Beware the Foxes
I don't think it would be paranoid for the Columbia coaches and players to have a little bit of concern when it comes to taking on the Marist Red Foxes this Saturday at Wien Stadium. There are a number of challenges the Lions will have to overcome to win:
1) At 5"7 and 170 pounds, Keith Mitchell is just the kind of small and speedy runner Xavier Martin and Jonte Coven are... and we know what they did to the Lions last Saturday night. Mitchell also returns kicks and can be dangerous in that role too. He's not officially listed as the starting tailback, but right now he's getting more than twice the amount of carries as the #1 guy, Obozua Ehikioya, who's had some injuries.
2) I'm becoming a fan of Marist QB Steve McGrath. He's a fighter. They took his starting job away from him in the offseason, only to have him fight to get it back during the first game of the season. Playing against some very big defenders, McGrath's biggest offensive lineman is just 270 pounds, but he's put up some decent numbers anyway. In fact, on 3rd down passing McGrath is downright outstanding at 17 for 25 for 179 yards, (that's 7.16 yards per attempt), 13 1st downs, 3 TD's, no interceptions, and just one sack.
3) I get the feeling Marist is approaching this game like it's their Super Bowl. The school web site has been touting the fact that this is its first game against an Ivy League school for months. I give Marist a lot of credit for taking on a murderous schedule to start the season with five straight road games, (this will be their fourth game of the year), all against teams considered to be much stronger than they are.
4) It's probably going to be a very weak crowd as the game is being played on Yom Kippur. Of course, that's not really an excuse, as there are clearly tens of thousands of Columbia students and alumni who are not Jewish. Nevertheless, after that disappointing loss to Fordham, the team really needs to see fan support and I'm not sure they'll get it in great numbers this time. Hopefully, everyone who can go to the game will and those who can't will hand their tickets over to someone who can.