Saturday, October 3, 2015

Slipped Away

Princeton 10 Columbia 5

Why Princeton Won

Despite being stuffed almost all night on offense, the Tigers managed to get through the entire wind and rain soaked game without one turnover. A short burst of offensive efficiency early in the game provided enough points to win and the Princeton defense saved its best for the red zone.

Why Columbia Lost

The Lions out-gained the Tigers, but committed four costly turnovers and the offense never really threatened to score a TD.

Key Turning Points

-Columbia's impressive opening drive ended with no points as a 33-yard kick by Cameron Nizialek was wide right.

-Trailing 10-3 in the 3rd quarter, Max Keefe blocked a Princeton punt but Columbia could not properly recover the ball in the end zone and it went for a safety rather than the tying TD.

-On the ensuing possession, the Lions got as far as a 2nd and 6 at the Tiger 13. But Columbia stalled there and were pushed back out of FG range on the next two plays, coming away with no points.

Columbia Positives

-Obviously the weather played a huge role, but the defense was strong and spirited throughout. The secondary play was so improved that the Tigers abandoned their passing game early. DB Jared Katz was especially effective, while the D-line produced three sacks and stuffed the run almost all night.

-RB Cameron Molina had a very gutty performance and kept the Lions in the game for much of the night.

-The run blocking was inconsistent, but the pass protection was better against a Princeton pass rush that had dominated its first two opponents this year.

Columbia Negatives

-The four turnovers were killers and two of them were the result of bad decisions by QB Skyler Mornhinweg. Again the weather played a role, but Mornhinweg had an off night.

-Nizialek has the distance and height on his kicks, but the accuracy is off. That said, he had a gutty sweet run for a 1st down on a fake punt. 

-The defense was stellar, but did not create a turnover. The Lions need turnovers to win.

Columbia MVP

Molina had 106 yards rushing on 27 carries plus 34 yards receiving on two receptions. He was clearly the player of the game.


This game was not just about the weather. We've all seen Columbia play in bad weather games and get blown out, like they were against Princeton at home last year. The team is clearly a lot better than it was last year and in 2013. They have the tools to win they didn't have the last two years. Now it's just a matter of staying focused and positive enough to win. The next two games at home provide great opportunities to do just that.


oldlion said...

in fairness to Mornhinweg he really needs one more playmaker. Sure he threw a few picks, but he was trying to make something happen in abominable conditions. Hollis is a good slot receiver and Molina is a fantastic weapon, but we need another WR who can outfight DBs, stretch defenses, and create plays. Hard to quarrel with the level of effort in abominable conditions. Al really has turned us around. Now we just need a few Ws.

Big Dawg said...

Anyone who can't see the incredible progress of the team in every respect is just not looking. Princeton got the crap scared out of them last nite.

The wins will definitely come. I love the way we're tracking.

alswingman said...

Didn't see the game but listened to it. 3 picks seems to me to be a deciding factor. They had the right formula on the first drive, why overreach on other drives? just work the medium-short passing game and gain first downs. Were all 3 picks long balls? Not a good strategy.

I am pissed at Pete for not bringing in the right kicker when he had the opportunity. I won't lay this on Al this year because now that the cat is really out of the bag I am confident he will fix the kicking game for next season. It's an absolute game killer this season.

oldlion said...

Regarding the three picks: the wind was brutal and P was stacking the box. Mornhinweg is a battler and very good.

Coach said...

We did not lose the game because of the kicker- 14 possessions and no touchdowns- end of story.

Chick said...

Old Lion said it for me re WR playmaker. An obvious missing piece. We also need to spring our running backs without throwing the ball to them. Not too many pieces to find, some may be on roster now or next class. I can remember when a good downfield receiver was pretty much all we had on offense, We need one now to fill out the O.

we also need

Coach said...

It looks like there are at least 4 teams that we can beat coming up on the schedule:Wagner, Brown, Penn, and Cornell.
We have the talent to compete with this group.

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

I don't know about the "beating Penn" part. But Wagner, thankfully, is 0-4.

RLB said...

It seems to me that in the Georgetown and Princeton games, Mornhinweg threw into obvious coverage, sometimes with the defenders around the intended receiver.

alswingman said...

Wagner is no slouch. I don't know the differences with last year's team and why they are not doing well so far this year but they have talent.

Coach said...

Just reading about the Yale-Brown JV game in Voy- are we going to look at starting up the JV program ? What are the issues? Seems like it could only help the program- would like to hear Bagnoli's thoughts. If we are putting money in the program, then having some JV games would seem obvious- how can getting players more game experience hurt us?

oldlion said...

I think that there may be a tendency to underestimate the progress we have made. The defensive performance last Friday was outstanding. That game hinged on turnovers; we had four and Princeton had zero. I thought that our DL basically manhandled the Princeton OL, and that our OL neutralized Princeton's DL. I think that Perkovic on the DL has become a monster, and that Pace at LT on offense is playing at an all Ivy level.