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Football Escapes Lehigh Scare

* The Crimson holds on after a disastrous fourth

By Jacob P. Goldstein, SPECIAL TO THE CRIMSON

BETHLEHEM, Pennsylvania-Except for one minor oversight on Saturday, the Harvard Crimson football team did everything right in their game against the Lehigh Mountain Hawks.

This oversight was forgetting to show up for the fourth quarter in Bethlehem, PA, and it turned a comfortable 29 point lead into a close-call 35-30 victory.

"It may not have been the prettiest game," conceded Harvard head coach Tim Murphy, who was still savoring his team's first 2-0 start since 1990.

"It was ugly," added defensive back Jeff Compas,

Indeed, the Crimson dominated play for the first three quarters, leading 35-6 entering the fourth quarter. In the first 45 minutes of play, the much heralded Harvard defense held the Mountain Hawks to a single touchdown and just 50 passing yards.

Meanwhile, the Crimson offensive attack continued to impress, both through the air and on the ground. Sophomore quarterback Rich Linden (14-24, 193 yards, 3 TD) played a smart, error-free game, despite having to leave the game for a play in the second quarter after a hard hit. Linden's 193 passing yards Saturday is the second highest total of his career (203 vs. Brown).

The explosive and varied Crimson rushing attack performed admirably for the second consecutive game, this time led by sophomore running-back Chris Menick, who rushed 15 times for 121 yards, including a 56-yard touchdown scamper in the third quarter.

"I just put my head down," Menick said.

Menick did a bit more than that. He spun off three defenders and broke through six Lehigh tacklers, including four guys at once. It was a pretty run that put the Crimson on top, 35-6, going into the fourth quarter.

"Chris is the ultimate, unselfish, tough, team football player," Murphy said.

The Crimson's 261-yards from the rush, however, relied on the talents of its offensive line.

"I thought the Harvard kids played real hard," said Lehigh Head Coach Kevin Higgins. "Especially the offensive and defensive lines."

Harvard's defensive line was able to hold Lehigh's starting quarterback, Seka Edwards, to a meager 39 rushing yards. And Edwards's arm proved no threat, completing only three-for-10 passes, and throwing three interceptions.

One of those interceptions came late in the second quarter and proved to be the final straw for Edwards who was replaced at quarterback by Phil Stambaugh throughout the entire second half.

Harvard defensive back Derek Yankoff nabbed an Edwards pass with only seven minutes remaining in the half and ran 23 yards all the way to Lehigh's 35-yard line.

This interception set up a series of great passes for the Crimson which put it on top 21-0 at the half.

Despite a holding penalty-one of the 11 penalties which cost Harvard a total of 114 yards-Harvard battled back from two-and-25 as Linden scrambled for 21 yards, his longest sneak of the day.

And then came the air strike. Linden passed to senior Jared Chupaila for a first down, but after a hard hit from the Lehigh blitz, Linden sat out the next three plays.

Gavin Hamels, the replacement quarterback, needed no time to warm up, as HARVARD  35 LEHIGH  30

he immediately connected a 13-yard pass to junior Damon Jones that put the Crimson on the seven-yard line, first and goal. Linden reentered the game and proceeded to connect with Terence Patterson for one of his two touchdowns on the day.

A great pass to tight end Chris Eitzmann for the rush conversion capped off the impressive Crimson drive and ended the first half with a solid 21-0 lead.

The Lehigh offense played a whole new game in the second half. Revitalized by the outstanding play of Stambaugh, who went 21-for-30 for 245 yards, the Mountain Hawks scored for the first time with 4:10 left in the third. Lehigh running-back Brian Baker ran 68 yards for a touchdown, making it 28-6.

The final quarter proved to be particularly problematic for the Crimson. Lehigh scored four touchdowns in the fourth quarter alone, all on passes from Stambaugh.

The Lehigh defense held the Crimson to only 62 yards all quarter; while the Lehigh offense managed to rack up 229 yards, 192 of which came from Stambaugh's superb passing. The one element missing in the Lehigh attack, however, was its failure to convert on all five of its two-point opportunities.

