Fresh off of a 39–14 season-opening victory over Stetson (2–1 overall, 0–0 Pioneer), Princeton football (1–0, 0–0 Ivy) looks to carry momentum into a Saturday clash with Lehigh University (1–2, 1–0 Patriot).
Although the wide margin on the scoreboard doesn’t show it, the Tigers know the victory over Stetson left a lot of room for improvement.
“I thought the errors we made were certainly correctable,” Head Coach Bob Surace ’90 told The Daily Princetonian. “The false starts and some of those things — just having better eye discipline on defense. We gave up a couple of good plays, and hopefully, we can coach this better and see improvement in the next few weeks.”
Junior quarterback Blake Stenstrom expressed similar hope in an email to the ‘Prince.’
“After watching the film from last weekend, there were a lot of things to clean up in all aspects of the game, and I think we have a good plan to improve upon those things,” Stenstrom wrote.
Stenstrom threw for 256 yards and two touchdowns in the opening win, with both going to senior wide receiver Andrei Iosivas. As Stenstrom enters the game on Saturday afternoon, he’ll do so as Princeton’s starting quarterback for the first time at home.
“I’d say it feels like the culmination of a lot of hard work,” Stenstrom said. “It has been a long road to get here, both for myself and my teammates. I couldn’t ask for a better group of guys to run out on the field with on Saturday.”
At Powers Field for the first time in 2022, the Tigers look to continue their home dominance from last season. The 2021 Ivy League Champions went 4–0 when supported by the home crowd.
“The message will stay the same,” Surace added. “But, there’s always an extra excitement playing in front of your people. Princeton students, Princeton staff, alumni, people in your community. There’s always an extra vibe in the stadium and that’s been really big for us.”
As for Lehigh, the Mountain Hawks arrive in Princeton after a 30–6 defeat against Richmond (2–1, 0–0 Colonial). Led by junior quarterback Dante Perri, the team looks to avenge last season’s injury-plagued 32–0 home loss to Princeton. Surace is expecting the opponents to bring their signature heavy-hitting style to Powers Field.
“They are always physical,” Surace explained. “Even last year with all the injuries, it was a physical game that way. The way they play offense, the way they play defense, the way they play special teams, it is going to be a very physical game.”
The Tigers and Mountain Hawks kick off on Saturday at 3 p.m. at Powers Field. For the Tigers, the goal is simple, according to Stenstrom: “It is the same as any other week: Go 1–0 against the team that we are facing that week.”
Cole Keller is a contributor to the Data and Sports sections at the ‘Prince.’ He can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter or Instagram @ckeller29.