FCS Playoffs 2011, Quarterfinals Preview: Lehigh Faces #2 North Dakota St. Without Ryan Spadola

Lehigh will face North Dakota State without their leading receiver Ryan Spadola.

The Lehigh Mountain Hawks (11-1) will play the #2 seed North Dakota St. Bison (11-1) in the FCS Quarterfinal playoff round on Dec. 10 in the Fargodome (4 p.m., TV: ESPN3). This will be the first meeting between the two schools.

Lehigh advanced to the quarterfinals with a 40-38 win over Towson in the second round. North Dakota St. defeated James Madison, 26-14, in the second round.

Lehigh will have to play this game without their All-American wide receiver Ryan Spadola who had 96 catches for 1,614 yards and 11 touchdowns this season. Spadola was suspended for a tweet containing a quote of a racial epithet (via Lehigh Valley Live). Lehigh's director of athletics, Joe Sterrett, said in a statement:

A Lehigh student-athlete who used a slang racial epithet in a social media exchange late last week has been suspended by the NCAA FCS Championships Committee for Saturday's NCAA Football Quarterfinal. 

At the time the incident was discovered, the student made a series of apologies and Lehigh imposed an obligation to conduct a series of campus discussions around the topics of derogatory racial language and its impact. The decision to suspend participation for the game this week results from the adverse impact on the FCS Championship caused by the message. (via Lehigh Sports.com)

Losing Spadola, who was responsible for 28.2% of Lehigh's receptions and 33.3% of their touchdown catches in 2011, will have a big impact on the Mountain Hawks in this game. Lehigh's second-leading receiver Jake Drwal (82 catches) will have to play a larger role on Saturday.

The Bison have a much more balanced offense than Lehigh and are led by quarterback Brock Jensen who has 11 touchdown passes and just 2 interceptions this season. Running backs Sam Ojuri and D.J. McNorton both rush for more than 5 yards per carry.

Here is information on the game:

Who: Lehigh Mountain Hawks at North Dakota St. Bison

Where: Fargodome, Fargo, ND

When: 4 p.m.

TV Information: ESPN3

Radio: ESPN 1230-1330

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