Jason Wu/Sun Assistant Photography Editor

Jameson Wang will look to build on his four touchdown game against Harvard last week.

October 13, 2022

Preview: Football Closes Non-Conference Play Against Lehigh

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Football will play its final non-conference game of the season when it hosts Lehigh on Saturday at Schoellkopf Field. 

The matchup with the Mountain Hawks (1-5, 1-1 Patriot League) will provide Cornell (2-2, 0-2 Ivy) with an excellent opportunity to surpass its 2021 win total and generate some momentum heading into a stretch of Ivy play to end the season. 

Lehigh is riding a four game losing streak heading into the matchup. The Mountain Hawks last win came over a month ago when they narrowly beat Georgetown on Sept. 10. 

This is Lehigh’s first trip to Ithaca and the first matchup between the teams since a 31-14 Mountain Hawks win on Oct. 18, 2014. Cornell leads the all time series 15-9-2. 

With a win on Saturday, Cornell would finish its 2022 non-conference schedule at a perfect 3-0. It would be the fifth 3-0 non-conference season in program history. 

Lehigh used a strong performance from its defense and special teams to take a lead into halftime against Fordham in its last game. The Mountain Hawks returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown and ran back a strip sack on the next possession to put themselves up 14-0 before their offense took the field. Despite the early lead, Lehigh allowed Fordham’s quarterback to pass for 499 yards and four touchdowns and ultimately lost, 40-28.

Fordham has one of the top ranked offenses in the FCS, but Lehigh’s concession of 632 yards of offense to the Rams should be reason to believe that Cornell’s sophomore quarterback Jameson Wang could have a big day on Saturday.

Wang played well in the Red’s 35-28 loss to Harvard last Friday night, running for three touchdowns and passing for 185 yards and a touchdown.

The Lehigh offense’s 14 points against Fordham were the most it had scored in a game in over a month. Lehigh is led by junior quarterback Dante Perri, who has averaged 150 yards per game with a 56 percent completion rate. Perri spreads the ball around, with three receivers who average more than 30 yards per game.

Saturday’s game will be the last opportunity for final tuneups before Cornell gets into the heart of its conference schedule. The Red is 0-2 against Ivy League opponents, and will face five conference opponents in a row to close the season. Saturday will also be an opportunity for the Red to snap a five game home losing streak.

Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. Saturday at Schoellkopf Field.

Prediction: Cornell 31 Lehigh 14

This should be a “get right” game for Cornell after a close loss to Harvard last week and the rest of the Ivy schedule ahead. Lehigh is probably the most beatable team Cornell will face all season. The Red needs to win this game convincingly to generate some momentum for league play.