Sunday, November 11, 2012


Columbia 34 Cornell 17

Why Columbia Won

In a game that featured everything from an 86-yard TD run to an interception off of a players' butt, the Lions defense shut down the Cornell scoring machine. They held the feared Big Red offense to just 150 passing yards and 244 total yards and sacked Jeff Mathews six times. The defensive line, led by Josh Martin, didn't just sack Mathews, they hurt him, knocking him out of the game midway through the 3rd quarter. The Columbia offense started off erratically, but eventually began doing everything right, scoring 27 unanswered points to erase a 17-7 late second quarter deficit.

Why Cornell Lost

Mathews and company never got in sync. When he wasn't being sacked, the NFL-bound Big Red QB was getting his passes knocked down by the Lions secondary men in tight coverage. And after playing well in the first half, the Cornell defense fell apart as the game wore on.

Key Turning Points

-They don't get much more obvious than this: Trailing 17-10 with 5:04 left in the 3rd quarter, Columbia started their second possession of the half backed up on their own 14. On the first and only play of the drive, RB Marcorus Garrett burst through the middle, then took it left down the east sideline for an 86-yard TD dash. That tied the game at 17 and from that point on, the Lions did nothing wrong.

-On Cornell's ensuing possession, Mathews was sacked by Martin and fumbled the ball away to Chad Washington at the Big Red 22. On Columbia's first play after that, TE Hamilton Garner made an incredible catch in the corner of the south end zone to give the Lions the lead and TD's on consecutive offensive plays separated by just one minute and 27 seconds.

Columbia Positives

-The pressure on Mathews was intense and started on the Big Red's very first possession which ended with a sack by senior Will Patterson. But the sack that really made the biggest difference was a vicious hit by Martin late in the second quarter. If you missed it, check out this highlights clip about 32 seconds into the video. Mathews kept playing for more than another quarter after that, but he was never quite the same.

-Garrett finished with 187 yards, which means he would have put in a 100+ yard game even without his spectacular 86 yard TD rush. Garrett now has 901 rushing yards on the season to lead the Ivies. He's also just the fourth Lion RB to break the 900 yard mark for a season.

-Columbia wide receivers have gone from dropping too many passes early in the season, to routinely making acrobatic catches over and over again. Freshman Chris Connors made an outstanding diving grab for the Lions final score of the game, but an impossible catch he made on a very short throw by Brackett on Columbia's opening drive was even more impressive. That play featured Connors twisting his body along the east sideline and somehow snaring the ball with one hand just before it hit the turf. The play went for 19 yards on a 3rd and 5 from the Cornell 35. Three plays later, it was Connors again making a nice grab in coverage for an eight yard TD and the first score of the game.

-The Columbia secondary made three picks, and held the Big Red well under the 50% completion rate threshold. They made seven pass breakups, including two very athletic ones by Mike Waller and Brian DeVeau.

-Brackett and the offense got better as the game went on, and this time the coaching staff stuck with them.

Columbia Negatives

-The Lion run defense was weak at times, making one wonder if the Big Red could have won the game had they put more running plays into the plan.

-Pass protection for Brackett wasn't great... again. He was sacked three times and threw a lot of other passes under duress.

Columbia MVP

There were a lot of heroes yesterday, Garrett, Connors, and Waller just to name three. But the one thing Columbia did yesterday that really no other Ivy team has done this year is shut down the Cornell offense. And the man who made that happen the most was Josh Martin, with three sacks and the hit Jeff Mathews is probably still feeling this morning.

Martin marked his last game at home with a dominating performance.


doc/jock said...

Perfectly stated!
Go Lions.

lionrock said...

A great team effort by our Columbia Lions. Congratulations to every one of the players and the coaches too. I am proud to be a Columbia Football Fan this morning!

Anonymous said...

Our secondary was outstanding--Carter, DeVeau, DiTomasso and Reim, among others, glued themselves on the Cornell receivers and made some unbelievably hard hits.

Anonymous said...

Our receivers put on a clinic yesterday afternoon--Connors, Nelligan, Garner, Wanamaker and Flannery all made some terrific grabs--come next fall they could be the best group in the Ivy League especially with Gross returning to catch the long ones. We also have some other talented guys like DiNovo and Slivka behind them.

oldlion said...

Good analysis. The run defense was a product of the fact that Cornell is a pass first team. Let's face it. Cornell is a passing team. And our pressure defense will sometimes leave gaps for the run game. A few other thoughts. We started three freshmen and one sophomore on the OL. With a year of weight training they will be an outstanding unit. Second, I never knew that Garrett had breakaway speed. Third, Connors and Nelligan paired with Gross, will give us quite a trio. Fourth, Martin looked like Wiley out there. He could not be blocked. Fifth, what a coaching job to turn this team around. If we play like we did during the second half we can take that Brown team.

WOF said...

great job Lions and coaches!

Maybe Mangurian knows what he is doing after all.

If we can finish strong next week that has got to help us with recruiting.

Lion 58 said...

Coaches did a great job in devising pressure on Matthews all day. How did this same Columbia team lose 69-0 last week.
Interesting point to consider- Columbia lost to Penn and Dartmouth in the last minute- if the team had held those leads, we would have been 4-2 in the Ivy League and playing for the title this week- woulda, coulda, shoulda.

jock/doc said...

Answer to H loss:
we had SIX (6) turnovers!
Yesterday after the first half we were 7 point behind because we turned it over twice in the last few minutes.

Kevin DeMarrais said...

