Sunday, October 28, 2012

Air Columbia







Columbia 26 Yale 22


Why Columbia Won

QB Sean Brackett and his receivers had their best days of the year, racking up 369 total yards and posting a 68% completion rate. WR Connor Nelligan was the key target of the air attack, pulling in 11 catches for 138 yards. And save for a desperation heave that was intercepted at the end of the first half, the Lions did not turn the ball over.


Why Yale Lost

The Elis turned the ball over too many times on offense and had no answer for Columbia's short passing game on defense. Despite a brilliant decision to go in the wildcat for almost the entire game with RB Tyler Varga taking the snaps, the Bulldogs relied on it too much in the end as Varga fumbled the ball away with two minutes left in the game, leading to the Lions' winning score.


Key Turning Points


-With Columbia trailing 7-3 midway through the second quarter, a bad snap to Varga into the end zone led to a safety when LB Ryan Murphy dragged him down. It was the first safety scored by Columbia in over 10 years. The score put an end to a momentum shift that had moved decidedly in Yale's favor.

-Now trailing 7-5, a Mordecai Cargill fumble forced by LB Mike Waller gave the Lions the ball at their own 46 with 5:29 left in the half. This time, Columbia mixed the pass and the run to set themselves up for a 1st and goal at the one. But three runs by RB Marcorus Garrett and an incomplete pass left the Lions with no points as Head Coach Pete Mangurian decided not to go for the short FG and the 8-7 lead. That put the momentum squarely back in Yale's corner.

-Yale fumbled the ball away again on the first play of the second half, setting Columbia up at the Eli 32. But the Lions failed to get even one first down, and on Yale's ensuing possession, the Bulldogs drove 74 yards for a Varga TD that gave them what looked like a commanding 14-5 lead. But the Lions answered right back with a 75-yard drive that again mixed the pass and the run for an amazing 14 plays ending with a brilliant four yard fade pass for a TD to WR Jake Wanamaker. The Lions now trailed by just 14-12 and they were back in business.

-After Yale went three and out on their next possession, RB Alec Fisher electrified the crown with a 30 yard punt return to the Eli 48. It was by far the longest punt return of the year against Yale. On the ninth play of the drive, Brackett kept the ball off tackle and lept into the south end zone for a TD and 19-14 lead with 11:38 left in the game.

-Everything seemed to go wrong for Columbia after that. Varga led the Elis on a 10-play 75 yard TD drive on the ensuing possession and the two point conversion made it 22-19 with 7:30 to go. The Lions got a super kickoff return from CB Travis Reim to start at the Bulldog 44, but when the drive stalled a 41 yard FG attempt by Luke Eddy went just wide left. But then Waller struck again, brilliantly stripping Varga of the ball for a fumble that Murphy recovered at the Lion 41. Brackett and the brilliant Columbia short passing game took over after that. He completed his first three passes, the last two of them to Nelligan, to set the Lions up with a first down at the Yale 13. Two plays later a 10 yard completion to Nelligan made it first and goal at the 3. And after two unsuccessful runs, a little pass to Garrett for the TD proved to be the winning score.

Columbia Positives

-It was just a fantastic passing day for Brackett as the Lions adjusted to Yale's surprisingly good run defense. The passes were accurate, the receivers didn't drop the ball, and there were several plays with significant runs after the catch.

-The defense was generally beaten by Varga and the wildcat, but Waller's heads up work to strip two fumbles was exactly what a defense needs to do when it's getting beaten in the trenches.


Columbia Negatives

-Going up against the worst run defense in the league coming into this game, the Lions could not get the running game going, especially during first and goal situations. The agonizing goal line stand at the end of the first half that led to no points could have deflated the team.

-Varga was brilliant, but too many plays saw him wriggle out of what should have been tackles for short gains or for a loss.


Columbia MVP

Brackett was brilliant, but Connor Nelligan was stunning. The sophomore made several diving catches and exploded for a few spectacular runs after the catch. #84 is the MVP this week.

31 comments:

lionrock said...

Terrific all-around effort by our Columbia Lions. Congratulations to them for defeating Yale!!

Anonymous said...

Great write-up Jake! Connor Nelligan for President!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Chris Connors for Vice President!

Anonymous said...

And what about that clutch 50 yard kickoff return by Travis Reim, as well as Alec Fisher's punt return. All of a sudden we have some big play kick return guys.

Anonymous said...

We beat a three legged horse yesterday and everyone is jumping up for joy??? Granted, we have been on the opposite side of these types of games over the years, so a win is a win any way we can get it. The problem is that is was UGLY! We looked sloppy, couldn't put it in from the 1 (big surprise with that line), and we couldn't stop a very transparent offense.

The Positives: Nelligan and the WR corps. Also, Brackett looked very good (should be co-Ivy player of the week)! Gee, what a surprise to let Brackett throw/run out of the shotgun. For a Freshman, McDonagh looked FANTASTIC and had great short/mid range balls (nothing attempted deep). Look forward to seeing more of him. Reim and Fisher ran hard and did great on Special teams, but that was all 11 guys too! LBs looked very good and Chrildress played a heck of a game!

