Friday, November 20, 2015

Final Exam

Brown Bears at Columbia Lions

November 20, 2015

Kickoff: 7:30pm

Robert K. Kraft Field at Wien Stadium

Game Time Weather: 47 degrees, clear

The Spread: Brown is favored by three points

TV/Radio: The game is on national TV on the NBC Sports Network. But special recognition goes to Jerry Recco, who tonight will be calling his 100th game as the Columbia Football play-by-play man. I was Jerry's color guy for 30 of those games, and he is absolutely a master at his craft and a great person too. 

Leading Story Lines

1) Last Impressions

Everyone agrees the Lions are much improved, but after last week's very bitter loss at Cornell it definitely feels like the team needs a big boost going into that 300-day off season. A win here would provide a tremendous boost for the program going forward.

2) Last Impressions II

The 20 seniors playing their last games, especially impact players like RB Cameron Molina, DL's Niko Padilla, Chad Washington, Toba Akinleye, Hunter Little, JD Hurt, DB Travis Reim, OL Billy Lawrence and TE Nick Durham have one last chance to add a flourish to their time at Columbia. These guys have endured more rough times than most Lion football players over the decades, and that's saying a lot.

3) Look to the Future?

The last game of the season is often a time for some younger players to get some experience under their belts. I'm not expecting too much of a youth movement tonight, but you never know.

5 Columbia Players to Watch

-Junior LB Chris Conway #37. I expect Brown to try to open up the passing game with several QB runs to the outside by Kyle Moreno. Conway will be one of the guys most responsible for cutting him off.

-Senior RB Cameron Molina #31. Molina's career day last week could be just a warmup for the Bears and their questionable run defense.

-Senior DL Chad Washington #4. He, Padilla, Little, and Akinleye all have a lot to play for tonight, but I think Washington is the guy Brown will least be able to handle.

-Sophomore QB Anders Hill #12. With senior QB Skyler Mornhinweg battling some injuries, Hill might get a lot more time and more chances to burn the Bear defense with his feet.

-Senior DB Matt Cahal #20. Brown is going to go after him in the air, period. He better be ready.

5 Brown Players to Watch

-Junior QB Kyle Moreno #13. Moreno is a solid runner and he should get more time tonight as the passing of starter Marcus Fuller is sometimes shaky.

-Senior WR Troy Doles #82. He's a dangerous receiver in his final game for the Bears and it's on national TV. Look out!

-Senior DB Zachary Gillen #21. No matter what the CU offense tries, Gillen will be a key man to stop the pass and a running QB attack.

-Freshman DT Zach Genaway #90. A rarity in this league: a big freshman defensive tackle who is a rising star. If Columbia can get him out of the way, the running game will work. If not, oy.

-Junior WR Alex Jette #7. Jette can kille you as a receiver and as a returner.


DOC said...

A win tonight and we probably finish 5th in the Ivies in 2015 !
Would you have signed up for that at the start of this season ?
A beautiful night for football under the lights awaits.
We were embarrassed two years ago by Brown- its payback time for the Blue and White....

oldlion said...

Estes detested Mangurian; they had a pretty ugly scene after the Brown game in Providence in Mangurian's second year.

Roar Lion said...

We all detested Mangurian. Bravo Phil Estes. Beautiful night for football, let's cheer for the guys to finish strong.

RLB said...

Recco tweeted he just landed in Chicago.

Chen1982 said...

Exam Result: C-

While a loss like this should register as an F, rationale for C- is that we can make first downs, make yards and keep possession. The margin of difference was another special teams failure.

If I were special teams coach, I'd be looking around for a good high school coaching job. You're on the block. Bagnoli has to fix this for next year as the special teams lapses cost us at least two games, maybe three.

At 21-7 we did not roll over and die. We kept fighting. I admire that. We have kept in the fight all year.

With a notch improvement on offense and special teams turned around, it's a five win season.

Roar Lion said...

A surreal football game. We completely dominated the stats and completely deserved to lose. They scored four touchdowns with eight first downs for the game. Horrible.

Chick said...

I'm really surprised. I thought the board would be inundated by comments after that crazy game with Brown.
I'm surprised it actually became an exciting game that we could have won the the final play...after we gift-wrapped two touchdowns for Brown in the game's first 30 seconds, plus another TD gift later.
plus another later.

I'm surprised and pleased that Cam Molina had such a brilliant game after the team started so miserably. Showed the team's resiliency. And what a way for Molina to end his college career.

I'll let the experts fill in the rest. Except that instead of feeling blah, I do feel hopeful for next season provided the players and coaches take the next step forward. Need to replace Molina, by committee if necessary, establish a consistent passing offense and defense, and improve punt and kickoff returns, and place kicking,

Kick-ass recruiting needed too. Just a few little things. Good luck, Al.

Chen1982 said...

Thanks to the've helped to start turning the ship. Feels like a 4-5 win season is entirely plausible next year as the system gets more embedded and new recruits start arriving in Morningside. Our wins were not flukes, our close losses have addressable root causes.

oldlion said...

I think that in light of the train wreck he inherited, what Al and his staff have done is little short of a miracle. Best defense in the league, kids feel proud again, really good committed recruits, etc. Al has turned this ship around. Maybe we will look back one day and say that this was one of the best coaching performances of his career in view of where we started.

Coach said...

Frankly, I thought we had more talent on the field than either Brown or Cornell. Don't know what that says about their recruiting. I know that Al put 3 players on the field this year-the QB and the Duke kids- are the rest the remnants of Wilsons's recruiting? Did Mangurian have any players out there?

DOC said...

Two touchdowns allowed in the first 21 seconds-has to be some kind of record ? But the reason I also feel optimistic for the first time in several years is because of what I saw on the sideline and on the letdown.
We also dominated both O and D line play all day. Molina was amazing and will be sorely missed. Was there time for one more running play on the final sequence at the 5 with one yard to go ? (First down would have stopped the clock).
Morninweg ran a beautiful two minute Offense drive at the end. But it was symbolic of the 2015 season: shoulda, coulda, mighta...

RLB said...

As the announcer on the telecast said, the Lions will be losing lots on the defensive line, the strength this year.

Somehow, I think Al knows that!