After a 39-14 season-opening win over Stetson (2-1 agg, 0-0 Pioneer), Princeton Football (1-0, 0-0 Ivy) is looking to swing into a Saturday duel with Lehigh University (1-2, 1-0 Patriot ).
Though the huge lead on the scoreboard doesn’t show it, the Tigers know the win over Stetson left plenty of room for improvement.
“I thought the mistakes we made were certainly fixable,” head coach Bob Surace ’90 told The Daily Princetonian. “The false starts and some of those things – just better eye discipline on defense. We gave up a couple of good games and hopefully we can practice that better and see improvement in the next few weeks.
Junior quarterback Blake Stenstrom expressed similar hopes in an email to the “Prince.”
“After seeing last weekend’s movie, there were a lot of things to clean up in all aspects of the game and I think we have a good plan to improve those things,” Stenstrom wrote.
Stenstrom threw for 256 yards and two touchdowns in the opening win, both of which went to senior wide receiver Andrei Iosivas. When Stenstrom comes into play Saturday afternoon, it will be his first time doing so at home as Princeton quarterback.
“I would say it feels like the culmination of a lot of hard work,” Stenstrom said. “It’s been a long road to get here, both for me and my teammates. I couldn’t ask for a better group of guys to run onto the field with on Saturday.”
In Powers Field, the Tigers want to continue their home dominance from last season for the first time in 2022. The 2021 Ivy League champions went 4-0 when supported by the home crowd.
“The message will remain the same,” added Surace. “But there’s always an added excitement playing in front of your people. Princeton students, Princeton staff, alumni, people in your community. There is always an extra atmosphere in the stadium and that was really great for us.”
As for Lehigh, the Mountain Hawks arrive in Princeton after a 30-6 loss to Richmond (2-1, 0-0 Colonial). Led by junior quarterback Dante Perri, the team is looking to avenge last season’s injury-plagued 32-0 home loss to Princeton. Surace expects opponents to bring their signature heavy-hitting style to Powers Field.
“They’re always physical,” Surace explained. “Even last year, with all the injuries, it was such a physical game. The way they play offense, the way they play defense, the way they play against special teams, it’s going to be a very physical game.”
The Tigers and Mountain Hawks start Saturday at 3 p.m. at Powers Field. For the Tigers, the goal is simple, according to Stenstrom: “It’s the same as any other week: play 1-0 against the team we’re facing this week.”
Cole Keller is a member of the Prince’s data and sports departments. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter or Instagram @ckeller29.