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Playoff preview: Lehigh at Delaware

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -


DATE & TIME: Saturday, December 4, noon ET

FACTS & STATS: Site: Tubby Raymond Field at Delaware Stadium (22,000) - Newark, Delaware. Surface: FieldTurf. Television: Streamed live on Home Record: Lehigh 4-1; Delaware 6-1. Away Record: Lehigh 6-1; Delaware 3-1. Series Record: Delaware (29-16). Last Meeting: Sept. 10, 2005, Delaware 34-33 OT at Delaware). Series Streak: Delaware has won the last two meetings. Conference: Lehigh - Patriot League; Delaware - Colonial Athletic Association. Nicknames: Lehigh Mountain Hawks; Delaware Blue Hens. The Sports Network/ Ranking: Lehigh (19); Delaware (5). Head Coaches: Lehigh - Andy Coen (30-26 at Lehigh and Overall); Delaware - K.C. Keeler (71-41 at Delaware, 159-62-1 Overall). All-Time Record: Lehigh (639-564-46); Delaware - (648-414-44). Playoff Records: Lehigh (5-7); Delaware (19-13). Previous FCS Playoff Appearances: Lehigh 7 (1979-80, 88, 99, 2000-01, 2004); Delaware 14 (1981-82, 86, 88, 91-93, 95-97, 2000, 03-04, 07).

GAME NOTES: Lehigh advanced to the second round by knocking off then-No. 16 Northern Iowa last week, 14-7, in the UNI-Dome. Facing a halftime deficit, the Mountain Hawks scored 14 third-quarter points in the impressive road victory.

The Mountain Hawks' defense was dominant throughout, intercepting UNI quarterback Tirrell Rennie three times and limiting the Panthers to 188 yards rushing (30 yards below their season average).

The Mountain Hawks became the first Patriot League team to win a playoff game since Colgate in 2003 and extended their winning streak to eight games (the longest in the FCS among active teams).

Next on the docket is Delaware, the No. 5 team in the nation.

The Blue Hens have not played since a 28-21 overtime loss to CAA rival Villanova in the season finale. Prior to the loss, they were ranked No. 1.

Lehigh's 10-2 (5-0 Patriot League) record is impressive, but it is essential to note that both of the Mountain Hawks' losses this season came against CAA competition. They were shut out by Villanova, 35-0, on Sept. 11 and then lost to New Hampshire, 31-10, on Sept. 25. The vaunted Mountain Hawks defense allowed a combined 66 points in those games. Remove those two losses from the schedule and the defense is allowing just 14 points per game, good for No. 2 in the country behind, guess who, Delaware. The Blue Hens allow a paltry 11.6 points per game (schedule intact).

They also field the best offense in the CAA (28.55) points per game.

As it stands, the Mountain Hawks have the No. 10 scoring defense in the country, but this weekend they are facing not only a CAA team, but perhaps the strongest CAA team. It's one which also happens to be two weeks removed from a No. 1 national ranking.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Delaware 28, Lehigh 17.

12/02 09:53:26 ET