The Holy Cross Face Lehigh of Spring Football game 2021. Holy Cross is coming off a 7-6 (5-1 Patriot League) season in 2019, earning its first conference title and appearance in the FCS Playoffs since 2009. Watch Holy Cross vs Lehigh Live.
Holy Cross averaged 22.9 points per game in 2019 and return 6’6 senior quarterback Conor Degenhardt who threw for 2,376 yards and 14 touchdowns eight interceptions last season. Degenhardt also rushed for five touchdowns. The COVID-19 pandemic wiped out the traditional fall 2020 season, but six of the seven Patriot League schools are participating in a four-game league-only regular season that will be followed by an Apr. 17 Championship Game. Lehigh made measured improvements on defense during a 2019 season in which the Mountain Hawks went 4-7 overall and 3-3 against league opponents.
Lehigh is in the South Division with Bucknell and Lafayette. Division winners will meet in the first Patriot League Championship game April 17 with the winner earning the league’s automatic bid to the FCS playoffs, which begin the following week. Georgetown has opted out of the spring season.
The Crusaders are coming off one of their best seasons as a program since the 1980s, as their only loss in Patriot League play came by three points against the Lafayette Leopards. While Holy Cross was blown out in the first round of the playoffs 44-27 by the No. 14 Monmouth Hawks, it was still a promising season for a team that has only made the postseason three teams since moving to FCS in 1981.
With much of the roster returning as players were granted an extra year of eligibility from the cancelled 2020 fall season, Holy Cross is favored to repeat as Patriot League champions. The Crusaders have 15 seniors who are expected to be in the regular lineup, and six All-Patriot League players are back from the 2019 team. A vastly improved defense kept the Mountain Hawks in most games during the 2019 season. The 2019 Mountain Hawks allowed 14 fewer points and 100 fewer yards of total offense than they did in 2018. Lehigh led the Patriot League in rushing defense in 2019, allowing 130.5 yards per game. The Holy Cross Crusaders and the Lehigh University Mountain Hawks will kick their respective seasons off Saturday at Goodman Stadium in a Patriot League showdown.
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The game (Noon ET start time) won’t be on TV, but anyone in the US can watch Holy Cross vs Lehigh football live on ESPN+ right here:
ESPN+ will have coverage of all Patriot League, Missouri Valley, OVC, Southern and Southland football games this spring, as well as live college basketball, UFC, international soccer, Australian Open tennis, dozens of other live sports, every 30-for-30 documentary, and additional original content (both video and written) all for $5.99 per month.
Or, if you also want Disney+ and Hulu, you can get all three for $12.99 per month, which works out to about 31 percent savings:
Once signed up for ESPN+, you can watch Holy Cross vs Lehigh live on the ESPN app on your Roku, Roku TV, Amazon Fire TV or Fire Stick, Apple TV, Chromecast, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, iPhone, Android phone, iPad or Android tablet.
The Mountain Hawks finished 4-7 (3-3 in Patriot League) in 2019, and they averaged 15.7 points on offense while allowing 21.4 points a game on defense. Lehigh is hoping Toledo transfer Cross Wilkinson, who won the team’s quarterback competition, getting the nod to start over senior Addison Shoup, will give an anemic offense some heft.
“He’s a first year player who hasn’t played since his senior year in high school,” coach Tom Gilmore said about Wilkinson. “He’s a very talented football player, he’s very motivated, very intelligent. But he hasn’t played in a game in a long time.”
Still, all things considering, Gilmore was taken with how well and how quickly Wilkinson adjusted after arriving from Toledo amidst a global pandemic.