Senior wide receiver Derek Knott and senior quarterback Nick Shafnisky celebrate after Shafnisky scores Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016, in Fisher Stadium. Lehigh will face University of New Hampshire in the first round of the FCS Tournament on Saturday, Nov. 26, 2016. (Roshan Giyanani/B&W Staff)

No time to rest: No. 18 Lehigh gears up for first round FCS matchup at No. 22 UNH


The Patriot League champion Lehigh football team learned its playoff fate Sunday morning, as it was announced during the FCS selection show it would be facing University of New Hampshire in the first round.

Lehigh (9-2, 6-0 Patriot) is ranked 18th in the latest STATS FCS Top 25 poll while New Hampshire (7-4) comes in at 22nd. The Mountain Hawks enter this playoff game after a Patriot League-clinching win against Bucknell University and most recently, a win in the 152nd rivalry game against Lafayette College on Nov. 19.

“We’re taking this game like a one-game season since that’s all we’re guaranteed,” senior offensive lineman Micah Tennant said. “But at the same time we’re approaching it with the same process we’ve used for every other game.”

The team is currently riding a nine-game winning streak dating back to its 49-28 win against University of Pennsylvania on Sept. 17. This playoff appearance will be Lehigh’s 10th overall and its first since 2011, which was also the last time the team won the Patriot League.

“It’s been an unbelievable journey so far, and I want to make a run in the playoffs with my senior class,” said Zach Duffy, a senior captain and offensive lineman. “We are proud to be in a position to bring back the winning tradition of Lehigh football.”

The Mountain Hawks will face a Wildcat team that earned an at-large bid out of the Colonial Athletic Association. This will be the 15th time the teams have played each other in school history, the most recent matchup coming in 2014 when New Hampshire beat Lehigh, 45-27.

The only other CAA opponent Lehigh played this season was Villanova, who beat Lehigh in a close 26-21 game. Tennant said having the experience of playing Villanova in a game that came down to the final minutes will help the team have confidence going into the New Hampshire matchup.

“I’m excited to play another CAA opponent,” sophomore kicker Ed Mish said. “New Hampshire will give us a great test in all three phases of the game and will challenge us from the first whistle to the last.”

This first round playoff game will take place at 2 p.m. Saturday at New Hampshire’s Wildcat Stadium. The game will be streamed on ESPN3, and the winner of this game will face the CAA champion, No. 4 seed James Madison University on Saturday, Dec. 3 in Harrisonburg, Virginia.

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1 Comment

  1. Lehigh should have had the home game considering we are Champions of our league & ranked higher than New Hampshire. Didn’t we bid for home game?

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