Sunday, September 20, 2015

Falling Forward

Fordham 44 Columbia 24

Why Fordham Won

The Rams had two weapons Columbia could not contain: RB Chase Edmonds and 6-8 TE Phazahn Odom. QB Kevin Anderson was also extremely effective most of the game. But whenever Columbia challenged, Anderson was able to find Edmonds or Odom for big gainers or scores. Meanwhile, the Fordham defense bent but did not completely break.

Why Columbia Lost

The Lions had stellar moments against the 40-point favorite Rams, but they could not consistently perform well enough to win. As you'd expect in a game where the opponent scores 44 points, Columbia was especially unable to stop Fordham on key 3rd down plays as the Rams converted eight of 13 3rd downs overall.

Key Turning Points

-Columbia intercepted Anderson on a tipped pass on the third play from scrimmage in the game. But the Lions failed to capitalize on the turnover as a 41-yard FG try was wide right.

-After Columbia made it 28-24 going into the 4th quarter, the Rams calmly moved the ball 79 yards on 10 plays and never even faced a 3rd down. The TD drive grabbed the momentum away from the Lions for good.

Columbia Positives

-The Lions came into a packed and hostile Jack Coffey Stadium on Fordham's Homecoming day as 40-point underdogs. They entered the 4th quarter trailing only by 28-24 and with the momentum in their favor.

-The offensive and defensive lines both outplayed the opposition. The O-line did not give up a sack, while Columbia recorded five sacks officially, but it was more like eight or nine in reality. Columbia's two long TD drives were almost all because of stellar O-line play, with even a few pancakes and other blocks that noticeably blew large Ram defenders several yards off the play. The D-line play was so strong that different players made major impacts on a rolling basis.

-QB Skyler Mornhinweg was a revelation. His sweet passing motion and quick release led to a 21-25 day and only one INT that came during virtual garbage time at the end of the game. He also ran for two TD's with noticeable determination.

-Alan Watson's 98-yard kickoff return for a TD was a great combination of blocking and speed. It was also the Lions' first KO return for a TD in 10 years, (the last one was by Prosper Nwockocha '06, and it was coincidentally at Fordham and into the same end zone.)

-The extreme upgrade in coaching was evident throughout the game. Not only were the players stronger, but they also showed discipline by holding blocks and keeping penalties to a minimum. The work that went into the adept shuffling of skill players was evident throughout as the Mornhinweg-Anders Hill rotation at QB was effective and seems like it could be lethal against most other opponents. Columbia's final TD drive of the game was the best example of good game management as the final 5-6 plays were started on quick snaps as the CU coaching staff alertly noticed Fordham did not have the right defense on the field.

Columbia Negatives

-The biggest issue was defending the pass, which the Lions did not seem to be able to do consistently downfield. Not too many Columbia opponents will feature a quick 6-8 TE to defend, but that was the Lions' job Saturday and they could not do it.

-Playing with a new center who had never played the position before being inserted in the role a week ago, there were a few too many bad snaps into the shotgun. But all things considered, it wasn't a terrible first showing and the blocking up the middle was the best Columbia has seen in years.

Columbia MVP

-Because the D-line play featured so many strong performances, I have to give the award to the entire unit. At times in the game, senior Toba Akinleye was dominating. Later, it was senior Hunter Little or sophomore Dominic Perkovic. But everyone on the line contributed to often make a monster-sized Fordham O-line look over-matched. Meanwhile the Columbia O-line almost deserves this award too as it looked dominant at times as well. At any level of football, you'll win a lot of games if you control the line of scrimmage as often as the Lions did against the Rams.


Chen1982 said...

From what I saw in this game, we should not go into the Georgetown game hoping to win...

...we should expect to win.

Bagnoli and staff will improve the secondary a notch. Offense will sharpen.

oldlion said...

Jake, I fully agree but would point out that a large part of the problem on defense was that our DBs often lacked cover technique, failed to jam receivers, and failed to play the ball. I saw at least thre Ong Fordham completions which should have been intercepted had we played the ball. We also need better LB play. The TE should have been jammed, and our LBs have to wrap up. One final word about MYPs. The much maligned Kendall Pace had a great game at LT. He protected the blind side all day an beat his man on third down run blocking.

Chick said...

Why are we still talking about not playing the ball when the other team passes? Even some NFL defenders do that, staring at the receiver with their backs turned to the ball. Why hasn't db coach Poppe fixed this glaring mistake?

josh gershfield said...

Chick: Coach Poppe has obviously talked to them about it. It's now up to the players. Some guys just don't have good ball skills. This is a weakness that they need to adress in recruiting. Jake, will Cu give Don Bosco Prep RB Mallik Bakker an offer? Army and Navy are fighting for him but he said that he would rather go to other schools( Patriot League, BIG Ten, Ivy League).

Leonlion said...

Unlikely that "this glaring mistake" is an easy "fix."


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

I ran post-game into a former member of he '62 Lions team, the only one which ever even shared an Ivy title (with two other teams), and asked his opinion of yesterday's showing. "It was everything I've hoped for" was his reply, delivered with a big smile. Life in some ways seems to begin at 62, when many of us are just filling out our AARP applications.

I also both walked among the Fordham players post-game outside the stadium and then later that evening watched Ole Miss vs. Alabama. The Fordham players looked their ages. They were big kids, but still basically kids and college students. Approachable and coachable kids. By contrast the two Southern squads looked like men, all of them several years older. Why is that, I wonder.

Anonymous said...

