Passing the Torch
Austin Knowlin scores his first collegiate TD vs. Fordham, 2006 (CREDIT: Columbia Athletics Dept.)
The previous post's "Let's Make Some New History" theme isn't something that should only be applied to Columbia's won-lost record. There are a number of individual Lion records that have stayed records for a long time... too long in my opinion. And the benchmarks that I'd really like to see eclipsed sometime soon are the receiving records.
As much as I'd like to see Jordan Davis rush for 1,500 yards next season, I don't see that as very likely. It's much more likely that the Lions will rely on the pass more than the run again this coming season. And with Ivy League Rookie of the Year Austin Knowlin returning to the lineup, the sooner some of these receiving records go by the wayside, the better.
All the game, season, and career wide receiving marks at Columbia are, or should be, vulnerable. In particular, the career mark for catches held by Don Lewis is a paltry 176 that rising sophomore Austin Knowlin should take a serious crack at breaking over the next three years. In fact, with 44 grabs in his freshman season last year, Knowlin is right on target to match that total of 176 by the end of his senior year. This is not to take anything away from Lewis, who made his mark in just three seasons as one of John Witkowski's primary targets. His single-season record for catches is a much more impressive 84, set in 1982.
Lewis also holds the single-season Columbia mark for yards receiving at an even 1,000. Knowlin could break that record too in any one of his remaining three years at CU.
A tougher nut to crack will be Bill Wazevich's record for 214 yards receiving in a game. That record has stood for 40 years, despite two very close calls in the 1980's when Terry Brown put in a 207-yard day against Cornell in 1988 and Bill Reggio logged 203 yards receiving in 1983 against Bucknell. (Wazevich was Columbia great Marty Domres top target, and a great guy by all accounts. He died in 2002 at the way too early age of 54).
Another rough one is Bert Bondi's record for most catches in a single game, which stands at 14. Bondi made that mark in a thrilling win over Cornell in the magical 1996 season.
But overall, Knowlin has a shot to break at least one or two of these records, and if he does it will mean more to the team's overall success than the impressive, but less effective marks set by guys like Reggio and Lewis.