Friday, October 5, 2018

Hosting Lehigh

TigerBlog's belief is that, even in a 280-character world, there's still a place for a well-written feature story.

Yes, attention spans are not what they used to be. And yes, the sports media world is more about "the hot take" than it is about long-form writing that really goes into depth to let you get to know the subject. Twitter is the main source of information, and it's easy to get addicted to scrolling through until something catches your eye, for a few seconds at least, until it's on the next.

TigerBlog likes how the communications field has evolved in his time here. He's said that often.

No matter what, though, he'll always enjoy the challenge of writing a long, engaging, comprehensive feature.

His colleague Craig Sachson has now written two this year about senior football players. The first was on Stephen Carlson, the wide receiver, and you can read it HERE. This is before he added two more touchdown receptions against both Monmouth and Columbia.

The most recent one is about Joe Percival, whose story is incredible. You can read Craig's feature HERE.

TigerBlog doesn't want to give it away, but Percival, a defensive lineman, has had to deal with more in his family situation than most college students, including the fact that his mother - who is thankfully still here - was actually given Last Rites at one point. Read the story. It's worth it.

Now, TigerBlog also feels obligated to tell you that the story was the subject of a video feature a year ago. You can see that HERE.

Yes, the video gives it more immediacy and all. Still, TB doesn't want you to think he's saying that the video is automatically more impactful than the feature story. 

Percival will be on the cover of the game program tomorrow for Princeton's home game against Lehigh. Kickoff is at 1.

This is Princeton's final non-league game of the season. After this will be six Ivy games in six weeks, including four at home.

Princeton is off to a sizzling start. The Tigers are 3-0 and ranked 23rd in the FCS, and none of their games have been particularly close.

In fact, the average score at halftime of a Princeton game so far has been 34.7-8.7, which is fairly ridiculous. So is the fact that Princeton has allowed 8.7 points per game, which means that Princeton has yet to give up a second-half point.

Princeton scored at least 30 in the first half of every game and average 48.7 per game. The Tigers have not committed a turnover. They have averaged 8.3 yards per play. That's also ridiculous.

You want more ridiculousness? Princeton averages 7.7 yards per rush. The average yardage on the ground per game is 323.

Princeton ranks second in the country in scoring offense and total offense, third in the country in scoring defense and team passing efficiency and fourth in rushing offense.

Were it Week 9, those numbers would suggest complete dominance. Now they suggest a team that is playing really well, with a lot of confidence and depth and with a long, long way to go.

Lehigh ranks 110th in the FCS in rushing defense, allowing more than 250 per game, but that's a bit misleading, as the Mountain Hawks have played Navy, as good a rushing team as there is. In fact, the Mids went for just short of 500 on the ground in that one.

Lehigh has definitely challenged itself this year, with games against nationally ranked (FCS) Villanova and also most recently against Penn, which the Quakers won 30-10 two weeks ago. The Mountain Hawks had an off week last week, so they should be fresh after that three-game gauntlet. The season began with a win over St. Francis (Pa.).

For Princeton, there will be a time this year - lots of them actually - when the score isn't lopsided and outcome isn't decided by halftime. It could certainly be tomorrow. Lehigh has won five of the last six and 13 of the last 17 meetings between the two.

As for the league race, everybody has played one Ivy game and two non-league games. Everybody has one of each the next two weeks before it becomes all Ivy games the final five weeks.

The four unbeatens are Princeton, Dartmouth, Harvard and Yale. That number falls by at least one this weekend, since Dartmouth is at Yale tonight. Harvard is at Cornell tomorrow in the other Ivy vs. Ivy game this weekend.

Princeton will be home next Saturday against Brown, also at 1. For this weekend, it's Lehigh.

It's another chance to see a team that's trying to build on an amazing start. And a chance to see, among others, Joe Percival, who is amazing in more ways than just as a defensive lineman.

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