Friday, October 2, 2015

Winds and Waters of Change?

Columbia Lions (0-2) at Princeton Tigers (2-0)

October 2, 2015

Location: Princeton Stadium

Kickoff Time: 7:00pm

Gametime Weather Forecast: 51 degrees, with rain and wind

The Spread: Princeton is favored by 29 points. The under/over is 55


This is the premiere of the Friday night portion of the Ivy football package on NBC Sports Network. Check your local listings to find NBCSN on your system. 

Jerry Recco and Sal Licata will provide excellent audio commentary for free on the Ivy League Digital Network.

The Columbia Spectator is running a live blog with updates. 

Leading Story Lines

1) Stormageddon! 

The very rough weather will play a starring role in this game regardless. The team that adjusts the best to the heavy rain and wind should have a big advantage.

2) Ivy Season Begins

Now the games really count, and now the Columbia faithful are hoping the maximum experience new Head Coach Al Bagnoli has in the Ivies will start to really pay off. Princeton wants to start the season strong after falling out of the Ivy title race early last year. 

3) Princeton's Super Offense vs. Columbia's Spotty Defense

The Lions have allowed big yards through the air through the first two games of the season. And while Princeton has relied more on the run so far, it can be lethal through the pass as well. But if the Columbia defense improves and the weather slows the scoring down too, can the Tigers still win big or even at all?

5 Columbia Players to Watch

-Junior DB Jared Katz #21 is getting the start at corner after senior Trevor Bell was burned a number of times in the first two games. Quite simply, the Lions need to improve in pass defense or it could be a very long night.

-Senior DT Niko Padilla #93 always plays a key role for Columbia, but a wet field will probably force Princeton to run right up the middle a little more than usual if not a lot more. The Lions need Padilla to provide serious resistance there. (He'll also need help from junior Middle LB Gianmarco Rea #34). 

-Junior OL Kendall Pace #76 will likely draw the undesirable assignment of having to block Tiger superstar DL Kurt Holuba. If Holuba can be neutralized, Columbia's short passing game could really thrive in the rainy conditions already conducive to short passing.

-Senior TE Nick Durham #49. Every QB needs a receiving security blanket, and the rainy conditions might make Durham a more viable passing target for QB Skyler Mornhinweg. (If Durham isn't the TE the Lions look to, it could be junior John Hunton #40).

-Junior WR Ben Kaplan #16. The Princeton defense will likely be laser focused on senior WR Scooter Hollis. If he draws the extra coverage I expect him to get, Kaplan may find himself wide open in crucial situations. 

5 Princeton Players to Watch

-Senior RB DiAndre Atwater #27. The Tigers have a lot of running weapons, but in a driving rain I expect the straight-ahead running talents of Atwater to be featured more than usual. Some describe Atwater, son of former NFL star Steve Atwater, as a "bowling ball with a helmut," which gives you an idea of how he runs the ball right at defenders and knocks them down. 

-Sophomore QB, RB, WR John Lovett #12. Yep, you read that right. Lovett can line up at any one of those three positions and he can, and has, been lethal at times already this year.

-Sophomore DL Kurt Holuba #90. Holuba will be looking to harass Columbia's QB's, and he may find that easier to do if the rain negates the Lions outside running game. Without having to seal off the corners on runs, Holuba might be rushing the passer furiously all night.

-Senior CB Anthony Gaffney # 2. Gaffney is going for the rare four-year 1st Team All Ivy streak. He could start making his case for that tonight by shutting down Hollis.

-Senior WR Seth DeValve #87. He'll be looking to test the shaky Columbia secondary early and often.  

Streak Watch

Columbia has now lost 23 games in a row, continuing the longest losing streak since the record 44-game slide from 1983-88. Columbia has not won a game since beating Cornell at Wien Stadium on 11/14/2012, or 1,052 days ago. Columbia has also lost 23 straight games on the road, not winning since beating Cornell in Ithaca on 11/14/2009 or 2,147 days ago.

1 comment:

Big Dawg said...

I am as sure of covering this spread as I am of annoying our cheerleaders at the next home game. Which I do on a regulat basis if you wish to check with Oldlion
Winning? Who knows. Let's try to be realistic. I still think we're a long shot possible for Monmouth, Cornell and Penn.

At any rate, hope springs eternal. Go Lions!