Monday, September 12, 2016

Game Week is Finally Here

Columbia Football's 2016 season is now in official game week preparations for its opener at home against St. Francis.

To me, the most fun part of game week is the release of the two-deeps, which could come any day before Saturday.

And of course, the team will be returning to South Lawn on the main Columbia campus for a run through on Friday.

Meanwhile, the Lions must prepare for a formidable opponent.

The Red Flash is 0-2, but the losses were both close affairs on the road against FCS powerhouses Montana and Towson.

Saturday night's game at Towson was a real barn burner, as the Tigers came back from a 28-7 late second half deficit into a 35-28 win.  

For the most part, Towson dominated the box score, but the game stayed close once against thanks greatly to the heroics of DB Lorenzo Jerome. Jerome didn't get a big kick return like he did with regularity against Montana, but he did begin the scoring with a big 89-yard fumble recovery and return for a TD in the first quarter.

Another standout for St. Francis was RB Marcus Bagley, who had an impressive 96 yards on 21 carries.

But the Red Flash gave up big chunks of passing yardage and could not move the ball in the second half. Granted this was against top notch competition.

HOWEVER, I don't want this to become a defeatist discussion about how good Columbia's first opponent is and how St. Francis compares to Fordham, a school we scratched from the schedule because of a lack of competitive balance.

Instead, let's focus on how big a win it would be for the Lions to pull off a victory Saturday. Even long time fans of the Columbia program may not be significantly aware of that since this is the first-ever Lions game against the Red Flash and there is simply no rivalry.

We've now established that St. Francis is a good team overall, but the key issue is that it has a good offensive line. It could be one of the best Columbia faces all year. If the new Lion D-line is able to perform well in the game and help Columbia get a victory, then the assessments of the team's fortunes for the rest of the season will need to be upgraded.

That, and only that, has to be the focus of the team and maybe its fans in the coming days and of course during the game. I still see Columbia as basically playing with "house money" right now and all the pressure needs to be off of this team at least until the Ivy schedule begins with the Princeton game at home on October 1st.

As for Columbia's other two out of conference opponents, week two opponent Georgetown outlasted Marist for a 20-17 victory on the road.  The 2-0 Hoyas ran the ball well led by RB Alex Valles who had his second good outing with 93 yards on just 15 carries while the defense forced Marist to go 0-13 on 3rd down conversion chances. Georgetown has a bye this week before hosting the Lions on 9/24.

Wagner, coming off a slight scare from a Division-II opponent in week one, went down yet another notch and took on NAIA opponent Concordia College Saturday. The Seahawks walked away with an easy 38-0 win that essentially told us nothing about our week four opponent. Wagner also has a bye this week before going up to play FBS Boston College on 9/24.

Game Day Fun

Hopefully many of you saw the announcement from the Athletics Department about the new features for game day at Wien Stadium and the Baker Athletics Complex.

My favorite addition is the smoke and other bells and whistles they're adding to the team entrance on the field.

But I think a lot of families will really appreciate the fact that the carnival attractions and other kid-friendly attractions they usually only bring out for Homecoming will be present at every home game now.


oldlion said...

Latest roster has a few position changes: first year Robin to TE (puzzling move for a highly recruited DL); and Hill from WR to DB ( puzzling move for a senior)

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

Some of this stuff sounds silly and unnecessary. Just tell me if the free beer has been retained.
And the best "enhancement"for the fan experience at Wien remains wins at home.

Roar Lion said...

Robin is on the roster as a DL.

alswingman said...

St. Francis just went toe to toe with Montana @ Montana. Let's be realistic, it was a poor scheduling decision. Maybe their options were limited. I would have tried to get Rhode Island or some other reasonable foe.