Monday, September 26, 2016

Half n' Half

Georgetown 17 Columbia 14

Why Georgetown Won

The Hoyas jumped out to an early lead by cashing in on Columbia turnovers and avoiding any of their own the entire game. Then, Georgetown's defense was just strong enough to keep the Lion comeback from going all the way.

Why Columbia Lost

Four Lion turnovers, a missed field goal, and continuing offensive rustiness doomed Columbia. A herculean defensive effort was wasted.

Key Turning Points

-Late in the 1st quarter and trailing 7-0, Lion punter Matthew Panton booted the first of his two punts in the game that would be downed at the Georgetown one. But after the CU defense forced a three-and-out, the ensuing Hoya punt was fumbled away by freshman Josh Wainwright and GU got a big second chance. The Hoyas eventually turned that miscue into a field goal and a 10-0 lead.

-Late in the second quarter, Columbia QB Skyler Mornhinweg and the Lions took over on their own 18 yard line and began a drive that finally stalled at the Georgetown 16. But kicker Cameron Nizialek missed the 34-yard field goal try and Columbia came up empty in the first half.

Columbia Positives

-The Lion defense held Georgetown to just eight 1st downs and 195 total yards. Time and again in the second half, the D came up with the key stops to provide the offense every chance it needed to win.

-It may seem like Columbia made every mistake in the book, but they only committed six penalties in their second week of the season.

-Columbia rushed for a respectable 172 yards and 4.1 yards per carry.

Columbia Negatives

-Turnovers, turnovers, turnovers.

-The passing game is just not there yet. a 3.9 yards per pass attempt stat is stunningly low.

Columbia MVP

-Once again, all the Lion linebackers were dominant throughout the game, but Gianmarco Rea stood out just a bit more than his peers.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Game Day Open Thread

Post here for any thoughts you have during today's game at Georgetown.

One possible piece of news is that Hoya defensive star J'V'on Butler is listed as a backup in the late-released Georgetown two-deeps, (

It could mean nothing, it could mean he's a little banged up, or it could be some of the usual two-deep trickery most teams seem to use these days.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Second Try

Cooper Field

Columbia Lions (0-1) at Georgetown Hoyas (2-0)

September 24, 2016

Location: Cooper Field

Kickoff Time: 2:00

Game Time Weather Forecast: 76 degrees and partly cloudy

The Spread: Georgetown is favored by 2 points


Video of the game is free on the Patriot League Digital Network.  But superior audio commentary is also free on the Ivy League Digital Network with Jerry Recco and Sal Licata. 

Columbia Game Notes

(Georgetown game notes are still not available, but here are their game notes from their most recent game against Marist)

Leading Story Lines

1) Columbia comes in with a certain sense of urgency after losing its opening game to Saint Francis and looking punchless on offense. Any slow start for the offense in this game could be indicative of more than just opening week jitters or a rough transition to the new offensive system.

2) Georgetown is having its Homecoming in its tiny little venue/2,500 seat stadium. There will surely be Lions fans in the crowd, but how the team responds to playing in probably the smallest stadium in program history will be interesting. 

3)  The Hoyas are 2-0, but they've defeated two of the worst teams in FCS football. It's possible this team is quite a bit worse than it was last year. Columbia has already played one quality opponent, Georgetown has not. 

Players to Watch

-Lion QB Skyler Mornhinweg #8 had a rough start to the season against Saint Francis. If he doesn't get in some kind of a groove, not much else will matter for the offense. 

-Columbia LG Charlie Flores #79 and LT Kendall Pace #76 will likely be challenged all day with blitzes, at least if Georgetown bothered to watch last week's Lion game film. It'll be up to them to respond to the pressure. 

-Georgetown RB Alex Valles #6 has been something of a "Mr. Everything" for the Hoyas as a rusher and a receiver. Columbia must show it can shut him down.

-Georgetown J'V'on Butler #34 is the most likely defensive player to be doing the left side blitzing and otherwise trying to disrupt the offense. 

If, Then

-If the Columbia offense moves the ball and scores in its first or second possession of the game, a significant amount of the pressure will come off Mornhinweg and the entire team. 

-If the Georgetown running game is able to make significant gains early in the game, the Hoyas will abandon their frequent short passing game and try to defeat Columbia the same way St. Francis did with ball control.

-If the Columbia D-line, especially DE Connor Heeb, is able to put pressure on GU QB Tim Barnes, then look for the Hoyas to start committing a barrage of turnovers.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Week Two Picks

Okay, I had a pretty good week to start the season, going 4-3 straight up but an impressive 5-2 against the spread.

Now on to week 2:

Brown +16 vs. Harvard

I think this is going to be a very exciting game that goes down to the wire. I have to go with the Crimson, but the Bears will keep it close.

Cornell +9 1/2 vs. Yale

Yale looked just awful against Colgate and Cornell was better than it's looked in years in its win at Bucknell last week. If Yale loses this game, even by one point, it's disaster time in New Haven. I think Cornell will win.

Princeton +3 at Lehigh

The Tigers always play Lehigh really well, and I think they're generally a team on the rise. Take Princeton to win.

Penn +6 at Fordham

After the 2nd half collapse against Lehigh, I think the Quakers are looking to make a statement. I like Penn to win.

Dartmouth +8 at Holy Cross

Okay, so maybe UNH wasn't such a good team after all. But Dartmouth's defense is the real deal and the offense has weapons. Holy Cross can be very erratic. I like the Big Green to cover and win.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Scouting Georgetown

Tim Barnes

Even though the Hoyas have played two games, it's still very hard to get a good handle on Georgetown so far.

The Hoyas are 2-0 after a blowout win at home over lowly Davidson and a nail-biter win over perhaps even lowlier Marist on the road.

The brightest star on the team so far this year has been junior RB Alex Valles, who's averaging 93 yards per game and a hefty seven yards per carry. Senior QB Tim Barnes looks solid so far, averaging more than 200 yards passing per game and completing 60+% of his passes. Junior WR Justin Barnes, after missing his sophomore season to injury, is starting to look like Georgetown's top receiver. Barnes played at the famous Cardinal Newman HS in New Orleans and could be a truly rising star.

The O-line is manned by four returning starters and has looked pretty good so far. There are no 300-pounders, but a few guys at about 290.

On defense, sophomore LB J'V'on Butler is the leader with 14 total tackles and two for a loss. Senior DE Hunter Kiseleck is off to a good start too. The secondary seems to have a sophomore rising star in Ramon Lyons. Overall, the Hoyas have looked strong against the run and weak against the pass.

The special teams are solid, with the only possible star being kickoff returner Isaac Ellsworth, who's averaging 33 yards per return... but he's only had three returns.

All in all, GU looks very vulnerable. Columbia knows it should have defeated the Hoyas last year save for an series of crucial mental errors at the end of the first half. The biggest challenge may be the simple fact that the game is on the road and it's Georgetown's Homecoming weekend on a little bandbox of a field.