From what I saw Chase Edmonds was contained all day except for 1 long run. He totaled 125 yards on the day and 70 something of those was on that 1 run. It says a lot when Fordham's game plan required Odom to do the damage at receiver. Odom is a giant of a man and arguably the hardest receiver Fordham has for any team to cover due to that size. What I saw was Fordham had no choice but to use their best players to get the job done. They were human and I am glad my forecast was inaccurate in that this would be a blowout. Fordham did not look fearsome at all.

Other surprises for me was seeing Watson as first string RB ahead of Molina. In fact, Watson has arrived.

The disruptive D was very impressive. Wow does the defensive look ready. I will include the secondary which I was expecting to be swiss cheese. Kudos to Matt Cahal for the INT and excellent play overall. Even Trevor Bell who looked very bad last season was a contributor. I'm not saying the secondary is solid but considering the skill of Fordham's receivers, they did better than was expected.

So glad to see a different field goal kicker. Zgrablich is now handling kickoffs only and while I am not sold on his effectiveness as a kickoffs specialist, he did thwart a TD with his pursuit angle on 1 play.

We have 2 QBs to consider and that is why I believe Hill got PT in the 4th quarter. That must have been the strategy all along. Skyler Mornhinweg is the obvious #1 and should play the whole game but they are giving Hill some PT. I like the offense's ability to get first downs, the good hands receivers, the flyers at RB.

RLB said...

In the video of the post-game session, the Fordham coach said his strategy was to send his skill players into the deep flats, which happened.
Anyone notice any Lion O line jumps resulting in penalties?

alawicius said...

Agree with all, we are much improved. Would like to see a more active role for fullbacks, occasional carries and receptions to surprise and loosen up defenses, maybe that's coming.

alawicius said...

P.S. Amazingly, Mornhinwegs passing stats were exactly the same as his last game at Florida (against Fla. State), 21-25! He looks to be very accurate, now let's get the ball down the field like Fordham did!


oldlion said...

Step one was to get our guys to play hard and compete. That was evident on Saturday. Now we need to correct a couple of obvious problems, primarily on the defensive side of the ball. Defensive ends allowed themselves to be hooked on a few occasions. LBs were slow to react and failed to wrap up. But pass defense remains our biggest problem. To put on an effective pass rush we need to play four down linemen. When we played only three the QB had too much time to find his receivers. But the biggest problem was in pass defense technique by the DBs who failed to jam receivers, or to play the ball.

Coach said...

Certainly the real difference in the two teams was at the skilled positions. This is the result of having full scholarships, where the talent pool becomes much greater. That being said, Columbia played hard and tough, and were well prepared for the game. It will not get easier, however, as teams start to understand Columbia's new schemes. How did our Duke transfers play?

Jake said...

I thought the Conway twins were both excellent, but especially Christian at LB who had a number of great plays. Jackson at FB was clearly a factor in some of our successful inside runs.

Bob Barker said...

Ive never seen people so excited about a 20 point loss. Geesh, Mango really did a job on you guys. Fordham was NEVER in doubt in this game. This was basically a scrimmage to them, they didnt take CU seriously enough and CU showed some fight. FU could turn it on and off when they wanted too. Glad you guys are so excited about a 3 td loss. Lose to GU next week and its back to the same ole Lions.

oldlion said...

Memo to "Bob Barker": you obviously were not at the game. Fordham got a gift in the end zone. Fordham also got a mythical pass interference call in the end zone which put the ball at the two. the jerk who coaches Fordham was widely quoted as having said before the game that he wanted to run up the score because we were cancelling the series in light of their scholarships and the wide open recruiting base that they had. We had them on their heels on their heels at the end of the third quarter when it was 28-24, and had Watson not slowed up on a perfectly thrown ball we would have been up 31-28. And finally, this was their third game and our first, and despite that fact we gave them all we could handle. finally, did anybody notice that Fordham was trying to tack on a cheap touchdown at the end by throwing the ball with two minutes left?

Roar Lion said...

Bob Barker was a shill for the old regime, defending Pete to the bitter end. Now he's rooting against us. Awesome. It was 28-24 after three and Fordham pretty clearly was not treating the game lightly. We played a poor fourth quarter but for most of the game we controlled both lines of scrimmage. We had five sacks, they had zero. I think objective fans who watched the game could see we don't have the skill players Fordham has, but we were strong on the lines. We are going to be competitive, especially relative to the past two seasons when Bob's friend coached the team. Also, it's refreshing to have a coach who seems like football and college kids.

Don Antaky said...

Columbia played a damned good game. This team is certainly a different kind of "cat".
Coach Moorhead was very complimentary in the post game, rightfully so. Look forward to seeing the
Lions have a surprising and exciting season. The first set of downs indicated that the staff has
flipped things already.

Chen1982 said...

I am with Antaky and others....

Anyone who watched this game saw that Fordhams first team was on the field the entire game (except those that we knocked out)

Anyone could see we played with more aggression, confidence, organisation and skill. The OLine gave time to the QB to read the d and pass or run. Skyler had one where he stepped up in a moving pocket very very well and completed a third down conversion.

This is a little bit about some new players and a whole lot more about great coaching and preparation. Which gives me confidence that we will make secondary adjustments and make a step forward there in the coming weeks.

37 years of scar tissue, but I now have real hope!!!

Bob Barker said...

LOL at ALL of you. I hope CU wins the Ivy title! Would be the story of the yr. I just dont think FU was up for this game, it happens. Just like Ohio State and Northern illinois. OSU wasnt up for THAT game and allow inferior teams to hang around knowing you will win in the end. Good for you your excited. I REALLY think you should BEAT GU next week, if not back to the same ole sheet.