Sunday, September 23, 2012

Letting 'em off the Hook

The dark clouds never really cleared up over Kraft Field

Fordham 20 Columbia 13

Why Fordham Won

The Rams got a monster game from RB Carlton Koonce, who finished with 250 yards rushing and both of Fordham's TD's. But the Ram defense also came up big, getting two turnovers inside their red zone and getting the ball back on downs on Columbia's final drive.

Why Columbia Lost

The Lions simply left too many points on the field. Columbia got into the Fordham red zone four times and only came away with 6 points on two field goals. The defense played generally very well, but gave up a 92-yard TD scamper to Koonce that was essentially the difference in the game.

Key Turning Points

-Fordham fumbled away the opening kickoff, giving the Lions a 1st and goal at the 10. Three plays netted just four yards and Columbia had to settle for a FG.

-Still trailing 3-0 and sputtering on offense, the whole game turned around on Koonce's 92-yard TD run with  just over six minutes left in the 1st quarter. Before that run, Koonce had rushed the ball six times for a grand total of 12 yards.

-After another Fordham TD with just over a minute left in the 1st quarter, the Lions looked dead in the water down 14-3. But that all changed after a great rollout pass by QB Sean Brackett to WR Louis DiNovo who got two great blocks from his fellow wide receivers Isaiah Gross and Connor Nelligan en route to a 60-yard TD. Columbia was back in it, and this would be a game.

-Midway through the 2nd quarter, Columbia RB Marcorus Garrett burst through the right side for a 64-yard run all the way down to the Fordham 4. But he was caught from behind on that run and two plays later, Brackett threw an ill-advised pass that was intercepted in the back of the end zone.

-Columbia's next possession started all the way back on the Lion 11, but thanks to two extremely acrobatic catches by Gross, Columbia had another 1st and goal at the Ram 8. But three plays went only two yards and the Lions had to settle for another FG.

-With 7:51 left in the game, Columbia began a drive from their own 20. This time Garrett and DiNovo did the heavy lifting with Garrett runs of 11, 3 and 19 yards and DiNovo catches of 11 and 17 yards. But RB Alec Fisher fumbled the ball away at the Fordham 13 despite what seemed like the refs blowing the play dead. Head Coach Pete Mangurian was livid after the call, but the Rams escaped with a big break.

-Columbia had one last chance with a drive that began on their own 45. On 4th and 10 from there, Brackett completed a nice 16-yard pass to Gross to keep the drive alive. But on 4th and 13 from the Ram 28, Brackett went over the line of scrimmage before completing what looked like a miraculous TD pass to Garrett in the back of the end zone.

Columbia Positives

-The total yards allowed don't really tell the story as the Lion defense stepped up big and played extremely well against a stacked Fordham offensive attack. Bottom line, the D gave Columbia every chance to win this game.

-Despite the undersized offensive line, the Lions run blocking was strong again, freeing up Garrett to rush for an incredible 168 yards. The pass blocking was better this week, as Brackett had a lot more time to throw, especially in the final quarter.

Columbia Negatives

-Crucial turnovers and red zone failures sealed their fate and are the kind of habit that needs to be broken before they derail the entire season. You can't let three first and goal situations and two desperation drives deep into opponent territory leave you with six total points.

-Brackett was inconsistent, and especially inaccurate with his throws early in the game. He eventually got better when he started to roll out and throw, but he still finished with a sub-.500 completion percentage.

-The play calling seemed a little suspect, especially the call for a fade patter throw on 2nd and goal from the 1 in the 2nd quarter that resulted in an INT. Much of the other offensive series seemed a little too vanilla. Perhaps this is all part of a conservative approach before the Ivy games begin next week vs. Princeton.

-Despite what it said in the two-deep, Seyi Adebayo did not play and is out for the season with an ACL.

Columbia MVP

-It was not a perfect game for Marcorus Garrett, despite the 168 yards and 30 carries. But he stayed strong throughout the entire game and made key play after key play. The fact that he still would have had his second straight 100-yard game even without that 64 yard run is all you need to know.

Garrett is now the first CU rusher to have back-to-back 100 yard games since Johnathan Reese did in in 2001.


oldlion said...

This team still needs to iron out some kinks but can and should be competitive. I would be curious to hear from Fordham fans how Columbia stacks up next to Cornell. I am a huge SB fan, but he needs to recapture the magic he showed at the end of his freshman year for us to do what we need to do to put points on the board.

Anonymous said...

Missed opportunities in a fairly evenly matched game. Once again we need better play from QB. Our boys afforded themselves well against a much bigger full scholarship program. OC needs to open things up a bit; too many run, run, pass series. Garrett was a beast. Looking forward to next week as we continue to improve.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Anonymous said...

No excuses. We were the better team and should have won the Fordham game. Our defense was outstanding, but the offense failed to deliver the mail in the red zone. However, Coach Mangurian is too smart not to make the few obvious adjusments on offense necessary to propel this team into a consistent winner as we enter the Ivy League season.

Anonymous said...

And those obvious adjustments are..........????

lionrock said...

