Courtesy of Lehigh Athletics
BETHLEHEM, Pa. â€“ Three contests versus 2009 FCS playoff teams, including the defending national champions, as well as a trip to middle America highlight the 2010 Lehigh football schedule, announced by Andy Coen on Monday afternoon. The Mountain Hawks will play six games at picturesque Goodman Stadium and take on four scholarship schools throughout the season in what promises to be a very tough slate of contests. â€œThis is without question the most challenging schedule weâ€™ve put together since I have been the head coach at Lehigh,â€ Coen explained. â€œThere are some tough road trips weâ€™ll be taking and every week is going to be a test. But weâ€™re excited about the upcoming season and the teams that weâ€™ll be competing against.â€
The 2010 slate gets underway on September 4 when Lehigh heads to Des Moines, Iowa to take on the Drake Bulldogs in only the second-ever meeting between the schools. Drake went 8-3 last season, including a 5-1 mark at home, and was in contention for the Pioneer Football league championship until falling in its season finale. Lehigh downed Drake 19-0 in the 2008 season opener at Goodman Stadium in the first and only meeting.
The Mountain Hawks open their home schedule on Saturday, September 11 when they face a tough Villanova squad out of the Colonial Athletic Association. The Wildcats went 14-1 a season ago and defeated Montana 23-21 to win their first-ever FCS National Championship. Villanova will return a number of explosive players on both sides of the ball in 2010 and figures to be ranked among the nationâ€™s top teams when the season begins. â€œWeâ€™ll open the season with a long trip to Iowa to take on Drake and then come back to open our home schedule against Villanova, the defending national champions,â€ Coen explained. â€œDrake is coming off a very successful season and continues to improve and Villanova will be one of the toughest teams weâ€™ll see all season long.â€
On September 18 Lehigh takes on Princeton at Goodman Stadium as the schools meet for the fifth straight season. The Tigers will be under the direction of a new head coach in Bob Surace, a Princeton alum who previously served as an assistant coach with the Cincinnati Bengals of the National Football League.
Lehighâ€™s second road trip of the season is a tough one as the Mountain Hawks head north to take on the New Hampshire Wildcats on September 25. UNH went 10-3 a season ago and advanced to the quarterfinal round of the FCS playoffs. Lehigh has not played New Hampshire since the 1996 season. â€œThat is going to be another tough game,â€ Coen said. â€œNew Hampshire is a terrific program that has achieved a great deal of success with six straight seasons of at least seven wins so weâ€™ll have our work cut out for us.â€
October 2 begins a stretch of four straight home games for the Brown and White when Fordham comes to town. The Mountain Hawks defeated the Rams 35-28 in a back-and-forth affair last season in the Bronx with JB Clark accounting for five touchdowns in the win. Lehigh is 11-0 all-time against Fordham in Bethlehem. Following its bye week Lehigh returns to action on October 16 when the Mountain Hawks close out their non-league schedule vs. Ivy League power Harvard. The Crimson have posted nine straight seasons of at least seven wins, including a 7-3 mark in 2009.
The 2010 Patriot League slate begins on October 23 when the Mountain Hawks host Bucknell at Goodman Stadium. Lehigh has beaten the Bison 12 straight times, including last yearâ€™s 35-16 victory at Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium in Lewisburg. The Colgate Raiders will make their way to Bethlehem on October 30 for Lehighâ€™s regular season home finale. The last time Lehigh played Colgate at Goodman Stadium the teams engaged in a classic back-and-forth contest that came down to the wire. â€œSimilar to this past year, our fans will have many chances to see their Mountain Hawks inside Goodman Stadium in 2010,â€ Coen commented.
He continued, â€œThat will be a tough four game stretch of games for us. Fordham is very well-coached, Harvard is always a tough opponent and then we begin league play which means weâ€™re playing a championship game every week.â€
The Mountain Hawks make their second trip to New England on November 6 when they head to Worcester, Massachusetts to take on the Holy Cross Crusaders at historic Fitton Field. The Mountain Hawks have won seven of the past eight meetings between the schools in Massachusetts. November 13 will take Lehigh to the nationâ€™s capital as the Mountain Hawks take on the Georgetown Hoyas. The Brown and White has won nine straight vs. its league foe, including two shutouts in the last three meetings.
The 146th meeting of college footballâ€™s most played rivalry will take place on Saturday, November 20 at Lafayetteâ€™s Fisher Stadium in Easton. The Mountain Hawks have won two straight in the historic series, including a dramatic 27-21 overtime victory this past November in what was only the second meeting ever to need an extra session to determine the winner.