Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Unhallowed Ground Part 2

Sean Brackett is now playing Arena Football in Las Vegas 

After 10 years playing on what we call hereinafter “Field Turf 1,” I thought it was more appropriate to list the five best and five worst games in Columbia history on that field. Plus, I wanted to note some of the more memorable games that didn’t quite make it into the “Best” or “Worst” categories.

Monday, I selected the 2009 win over Brown as the best game for the Lions on Field Turf 1. Here are the rest of my top 5:

5. Columbia 37 Fordham 7 (2006)

Here's how I covered the game back then, (my game reports used to be epic and took almost as long as the actual game to read).

Almost nine years later, I think the game holds up as a very good one as it ushered in the Norries Wilson era on a such a high note. It was also an absolutely beautiful day.

4. Columbia 34 Cornell 17 (2012)

This is actually the last game Columbia own on that field and the last game Columbia has won anywhere, for that matter. This was the one solid win the Lions had during the entire Pete Mangurian era. His other two wins were by a whisker and relied on more than the usual amount of luck to get done.

As I noted in my game report, the game had two all-time highlights in Marcorus Garrett’s 86-yard TD run and Josh Martin’s bruising hit on Jeff Mathews on a killer sack. But there were so many other highlights on both sides of the ball as everything started to go Columbia’s way early in the 2nd half. It was an astounding display of unrelenting dominance for two quarters.

3. Columbia 35 Brown 28  2 OT  (2011)  

QB Sean Brackett just never gave up on a game that  looked to be over several times before Columbia finally pulled it out. It was an emotional win that saved the Lions from an 0-10 season. It was also Norries Wilson’s last game as CU’s coach.

2. Columbia 42 Princeton 14 (2010)

This was Columbia’s best wire-to-wire performance against an Ivy opponent on Field Turf 1. Brackett threw five TD passes and went 18-of-24 for 273 yards and no picks. Columbia hasn’t beaten Princeton since.

And now, here are the rest of my worst five games on this now-departed turf:

5. Dartmouth 21 Columbia 16 (2012)

This was the game, even more than the 69-0 loss to Harvard two weeks later, that really burst the bubble on the Mangurian regime. My take on this last minute Homecoming loss was anguish at how the basic lessons of protecting a lead were again not being taught by yet another Columbia coaching staff.

A gutty performance by the defense and Marcorus Garrett was wasted and a great Homecoming crowd once again had its hearts broken.

4. Fordham 16 Columbia 9 (2010) This game featured a unusual, (even by Columbia standards), combination of bad breaks and bonehead coaching decisions. WR Mike Stephens was hurt when he was left in the game unnecessarily and a missed PAT changed the entire momentum of the game. The 2010 and 2009 seasons were riddled with games like this.

3. Princeton 27 Columbia 24 (2008)

Another agonizing Homecoming loss that featured another lead-changing TD by an opponent and a turnover on what looked like a winning drive for the Lions. 2008 began with one close loss after another and the team just never found its footing.

2. Penn 27 Columbia 20 (2011)

Another Homecoming disaster and probably the game that sealed Norries Wilson’s fate at Columbia more than any other. Most fans will mostly remember the nauseating sequence when Columbia committed penalty after penalty after getting a 2nd and three at the Penn four. But there were other massive negatives that included blown leads and unnecessary play calls that resulted in turnovers.

Other Memorable Moments

1.       The Snow Bowl

A freak October blizzard hit Baker Field and the game was played in the most brutal conditions probably ever endured at Wien Stadium. Yale pulled out the game, 16-13. Columbia could have easily won, but the Lions simply could not execute as well as the Elis in the key moments.

2.       All Wet, Half a Game

The 2007 game against a very good Yale game was marked by very heavy rain throughout the contest. But the weather wasn’t the reason why Columbia basically outplayed the Elis in the first half. There were just a great number of great defensive plays by Andy Shalbrack and others time after time. But Yale eventually prevailed, 28-7.

3.       Brown Takes the Cup

Seeing more Brown fans at Wien Stadium then you ever see at Brown Stadium was weird, but it made sense as the Bears won 52-7 in this 2005 game to clinch their first-ever unshared Ivy title.

4.       Taking the Coach Out

In Columbia's 24-0 win over Iona, Gaels Head Coach Fred Mariani collapsed from heat stroke before the game and didn’t make it back to the sidelines. Certainly not something you see every day.

5.       Monsoon Win

Another massive rain storm almost marred a 2008 21-13 win over Dartmouth that ended a 13-game Columbia losing streak.

I’ll continue with some more memorable moments on Field Turf 1 tomorrow… 


oldlion said...

Jake, what strikes me about this recitation is the reversal of fortunes for Dartmouth and Princeton in recent years. These are teams that we handled during the start of the Wilson era, and now they have been or are at the top of the league. So here is my take on the recent history: Wilson came close to breaking through but stuck with his incompetent OC and was sabotaged by Murphy, who to her everlasting discredit brought in the biggest disaster in the history of IL football. The only silver lining is that PM was so awful that it caused the earthquake which led to DM's firing, and the arrival of Pete and Al.

oldlion said...

PS, there is a report on Voyforums that our own Bob Kraft's grandson Harry is going to be a freshman QB at Dartmouth. Did we try to recruit him?

Jake said...

That's true. I thought that was out there a while ago.

Coach said...

Dartmouth and Princeton recruited better football players - nothing to do with coaching.

Chick said...

Harry Kraft, Bob's grandson, is listed among the Dartmouth qb recruits as being 5 ft, 7 and 3|4 inches and 174 pounds. Unless he is some kind of phenomenal physical specimen, I'd guess we don't have to worry too much.

Seeunt said...

Coach, isn't recruiting part of coaching? our coaches, mangurian, sucked at recruiting, which was also evident when he was at Cornell, not that anybody bothered to check.

RLB said...

MTen beat Mississippi, ranked a bit higher and on their courts. On to Waco for the NCAA 16.

Coach said...

Seeunt- yes,of course. What I was referring to is the fact that folks on this web site are quick to blame the big Columbia losses in the past 10 years on coaching decisions, not players ability. It will be interesting to see, when the new coaching staff wins a few games, if Mangurian's coaching staff gets credit for good recruiting.

oldlion said...

Kudos to baseball! Brett knows how to win