Friday, October 30, 2015

Homecoming in Connecticut

The Bowl can be a tough place to play

Columbia Lions vs. Yale Elis 
October 31, 2015
Kickoff time: 12:30pm

: Yale Bowl

Game Time Weather Forecast:
 52 degrees and mostly sunny

The Spread: Yale is favored by 15 1/2 points

TV/Radio: The game will be broadcast on FOX College Sports, check local listings.
Jerry Recco and Sal Licata provide superior play-by-play and audio commentary on the Ivy League Digital Network

The Columbia Spectator will again be running a live blog during the game

Columbia Game Notes

Leading Story Lines

1)     The “injury” head fake is all about relieving the pressure

It seems like all the talk this week is about all the injuries Yale has suffered. But I think the real issue in New Haven is that this is year four for Head Coach Tony Reno and he’s no closer than he ever was to finally having a team that can beat Harvard and/or win the Ivy title. Yale fans don’t want winning seasons, they want to beat the Crimson and hoist championship trophies.
It behooves Reno to make the injury issue a big talking point in the stands and at the tailgate picnics, but the savviest of Eli boosters knows his real problem is that Yale’s best chance was last year when the now-graduated RB Tyler Varga was still on the team. Making excuses about injuries might work to relieve some of the pressure on Reno to contend, but it won’t relieve the loud calls for him to be fired that are sure to come if the Elis lose this game. One of the unspoken truths about Ivy football is that for many coaches, losing to Columbia in most years is considered grounds for dismissal. If Yale loses to the Lions, I think Reno would survive but I would not be surprised to see it going the other way.
So a big question waiting to be answered is: Will the Bowl will be quiet, loud, or angry?

2)     Columbia’s banged up too, and maybe unarmed
The Lions are a lot more healthy than the Bulldogs, but this is week seven and that means a good deal of every team’s roster has some health concerns. But even without injuries, Columbia comes into this game with a big question mark about its weapons on offense… as in do they have any? The Lions are playing competent, mostly error-free offense but they don’t really have anyone who can really strike fear into an opposing defense. And the injuries seem to be curtailing the effective QB running plays and fakes Columbia used effectively earlier this year. This is another game where the coaches have to prove themselves by coming up with either a new scheme or a new player to change the script.

3)     This is Bagnoli’s Homecoming
Columbia Head Coach Al Bagnoli grew up extremely close to the Yale Bowl and must have been in awe of the legendary Eli Head Coach Carm Cozza as a kid. While at Penn, Bagnoli owned Yale. He never lost to Cozza and won his first seven games against the Elis, including his first three at the Bowl. Overall, Bagnoli is 17-6 against Yale and 7-5 at the Bowl.

5 Columbia Players to Watch

-Junior FB Jackson Conway #47 and junior LB Christian Conway #37. Are you kidding me? You haven’t heard that the Conway twins had their commitments to Yale rescinded by Coach Reno when he took over the program? Well now you have and now you know that the Conway boys might be blocking and tackling just a bit harder in this game. I wouldn’t be surprised if Bagnoli throws in some kind of special play or two that features the twins.
-Senior WR Scooter Hollis #19. Hollis has been neutralized in recent weeks and the Lions really need him to reemerge and give this offense a boost. Having him stand still in the flat waiting for screens has led to disaster lately, so look for him to run some routes where he can move in tandem with the QB on a rollout.
-Sophomore CB Cameron Roane #23. Yale is a passing offense and unless the Columbia run defense really falters, Roane and company are going to be tested frequently. Columbia simply hasn’t grabbed enough picks this season despite some improvements in pass defense overall. Roane needs to have a big game.
-Junior P/K Cameron Nizialek #6. Nizialek has been getting a lot of work punting and generally doing a very good job. But his field goal and extra point work needs work and could play a role if this game is another tough defensive slog.

5 Yale Players to Watch
-Senior QB Morgan Roberts #19. Roberts is under a lot of pressure now as his falling completion rate and rash of interceptions is starting to take its toll. Will he press a little too much in this game, or play it too safe and get sacked more as he hesitates not to throw another pick?
-Junior WR Robert Clemons #83. With many of his fellow receivers either out or somewhat hobbled, Clemons figures to get most of the throws coming his way.
-Junior LB Victor Egu #10. Egu is playing very well, but I’m sure most Yalies believe it’s past time for him to start dominating games.
-Freshman DB Hayden Carlson #26. A rare freshman starter for the Elis, he could be the target Columbia picks on for the Lion short and screen passing game.
-Senior RB Austin Reuland #6. Reuland had some decent numbers last week and is getting playing time because of all the injuries in front of him. Will he break Columbia’s streak of strong games against the run, or will he get flustered and fumble?

Streak Watch

Columbia has now lost 25 straight games on the road, not winning since beating Cornell in Ithaca on 11/14/2009 or 2,176 days ago. Columbia has not beaten Yale since 2012 and hasn’t beaten the Elis at Yale Bowl since 1996.


alswingman said...

I'm hearing violins playing to accompany Tony Reno's demise.

oldlion said...

If our D plays like last week we should do well. I hope everybody is healthy and ready to,go.

Chen1982 said...

Time for twin payback from the Conways!!!! If they can be the difference in what seems like it could be a close game....and Reno loses to Columbia and Al.....what a lovely revenge.

Chen1982 said...

Holy bloody hell! A win in New Haven.