Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Columbia-Georgetown Post Game Analysis

Why Columbia Won

The Lions jumped out to a big lead and did just enough to protect it when Georgetown finally woke up. A touchdown on their opening drive set the tone for a dynamite first half, and Columbia walked away with touchdowns on both of its first half trips inside the Hoya red zone.

Jon Rocholl was perfect again, nailing all three of his field goal attempts, (including a 45 and a 41-yarder), and notching a 63-yard punt as well.

The best sequence for the team as a whole was with the score 20-14 Columbia, the defense forced Georgetown to walk away with no points late in the fourth quarter despite the Hoyas having a first and goal at the two. Then the Lions took over at their 12 and drove all the way to the Georgetown seven before Rocholl hit a chip-shot field goal to seal the game. It was a great moment for the Lions in true gut-check time.

Why Georgetown Lost

Too many mistakes. First the coaching staff chose to ignore the great play of backup QB Matt Bassuener in the previous week's game against Brown and started Ben Hostetler again. Hostetler was terrible, throwing three interceptions in the first half that led to 10 Columbia points. On defense, the Hoyas committed a number of costly penalties to keep Lion drives alive.

After the Hoyas regrouped and were knocking on the door, they had a sure TD pass dropped and lost a chip-shot field goal opportunity that would have put the score at 20-17. The Hoyas missed another medium-range field goal in the late stages of the first half.

Columbia Standouts

I thought Rocholl was again outstanding and he was my MVP of the game. The Ivy League also named him Special Teams Player of the week, for the second straight week. Can a kicker win the Bushnell, (league MVP), award?

Adam Brekke was close to getting my MVP last week, and he comes up just short again this time. He stuffed some key Hoya plays with big tackles and he also had a big interception in the second quarter to end a promising Georgetown drive.

Eugene Edwards sparkled again. A week after blocking two Fordham field goal attempts, he picked off a Hostetler pass in the first quarter and returned it 47 yards to the GU eight. Three plays later a 7-0 Columbia lead was 14-0.

Freshman Andy Shalbrack had a number of big tackles in key moments again, and he was named Ivy League Rookie of the Week.

I thought Jordan Davis' workmanlike 95 yards on 25 carries were a big help. He saved his best run for the most crucial moment as he peeled off a 17-yard gainer on that final drive for Columbia late in the game.

Justin Nunez, every coach's favorite as the hardest-working walk-on anyone's ever seen, made see key tackles to go along with his first ever career interception in the first half.

The offensive line did a better job of protecting Craig Hormann, giving up just one sack, but it still has a way to go as the Lion QB is struggling to find his rhythm.

Hormann was also a bit sharper. Some of his throws were off but he made a lot of great plays too. His block on Tim Paulin's 34-yard reverse for the first score of the game made all the difference. Hormann also didn't throw any interceptions.

And the team showed some great emotional fortitude. Lots of Columbia teams in the past would have lost total focus after blowing most of a 20-0 lead and facing a situation where the opponent had four downs to get two yards for the go-ahead touchdown. To not only stuff the Hoyas on that goal line stand, but to also march almost all the way down the field for a field goal right after that was a great show of mental toughness.

Columbia Areas of Concern

A week after looking so strong against the run against Fordham's star James Prydatko and the big Ram offensive line, the Lions wilted against the Hoyas crop of unknown runners and small front five. It's hard to say what caused the turnaround, but Georgetown almost ran at will during significant portions of this game. That's going to have to chance if Columbia wants to have a chance against Princeton this Saturday.

There was also a little bit of an obvious let down after the Lions jumped out to that 20-0 lead. While it was encouraging that Columbia came off the 37-7 win over Fordham and stormed out of the gate to play the first two and-a-half quarters with intensity, they will definitely lose a lot of games this year if they let themselves get too comfortable with a lead. This team has not trailed for even one second in any game this season, and it will be interesting to see if it can keep its focus if when it first falls behind.

Hormann needs to hook up with a sure-fire target and get comfortable with him. The freshman Austin Knowlin is extremely talented and he's already a great weapon, but he's too short to throw to more than a few times a game right now. I think Hormann needs to do what he did to start that wonderful game-winning fourth quarter drive and throw more passes to junior tight end Jamal Russell. Russell is tall and strong and should be a comforting target for Hormann when the Lion QB is under pressure.

The defense needs to cover the sidelines better and not allow quarterback scrambles. Georgetown may have succeeded at the run despite its size problems because of its ability to take it to the sidelines where the Lion defenders are smaller. For the 19 years I've been watching Columbia football, the team has always had trouble with allowing opposing QB's to turn sure sacks into 15+ yard gains on scrambles. Stopping this kind of thing needs to be a priority this week in practice.

We need a nice crowd Saturday. This will be homecoming for a 2-0 team against a bitter Ivy opponent. If we don't see 12,000+ at the game this weekend, I fear the team will really feel an emotional let down. Right now, they're predicting nice weather for the game, but it is only Monday.


Post a Comment

<< Home