Sunday, November 19, 2006

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.

MORE LATER...

21 Comments:

At Sun Nov 19, 09:49:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks again for making this season memorable; and next year will be even better. What do you know about recruiting? And who do you think breaks out next year? Will we ever see Evangelist and McHenry fulfill their promise? Does Veldman look like he can become a force on the OL? What do you see for MA next year?

 
At Mon Nov 20, 02:34:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Columbia 37P6 said...

Jake, another terrific analysis. I know that all Columbia fans who read your great weekly articles are appreciative of your efforts.

You asked for suggestions for Columbia MVP. From a very broad perpsective, I would say that the non-playing MVP is the athletic director, Dianne Murphy, for having the courage and good sense to make a coaching change in November, 2005 even though Coach Shoops had another year on his contract. Next, you have to admire what Coach Norries Wilson and his staff did this season. In just one year, they restored pride and dignity to the Columbia Football Program and made everyone who cares about Columbia football proud to be a Lion. Finally, as to the individual MVP of the team, I would guess that the coaches know which player meant the most to the team. My guess is that it was the defensive, captain, Adam Brekke, who was the emotional leader of a defense that will be remembered as being as good as any in Columbia footall history.

 
At Mon Nov 20, 03:37:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

freshman class has shown a lot of promise-- tough to say whether well see a lot of MA next year with hormann playing so well in the last two this year. veldman didnt see any time this year but another freshman on the o-line did, seiler. seemed to play pretty well against dartmouth (his only start) but im not sure if he got any more time than that. o-line should be very improved next year.

 
At Mon Nov 20, 04:20:00 AM GMT+7, Blogger Jake said...

Thanks to all for your kind words.

I'm hoping this blog will be a place for good recruiting news and tips, but for that I will need help from everyone else out there who hears or knows something. I will make a formal call for help soon.

As for next year's starters, we'll need some time to figure all of that out. But I would agree that if Hormann continues to play like he did for the last three games, (no INT's in any game and just some tough fumbles versus Harvard), M.A. Olawale can look forward to starting as a JUNIOR and not next year as a soph.

My focus in the offseason would be on replacing the excellent 6 senior starters on defense and improving the running game.

 
At Mon Nov 20, 05:27:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Agree that Hormann turned it around the last few games; I would like to see MA on the field in situational opportunities ( like Cavanaugh). Recruiting more help on the OL is critical. Another big back, a TE, and a few NTs/DEs would be great. Not to forget a shut-down corner. Will Musgrove be back?

 
At Mon Nov 20, 05:47:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ivy League championships are not won with a QB who cannot run.

 
At Mon Nov 20, 05:58:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

the o-line should be fine-- the freshman class is strong, but the sophomore class also had 3 guys take medical redshirts this year, two of which started games last year. the o-line will be young again, but should have some more experience which will be scary considering the surplus of skill position talent. go lions!

 
At Mon Nov 20, 06:47:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jake, thanks so much for keeping this blog. Those of us who can't see or hear the games for varous reasons but want to know the play by play really appreciate it.

I wish the Lions could test the theory that you need a running quarterback to win the league. If we had had an all-league quality running back who gained 1000 yards this year paired with this defense, we wouldn't have needed Hormann to run a step. Ivy League teams give up a lot of points in my opinion. I hope the Lions can establish themselves as the best defensive team in the league going forward, as they were this year and in 1996--that was a defense!

Since we don't have that running back, it's just a hypothesis. I am not as sanguine as others that we will be a top tier team next year. More depth please!

Leonidas

 
At Mon Nov 20, 09:40:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jordan is a good back with great balance, a huge heart, good hands, good blocking skills and decent speed. Once Stoll began starting at FB, and openin holes, Jordan made yards.

 
At Mon Nov 20, 09:50:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jake, another thank you for your insights, perspectives, research, and enthusiasm for the Lions. As a 1st year Columbia follower, I appreciate your efforts in helping those of us that cannot make it to the games.

Thanks again from far away!

 
At Mon Nov 20, 06:21:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a great blog for all Lion fans,keep it up through the recruiting season. The next big milestone for the coaches is to land another nice crew of freshmen players. We need to fill a few holes but overall have a pretty deep team coming back next year. This is our coaches first full year on the trail, if they do as well as last year then we're in even better shape for next season. Any chance Allison or Musgrove will come back?

 
At Mon Nov 20, 10:56:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I doubt that Allison will be back. In both seasons Rocholl's fg percentage seems to have gone down by the end of the year. Perhaps next year Huston should do more of the short kicks (XP and under 30 yard fg's).

 
At Tue Nov 21, 04:34:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Be careful about recruiting tips and information--Penn will unhook kids, as it has done it the past. Don't put anything past Penn; we can have a kid signed, sealed and delivered and they will do whatever it takes to unhook him. Assume Penn boosters and coaches study this board for that reason.

 
At Tue Nov 21, 06:20:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Agreed!

 
At Tue Nov 21, 06:38:00 AM GMT+7, Blogger Jake said...

There should be some ways to get around that... If we hear about some kids being interested in the program I can simply identify them as solid recruits at whatever position they play and leave it at that until we get the commit list.

 
At Tue Nov 21, 09:46:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Penn will need to spend time recruiting kickers (of which we already have 2 good ones). So that may buy us a recruit or 2.

 
At Tue Nov 21, 09:01:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great news about Hormann being offensive player of the week. I have to admit that I need to serve up a huge portion of crow for Thanksgiving, since I was screaming for MA a few weeks ago. As for Penn, they will stoop to any level to badmouth Columbia and to unhook our recruits. This is fact.

 
At Tue Nov 21, 09:36:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jake:
Great job all season long. I hope that you can continue with some insightful stories during the off-season. You're providing a much needed service to the Columbia football community in the mold of Bruce Wood and biggreenalert.com

 
At Wed Nov 22, 07:26:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Recruiting info: excellent kid from our area being recruited by the Lions. LB. Not as big as Breeke, but a smart, tough kid. Comes from a 'football' family. Also has offers from a few others, including a few D-1's. Right now, the team is in the playoffs, so no news this week. Will keep you posted if I hear anything.

 
At Wed Nov 22, 09:36:00 PM GMT+7, Blogger Jake said...

Thanks so much for that. As many readers know, I love stories that can increase Columbia's presence in the New York press... so if this kid is from around here and he's a blue-chipper, than we can expect to see CU in the papers a whole lot more in the coming years.

 
At Sat Nov 25, 04:11:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is wise not to post names of recruits until well after the deadline for applications. The Ivies are very competitive with each other for all exceptional students, including athletes. It's not necessary to badmouth Penn on this count. Patriot League, Atlantic 10, Colonial League, Ivy League schools all are in the hunt and interested in identifying each other's prospects. We need to wait until late in the year because the Ivies will waive their application deadline for highly desired recruits---this has occurred before in Ivy history and not just in football.

 

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