Penn 16 Columbia 0
Why Penn Won
The Quaker defense maintained its "bend but don't break" M.O. and never allowed a score despite Columbia's many visits into Penn territory. Even a Lion 1st and goal from the Quaker four was turned back. Meanwhile, their offense did what was necessary to win, taking advantage of just enough opportunities to score three times.
Why Columbia Lost
There's just no run blocking to be found on this team. The pass blocking was a little better, but Columbia QB Craig Hormann was forced to throw 45 times, often under heavy pressure. With the no running game to speak of, the Lions had to pass almost all the time, and Penn knew it. Even Columbia's super-reliable kicker John Rocholl came up empty, getting a 37-yard field goal attempt blocked early in the second half.
The defense played well for the fifth straight week. They gave the offense numerous chances to win, and never faltered even as those chances went for naught. They recorded only one sack, but the defense kept Penn QB Robert Irvin on his toes. Joe Sandberg ran for 101 yards, but he was held in check in all but a few key moments.
One offensive high note came from freshman Austin Knowlin, who logged the first 100-yard receiving game for any Lion this year.
The offensive line still isn't getting any decent pushes on the running plays, and they also continue to commit costly penalties that kill Columbia drives. This one weakness alone is more than enough for superior teams to capitalize on and beat the Lions. Something has to change to shake up the running game. It may finally be time to insert backup QB Chris Allison, who can run, to cross up the defenses a little. Even if Allison gets just a few series under center, it could make a difference.
Columbia's return game is almost non-existent. The Lions started one possession at their own three after a botched kickoff return. The offense needs all the help it can get, and the returners aren't offering any.
Columbia Game MVP: Andy Shalbrack. The freshman linebacker made some big tackles and set Columbia up nicely at the Penn 31 after an interception return. He, fellow freshman Justin Masorti and sophomores Drew Quinn and Philip Mitchell are the nucleus of a very good-looking future for the Lion defense.
I listened to the entire game on WSNR 620AM and I thought the coverage was excellent. Whatever weaknesses play-by-play man Jerry Reeco and color man Rick Mantz had in the early season have been smoothed over. Mantz especially brings some good football smarts to the table, and he has taken advantage of the access he's been given to Columbia practices and brought them to the listener. I know the kids at WKCR feel they were shafted by the University's decision to go with SNR in addition to the student broadcasts, but they should just try to learn from these guys whenever they can.