In Lehigh’s win over Yale University last year, defensive back Quentin Jones suffered a severe concussion in the fourth quarter that ended the game, season and semester for him.
Today, the now senior was back on the field ready to take on the Bulldogs, but a sense of déja vu loomed when teammate Donavon Harris went down after taking a knee to the head in the beginning of the second quarter.
Harris was escorted off the field in an ambulance after lying motionless for for a few minutes. While Harris’ injury drew parallels to last year’s game, the Mountain Hawks’ performance on the field did not.
With Yale quickly scoring two touchdowns in the first five minutes of the game, Lehigh (0-3) played from behind the entire game and never recovered, falling to the Bulldogs (1-0), 56-28 Saturday at Goodman Stadium.
“They looked like a whole different team (compared to last year),” Coen said. “There were definitely skill players on the field for Yale today that were not there last year.”
As Lehigh struggled, Yale’s offense flourished with sophomore quarterback Kurt Rawlings’ career day. He threw for 308 yards and four touchdowns in the victory. Rawlings’ backfield mate, Zane Dudek added 131 rushing yards to go along with two rushing touchdowns. The Mountain Hawk defense couldn’t find an answer to slow down the Bulldog offense.
“Clearly when you’re giving up 56 points, everything is going wrong,” Lehigh fifth-year defensive lineman Jimmy Mitchell said. “You can’t really pinpoint one problem. There’s not one issue, there’s a bunch of them.”
Junior quarterback Brad Mayes, who threw for 304 yards and three touchdowns, was sacked five times, a significant increase from only one sack in each of the other two games this season. Factoring those numbers in and several starters not in uniform, the Lehigh offense never got into a rhythm and missed out on several opportunities.
Injuries were a recurring theme as the Mountain Hawks were playing without four starters in senior defensive lineman Harrison Johnson, juniors kicker Ed Mish, wide receiver Luke Christiano and running back Dom Bragalone.
Despite Christiano sitting out, freshman wide receiver Jorge Portorreal took advantage of more playing time. In addition to his season-high 99 receiving yards, he scored his first career touchdown, and the Mountain Hawks’ final touchdown of the game, in the fourth quarter but the lopsided loss made it hard to celebrate.
“I’m happy (about) my first touchdown, but at the end of the day we lost, so it doesn’t really mean much to me at this point,” Portorreal said.
Portorreal and the Mountain Hawks will return to action in search of their first win against Penn next Saturday at Goodman Stadium.
Donavan Harris injury: Coen said he expects Harris to be fine.