Friday, March 13, 2015

Bagnoli-Fabish Memory Lane



Let's hope he hoists at least one more

Does it tell us anything that new assistant coach Mark Fabish played a big role in both of the only two games Al Bagnoli ever lost to Columbia?

Scratch that.

Those two games were two of the ten most important Columbia wins of the last 25 years.

And it's not like Fabish had bad games in those contests. On the contrary, he was a force in both games and the Lions simply found a way to win in spite of him.

The first game was on a rainy October day in 1995, when Columbia ended Penn's tops in the nation 24-game winning streak with a 24-14 win at Wien Stadium.

Because of the extraordinary turn of events here over the last month, two things from that game now stand out in my memory: 1) Fabish's 40 yard TD catch to give the Quakers their final lead of the game and 2) Bagnoli's really classy responses to questions about the loss and Columbia's overall effort in the game.

Everything went south for Columbia not long after that win when star QB Mike Cavanaugh broke his leg against eventual league champ Princeton. But that was a special day for the Lions.

A year later, Columbia was 3-0 coming into Franklin Field for the rematch. But the Lions were banged up and playing without starting QB Bobby Thomason. Now Thomason was no John Elway, but he was very smart with the football and he knew how to make the efforts of Columbia's then-dominant defense hold up.

Without Thomason Columbia's offense struggled more than usual and suffered from bad turnovers, including a 93-yard pick six by Penn's Joseph Peila. But the Lions fought back well enough to force a 13-13 and send the game into OT.

That's where Fabish ran a perfect pattern to catch a near perfect pass on a 3rd and 2 to set the Quakers up for a 1st and goal at the one.  Penn score on the next play and it looked like the Lion luck had run out. But the PAT was blocked and Columbia had an opening.

And after two incomplete passes, Thomason hooked up with WR Dennis Lee for the tying TD. The Lions Matt Linit hit the extra point for the incredible win.

That was the last time Columbia beat Penn in a football game. Yep, it's been 18 straight wins for Bagnoli and the Quakers and... well, you know the rest of the story.

Now Bagnoli and Fabish are in our corner and it's great to have them.

9 comments:

alswingman said...


Loved Bobby Thomason. That's exactly the type of QB the team needs now. A gutty gamer who can lead the offense, make his throws and not just run but give defenders something to think about.

alawicius said...

I was at that '95 game when we ended Penn's 24-game nation-leading win streak. You're right, Jake, that was one of our greatest moments. And the following year's overtime win during our 8-2 season was just as glorious. I think it's good that Bags knows we can win!

Coach said...

Has Columbia publicly announced the football staff? Do they have everyone in place? High Schools in my area have not received any info yet.

oldlion said...

The home field win in '95 had a key turning point. The Penn QB - who I think was DaRosa (spelling?) took the ball at about our 10 yard line and threw a square out which we had scouted. Our DB jumped the route and intercepted the pass. It was all Columbia from then on. That was Wiley's sabbatical year as I recall.

Chick said...

The coach's page on AD website has just dropped the only holdover--Chad Nice. running backs. So it appears to be a 100 percent remake of coaching staff. Besides Bagnoli, page now shows only trainer, football admin, video coordinator, quality control.
Maybe a reciting coordinator is coming, and soon of course official announcement of coaches. Almost all been named here already.

Coach said...

Do we know who is coaching the offensive line or running backs, and have they announced the recruiting areas yet-

Chick said...

The offensive line coach is supposed to be Jon McLoughlin, Penn's OC the past six years and the OL coach at the same time, plus three years prior with the OL. Seven new assts named by Football Scoop/Jake so far but none officially.

Coach said...

it looks like the Penn coaches that he brought in will not be coordinators- not sure if this means that Bags will be operating under 2 new offensive and defensive systems - surprising if that's it.

Coach said...

Nice video on the Penn Football website- President Amy Gutman thanking Al Bagnoli for his contribution at Penn.