Monday, November 7, 2016

Quarterly Failings

Harvard 28 Columbia 21

Why Harvard Won

The Crimson defense played well enough to make up for a sluggish offense and spotty special teams play, and forced enough Columbia turnovers to win. The Harvard D allowed just 259 total yards and 13 1st downs.

Why Columbia Lost

The Lions blew a 14-7 halftime lead with another disastrous turnover filled quarter. And even when not turning the ball over, the CU offense still could not operate consistently.

Key Turning Points

-Leading 14-7 at the half, the Lions fumbled the 2nd half opening kickoff away. That set the tone for a disastrous Columbia 3rd quarter. Harvard did not score off of that turnover, but when the Lions fumbled the ball away on their next possession it did lead to a Crimson TD.

-With Harvard leading 28-21 and 3:39 left in the game, the Lions had a great chance to tie it up when they started a possession at their own 46. But three Columbia pass plays netted negative one yard and the Lions had to punt it away.

Columbia Positives

-The Lion defense played stellar football. Against the top team in the Ivies, Columbia held the opposing offense to just 2.7 yards per carry. The Lions also got five sacks, and four other tackles for a loss.

-Columbia executed a brilliant punt block and recovery for a TD thanks to two promising freshmen. Michael Murphy got the block and Hunter Lunsford scooped it up for the TD.

-Speaking of freshmen, Murphy and Lunsford were far from the only first-years to make an impact. Freshman DE Daniel DeLorenzi had two sacks, freshman DT Arman Samouk had one. Freshman DT Alex Robin, (a player many of us believe has a great future for CU),  got significant playing time and two tackles. WR Ronald Smith brilliantly handled a TD pass from while he was covered closely in the end zone. Fellow freshman WR Josh Wainwright fumbled that opening 2nd half kickoff, but he also looked good on Columbia's final scoring drive and caught a TD pass of his own.

-The total mental collapse that could have ensued did not materialize after Columbia's disastrous flurry of turnovers in the 3rd quarter.

Columbia Negatives

-The Lions fumble problems and general difficulty with protecting the football is at a crisis level. Without the fumbles, Columbia wins this game.

-The Lions seem to be totally unwilling or unable to sustain a steady running attack. This game was never a blowout, but Columbia threw the ball 46 times to just 28 rushing attempts. Oh and since sacks are counted as rushing attempts in college, the Lions really only tried to run it 26 times the entire game... not including improvised QB scrambles. You can't win at any level of football when you can't run the ball effectively and/or don't have the confidence in your team to do so.

Columbia MVP

-This is starting to sound like a broken record, but how can you not give the MVP nod to LB Gianmarco Rea after his 15 tackle, two sack performance? Brock Kenyon comes in second place after his seven key tackles and the interception that should have bailed out Columbia permanently early in the 3rd quarter.


oldlion said...

I think that we have to go with Mornhinweg at QB for the rest of the year. The offense looked better with him, and I do not know why he was not in for the final drive. While I admire Hill's toughness, he just cannot hold onto the ball, takes too many sacks and misses too many throws. I think his fumbles are contagious.

Roar Lion said...

Agree with the Old Lion, but would question Skylar didn't play the entire game. He's a much better player.

On the positive side, my possibly faulty memory says it is rare for freshmen to have an impact on the DL. It is much easier for a skill player to play early than a DL. Yet we have three DLs playing well, registering sacks, knocking down passes, etc. Did Padilla play this much as a freshman? It's been a frustrating season but I suspect we're going to have a very good DL for the next three years.

alawicius said...

Can't agree, not entirely anyway, about Hill vs. Morhinweg. Skylar was pulled, even though he seemed to drive the team, because he missed badly on a couple of long passes in his final series. Hill threw some nice ones and his passing is improving, he'll be back and might be a pretty good QB as a senior. I say give 'em equal time if possible, or whoever has the momentum.


oldlion said...