But Harvard's defense was not altogether missing. On Lehigh's opening set of the second half the Crimson stopped Lehigh just short of a first down at the 26. And then the line stopped them again on the resulting fourth-and-one, forcing a crucial turnover on downs.

Nonetheless, the final quarter was less than spectacular, but Harvard managed to endure the 15 minutes of torture, pulling out with a win.

A number of things could have turned the game. Had Lehigh been more successful in their extra-point attempts or put Stambaugh in earlier, this season could have started like most of the rest, with a win and a loss.

HARVARD, 35-30 at Goodman StadiumHarvard  7  14  14  0  -  35Lehigh  0  0  6  24  -  3

he immediately connected a 13-yard pass to junior Damon Jones that put the Crimson on the seven-yard line, first and goal. Linden reentered the game and proceeded to connect with Terence Patterson for one of his two touchdowns on the day.

A great pass to tight end Chris Eitzmann for the rush conversion capped off the impressive Crimson drive and ended the first half with a solid 21-0 lead.

The Lehigh offense played a whole new game in the second half. Revitalized by the outstanding play of Stambaugh, who went 21-for-30 for 245 yards, the Mountain Hawks scored for the first time with 4:10 left in the third. Lehigh running-back Brian Baker ran 68 yards for a touchdown, making it 28-6.

The final quarter proved to be particularly problematic for the Crimson. Lehigh scored four touchdowns in the fourth quarter alone, all on passes from Stambaugh.

The Lehigh defense held the Crimson to only 62 yards all quarter; while the Lehigh offense managed to rack up 229 yards, 192 of which came from Stambaugh's superb passing. The one element missing in the Lehigh attack, however, was its failure to convert on all five of its two-point opportunities.

But Harvard's defense was not altogether missing. On Lehigh's opening set of the second half the Crimson stopped Lehigh just short of a first down at the 26. And then the line stopped them again on the resulting fourth-and-one, forcing a crucial turnover on downs.

Nonetheless, the final quarter was less than spectacular, but Harvard managed to endure the 15 minutes of torture, pulling out with a win.

A number of things could have turned the game. Had Lehigh been more successful in their extra-point attempts or put Stambaugh in earlier, this season could have started like most of the rest, with a win and a loss.

HARVARD, 35-30 at Goodman StadiumHarvard  7  14  14  0  -  35Lehigh  0  0  6  24  -  3

A great pass to tight end Chris Eitzmann for the rush conversion capped off the impressive Crimson drive and ended the first half with a solid 21-0 lead.

The Lehigh offense played a whole new game in the second half. Revitalized by the outstanding play of Stambaugh, who went 21-for-30 for 245 yards, the Mountain Hawks scored for the first time with 4:10 left in the third. Lehigh running-back Brian Baker ran 68 yards for a touchdown, making it 28-6.

The final quarter proved to be particularly problematic for the Crimson. Lehigh scored four touchdowns in the fourth quarter alone, all on passes from Stambaugh.

The Lehigh defense held the Crimson to only 62 yards all quarter; while the Lehigh offense managed to rack up 229 yards, 192 of which came from Stambaugh's superb passing. The one element missing in the Lehigh attack, however, was its failure to convert on all five of its two-point opportunities.

But Harvard's defense was not altogether missing. On Lehigh's opening set of the second half the Crimson stopped Lehigh just short of a first down at the 26. And then the line stopped them again on the resulting fourth-and-one, forcing a crucial turnover on downs.

Nonetheless, the final quarter was less than spectacular, but Harvard managed to endure the 15 minutes of torture, pulling out with a win.

A number of things could have turned the game. Had Lehigh been more successful in their extra-point attempts or put Stambaugh in earlier, this season could have started like most of the rest, with a win and a loss.

HARVARD, 35-30 at Goodman StadiumHarvard  7  14  14  0  -  35Lehigh  0  0  6  24  -  3

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