Lehigh 2016 FCS Football Playoff Capsule

Lehigh Mountain Hawks
Lehigh was not supposed to compete for a Patriot League title this season, but Coach Andy Coen and company had other plans. However, early in the year it looked like Lehigh was going to have a very tough season. They lost their first two games against Monmouth and Villanova and had a long way to go to reach the playoffs. The 58-37 win over Fordham was a huge win for the Mountain Hawks and that was the game that effectively clinched the Patriot League’s automatic bid to the playoffs.
2016 Record: 9-2, 6-0
Coach: Andy Coen
Big Wins: 9/24 Princeton (42-28), 10/29 Fordham (58-37)
Bad Losses: 9/3 Monmouth (21-23), 9/10 at Villanova (21-26)
There was little doubt about the capability of the Lehigh offense. Nick Shafnisky is a big time passer and sophomore Brad Mayes has stepped into a few games and done very well too. With Troy Pelletier and Derek Knott joining big play receiver Gatlin Casey, Shafnisky has plenty of proven targets to work with. Dominick Bragalone picked up right where he left off during his great freshman season of 2015. He again eclipsed the 1,000 yard mark and it is the threat that Bragalone offers that gives Shafnisky time to operate the fifth most potent passing game in the FCS.
The development of the defense is why Lehigh was able to make the playoffs, but it is still the weak spot on this team. The unit is especially susceptible on the ground where they ranked sixth in the seven team Patriot League in rush defense, allowing over 200 yards per game on the ground. Colton Caslow, Evan Harvey and Pierce Ripanti are three very experienced senior linebackers and lead the team in tackles, but the front line needs to get a better push so the trio of linebackers can do better against the run. The secondary has been solid, although not spectacular. The team as a whole will intercept quite a few passes, but there has not been a player in the secondary that has turned into a consistent ball hawk who can make big plays on a regular basis.
Statistical Leaders:
Rushing: Dominick Bragalone, RB, 1,106 yards
Passing: Nick Shafnisky, QB, 2,448 yards
Receiving: Troy Pelletier, WR, 1,140 yards
Tackles: Colton Caslow, LB, 72
Sacks: Tyler Cavenas, DL, 4.0
Interceptions: Four tied with 2
2016 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 160.3 (52nd in nation, 3rd in conference)
Passing Offense: 329.4 (5, 1)
Total Offense: 489.7 (8, 2)
Scoring Offense: 40.0 (8, 2)
Rushing Defense: 203.2 (94, 6)
Pass Defense: 187.5 (27, 2)
Total Defense: 390.7 (64, 5)
Scoring Defense: 23.8 (35, 3)
Turnover Margin: 0.90 (17, 2)
Sacks: 2.20 (40, 4)
Sacks Allowed: 1.70 (44, 2)
Recent Playoff Appearances:
2011    Second Round            Defeated Towson
2011    Quarterfinals   Lost to North Dakota State
2010    First Round     Defeated Northern Iowa
2010    Second Round            Lost to Delaware
2004    First Round     Lost to James Madison
2001    First Round     Defeated Hofstra
2001    Quarterfinals   Lost to Furman
2000    First Round     Defeated Western Illinois
2000    Quarterfinals   Lost to Delaware
1999    First Round     Lost to Hofstra
1998    First Round     Defeated Richmond
1998    Quarterfinals   Lost to Massachusetts
1980    First Round     Lost to Eastern Kentucky
1979    First Round     Defeated Murray State
1979    Championship Lost to Eastern Kentucky
*all team stats through 11/12