Comeback Bids Come Up Short as No. 17 Lehigh Tops Yale 30-24

Comeback Bids Come Up Short as No. 17 Lehigh Tops Yale 30-24

Oct. 16, 2004

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New Haven, CT - Yale came up empty on two drives in the final 2:01 of the game against Lehigh, falling to the Mountain Hawks 30-24 Saturday afternoon. The Bulldogs (3-2, 1-1 Ivy) had lead 14-0 and 21-7 earlier in the game, but were limited to just three points in the second half as Lehigh (5-1) mounted its comeback. A five-yard touchdown run by QB Mark Borda with 2:07 left proved to be the game-winner, though the Bulldogs' block of the extra point made the final moments of the game interesting. Yale's first drive after that score ended in a fumble and the final one ended in an unanswered Hail Mary.

The Bulldogs moved the ball efficiently on each drive of the first half, dissecting the 5th-ranked scoring defense in I-AA (13.6 points per game) with a mix of runs and passes. The first scoring drive began with a 34-yard toss from QB Alvin Cowan to TE Alex Faherty and also included a 14-yard completion to TE Ted Stem and a 12-yard completion to WR Ralph Plumb. It ended with Cowan rifling one to Plumb in the end zone from nine yards out for his 35th career touchdown pass, tying Joe Walland for first on the school career TD pass list. That also marked the first time that any team had scored on Lehigh in the first quarter this year.

Runs accounted for just eight yards on that 89-yard drive, but the Bulldogs got 39 yards on the ground on their next scoring drive, a 94-yarder. That one ended with TB Robert Carr taking a toss left in to the end zone from six yards out. Earlier in the drive Carr had converted a fourth-and-five at the Lehigh 29 with a seven-yard run up the middle out of shotgun formation.

After Lehigh posted a touchdown of its own, the Bulldogs came right back with another balanced drive - 40 yards passing, 30 yards rushing - to go back up by two touchdowns as time ran down in the second quarter. Carr took the ball up the middle from the Yale 16, slipped through one attempted tackle and then bulldozed another defender on his way into the end zone. The Mountain Hawks got the ball back and were able to maneuver into position for a 40-yard field goal from Justin Musiek to make the score 21-10 Yale at halftime.

Lehigh opened the scoring in the second half with a nine-play, 87-yard drive that ended with a two-yard touchdown run from TB Eric Rath. The Yale offense had its next drive set back by a 15-yard personal foul penalty and netted only one yard. Lehigh took the ball 66 yards in eight plays largely due to the play of Borda, who had a 12-yard scramble and a 20-yard completion to WR Lee Thomas. TB Marques Thompson ran the ball in from nine yards out to give the Mountain Hawks their first lead of the day, 24-21.

Two plays later, Cowan and Plumb connected on a 34-yarder that set up a 38-yard field goal by K Andrew Sullivan to tie the game with 1:21 to play in the third quarter. The Mountain Hawks had a chance to go back ahead on a 27-yard field goal attempt by Musiek, but DL Andrew Ralph got a hand on the ball to knock it down and keep the score tied.

The Mountain Hawks went ahead on a 67-yard drive keyed by the running of TB Eric Rath, who racked up 34 yards on eight carries. Borda's scramble wound up capping the scoring for the day. Yale got the ball back at its own 22 and Cowan completed three straight passes, but on the third Lehigh DB Andrew Nelson knocked the ball loose from Yale WR Chandler Henley and the Mountain Hawks recovered at their own 45. The Yale defense forced a three-and-out there but the Bulldogs had to burn all their timeouts. Starting at its own 48 with 59 seconds left, Yale got to the Lehigh 31 with the clock running out. Cowan's heave from there sailed to Plumb out of the back of the end zone.

report by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity Department