Sunday, October 9, 2016

Kicked Up a Notch

Columbia 15 Wagner 13


Why Columbia Won

The Lions played their best defensive game in almost a year and controlled both lines of scrimmage for most of the night. Columbia also committed no turnovers and got the final edge from sterling special teams play.


Why Wagner Lost

The Seahawks could never get any consistency on offense, and their defense couldn't force turnovers or stop the Lions outside of field goal range. The final difference came from the five sacks its offensive line allowed, including one crucial sack on its second-to-last offensive play of the game.

Key Turning Points

-After the Lions failed to score on their first possession, Wagner took over at its 13 following an excellent punt by Cameron Nizialek and a tackle for no gain on the return by Denzel Hill. Three plays later, DT Lord Hyeamang leveled Seahawk QB Alex Thomson with a strip sack and DE Connor Heeb recovered the ball at the Wagner 12. The Lions failed to get more than a field goal out of it, but Hyeamang and the D-line as a whole had made an important statement a week after getting pushed around by Princeton.

-With Wagner now ahead 13-3 with just 2:50 left in the 1st half, Columbia took over at its own 25 for its final possession of the 2nd quarter. The Lions went on to convert two 4th downs and one 3rd down before stalling once again and having to settle for another field goal. But the drive served as good momentum for the second half.

-On Wagner's first possession of the 2nd half, seniors Gianmarco Rea, Keith Brady, and Christian Conway combined on a crucial stop on a 3rd and 5 from the Seahawk 24. Columbia got another FG on its ensuing drive to narrow the score to 13-9. On the next Wagner possesion, freshmen Michael Geraghty and Daniel DeLorenzi combined on a 13-yard sack back at the Seahawk three yard line. On the Lions ensuing possession they got another FG to make 13-12. All in all, Wagner went three-and-out on each of its first four possessions of the 2nd half and only got one 1st down on its fifth possession. By the time Columbia had responded to each of those five short drives, the Lions were ahead 15-13.

-The Seahawks still had a good chance to win with 1:43 left and the ball at the Lion 35. Wagner's excellent FG kicker had already nailed a 50-plus yarder this season, so he was in range to win the game.  But on 2nd and five from the 35, Rea and DeLorenzi stopped Wagner RB Matt McKinnon for no gain. And on the next play, Rea and DeLorenzi combined for a crucial seven yard sack to push the Seahawks out of FG range. That set up the final Wagner offensive play of the game, an incomplete pass broken up by DB Brock Kenyon and a QB hurry by DeLorenzi to boot.

Columbia Positives

-The defense racked up five sacks, held Wagner's explosive offense to 13 points and just 270 total yards. The Seahawks were just three of 14 on 3rd down.

-Senior RB Alan Watson had the best game of his career, running for 107 yards on 23 carries. He seems to have re-earned the top spot on the RB depth chart.

-Special teams play was stellar. In addition to freshman PK Oren Milstein's schools record five FG's with no misses, the Lion punting game was excellent with a combined top notch performance from Nizialek and Matthew Panton. Chris Alleyne did a great job on kickoffs, including three touchbacks. Columbia's return game was better, with freshman Lynnard Rose getting a nifty 22-yard punt return after primary returner Josh Wainwright had to leave the game with an injury.

-Columbia played a turnover free game for the first time this year.

-Columbia's linebackers continue to put in dramatically strong performances every week. The LB's all made several key tackles and sacks.

Columbia Negatives

-You won't win too many games when you get inside the two yard line more than three times and come away with no TD's.

-QB Anders Hill did a great job protecting the ball and running with it, but too many of his passes are still off the mark.

-Wagner's TD came on a classic screen to the RB that the Lions bit on hard. The rest of Columbia's opponents will likely try to duplicate that play, especially with more freshmen getting so much more playing time on the D-line.

Columbia MVP

Watson and so many of the defensive players had a fantastic night, but you have to give the MVP nod to Oren Milstein for the ice water in his veins and those five field goals. I can't think of any other kicker in Lion history who would have been so perfect in such wet and high-pressure conditions. In the Ivy League you don't necessarily need a guy who can hit 50-yard FG's; you need someone who can't hit the 30-35 yard kicks 100% of the time.

18 comments:

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

iThey have a far better running game. Maybe even a better passing game in general. But the defense held when necessary, even delivered a sack when absolutely crucial. And Oren Milstein is, quite properly, our MVp.

It was a nice win. f felt we may have been out-coached in the Princeton game. felt last night Bagnoli out-coached Wagner when it counted. got his players to deliver. A very, very nice win.

alawicius said...

And some more good news, our QB recruit Josh Bean is throwing at a .722 clip after seven games, pretty good runner, too.

LionAlum76 said...

Outstanding effort by our young men. Can't remember the last time we pulled out a gutty win at the end. Proud day to be a lion. Penn will be tough next week, but looking for a season changing victory over an established Dartmouth program in front of 12,000 at homecoming.

Roar Lion said...

Yes, great to see the guys execute down the stretch of a close game. The D and kicking game were outstanding, the offense/QB continues to be troubling. I hope Wainwright is okay ...

Martin Sprains said...

good win!

alswingman said...

Gratifying the new kicker has proved reliable. It is going to be tough to scratch and claw these kind of wins against the rest of the schedule.

Chen1982 said...

Milstein should get ROTW in Ivies for this. Evidence of new recruits making a difference. Evidence of bounce back fight after a blow out loss. Against a good team. Some reason for hope for continued improvement of the program. I was surprised by how many transfers Wagner used from last year to this one. How do you get FBS players to transfer to a school on Staten Island? I am perplexed.

Jake said...

Good queston, Chen. The reason is schools like Wagner are like a "Last Chance U." for some kinds of players who failed for some reason in FBS programs. It's a respectable school, which is what is the top priority for these kids at this point. Being in NYC, at least these kids can also start making some moves to getting a real job if football doesn't work out.

Chen1982 said...

Sorry if this comes off the wrong way....but i have yet to interview much less hire a Wagner grad. I hear they have a great performing arts/drama program...but that is like chalk and cheese with football.

Oh well....

Any news on Wainwright?

oldlion said...

I just hope that Hollis and Wainwright are OK.

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

I was interested to hear that one of Wagner's several transfers was from West Point. He should consider himself lucky that the Army thus apparently let him out of (just deferred?) his subsequent service obligation. I knew someone in the Army who wasn't that lucky. He too had been football player.

DOC said...

Anyone hear anything about Skylar Morninweg's playing status ?

alawicius said...

Hollis was back in at the end of the game. The n

alawicius said...

Hollis was back in at the end of the game. The new LB recruit, Luke Adams, is a good one, all-state Michigan (1st team, I think).

oldlion said...

Re West Point: the service academies give you the opportunity to leave without penalty at the end of the sophomore year.

Chen1982 said...

It's a long way from West Point to Wagner....perhaps not geographically nor alphabetically but in every other sense

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

The guy I knew, old lion,, flunked out/washed out in his junior year. Good soldier, talked of extending in Nam. Which baffled us draftees, believe you me.

Chen1982 said...

Well deserved dual award for Oren Milstein! And kudos to our 3 honorable mentions (Rea, Wainwright and Watson)