Although the Lehigh football team clinched the Patriot League Championship on Nov. 5 when it defeated Bucknell, the Mountain Hawks still had one regular season game to play: the 152nd meeting of The Rivalry between Lehigh and Lafayette.
The team, led defensively by fifth-year defensive back LaQuan Lambert, won easily against Lafayette 45-21 on Saturday at Fisher Field. Lambert, who was one of the only players to have played at Lafayette for Rivalry 148, had his best game of the season with eight tackles, 1.5 sacks, a fumble recovery and two pass break-ups.
Though Lehigh’s 45-point performance created praise for the offense, the defense made a big contribution as well beginning with the first two drives. Both ended in turnovers for the Leopards.
On his 23rd birthday, Lambert recovered a fumble on the game’s first drive, which was a big momentum shift, giving Lehigh its first possession of the game even after a 52-yard drive by Lafayette into the red zone. The defensive back also sacked Lafayette quarterback Drew Reed as time ran out in the second quarter, preventing a Leopards from scoring a touchdown or even calling a timeout to set up a field goal.
Lambert’s fumble recovery was his first of the season, and he recorded his season-high in tackles as well. The 1.5 sacks he registered were the first of his career.
Lambert and the Mountain Hawks will play at New Hampshire on Saturday for the first round of the FCS Tournament. Lambert recorded two tackles last time Lehigh played against New Hampshire in 2014.