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Princeton football cruises against Lehigh, opening season with a 32–0 win

<h5>Senior Jacob Birmelin cruises into the end zone for a 42-yard touchdown.&nbsp;</h5>
<h6>Princetonftbl / <a href="https://www.instagram.com/princetonftbl/?hl=en" target="_self">Instagram</a></h6>
Senior Jacob Birmelin cruises into the end zone for a 42-yard touchdown. 
Princetonftbl / Instagram

In their first game since November 2019, Princeton football dominated defensively en route to a 32–0 victory over the Lehigh Mountain Hawks in Bethlehem, PA.

"We moved the ball as well as we ever moved it for a first game," Head Coach Bob Surace told Princeton Athletics. "I also love how the defense ran to the ball. It was the fastest we've played and best we've tackled for a first game in a long time." 

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The Tigers started off the game strong, marching 75 yards down the field on their first drive, with senior running back Collin Eaddy scampering in from 13 yards out to pick up the first score of the game.

Princeton held Lehigh in check offensively, and a 34-yard pass from senior quarterback Cole Smith to junior wide receiver Andrei Iosivas gave the Tigers a 13–0 lead at the end of quarter one.

Lehigh’s defense held strong in the second quarter, stopping Princeton from scoring touchdowns on multiple occasions. The Tigers led 16–0 at the half thanks to a field goal from first-year kicker Jeffrey Sexton. 

In the third quarter, the offense got hot again, as 2019 All-Ivy second-team receiver senior Jacob Birmelin took a short pass from Smith and weaved through the Mountain Hawks’ defense for a 42-yard score. Smith then launched a 52-yard bomb to Iosivas for Iosivas’ second touchdown of the game.

After stopping Lehigh again defensively, the Tigers bit off big chunks of yardage moving down the field, but were again stopped in the red zone and were forced to kick a field goal. At the end of three, the Tigers had doubled their halftime advantage, leading 32–0.

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The game slowed down in the fourth quarter, with both teams threatening to score but neither doing so. The 32–0 win gives the Tigers a 1–0 start to their season. Lehigh drops to 0–3 in their season, now having lost nine games straight over the course of the last three seasons with their last win back in September 2019.

Statistical leaders for the Tigers included Smith, who went 30/41 for 412 yards and three touchdowns. Eaddy had 16 carries for 70 yards and a score, while Birmelin hauled in eight passes for 139 yards and a touchdown of his own. Iosivas had four catches for 117 yards and two touchdowns.

The game was the 61st all-time meeting between the schools. Princeton now leads the all-time series 42–17–2 against Lehigh.

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Next Saturday, the Tigers will return home to Powers Field for a matchup with the Stetson Hatters. Ivy League play will begin the following weekend when the Tigers host Columbia.

Wilson Conn is a staff writer for the 'Prince' sports section. He can be reached at wconn@princeton.edu or on twitter at @wilson_conn.

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