The Negatives: Coaching! Throughout the game, they never adjusted to Yale's Wildcat offense. Keep in mind that all THREE of their QBs were out! Offensive line was just simply outmatched physically (again). The defensive line was winded by the second quarter. I thought that they were in great shape? DBs - Varga taught them a lesson (better to be taught in a win, versus a loss).

It's unfair to say (or imply) that Varga was (is) on steriods. Why? Because our guys look like stick figures and were embarrassed when they tried to tackle him?

Hopefully, this game will be a building block... PU's loss to Cornell is telling...

Anonymous said...

As good as Varga is, and he is very, very good, nevertheless, everyone makes mistakes and he did fumble the ball twice during the game. He was lucky to recover the snap in the endzone for only a safety and he took a tremendous pounding by the Columbia defense which led to Varga's second fumble. The Lions did a good job of continuously hitting him hard, and when Varga did not go down, Mike Waller had his chance to swat away the football. That's exactly what he did. That was a great, smart play. So I would make him our co-MVP along with Connnor Nelligan.

Anonymous said...

Great win regardless of a depleted Eli squad. What looks worrisome is Eddy clearly has lost his rythm/confidence. That's two weeks in a row he has not delivered under pressure. He's a good kicker, hopefully he rights the ship ahead of Harvard.

Anonymous said...

Yes, in a sense Yale was a three-legged horse as it had no passing game, but in my mind that doesn't detract from our hard-fought comeback victory. Our defense kept hitting until Yale made mistakes and our offense was outstanding in the second half. Also, we did make adjustments on defense, going to a five-man line and bringing up some of the defensive backs. I think our defensive coordinator is very good. However, on offense, the coaches obviously made the mistake of running too many plays up the middle from inside the five. Fortunately, we finally figured it out and the passes to Wanamaker and Garrett were nicely executed, as was Sean's touchdown run. I also agree that McDonagh looked good in his collegiate debut. His passes were sharp and very accurate. I also had the impression that he was smart, calm and a good leader. That's just a feeling, but usually it doesn't take long to evaluate a quarterback.

oldlion said...

Nelligan and Connors made plays. So did Brackett. And Garrett got 70 hard yards even though Yale had nine guys in the box some of the time. On defense we need to set the edge better when we face backs with the speed to turn the corner. Lot's of first years now either starters or in the two deep. Lawrence started on the OL and with Ramljak we have two fresh staters there. They will get a lot better. And Padilla will be a force on the DL.

Anonymous said...

Notice that Varga is a transfer (which is great for Yale to have him for three years). We need impact transfers. The acquisition of Childress was (is) positive. The Wannamaker transfer is average, at best. He does not posess the speed to stretch the field and he suffered from a rare WR genetic condition called "the dropsies" earlier in the year. We need one/two 6'5-6'7" TE, a turn-the-corner RB (Garrett is not that - although a good runner if he keeps his head up), and a BIG DE. This staff needs to tap their college coaching connections. We need a bigger spark than Mangurrian building this program organically.

DOC said...

UGLY win ??!!
No sir, this was not that at all.
I witnessed a Columbia team that bent under tremendous pressure from a physical opponent (with a wild cat oriented QB who was almost impossible to bring down), but never broke. I witnessed a Columbia team that finally figured out how to adjust the offensive game plan to the point where we could control the ball with crisp, pinpoint passes to sure-handed receivers. I witnessed special teams units that did not give up a big play, but made two of their own. I witnessed the first Columbia victory over Yale since 2001. No sir, that was bee-ooo-tee-ful.

Anonymous said...

This is directed at the coaches and Oldlion, NOT the players/parents... Lawrence and Ramljak are Freshmen that are playing, but they have the size/strength of juniors in HS (being tall does not make you good in Lawrence's case, see Yuchivich who is killing us as well). Do the math... Why do you think our O-Line is so porous? Other defensive coordinators go right at our underclassmen (same on defense). This is why a JV team is critical to our team's development. We need to revisit the JV program. How else are these kids going to gain experience? I would say that sticking them in to situations where they are clearly not ready physically/mentally is detrimental to their long-term development.

Anonymous said...

Doc, Walmart is having a special on prescription glasses. Quick, see if you can beat the storm... Apparently we watched different games. We NEVER adjusted to the Wildcat offense, Yale just fumbled the game away. Vargas had over 200 yards alone.

I do like how Mangurrian works the Refs on the sidelines. I watch him closely in several games and he really gets at them from the onset - big advantage!

Anonymous said...

Varga leads the Ivy League in rushing and I can see why. He's fast strong and has great field vision. You win as a team and lose as ateam. Both offense and defense made the plays when they counted. Columbias defense caused 4 turnovers and the key defensive play was when Waller stripped the ball from Varga and Ryan Murphy recovered the fumble with just 3 minutes left to play in the game. If not for that play which occured on our 41 yardline, Yale may of scored or ran out the clock. Waller by no means had the best game in his career but caused two fumbles one in which gave us the opportunity to win this game. Our offense came through when they needed to. Breackett was awesome as well as our other recievers especially Nelligan. A win is a win no matter how ugly it may be and the Columbia players never said die, they kept fighting and found a way to win. No matter how you look at this game these players do have the Heart of a Lion.