About six or Sven years ago we had an excellent DL who was outstanding as a freshman. Jake would remember his name. He got injured as a sophomore and was never the same player. About 6'1" and 260 or so. Came from a private school in the Westchester area as I recall. I count four excellent first year DLs who are already making an impact. Query if DiLoremzi, who is a terror of a pass rusher, moves to a LB position next year. I also expect great things from the first year LBs and combo LB/S types. You saw two of them on the blocked punt.

Jake said...

Yes. That was Owen Fraser from Trinity Pawling. His career was ruined by a Fordham chop block dirty play.

oldlion said...

Thanks Jake. And a late Fordham hit on Sean Brackett his junior year basically ruined his career as well.

Chen1982 said...

I guess the double edged sword when you play so many freshman mistakes (as we see with some punt return fumbles and dropped passes).

But step up talent seems to he there, so it is enough to provide confidence in a decent 500 season next year.

This year? Probably 3 and 7

florida lion said...

It's not even a full quarter, it just seems like the bottom falls out for 5-10 minutes each game. Otherwise, we are more than competitive, especially on defense. It's great to see so many freshmen contributing--a good sign for the future. Regarding quarterbacks, I think staying with Hill going into his senior year makes sense. And does anyone know how Matt Dame is doing? I don't think he's played at all this year. He's a highly regarded freshman recruit from my part of Florida.

PKNIGHT said...

How about breaking in another QB? Hill holds the ball too long...improves only slightly.. under throws very well and overthrows even better... Al likes the two QB system but why did he stay with Hill so long all season? Don't we have 6 QBs on the roster AND we recruited more!

oldlion said...

It would be interesting to see how many of our opponents' scores can be attributed to turnovers. And then I would extrapolate to the number of losses attributable directly and then indirectly to turnovers. I can make a decent argument that the only game we clearly would have lost anyway was the Princeton game, where we had no answer to their offense (best team we have faced all year). Out of the remaining five losses, at least two would have been wins. So where is this going? I know that Mornhinweg can't run very well, but most of our turnovers are attributed to Hill's inability to play reatively error free football. Not only did we give the ball away last Saturday, but we were as a result on offense for only 23 minutes. It is a double whammy; instead of slowing down the game and running a ball control offense we are giving up the ball and our defense is getting winded. So what we need is a QB who can manage the game and just avoid turnovers. If we do the defense will give us a shot for the remaining two games at a W.

Chen1982 said...

Turnovers cost us Georgetown game (2 special teams fumbles), Yale (offensive meltdown), and Harvard (offense and special teams fumbles). Without these lapses, we are a 5-3 team. Is this the Columbia curse and does Bagnoli have the mojo to exorcise us of these demons?!

alawicius said...

The Columbia curse is dreadful indeed, but Al is destined to be a top notch exorcist.


Roar Lion said...

I know Chen is speaking half in jest but there is no curse. We will win football games when we execute for 60 minutes. Fumbles happen, but not four per game. Illegal substitutions happen, but not twice in one series. We lose close games because we don't execute. Nobody needs to be a hero. If we make routine plays for 60 minutes, we're good enough to win the last two. If we put it on the ground four times and commit eight penalties, our talent is not enough to overcome that. The kids are much better coached and we are no longer physically over-matched. But our skill is not high enough to overcome constant, avoidable mistakes.

Again, no one expects 400 yards of offense and superb playmaking. It's more like, take a breath, have confidence in yourself, do what your coaches taught you. The offense needs to hold onto the ball. We need to field kickoffs and punts. If we do those two, the D will give us a chance to win. I am hopeful that we can reduce avoidable errors and compete hard in the last two games.

florida lion said...

Amen to Roar Lion's post. Other than the 10 minutes or so when we undergo a terrible series of fumbles, penalties and so on, we have been more than competitive in almost every game. And win some! With good recruiting classes, I think the future is brighter than it has been for a long time.