Hearts of Lions
Columbia 22 Brown 21
Why Columbia Won
The offense and the defense shook off a disastrous first quarter to comeback and win. The defense got it started with a sack and fumble recovery for a TD, and that sparked the offense to start chipping away. Lion quarterback Craig Hormann saved his best for the last game of the season, playing flawless football and passing Columbia down the field time after time. The running game was decent, and came up with a huge first down on a 4th and inches on the final drive.
Why Brown Lost
Playing in his final collegiate game, Bear QB Joe DiGiacomo exhibited all the reasons why he never became a 1st Team All Ivy player. He threw two interceptions and coughed up a fumble that the Lions returned for the game-changing TD. Meanwhile, the Brown secondary could not stop the Columbia passing game. The Bears didn't come up with one sack.
Key Points in the Game
1) With Brown already leading 14-0 early in the second quarter, the Bears were on the move again with a 1st and ten from their own 49. But Darren Schmidt and Adam Brekke combined on a big sack forcing the ball loose from DiGiacomo's hands. Todd Abrams scooped it up and waltzed into the end zone for his second TD of the season and the Lions' sixth defensive touchdown of the season.
2) Columbia forced a three-and-out on the ensuing Brown possession and took over after a punt on their own 37. The Lions mixed the run and pass nicely until the drive stalled at the Bear 24. Despite missing the extra point on Columbia's touchdown earlier in the quarter, kicker Jon Rocholl booted a 41-yard field goal to trim Brown's lead to 14-9.
3) The Bears began the second half with an impressive drive that began at their 26 and got all the way to the Columbia 11 before Andy Shalbrack intercepted a DiGiacomo pass in the end zone and returned to the CU 6.
4) From the six, Hormann marched the Lions all the way down to the Brown nine, converting a couple of third downs along the way. Patrick Huston, brought in to replace Rocholl after he missed a short field goal at the end of the half, was perfect with his 27-yard attempt to make it 14-12 Brown.
5) Brown took the kickoff after the Huston field goal and promptly marched 81-yards down the field to score a TD to take what looked like a safe 21-12 lead with 13:32 left in the fourth quarter. But Hormann led the team on an 11-play drive with three third down conversions along the way, ending in a six-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Davis. That made it 21-19 with 9:42 left.
6) Brown took the ensuing kickoff and returned it all the way to their 45. After converting a 4th and 2 from the Columbia 34, the drive stalled at the CU 27. Then the Bears' Steve Morgan, undeniably the best kicker in the Ivy League, missed a 45-yard field goal wide left with
7) Columbia took over at their 27 and Craig Hormann would not be denied. On 3rd and 2 from their 35 he found Austin Knowlin for a little six-yard play that started a string of four straight passes and completions that gave the Lions a first down at the Brown 30. It looked like the drive was going to stall when a pass completion to Jamal Russell on 3rd and nine that looked like a first down was marked just shy of the marker. Then the Columbia coaches made a very gutsy call for a team that's been so shaky running the ball this season; they went for it on 4th and inches at the 21 rather than try the long field goal. It worked. Jordan Davis bounced off some tacklers and took the ball all the way to the Brown 12. Three plays later, the coaches put Jon Rocholl back into the game to try the biggest kick in many years for the Lions. It was perfect, and Columbia was ahead 22-21 with just three seconds left.
MVP: Craig Hormann. Craig went 30 of 43 for 285 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions, fumbles or sacks. He never even came close to getting one picked off. After a very slow start to the season, Hormann finished very strong delivering two straight wins and throwing his last 119 passes without an interception.
Freshman Andy Shalbrack gets a big honorable mention for his two interceptions and senior Adam Brekke had a hand in forcing two fumbles. Todd Abrams heads-up scoop of DiGiacomo's fumble was a lifesaver.