Sunday, September 16, 2012

One Singular Sensation

Opening Kickoff

Columbia 10 Marist 9

Why Columbia Won

The Lions defense put up it's most impressive defensive performance in years, allowing just 21 net yards rushing and forcing three turnovers and five sacks. The offense was better than its 10-point output would indicate, registering its first 100-yard individual rushing performance in 17 games and making a crucial halftime adjustment to grab the lead for good.

Why Marist Lost

The Red Foxes turned the ball over at crucial times, couldn't protect their QB, and committed almost every special teams miscue known to man. A holding penalty negated what would have been the winning score.

Key Turning Points

-Trailing 3-0 at the half, the Lions marched 87 yards down the field on the opening second half possession and scored a TD on a 10-play drive. The effort highlighted a key halftime adjustment that was a rarity last season when the 3rd quarter was a regular disaster for Columbia.

-Marist threw away three points when punter Jason Myers accidentally touched his knee to the ground at the Red Fox four yard line. Columbia was not able to score a TD, but got a gift field goal out of the play.

-After the Lions made it 10-3, Marist took the ensuing possession 83 yards from its own 16 to set up a 1st and goal at the one. But on that play, junior LB Zach Olinger slammed Calvin McCoy and forced a fumble that was recovered by senior DL Josh Martin.

-After Marist went 80 yards for a TD to make it 10-9, junior DL Wells Childress blocked the extra point to preserve the Lion lead.

-On the next Red Fox possession, QB Chuckie Looney seemingly completed a 76-yard TD pass to TE Anthony Calcagani, but a holding penalty during the run wiped out 39 yards worth of the play. Four plays later, Olinger caught a pass tipped by senior LB Mike Waller to preserve the win.

Columbia Positives

-The Lions highly-touted front seven on defense did not disappoint. Not only did they stifle the Marist offense for most of the game, but bone-jarring hits were the norm.

-"The Grand Experiment" generally worked. Despite a little undue pressure coming to senior QB Sean Brackett from that extremely light right side of the O-line, Columbia's offense mounted a steady running attack and Brackett had time to throw.

-Junior RB Marcorus Garrett rushed for 115 yards on 30 carries. It was the first 100-yard rushing game for a Lion RB since current senior Nick Gerst did it against Princeton in week three of the 2010 season. Garrett's 30 carries were the most by a CU player in 12 years.

-As promised, the freshmen got into the action and made impressive contributions. 10 first-years played in the game led by starters OL Keith Ramljak and WR Isaiah Gross. Gross brought the crowd to its feet early in the second quarter with a diving, diving fingertip catch for a 46 yard gain. He finished the day with four catches for 63 and was the Lions leading receiver. Freshman DL Niko Padilla had an 11-yard sack at the Marist two yard line early in the 4th quarter.

Columbia Negatives

-The Lions came up empty on too many scoring opportunities, mostly due to a weak 31% 3rd down conversion rate. Brackett was never even close to being intercepted, but too many of his passes were off the mark and he finished with a sub-.500 completion rate.

-The secondary played well overall, but gave up too many long passes despite decent coverage. Lion CB's are going to have to look for the ball a bit more without falling behind the receivers.

-Columbia committed some deadly penalties, some of them questionable calls, but they did hurt.

-Senior DL Seyi Adebayo went out with a leg injury in the second half and the CU defense lost some of its edge after that. I did see Adebayo after the game with an ace bandage on his leg, but he was walking on his own power with no help getting into an SUV taking him back to campus.

Columbia MVP

Junior linebacker Zach Olinger was the most consistently dominant defender of the day, with 10 total tackles, one sack, one other tackle for a loss, a crucial forced fumble and a game-icing interception.


Anonymous said...

doc/jock said;
As usual , Jake, you got the game right! I was impressed with the running of Garrett and the O line (especially Ramljak and Gross). Padilla , Washington,Martin were strong on the D line. This team 's tackling is great and I counted ten blue shirts on the pile several times. We did not concede the extra point after giving up a TD and we rushed hard on all the punts. Their excellent punter went to a knee to grab a poor snap. I questioned a couple of punts we made from close range . One went into the endzone and resulted in a net of 12 yards!

oldlion said...

