After strong showing against Lafayette, football team prepares for home opener| Sep 24, 2015
Coming off its first season opener victory in nine years, the football team hopes to carry the momentum of last week’s dominant victory over Lafayette into Saturday’s game against Lehigh. Despite this, the Mountain Hawks’ consistent success over the last few seasons will present a much greater challenge than Lafayette did last week.
Lehigh comes into Saturday’s match having already played three games. In fact, Princeton will be Lehigh’s second straight Ivy opponent after the Mountain Hawks defeated Penn 42-21 last weekend. Between the two teams, Lehigh holds a four-game win streak over Princeton with its previous meeting ending in a 29-28 thriller.
Commenting on the challenge that Lehigh presents, senior co-captain Seth DeValve said, “Lehigh is always a tough opponent. They play hard and run to the football. They’re not the type of team who is going to try to trick you; they just line up their 11 against their opponents and try and outwork them. That’s why Lehigh has been good for many years.”
“Our preparation for them is the same as any other week. We work hard during practice to be in shape and to know our opponent. The game is always won or lost between Tuesday and Friday,” he added.
Comparing the two teams’ styles, Princeton’s running game far surpasses Lehigh’s. The Tigers rushed over 300 yards against Lafayette while the Mountain Hawks average only 166 yards through three games.
Heading into the 2015 season, the quarterback position has been the Tigers’ biggest question mark. Following the graduation of star quarterbacks Quinn Epperly ’15 and Connor Michelsen ’15, an offensive void widens. Fortunately, in his starting debut, junior quarterback Chad Kanoff rose to the occasion. Kanoff threw 20-31 for 256 yards.
Meanwhile Lehigh quarterback Nick Shafnisky comes off a career-high game of five touchdowns over Penn, passing three and rushing the remainder. Shafnisky accounted for nearly 70 percent of the Mountain Hawk yardage, accounting for 345 of the team’s 495 yards.
The Mountain Hawks also feature an impressive host of freshman. In fact, a Mountain Hawk has won the Patriot League Rookie of the Week award for three consecutive weeks.Fans hoping to catch the challenging home opener at 5 p.m. on Saturday can also participate in Community and Staff Day. Faculty, students, and local residents can enjoy a Family Fun-Fest and an assortment of entertainment. Princeton student athletes will also host a youth sports clinic before the game.