BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Lehigh heads down the Essential Line to open its 139th season of soccer with a go to to No. 5/6 Villanova underneath Friday evening lights. The Mountain Hawks closed out the 2021 season with three consecutive victories and can look that carry that momentum into the brand new marketing campaign with a extra veteran-laden staff than in earlier seasons. Lehigh returns 17 starters, together with 10 on protection, led by All-Patriot League honorees TyGee Leach, LaTreil Wimberly and Mikhari Sibblis. Junior Dante Perri returns at quarterback after main an improved unit to success within the second half of final season. Perri leads an offense that includes a wealth of returning talent place gamers, together with Lehigh’s prime two rushers and 7 of its prime eight receivers. Villanova went 10-3 final season and is coming off an look within the FCS quarterfinals.
Lehigh’s offensive enchancment within the second half of final season coincided with Dante Perri taking up because the Mountain Hawks’ beginning quarterback. Perri appeared in 9 video games as a sophomore with six begins. In his last 5 video games, Perri accomplished 64 p.c of his passes, averaging 228 yards per sport and totaling 5 touchdowns and simply two interceptions. He performed a serious position in Lehigh’s three-game successful streak to finish the season. At Fordham, Perri accomplished 27-of-37 passes for 317 yards and two touchdowns, for Lehigh’s first 300-yard passing sport since 2018. The Philadelphia native was voted one in all Lehigh’s 4 captains previous to his junior marketing campaign.
A defensive unit that has grown collectively through the Tom Gilmore period is predicted to be an space of energy for the Mountain Hawks in 2022. Eighteen of the 22 defensive gamers listed on Lehigh’s depth chart have important sport expertise. Lehigh ranked third within the Patriot League in each scoring and complete protection in 2021 however the numbers improved considerably over the past 5 video games. The Mountain Hawks allowed 60 fewer yards per sport in its last 5 video games in comparison with its first six. Lehigh’s projected beginning protection options 10 juniors and seniors plus sophomore Logan Jones, who appeared in all 11 video games as a first-year, with eight begins. All three of Lehigh’s returning All-Patriot League honorees from 2021 reside on the defensive aspect of the ball: lineman Mikhari Sibblis and defensive backs TyGee Leach and LaTreil Wimberly.
A powerful particular groups unit helped maintain the Mountain Hawks in each sport through the 2021 Patriot League season. Lehigh blocked an FCS-best 5 punts in 2021 and in addition ranked fifth within the FCS in kickoff return protection, permitting simply 14.92 yards per return. Broad receiver Tommy Lewis blocked a team-best two punts, whereas working again Jack DiPietro blocked a punt towards Lafayette which was returned for the eventual game-winning landing. Kicker Dylan Van Dusen additionally returns after changing all 13 additional level makes an attempt and going 10-for-12 on discipline objective makes an attempt in 2021.
Lehigh’s 2022 roster consists of 18 seniors, together with one fifth-year and one sixth-year. Fourteen of the 18 seem on Lehigh’s depth chart (web page 10). Tight finish Alex Snyder is again for a fifth-year within the brown and white, whereas linebacker Nate Norris is again for his sixth yr attributable to medical hardship and the COVID-19 pandemic. Norris performed his first full season in 2021 and tied with fellow senior TyGee Leach for the staff lead with 69 tackles.
Lehigh has an 84-48-6 all-time document in its season-opening contests. The Mountain Hawks are 4-6 of their final 10 openers, with three straight losses. Lehigh’s final opening day win got here towards Saint Francis in 2018. Lehigh is opening towards Villanova for the fifth time. The Brown and White gained its 1919 opener over Villanova, whereas the Wildcats prevailed in 2007, 2017 and 2021.
Villanova opens its season after going 10-3 in 2021. The Wildcats have been the No. 5 seed within the FCS playoffs and defeated Holy Cross within the second spherical earlier than falling to South Dakota State within the quarterfinals. Villanova tops the CAA preseason ballot. Offensive linemen Michael Corbi and Colin Gamroth have been named to the preseason All-CAA staff together with vast receiver Rayjaun Pringle and particular teamer TD Ayo-Durojaiye. Corbi was additionally named a primary staff preseason All-American by STATS Carry out. The Wildcats misplaced quarterback Dan Smith to commencement with junior Connor Watkins anticipated to switch him.
Lehigh and Villanova will meet for the 18th time, with the Wildcats holding a 12-5 edge within the collection. Villanova has gained the final 9 conferences. Lehigh’s final win within the collection got here again in 2006. Tom Gilmore is 0-3 towards Villanova with a 38-28 loss within the opening spherical of the 2009 FCS playoffs whereas at Holy Cross and losses as Lehigh’s head coach in 2019 and 2021. This can be Lehigh’s sixth go to to Villanova for the reason that collection resumed in 2004 (2006, 2008, 2009, 2016, 2019). Lehigh gained the primary 4 conferences (1903, 1914, 1919 and 1924), whereas Villanova gained in 1925 and 1927 previous to the 77-year break within the collection.
Lehigh’s season-opener at Villanova marks its first Friday evening sport in seven years and simply its second since 1980. The Mountain Hawks gained at Central Connecticut State to open the 2015 season on Friday, Sept. 4. Previous to that, Lehigh and Penn squared off 5 instances on a Friday evening between 1973 and 1980 with the Quakers successful three of the 5 video games. Previous to 2015, Lehigh’s final non-Saturday sport was a 37-26 win at Buffalo on a Thursday, Aug. 29, 2002.
Friday’s sport kicks off simply after 6 p.m. from Villanova Stadium. The sport can be broadcast on FloFootball with audio protection on Fox Sports activities Radio 94.7 FM and 1230 AM in Easton and on-line at LVFoxSports.com starting at 5 p.m.
The Mountain Hawks will get an early take a look at Patriot League opposition after they journey to Georgetown for an early Patriot League opener on Sept. 10. Lehigh defeated Georgetown in each 2019 and 2021 and can go to Washington, D.C. for the primary time since 2018. Sport time is about for five p.m. from Cooper Discipline.
|Date:||September 2, 2022|
|Opponent:||No. 5/6 Villanova Wildcats|
|Lehigh’s 2021 document:||3-8 general, 3-3 Patriot League|
|Villanova’s 2021 document:||10-3 general, 7-1 CAA|
|Collection:||Villanova leads 12-5|
|Radio:||Fox Sports activities Radio 94.7 FM and 1230 AM and LVFoxSports.com with Matt Kerr, Matt Markus and Steve Lomangino starting at 5 p.m.|
|Key Stats:||•Over the ultimate 5 video games of the 2021 season, Lehigh averaged 205 extra yards of offense and allowed 161 fewer yards than it did over its first six video games.
•The Mountain Hawks led the FCS with 5 blocked punts in 2021 and ranked fifth within the FCS in kickoff return protection, permitting 14.92 yards per return.
•Lehigh’s roster options 26 first-years, 18 sophomores, 29 juniors and 18 seniors (together with one fifth-year and one sixth-year).
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