of the many important games, the Colgate and Fordham University matchups will bring special interest as the Hawks endured losses to these teams in the 2015 season.
Villanova University will also prove to be a new challenge for the team. The 2016 season will feature the return of many experienced players on both offense and defense, including the return of the starting senior quarterback Nick Shafnisky.
Last season, the Hawks played 11 games and suffered losses to Yale University, James Madison University, Princeton University, Colgate and Fordham. Both the Colgate and Fordham games will be played at Goodman Stadium as the team will have a chance at redemption for its 2015 losses.
The team will also get a chance to redeem itself for losses against Yale and Princeton, two of the team’s non-conference opponents. Three of the five non-conference opponents are the same as last year’s schedule.
Overall, Lehigh will have five home games and six away games. The team won’t have more than two home or away games in a row. Also, the team will have its bye week very late in the season, just before The Rivalry game.
The Lehigh-Lafayette rivalry will continue Nov. 19. This will be the 152nd meeting between the two teams. Last year Lehigh came out on top in a 49-35 win at home. This year the game will be played at Lafayette in Easton.
Sophomore tight end Drew Paulsen said he is excited to be a part of the rivalry game for the third year in a row and thinks this year will go just as well as last year, if not better.
“The team looks stronger and better than last year,” he wrote in an email. “Everyone has been working hard and has made improvements all around. As I am a part of the offense, I think it will be a major key. However, I’m excited to see what our defense has in store as well.”