LVC Beats #24 Lycoming For First-Ever Top-25 Upset
Lebanon Valley 14, #24 Lycoming 7
ANNVILLE, Pa. - Lebanon Valley's defense turned in another dominating effort to lead the Dutchmen in an upset of #24 Lycoming, 14-7, in front of a standing-room-only Oktoberfest Weekend crowd.
The Dutchmen (5-1, 4-1 MAC) go to sleep with a share of the Middle Atlantic Conference lead, knotted with the Warriors (4-2, 4-1 MAC), Widener, and Delaware Valley. LVC's defense dropped 10 sacks on Lyco's Tyler Jenny, led by a four-sack game by Zach Halpin and three by Frank Gaffney.
Joey Miller caught the game-winning touchdown with 11:04 left in the game to follow a second-quarter Jake Zeigler catch, while Lycoming was limited to Ryan Umpleby's touchdown catch in the third quarter.
"We played this game to win, and we made plays in the fourth quarter to win the football game," said head coach Jim Monos, who won his 98th career game. "It's a great win for this team, and it's a big win for our football program."
Lebanon Valley, which had never beaten a team ranked in the D3football.com Top 25, thrilled the packed home crowd with its punishing defense, generating 10 sacks and three interceptions while limiting the Warriors to just 50 yards rushing and 289 yards overall.
"They have a heck of a football team, but our defense has been doing it all year," Monos said. "The defense kept us in the game and the offense took advantage of the opportunities to score when they got down there."
Halpin lived in the backfield with four sacks and Gaffney set the LVC single-season record with three to go to 13.0 for the year, but it was captain Kevin Smith who put the lid on the game with a fourth-down stuff of Jenny for his second of the day.
"It's a whole team effort. The D-line really stepped up today, and the linebacking corps as well," Halpin said. "As we got pressure, the secondary really stepped up to get the field position for the offense."
After early interceptions by Andrew Burkholder and Fernando Almonte failed to produce points, LVC went to the air early in the second quarter. Miller somehow came down with a 50-yard haul over midfield to set up Jake Zeigler for a leaping 20-yard pass from Brian Murphy, and that put LVC up 6-0 after a missed PAT.
A goal-line stand late in the first half preserved the lead after the Warriors marched to the LVC three yard-line. Consecutive no-gain stops by Mike Pugh and Clayton Williard led to a Halpin sack, and Zach Czap pushed his 27-yard field goal attempt wide right to give the Dutchmen a 6-0 halftime edge.
Lycoming scored on their opening drive of the second half, taking advantage of an LVC personal foul as Jenny hit Umpleby from 16 yards out to take a 7-6 lead. LVC answered back to start the fourth, taking advantage of Bryan Kasper's pick and 24-yard return to set up Murphy's 13-yard shot to a falling Miller at the near pylon. Murphy then found a wide-open Zeigler for the two-point conversion, and LVC led 14-7.
After forcing a Warrior punt and eating 4:30 off the clock, LVC was forced to punt with 2:50 left in the game. The Warriors started the drive dangerous as Jenny completed three passes to Matt Atkinson, but consecutive holding calls on the Lyco line spelled doom, backing them up to a first-and-30 situation. Smelling blood, Gaffney hit consecutive sacks to bring up fourth down, and Smith ended it with a 12-yard sack on 4th-and-41.
LVC will enjoy its bye week before getting back to work at Misericordia Oct. 26.
It was the second time LVC trailed heading into the 4th quarter and won this season, also doing so against Montclair State in a 15-14 win ... Gaffney's 13.0 sacks surpasses Zach Bleiler '11, who had 12.5 in 2010 ... Gaffney entered the game 2nd in the nation in sacks ... He and Halpin have combined for 13.0 sacks in the last two games ... LVC's defense has had 10 or more tackles for a loss in three games this season and have picked off eight passes in the last three games ... The run defense has allowed 102 yards combined in the last two weeks ... Austin Hartman came just short of his third consecutive 100-yard game, rushing for 93 yards on 24 carries ... Murphy ended up 10-of-16 for 181 yards and two touchdowns ... Jenny was 16-of-27 for 239 yards and three interceptions ... Miller led all receivers with 79 yards, and Tyler George made four for 62 yards, including a superb spinning, one-handed snag early in the game ... Atkinson led all receivers with 109 yards on eight catches for Lyco ... LVC allowed just one sack, and Tanner Troutman had an interception for the Warriors.