No summary of the Fordham game would be complete without mentioning that their kicker, Patrick Murray, was unbelievable. He's the best NFL prospect. The running back, Carlton Koonce, is also outstanding, but probably not big enough for the NFL.

Anonymous said...

As Jake pointed out, we were in the red zone four times and only scored two field goals. Obviously, the plays we called in the red zone did not work and need to be changed. The coaching staff certainly must realize that and will try different plays next time. Most obviously, we won't be running up the middle or throwing floaters from the pocket into the corner of the endzone. I would expect the coaches to mix it up more to take advantage of Brackett's excellent running ability as well as the size and speed of our receivers.

Anonymous said...

It was an exciting, frustrating and hard fought game by our Lions. The defense was strong all day causing four turnovers but let up the big run. This is all part of our growing pains under a new coaching staff which is far superior than the previous and I believe will deliver positive results for the team as we move forward. It’s always easy to be a Monday morning quarterback but what it all boils down to is team execution. This team never quits and that’s a great asset to have.
This coaching staff is on a mission with this team and that’s to win, win and win again. Attitude is a frame of mind and this team has the attitude to be successful. We can sit here, micro managing every play call made by the coaching staff and dissecting every mistake made by the team but the bottom line is simple: they either win as a team or loose as a team no more excuses or finger pointing at individual players. This coaching staff in my opinion will make the appropriate adjustments do whatever they feel is necessary to win.
This Saturday vs. Princeton you’ll see the Columbia Lions Hearts beating as one. The head coach said he would change the loosing culture at Columbia and no longer except it. I believe he will and I think it’s time that we as the fans change our mind set because I know the players have. This team will get better each week because they know loosing is not in their veins and is no longer an option. I’m proud of the way this team fought the entire game and never gave up. Dig deep within any negative situation and you’ll discover the positive that negates that negative.

Anonymous said...

Here's the good news from the Fordham game. (1) Our defense played well overall; (2) Our running back, Garrett, was outstanding and now can be considered one of the best running backs in the Ivy League; (3) Our wide receivers played very well and showed that they score from anywhere on the field. (4) Our offensive line can do the job; (5) Our special teams are solid; (6) Our first-years are talented and smart football players who are already making their mark. No predictions here, but I am impressed with this football team.

Lion 58 said...

Not taking advantage of Brackett's mobility- no options. He's also better as roll out passer than in pocket. Maybe Coach is afraid he might get hurt?

oldlion said...

I think that the coaching staff is trying to protect Brackett, since he was so badly banged up the last two years. The real season starts next Saturday. We have some smart guys running things now, and you can expect to see different offensive looks, perhaps more options and more of Garner. Too bad about Adebayo.

Anonymous said...

Fordham Inside Opponents Red-Zone

Lock Haven 8 times with 8 scores
Villanova 3 times with 2 scores
Cornell 5 times with 5 scores
Columbia 2 with 1 score

Our defensive was very impressive only allowing Fordham in our red zone twice with scoring once. Fordham was in Villanova's red zone 3 times with scoring twice. Pretty impressive considering how much time our defense was on the field.

doc/jock said...

I agree that the coaching seems much better and that the D played GREAT.
But,we not only failed to score in the RED zone, but We started two possessions with the ball on the Fordham 40 and 42 yard line in the first quarter.
On our first SEVEN (7) possessions, we did not have more than 4 plays ( a two play drive went for a TD); including giving the ball back by a fumble after a great CU interception.
I am reminded of the line attributed to Sam Huff of the NYGiants who was quoted as saying to the offense as he left the field," Hold 'em."
Go Lions! I want to see everybody there at Baker for the Princeton game.

Anonymous said...

Agree with above comments. Watched the game again, this time on video. The kid who caught Garrett, a FL DB, simply has another gear. He's also the same DB who intercepted the pass in the end zone two plays later.

Positives: the team has a different feel to it. I was a little concerned after we only got 3 pts after having 3 great scoring opportunities and then after F scored 2 TDs that we might get steamrolled, but nothing like that happened. And, our preventing F from getting any pts after it had a first and goal on our 1 was simply extraordinary.

The play calling does seem quite plain vanilla, but if we execute, we score. The interception in the end zone was bad decision making and bad execution, not a bad play.

Anonymous said...

Mangurian talked about the red zone problems in a post-game session. No doubt they will be high on the priority list this week.

Anonymous said...

Dr. V
Where is the video available?

DOC said...

Did it not seem that on a few obvious
running situations the linebackers were playing too far behind the line of scrimmage? With three down linemen on the defensive front, I felt the next line of defense was struggling to contain Koonce- tough to do with someone with so much speed!They were quite concerned with him gaining the corners.
Overall I thought it was an admirable effort and the team showed a lot of grit!
A better approach to red zone play calling and execution are adjustments well within our reach.
I feel very confident and excited about our Lions going forward.

Anonymous said...

Video on CU's Sideline Pass (annual subscription required).

Mitch said...

As always, excellent analysis by Jake. Big chance to see some real progress in Columbia football for the first time since the Civil War!