Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Harvard Game: Full Wrap

Harvard 24 Columbia 7

Why Harvard Won

The Crimson made no big mistakes and they made sure to capitalize on Columbia's miscues. When you have a drive that starts on your opponent's end of the field, you have to come up with at least a field goal. Harvard got all of their points that way. And by committing no turnovers, the Crimson didn't give the Lions too many chances to come back.

Why Columbia Lost

The offense was ineffective again... although this time for different reasons. The Lions moved the ball well in the air, but they turned the ball over four times to negate most of their successful passing game. The running game was worse than ever; netting negative yards on the day. The defense gave up no long drives, but was unable to force any turnovers or stuff Harvard any of the four times when the Crimson had a short field in front of them.

Key Turning Points

1) Columbia took the ball on the game's opening drive and drove 56 yards before QB Craig Hormann fumbled the ball away at the Crimson 20. That play would set the fumble-prone tone for the Lions' day.

2) With Columbia leading 7-0 in the second quarter, a good punt return by Harvard's Steve Williams gave the Crimson possession at the CU 33. Columbia forced a 3rd and nine at the 32, but Liam O'Hagan completed a clutch 15-yard pass to Alex Breaux. Three Clifton Dawson runs later it was 7-7.

3) With Harvard ahead 14-7, Columbia started moving the ball again on their first possession of the second half. On 1st and 10 from the Columbia 49, Hormann fumbled the ball away again, giving the Crimson possession at the CU 46. Seven plays later it was 21-7 Harvard.

4) Trailing 24-7 early in the 4th quarter, and with a chance to at least make the game more interesting, the Lions began another impressive drive that started at their own 29 and ended with a Jon Rocholl 40-yard field goal... but Harvard was flagged on the kick and Coach Wilson made the right move to take the points off the board and give his offense a first and ten on the Crimson 11. But Tim Paulin dropped a good Hormann pass in the end zone and Rocholl's next field goal attempt from just 30 yards out was missed.

Columbia Negatives

Too many fumbles and not enough of a running game were the key ingredients for failure. The defense also failed to get a takeaway, despite 2-3 passes from O'Hagan that hit Columbia defenders in the numbers. I was also curious as to why frosh QB M.A. Olawale never got into the game at all despite the fact that Hormann was shaken up after a sack in the second half.

Columbia Positives

Quite a few despite the final score. The Lions defense may have given up 120 yards to Clifton Dawson, but he was not a major factor in the game. It was especially nice to avoid having him break Ed Marinaro's Ivy career rushing record against us. (That will probably be Penn's problem this coming Saturday as Dawson needs just 54 more yards to go).

Hormann's fumbles were extremely costly, but he was otherwise strong, going 29-for-52 for 320 yards a touchdown and no interceptions. One can only wonder how great Hormann's stats would be if Columbia had a running game or if he could shuttle with Olawale a little bit to keep opposing defenders on their toes.

Freshman Austin Knowlin did have an inexplicable fumble late in the game, but he was otherwise strong getting seven catches for 118 yards and a 22-yard TD reception. Knowlin also had a couple of catches where he twisted away from tacklers to gain more yardage. Knowlin's little "twist aways" are becoming his trademark.

The other freshman receiver, Taylor Joseph, is also showing a good ability to make catches. If all goes well, Knowlin and Joseph could make up a strong receiving tandem for the Lions in the years to come with Knowlin the big-play speedster and Joseph the possession guy.

Junior tight end Jamal Russell finally put up some good receiving numbers with seven catches for 79 yards, but he let his last reception get ripped from his hands by a Harvard defender for Columbia's fourth and final fumble of the day.

And considering the 25-point spread the odds makers put on this game, Columbia afforded themselves pretty decently against a very strong team on the road.

The question now is whether the Lions will show more of these positives or the negatives from the Harvard loss against Cornell at Wien Stadium this Saturday.

GAME MVP: I have to go with senior defensive lineman Darren Schmidt, who had a sack and two other tackles for a loss.


At Wed Nov 08, 08:49:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Lions have sooo much potential! Enough of should'a, would'a, could'a. I just hope and pray a viable offense finally shows-up against the Big Red.


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