Sunday, November 8, 2015

Crimson Tried

Harvard 24 Columbia 16

Why Harvard Won

The Crimson defense bent but didn't break; tightening up numerous times when the Lions threatened to score. Meanwhile, the offense was frequently bailed out by the offensive line's pass protection and the spectacular play of freshman WR Justin Shelton-Mosely who finished with 131 yards receiving and an 86 yard punt return for a TD.

Why Columbia Lost

The Lions defense had some coverage lapses and the offense waited too long to finally get touchdowns on the board. Special teams failures also sealed their fate.

Key Turning Points

-After both teams went three-and-out on their first possessions of the game, Columbia started its second possession at its own 20 with 12:24 left in the 1st quarter. The Lions then marched all the way to a 1st and goal at the Harvard five before a holding penalty and two incomplete passes stalled the drive. The subsequent 23 yard FG attempt was blocked and Columbia came away with no points.

-With just over nine minutes left in the half, a Matthew Panton punt pinned the Crimson down at their own six. But QB Scott Hosch immediately connected on a 22 yard pass with H-back Ben Braunecker and then three plays later he hit him for a 53 yard TD pass after Braunecker's cover men slipped and fell.

-With time running out in the half, the Lions mounted another drive after a Travis Reim interception set them up at the Harvard 43. But the drive stalled at the Crimson two and Columbia settled for a 20 yard FG to make it 14-3 instead of 14-7 at the half.

-On the first play of the 4th quarter, Shelton-Mosely engineered a brilliant 86 yard punt return for a TD where he twice made it look like he was passively going out of bounds, That made it 24-3 and Harvard was able to hold off the furious Columbia rally that followed.

Columbia Positives

-When was the last time Columbia had almost three times the rushing yards as Harvard in a game? When was the last time the Lions had more 1st downs? When was the last time they had more total yards? And all of this from a team that had been outscored by the Crimson 148-0 over the last three years. All of those things happened yesterday in a testament to the overall defensive effort and the varied running game that featured several good runs by both QB's and a solid performance by RB Cameron Molina against a defense that had been allowing just 2.9 yards per carry before yesterday.

-The Columbia receivers also had one of their better days in years. Scooter Hollis had eight catches for 89 yards, TE John Hunton had a few key grabs including a fantastic self-tipped ball for a TD, and Cameron Dunn got wide open for a 51-yard TD that is the longest play of the year so far for the Lions.

-The defense held the Ivy League's leading rusher Paul Stanton to just 53 yards on 14 carries.

Columbia Negatives

-The breakdowns in pass coverage were few but costly. And the Lions dropped two gift interceptions late in the game.

-The Columbia offense is still stalling too much inside the ten yard line.

-Special teams continues to be an overall problem. The punt return for a TD was back breaker, the missed PAT also hurt, and the too many men on the field penalty on the late Harvard punt robbing Columbia of a last-ditch desperation shot to tie it was a final insult. 

Columbia MVP

This is another tough call because so many of the better performances by the Lions were somewhat stained by a momentary lapse or two. But considering the fact that Columbia was unable to get much pressure on Crimson QB Scott Hosch, I think the secondary's overall numbers are still impressive. Junior Jared Katz made some key tackles after short passes or while helping out on running plays. Junior Matt Cahal led the team in tackles and recovered a fumble. Junior Brock Kenyon knocked away passes including a likely TD. But the leader of the secondary is senior Travis Reim and his interception helped set up the Lions first score against Harvard in four years and stave off what could have become a Harvard rout. Let's give the MVP nod to him.


Those of us at the game were sobered by the severe injury to the Harvard special teams player after a clean block by the Lion kickoff return team. 

There is good news. The player, Crimson sophomore Tanner Lee, suffered no spinal or neck damage. It was a severe concussion, however. 


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

I know CU guards this info closely for general good reason, but do you know, Jake, who was hurt so badly yesterday as to require an on-field ambulance, and the possible extent of his injuries? It was interesting to see the entire Harvard squad rushing over as the Lion was placed in the ambulance. Beyond merely being touched by their concern, I saw it as acknowledgment of their own mortality.

Jake said...

Yes. The Harvard player was Tanner Lee and thankfully he ha suffered no spinal or neck damage. It was "just" a severe concussion.

Coach said...

we could not match up with Harvard receivers and had no pass rush. Fine job against Harvard run game.
Offense moved the ball well.
Terrific effort. Murphy made some bone-head calls at the end of the game. Gave us the ball with a minute to go.

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

thanks for your reply, Jake. I somehow thought it'd been a hurt Lion. Him being from Harvard better explains his teammates rushing over. Glad to hear there was no spinal or neck damage for the kid.

oldlion said...

Glad I was there yesterday to see one of the best games in years. Very classy Columbia crowd to give Tanner Lee a standing ovation when he was taken away in an ambulance. As far as the game itself, our special teams were subpar. One missed FG, one missed PAT, terrible coverage on the punt return that went for the TD. But all in all, we played with great intensity and really could have won the game. Al has done just a great job making this team a formidable adversary. We are making great progress.

msgCC'60 said...

Our run defense was impressive. TD pass by Hill was a great call against the Crimson's blitzing defense. Overall, a strong Lion performance in front of a vocal group of CU fans.

Chen1982 said...

Through eight games, it is clear Bagnoli has raised the level of play of this team. He has also begun to raise our expectations as to outcomes. Both are good things.

We played the best team in the league and out gained them out possessed them and gave them a good run. Some of our lapses require time and new personnel to make the next leap forward.

I was pleasantly surprised we stayed in this game when down 24-3. That's the fight we want. I did not expect us to be this close

Gents, my expectations are we beat Cornell and Brown. The performance of this team thru 8 games allows us to have this expectation. No more emotional bracing for the worst

Am I unrealistic?

oldlion said...

Coaches are tweeting about a big time DL who just committed.

oldlion said...

This is Cornell's Super Bowl. We will have to bring our best game.

Anonymous said...

Wins over Cornell and Brown are very realistic.

oldlion said...

Who is the difference maker on the DL who just committed yesterday, according to the tweets of two of the coaches?

Roar Lion said...

Agree with Old Lion. This is Cornell's Super Bowl. They played well vs. Dartmouth and have played several good teams close. It will be a good test for us, by no means an easy game.

DOC said...

So wonderful to see us actually compete with Harvard for a change !
Not a moral victory but as Chen said, down 24-3, previous teams
might have been demoralized- not Saturday. Liked the two QB platoon:
when Morninweg was getting hit early, brought in Hill to shake things up.
Also some great open field tackling: e.g. the hit Katz layed on Stanton was a
thing of beauty. If we can learn to minimize mistakes and finish off out !

oldlion said...

And if we get better special teams play and more reliable place kicking. We can't give up punt return TDs, miss makable,FGs and PATs if we want to knock off good teams.