Anonymous said...

Yale's "three-legged horse" offense was much stronger than its four-legged horse offense in its prior games. Our defense will be probably be thrilled to play four-legged opponents in the final four games. Maybe we should use Reim and Fischer on a couple of plays on offense?

Anonymous said...

Congratulations ..great team play..play calling still suspect...Brackett can run...coach let him run..did you all see that score by Brackett...the receivers were just super and so was the whole team effort...Go LIONs. Next week - try some innovative fresh creative ideas...let Brackett run or pass ...

Anonymous said...

This next game will be very telling. If Mangurrian (and the Staff) are smart, they'll play Brackett out of the gun. This will allow him to run the Wildcat and the Run-N-Shoot. Let's all not be blind, we saw the success of what happened when Sean ran the offense this way last week. If we see brackett under center again, this really shows Mangurrian's inflexibility to adjust to his resources. Let's hope they are brighter than I suspect.

oldlion said...

Ramljak is hardly at the level of "a high school junior". He is not a tall, skinny guy. He comes from a good California HS program and has been a starter from Day 1. He is 6'2" and 270 and has been playing well. Sure, we have bigger guys, but the coaches are playing the five best OLs, not the five biggest. Last year we had a huge OL which couldn't block. The numbers don't lie, look at the numbers 23 has put on the board this year as opposed to the numbers all of our RBs combined put up all of last year.

Anonymous said...

I highly doubt that Luke Eddy has lost his rhythm/confidence. Yesterday's 41 yd field goal was kicked straight but a large gust of wind pulled it left.
I have spoken with former Columbia kickers who have told me that Columbia's stadium is one of the most difficult fields to kick in because it is situated where 2 rivers meet. Did anyone notice the flags at yesterday's game? Some were blowing to the right and some were blowing to the left at the same time and they would shift during the game. Former kickers have also told me that the there are some spots on the field where the wind swirls. That being said, it is a fact that kickers do miss field goals, even in the pros. We have a great special teams coach and I do not think that we have to worry about our kicking game. From what I've heard, Eddy does not have a problem with "pressure kicks". He sees them as an opportunity to do his job and help the team.

Anonymous said...

Check out Columbia Goes Gangman Style

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hYjQt_oiQqk

Anonymous said...

Was the box score posted anywhere? I like to review play by play to see the flow of the game. Lions played until the end of the game, never giving up. As we have seen the past few weeks, football games can take strange twists. It was nice to see accurate passing and moving the ball on offense. Only 3 punts this week (all inside the 20). Turnovers were big as they always are.

A few words on single wing offense. If executed correctly it is darn near unstoppable. Luckily for Lions Elis did not have a full package to run. The inside runs set up some outside runs and then reverses. I am surprised more teams do not run this offense. It is predicated on mismatches, 4 on 3, 3 on 2, etc. Like we saw on several drives, when the back can run tough, teams can grind it out.

On to Harvard next week, anyone going to the game?

DOC said...

Admittedly my Walmart glasses are a little rose-colored but I never said they adjusted well to the wildcat, only that they bent but came up big when the game was on the line. The adjustment on offense were two little, beautifully thrown touchdown passes when it became clear that rushing touchdowns weren't going to happen. By the way, Yale fumbled because their ball carriers were hit hard and stripped of the ball.
What game were YOU watching ?

Anonymous said...

They did what they had to and won. Not so v. Penn, Dart. All the rest is talk. ("Carousel")

Anonymous said...

Disagree with person regarding Wanamaker. He's a gifted receiver who has already made some extremely difficult clutch catches for us including yesterday's clutch grab in the end zone. My understanding is that he missed the first few games of the season due to an injury. I suspect that he will become a star receiver for the Lions.

Anonymous said...

Re: Wannamaker... I think what they poster was saying is that he doesn't have the speed to spread the field. We have no deep threat. We have good "hands" guys, but we need speed to keep defenses honest...

Anonymous said...

Why not try Yuchevich and Lawrence at TEs next year?

oldlion said...

Because Lawrence will grow into the tackle position, we have a very promising freshman TE who is about the same size that Andrew Kennedy was as a freshman, and Yukevich will be a senior next season.

Anonymous said...

Week 9 FCS Football Players of the Week

Ivy League
Offence: Jeff Mathews Cornell
Defense: Mike Waller Columbia

http://www.collegesportsmadness.com/article/5124

Anonymous said...

well deserved honors for both Matthews and Waller

Anonymous said...

Wll, Yukevich could ONLY be more useful at TE than at tackle. I agree, give him a shot there...

Anonymous said...

I'm sure Luke isnt satisfied with being a 60 pct fg kicker.Yes, Baker is sometimes a difficult place to kick but so are Ithaca and Hanover in the weather they get among other places.No slight on him, just need him to finish strong as I'm sure the team will need some crucial kicks down the stretch.