Let's give credit to the defensive coaches whose game plan kept Cornell off balance all day.

Anonymous said...

Well what can you say about a team that lost in historic fashion last week and then performs like this against a heavily favored opponent? It's called character. The seniors showed their mettle, the underclassmen followed their lead and Brackett went out like the warrior he is. Two 4th quarter heartbreakers separates this group from top tier Ivy status. Their play today was what I expected all season. The Harvard game was really a conundrum in retrospect. We are very proud of our boys this morning. Finish strong with a Brown Out victory!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations to Our Lions and the Coaches. You should feel so proud. It was an exciting game, so much fun to be a part of.Great job seniors, leading the win. Offense, Defense, Special Teams WOW! Let's do it again saturday in Providence.

Anonymous said...

i was told that nick gerst left the team a week or so ago---is that correct?

Anonymous said...

Ten Lion Victory Tidbits: (1) Amazing TD catches by Chris Connors and Harrison Garner; (2) Solid blocking on Garrett's 86 yard run; (3) Offensive line turned in a great overall performance--the freshman Kuklinski looked solid in only his second start--he's going to be a very good player; (4) Center Ryan Thomas and long snapper John Keefe continue to impress; (5) My opinion is that with some more experience Josh Martin can play in the NFL--same with Adebayo; (6) Loved the defensive schemes the coaches devised to put pressure on Matthews; (7) Refs blew the defensive holding call on Carter--he's becoming a very good defender; (8) Was that Weiss or Prince who took the final snap of the game for Columbia?; (9) Nice kickoff return by Trevor Bell -- he has excellent speed and field vision; (10) DeVeau was outstanding on coverage

oldlion said...

Earlier in the year our DBs never turned to play the ball. They have been coached up. That is no longer a problem. Except for the play fake by Mathews in the first half the DB play was excellent. If Adebayo returns for a medical redshirt he has the talent to play on Sundays, but he needs another year of college ball.

Jovin '61 said...

Where today is the vitriol of past weeks spewed against coaches,Dr. Murphy, President Bollinger and even our student athletes. The blog, with anonymity and parents posting is no longer a service to alma mater.
Last year, I believe the blog was instrumental in terminating coaching incompetence. This year, with a new regime in its infancy, we have tripled football wins. The blog now mostly undermines our program and our athletes....we no longer need its vicious anonymity. Good riddance.
Congratulations to our athletes, coaches and administration.

Mitch said...

I don't believe I have ever seen vitriol, much less billingsgate, spewed on this blog. Yes, sometimes there is umbrage. I am certain there has never been one disrespectful word against any athlete from Columbia -- or, for that matter, from an opposing team. Many contributors to the site are former players. It's the nature of sites like this for former players to express disappointment or frustration when that's what they're feeling. And there has been good reason to feel that way. As things change, hooray. Until then the site should be respectful but not reverent, which it has been.

Anonymous said...

In response to Jovin above,i am a parent of a player. I have pisted several times this year. I sign anonymous AND will continue to do so. Never once have I been negative towards the administration,dr. Murphy erc. I haave stoid behind Coach Mangurian and his staff knowing and hoping we would see wins. I proud of every player because I know furst hand what their day consists of. Please don't generalize because we sign anonous. Lastly please get your facts straight. P. S. whether you or I agrees with other comments , they have every right to their opinions.

Anonymous said...

P.S. many mistakes in my spelling, did not have my glasses on. Re:above post

InwoodTiger said...

The big news from Saturday: BONFIRE!!!

And congrats to Columbia as well for their big day. Can't wait for football to return to Inwood.

oldlion said...

To Jovin 61: I hope you reconsider your remarks. You mistake vitriol for passion. Those of us who post, whether anonymously, through a nom de plume, or openly, are people who care about the program and the players, and about our great College, and sometimes passion and frustration can be mistaken for vitriol. Now let's go out and beat Brown!

Roar Lion said...

Jovin 61, there is really no other forum for CU fans to talk about the football team. Would you rather the team exist in total anonymity? Sadly, the athletic department seems to prefer that. Would it make you happier if after a 69-0 loss Jake handed out blue ribbons for achievement, like tee-ball? The folks on the blog are parents, former players and alumni donors. Whether they post with a sign-on or anonymously, we all know in a general sense who is posting. From my vantage point, the constituencies all care. And frankly, this football program needs passion more than it needs positive reinforcement after losing.

Jake does a great job, donates an incredible amount of time to alma mater and is mostly unappreciated by the athletic department. Whining about the blog is tantamount to whining that our fans care about the football program.

Meanwhile, the highlight video of the Cornell game is maybe the best one I've ever watched. Martin, Nelligan, Garner and Garrett all made extraordinary plays Saturday.

oldlion said...

I had the pleasure of sitting next to Chris Connors' dad during the second half. What a gentleman, and even after his son made his second phenomenal grab I didn't know that it was his boy until he mentioned in passing that he had flown in from Cleveland to see the game. Sometimes the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

Neila said...

Great win Lions! Very proud of you, especially the seniors who are still my boys :). Great job closing out the home season with a W

Anonymous said...

Congrats Josh Martin, a very well deserved Defensive Ivy League Player of the Week

Anonymous said...

Also congrats to Chris Conners
Columbia freshman wide receiver Chris Connors (North Olmstead, Ohio) had a highlight-reel day in the Lions' win over Cornell with six receptions for 84 yards and two touchdowns. Each of his six catches were impressive, including a spectacular 27-yard touchdown catch.

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