College Football Preview: Lehigh (1-1) at Navy (1-1)
Lehigh Mountain Hawks at Navy Midshipmen
Saturday, September 15, 2018; 3:30 ET
Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, Annapolis
The Side-by-Side Stats
With Navy coming off an impressive win against Memphis, and Lehigh recovering from a disheartening loss to Villanova, Saturday’s game between the FBS and FCS teams has the classic makings for a trap.
The Midshipmen can not overlook the Mountain Hawks, a Patriot League school who is treating this game as their Super Bowl. Danger lurks here.
Let’s take a look at the numbers from last week’s games before diving deeper.
Last Week’s Results: Lehigh: 31-9, loss to Villanova… NAVY: 22-21, win over Memphis
Total Yards: Lehigh: 176… NAVY: 316
Passing Yards: Lehigh: 144… NAVY: 52
Rushing Yards: Lehigh: 32… NAVY: 264
Penalty Yards: Lehigh: 8 for 74… NAVY: 1 for 10
1st Downs: Lehigh: 10… NAVY: 20
3rd Downs: Lehigh: 2 of 15… NAVY: 6 of 17
4th Downs: Lehigh: 1 of 1… NAVY: 2 of 2
Time of Possession: Lehigh: 26:04… NAVY: 42:47
The Lehigh Offense
Brad Mayes, a 6’2” senior, lines up under center for Lehigh. This season, Mayes has completed 31 of his 52 passes for 267 yards, one TD and one interception. Last week, Mayes and the offense were kept to just 176 total yards, Lehigh’s lowest total since 2010.
Among Mayes’ favorite targets are Luke Christiano, senior WR, and Sasha Kelsey, fifth year WR.
However, it is Dom Bragalone who defines the Lehigh offense. The star RB left the Villanova game in the second quarter due to a head injury. The senior will not play Saturday against Navy.
Bragalone has 155 yards and three TDs on 36 carries in five quarters of football this season. Five times in his collegiate career, Bragalone has been named the Patriot League Offensive Player of the Week. Bragalone’s 42 career rushing TDs ties the school record.
His absence from the Lehigh offense can not be underestimated.
The Navy Defense
After faltering mightily against Hawai’i in week one, the Navy defense stepped up impressively against Memphis. Leading the way was senior safety Sean Williams. His nine tackles and two forced fumbles against the Tigers led him to being named the AAC Defensive Player of the Week and the NAAA Athlete of the Week. Williams played a large role in a defense that kept a normally high-powered offense scoreless during last week’s critical fourth quarter.
Williams, however, had company making crucial plays on defense. Juan Hailey, senior safety, also forced a key fumble. Senior DE Jarvis Polu grabbed the loose ball at the Memphis 27-yard line. Taylor Heflin and Hudson Sullivan, both senior LBs, also recovered fumbles for Navy.
The four turnovers were crucial in the Midshipmen’s win against Memphis. Such an effort against Lehigh might very well be deciding.
Lehigh Players to Watch
• Mark Walker (senior, LB)… led Lehigh with 11 tackles, including a sack and three tackles for loss against Villanova
• Sam McCloskey (senior, DB)… leads the defense with 15 tackles and three passes broken up this year
• Evan Chadbourne (sophomore, RB)… along with Buskirk, looks to pick up the slack left by Bragalone’s injury
• Jake Buskirk (senior, RB)
• Rashawn Allen (freshman, RB)… starting in Bragalone’s place, he must shine to give Lehigh a fighting chance
Keys to a Navy Win
1. Do not underestimate the Mountain Hawks.
2. Do not underestimate the Mountain Hawks.
3. Do not underestimate the Mountain Hawks.