Two major issues for next week: Brackett needs to be running more options and generally turned loose; and the DBs need to learn when to turn and start looking for the ball on the sideline pattern. But I came away with a pretty good feeling that this was a well coached team that doesn't panic, especially in the fourth quarter. Garrett ran hard, and Olinger and Martin were beasts.

lionrock said...

Jake, old Lion and Doc are all on target--congratulations to the Columbia Lions!!!!

Anonymous said...

Our linebackers were outstanding. I would give them a triple A rating. Zach Olinger, Mike Waller and Brian East were terrific. Marquel Carter was a standout in the secondary. Malcolm Thaxton also played very well. The defenisve line couldn't have played much better. The only negative was the downfield pass coverage. That's action item #1 for practice this week.

Anonymous said...

Fordham's wide receivers burned us last season and all of them are back-big test coming up next Saturday--we must stop Fordham's passing game to register a win.

Anonymous said...

Moving Zach Olinger to middle linebacker was a very smart move by this coaching staff.

Anonymous said...

Offense: (1) Offensive line played well; (2) Garrett played very well, and showed that he had the ability to become one of the best running backs in the Ivy League; (3) Brackett's play improved as the game went along. Obviously, the coaching staff needs to let him run the ball more; (4) Trevor Bell impressed on his first two kickoff returns as a Lion. He's a threat to go the distance at any time. The special kickoff return team should be strongly cautioned to avoid any holds on kickoff returns as Bell sees the field beautifully and has the speed and athleticism to turn the corner without much help.

Lion 58 said...

Brackett seemed less effective as a pocket passer, particularly since the O-line was porous and he was pressured often. Did better on roll outs and short passes. Was surprised that their were no option runs.
We'll have to do much better next week against a Fordham team that beat Cornell. Fordham rolled up impressive yardage on the ground and in the air.

jovin61 said...

...a team that tried hard to give away a game against an opponent who refused the gift..ugly ,except for Columbia special teams..give that coach a raise !

Anonymous said...

We have been outplayed at the QB position now 11 straight games. We need to stop making excuses and improve at this most crucial position. The sideline was so much more focused and organized and adjustments and game calling dramatically improved. If the dbacks would turn and look for the ball or put their hands up as the receivers are they could have broken up 2 or 3 of those fades. Only one bad decision from the coach (punt deep in our territory) was a welcome surprise. Garret looked terrific and D was strong but the loss of starting end and his backup will be costly. The best news is that our team will improve exponentially week by week under Coach M as he reviews films and continues to adjust. Big W!!! Go Lions!

oldlion said...

I think that the issue with Brackett is pretty simple. He is a great athlete who is effective when he is given a scheme he can execute. But that scheme, which has him running more options, carrying the ball more often, tends to get him banged up. That is why the coaches are trying to make him more of a drop back passer. But when he is in the pocket he is not as good a passer as when he is throwing on the run.

One final word about the pass defense. If the defender can stay with the receiver on a go pattern, then he can break up the pass if he is taught when and how to turn and look for the ball. Our guys on Saturday stayed with the receiver but Mingo didn't turn around and look when he would have broken up at least two fly patterns. That is why he wound up on the bench.

Anonymous said...

After some initial jitters, the team picked up the pace and played well. We caught some breaks on penalties at critical points in the game. The blocked extra point kick was a tremendous lift.
The team looked in good condition and seemed to be having a good time. Its a team that will attract new talent who will want to be part of the scene.

Anonymous said...

Agree, Old Lion. But if Marist, and almost every team we played last year, can find a QB that can hit WR and RB comming out of backfield in stride with a well thrown tight ball, so can we. I recognize that athleticism, leadership, grace under pressure and field vision make for a unique
weapon that not all teams have, but the lack of a fundamentally sound passer really takes a dimension away from us.

Anonymous said...

I do not believe Mingo was the only corner who didn't look for the ball. There was at least one, and perhaps two, who didn't in addition to Mingo.


Anonymous said...

Doc/jock says:
Old lion has a point re: QB play. the bottom line last year was that the performance was a step down from what he had previously done.
I love the guy, but he needs to step up in the accuracy department. Teams whose leading runner is the QB are not as good as those who have top flight passers.(just my opinion)

oldlion said...

The other DB who didn't look for the ball and gave up a long completion was the safety, Braddock, down by the end zone. Burt Braddock kept the receiver from scoring and on the next play the RB fumbled on the one. But let me reiterate, good coaching is needed here on teaching the DBs when to turn and look for the ball.