One game from 2013 Patriot League title, Mountain Hawks look to avenge key Fordham & Lafayette losses
This is the sixth of seven articles that preview the 2014 Patriot League. They are in the inverse order of the preseason poll voting by Patriot League football head coaches and sports information directors, who did not include their own school in the selections. Fordham was included in the preseason poll for the first time since introducing scholarships in 2010.
2013 Record: 8-3 Overall, 3-2 Patriot League
2013 Meeting: Fordham 52, Lehigh 34 (Bronx, NY)
Head Coach: Andy Coen (9th season, 59-33)
Lehigh wins a lot of football games, and last year was no exception. It was the three games they lost, however, that were most telling about their 2013 journey. Blowout losses at Fordham and at home to Lafayette (one which outside linebacker Isaiah Campbell admitted “got out of hand a little bit”) stung the most in an 8-3 campaign that saw the Mountain Hawks finish second to a .500 Lafayette squad.
Everybody in FCS knows about the high flying Mountain Hawk offense. It appears Nick Shafnisky has won the quarterback competition against Matt McHale, who started the final two games in 2013 but underwent offseason surgery. Regardless of the starter, losing Lee Kurfis to graduation will be a significant loss to an offense that revolved around him. Senior offensive lineman Ned Daryoush is the lone preseason offensive all-Patriot League pick for the Mountain Hawks. They have had multiple first team offensive picks to the postseason all-conference team each of the past four years - which means if history is any indication, Lehigh will add another name to the honor roll by year's end.
Defensively, it will be up to all-Patriot League selection Tim Newton and Isaiah Campbell to prevent the shootouts that resulted in the Mountain Hawks’ most disappointing losses. A new defensive coordinator has the team “hungry” to improve on last year’s effort.
Hear interviews with Isaiah Campbell and coach Andy Coen from Patriot League Media Day on July 31 below.
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