Monday, May 4, 2015

Un-Hallowed Ground

Shalbrack's TD was the greatest play on Columbia's now-departed Field Turf

Ask me how much fun it is to have to pause before every post to congratulate the baseball team on another big win.

I'm sure you can guess the answer.

I watched the game against Penn this weekend and it was another wonderful display of the fine work Coach Brett Boretti has done with this team. And it is a "team" in every way as evidenced by the fact that there seems to be a different hero every week.

The Ivy League Championship Series begins against Dartmouth this Saturday at noon at home on Robertson Field.

Tearing up the Roots

If you were at the baseball game Saturday, you couldn't help but notice that the work to replace the Field Turf at Wien Stadium is well underway. As I have written a few times, Field Turf has a manufacturer-suggested life of 10 years, so this is necessary... and it's nicely symbolic.Columbia is hoping to rip up a failing program just like they're ripping up the field.

Most of the ten seasons that field witnessed were some of the worst in Columbia history. It's first season was 2005, a year where Columbia went 0-7 in the Ivies and lost just about each of those conference games by blowouts.

A year later, new Head Coach Norries Wilson arrived and the Lions surged to a hopeful 5-5 record. But the promise did not hold and Columbia never hit .500 again on that field. In fact the Lions all-time home record on this now departed field was an embarrassing 17-37. Hey, even if the 10 years weren't up, I'd want to tear this field to shreds!

What were the best and worst games on this field?

I'd have to say the best win was the 28-14 win over Brown to close out the 2009 campaign. Even though the 2009 Lions were 4-6, they were the best Columbia team of the last 15 years. The win over Brown featured a sparking performance by then-freshman QB Sean Brackett and the greatest single play of the last 25 years in Columbia history: the Adam Mehrer pick and lateral to Andy Shalbrack for a TD return as time ran out in the first half.

When it comes to the worst losses, there are all too many blowouts to choose from. But the one that still burns me the most was the 2009 23-22 loss to Yale that featured what seemed like 10 or 11 moments when Columbia seemed determined to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

And while there were some great times on that field, I say good riddance. The Bagnoli Era has begun and it's time to tear the past away... literally.


oldlion said...

Jake, my candidate for worst play on our field is a dead tie between two first and goal sequences in which we snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. The first was the 23-22 loss to Yale, in which our RB rumbled down to the one yard line on around an 80 yard run. Had he scored we would have been up by 2 TDs with around two minutes to go. But he was caught from behind, we failed to score on three tries, Yale somehow picked up a fumble, and Yale marched the length of the field to pull out the W. My second was a homecoming game against Penn a few years ago: again, first and goal at the one, when Adams was off side, followed by another penalty or two, another failure to score and another missed opportunity in which Penn put the game away.

Coach said...

Another example which might have changed the course of Columbia football history was Jim Garrett's opening game against Harvard when Columbia blew a 17 point lead.
Another career changing game was 1978, when Billy Campbell was on the way to a great season, was 4-2, then got blown out by Rutgers 69-0. Changed Campbell's career, and destroyed what would have been a great season.

oldlion said...

How about the '94 home finale against Brown. We had a winning season at stake, ran up a 28-3 lead at half time, and totally collapsed in the second half. Complete panic on the field and on our sideline.

RLB said...

Did I miss your comments on a team which won all of its Ivy matches and is soon to play in the NCAA tournament?

Coach said...

There are plenty of gut wrenching losses over the years, but the reality is that, over the years, there are very few times where Columbia had better personnel, and we're favored to win an Ivy League game. A few years when Ray had some decent players, but maybe a dozen times in all these years. Hopefully, Bagnoli will change the course of history.

DOC said...

Enough Old Lion- you are bringing back some painful,long-suppressed memories. May have to go back into therapy !

Chick said...

You're right, DOC, I remember that Brown game that was CU 28, Brown 0 at halftime. I was so happy I almost couldn't believe it. Final score was still Columbia 28, but Brown had won the second half by 56-0. Incredible. Best locked away in the crypts of our wounded fb psyche.

Jake said...

That game was on the old grass field.

RLB said...

Lions MTen won its opening NCAA match vs. GA Tech, will play Saturday,
May 9 against the other first round winner. Tweets will follow the progress.