Lehigh Comeback Thwarts Crimson, 21-19

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Nnamdi Obukwelu hits Lehigh QB Chris Lum as he releases the ball in the first quarter of a game on Oct. 16, 2010

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Lehigh came back from a 17-0 deficit to defeat Harvard by a score of 21-19 Saturday afternoon at Harvard Stadium.

With unbearable winds between 35 and 45 miles per hour and a tenacious Harvard defense stuffing any semblance of a running game, Lehigh abandoned its ground efforts in the third quarter in favor of the passing attack. With the wind at its back, it was the right move as a depleted Harvard secondary tried in vain to hold onto the lead.

Postgame Press Conferences:

Lehigh scored all 21 of its points in the quarter as Chris Lum completed 12 of 16 passes for 191 yards and two touchdowns while Michael Colvin added a four-yard touchdown pass on a trick play.

Still, Harvard appeared to have sealed victory when Michael Cook hauled in a 28-yard touchdown pass with 1:14 left in the game. Replays showed Cook to have two feet in bounds with possession but it was ruled incomplete and an eventual fourth down pass was later intercepted in the end zone with Lehigh taking a safety.

In the first half, Harvard dominated as the Crimson took a 17-0 lead into halftime behind 142 rushing yards. Gino Gordon had 75 of them, including an 18-yard touchdown run. Colton Chapple found Kyle Juszczyk for a 17-yard strike and David Mothander connected on a 38-yard field goal.

Gordon finished with 118 yards on 22 carries (5.4 ypc) for his third-straight 100-yard rushing game.

Lehigh started its comeback with a four-yard pass from Colvin to Ryan Spadola when Colvin faked a QB sneak and then peeled back to  throw the ball for a score. Seven minutes later, Lum found Mark Wickware on a play-action pass one play after a Harvard interception was negated by a controversial interference penalty.

The big blow came at the end of the third quarter when Lum found Spadola on a short slant pattern with Spadola slipping two tackles and taking it 51 yards for a score. Spadola finished with 14 receptions for 206 yards on the day. All of them were needed as the Crimson defense limited Lehigh to 25 rushing yards on 34 carries.

Chuks Obi led the defense with 11 tackles, including nine in the first half and two forced fumbles. Collin Zych added 10 tackles and a breakup.

Harvard (3-2) is back in action next weekend in Ivy League play when it travels to Princeton. Lehigh improves to 4-2 on the season with the win.