Patriot League Preview: Lehigh Mountain Hawks

by DJ Sixsmith
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Fordham Athletics

The Mountain Hawks try to move forward after disappointing finish in 2012

This is the fifth of seven articles that preview the 2013 Patriot League teams.  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 not included in the poll because it will not be able to compete for the Patriot League championship and NCAA automatic bid in 2013, and its games against League members will not count towards the final standings for either team.

For over three months last season, the Lehigh Mountain Hawks were undefeated and ranked in the top 10. It looked as though Andy Coen’s squad was a lock for the FCS playoffs. However, that all changed when the Colgate Raiders shocked the Patriot League with a 35-24 victory on Lehigh’s home turf. The Mountain Hawks not only failed to win the Patriot League title, but also missed out on the playoffs completely.

The mantra for the 2013 Lehigh Mountain Hawks is NOW: No Opportunity Wasted. Behind head coach and 3x Patriot League champ Andy Coen, Lehigh will look to revenge its bitter 2012 finish. The Mountain Hawks were selected to finish second in the Patriot League season poll behind Colgate University. The good news for Coach Coen is that two seniors lead his team on both sides of the ball.

Starting with the offense, running back Keith Sherman returns to Bethlehem after a standout junior campaign. The Shermanator was one of the biggest reasons why Lehigh was so dominant in the red zone as the South Carolina native found pay dirt seven times last season. Lehigh’s workhorse had one of his best performances last year against the Rams, scoring two touchdowns, one of which was a 70-yard TD reception. Sherman is one of the squad’s four captains.

One of the other captains is the hard-hitting senior linebacker Nigel Muhammad. The senior received preseason All Patriot League honors due in large part to his 76 tackles in 2012. In fact, the outside backer led the Mountain Hawks with 10.5 tackles for a loss. Muhammad proved he was one of the best linebackers in the FCS when he registered 12 tackles and two sacks in a win against Princeton.

The Mountain Hawks kick off the 2013 campaign at home against Central Connecticut State on September 7th. Lehigh’s first Patriot league tilt comes against Fordham in the Bronx on October 5th at noon. That game can be seen on CBS Sports Network. Finally the highly anticipated Lehigh Colgate rematch takes place in Hamilton, NY on November 16th.   

Listen below to my interviews from Patriot League media day this past July with head coach Andy Coen, senior running back Keith Sherman and senior linebacker Nigel Muhammad.

WFUV is the home of Fordham Football all season long, including live game coverage and the weekly coach’s show, Monday Night Quarterback.

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Coach Andy Coen Nigel Muhammad Keith Sherman