Tuesday, September 29, 2015

A Defining Moment




The Princeton game has not always been the Ivy opener for both teams, but at least for Columbia, the annual game against the Tigers often seems to set the tone for the entire season for better or for worse.

The last Columbia-Princeton game that really mattered was in 2012. Under then-new Head Coach Pete Mangurian, the Lions were looking pretty decent at 1-1 heading into the Ivy opener at home versus an 0-2 Tiger team. Princeton responded by returning the opening kickoff for a TD and basically never looked back en route to a 33-6 win. The Tigers proceeded to make a serious run for the Ivy title and grab a tie for that title a year later. The Columbia win was the launching point for Princeton and the beginning of a rude awakening for Columbia.

But other games in this series have also been extremely meaningful. Here are just 10 off the top of my head:

The 1961 Ivy championship team missed out on league perfection because of a late collapse against Princeton.

The 1971 “Cardiac Kids” team got their winning season rolling with an incredible victory at home over the Tigers.

Columbia’s legendary QB John Witkowski ’84 had one of his finest games ever in the 1982 Lion win at what was the last Homecoming at the old Baker Field stadium.

The 1988 team ended the infamous 44-game losing streak against Princeton.

The 1994 team that secured the program’s first winning season since 1971 won a definitive Homecoming game against the Tigers.  

The 1995 blowout Columbia loss at Princeton Stadium was lowlighted by the injury that ended Columbia QB Mike Cavanaugh ‘96’s career.

The 1996 team that finished 8-2 started 6-0 before losing at home to Princeton.  

The 2003 Columbia win at Princeton Stadium ended with a miracle Hail Mary TD pass from QB Jeff Otis ’05 to TE Wade Fletcher ’05.

A year later, Princeton ruined Columbia’s 25-th anniversary celebration at Homecoming by winning in OT thanks to a missed Lion PAT.

The 38-0 Columbia win in 2009 at Princeton effectively ended Tiger Head Coach Roger’s Hughes career at Old Nassau.


This year, the chance to make any kind of defining statement in this game seems to be solely Columbia’s opportunity. I would argue that with two definitive wins under its belt already, Princeton has already made a statement that it’s back in business after a very disappointing 2014 season. Columbia is the team that, after a disappointing loss to Georgetown, can send a defining message with either a win or a very competitive game against the heavily favored Tigers. The national TV audience watching Friday night on NBC Sports Network would be just the gravy.

14 comments:

Coach said...

This is a huge game for Columbia- every hs player thinking about the Ivy League will be watching this one. Columbia coaches have to get the kids crazy for this one!

I remain, very truly yours, Richard Szathmary said...

It may indeed be a huge game for bith Columbia and Princeton, but Friday night rush hour on Route 1 also guarantees that even getting there in time (if one is a workingman of the sort Merle Haggard sings about, that is) will be a test of strength and resolution.

Big Dawg said...

Don't think I'll be making the trip, but if the spread is egregious, I will definitely think about putting some coin on the Lions. Bags and staff will have then up like for Fordham, and we will exceed expectations.

InwoodTiger said...

I'm with Columbia 9 games out of 10. I have to bow out of any game discussion for this one, for various orange and black reasons.

But in terms of game day tips, I will agree to stay away from Route 1. If you have any intention of catching this game, take NJ Transit to Princeton Junction and they change to the one-car "Dinky" train, which still shuttles back and forth to campus as it has for decades. The stadium is a ten minute walk east from the train station, which is not a bad thing on a fall evening on the lovely Princeton campus.

For eating before or after the game, options about on Nassau Street. Triumph Brewery opened when I was a student in the 90s and is still going strong.

Watch for the Princeton Band, which should be sharp for this game. They may be a scramble band like Columbia with halftime "jokes" that are also a bit too corny/tired/wordy, but they also play like a pep band should -- all the time, with energy. Eye of the Tiger, baby.

RLB said...

It seemed Mornhinweg threw into coverage vs. GU, somewht lucky not not be intercepted.
If Hill can't spell him, who can?

oldlion said...

Can't go either. And I hate these night games. Terrible for the visiting team's fans. Al will have them ready. He knows Princeton inside out.

alswingman said...

@Richard Szathmary, it does take a little bit technical whizbangery but streaming the game on any internet connected device is possible if the broadcast is set up for it.

I remain, very truly yours, Richard Szathmary said...

aalswingman, there's no need for any "whizbangery" given that the game is being televised. But it's always better being there in person, and I always try to make football abd basketball contests at Princeton. But Route 1, on Friday rush hour, and in the rain? Won't exactly be fun getting there. (Though Princeton is so pokey a place, there's never traffic at 10PM, about when the game should end. Even on a Friday night. Place may be a "college town," but it's not, say, Columbia SC on a weekend night.

Bob Barker said...

This will be a blowout. Princeton is to much for CU. Al might have them ready, but talent wise...not so much! Losing to GU had sealed CU fate. Glad you boys still optimistic. This game will help CU recruiting either way it goes, you win or be competetive, recruits will say theyre rebuilding. You lose badly, theyll think the can come and play right away. Another 0-10 season on the horizon, Bags will rethink his decision on taking the gig.

Bob Barker said...

PS....Coach....very HS player thinking about the Ivies will be playing at the exact same time....LMAO!

oldlion said...

Memo to "Bob Barker": you consistently post negative things about our team on our blog; you are obviously not a Columbia fan; and you are becoming tedious. While Jake's adherence to First Amendment values is admirable, I would nonetheless ban you from this board.

Chen1982 said...

Bob Barker is clearly an attention seeker looking to incite reaction among the faithful. If he does that here he does it in everyday life...Just ignore him and pity what his existence must be like.

DOC said...

Hey Bob, are you trying to turn us into pessimists with that crap? Really?
You gotta have more than that, man !

Bob Barker said...

I don't post negative things, I post truths. If that hurts your feelings to bad. I was pulling for CU against GU, I think I even said CU would win by 2 scores. I also said I hope CU wins the Ivies! I see things for what they are, I'm a realist. If you think this will be a game, then you don't know football, what's the line in Vegas? Mango did a poor job of recruiting. Now Bags is holding the........bags....lol.