Eating Their Dust
Fordham dominated almost every aspect of the game to reclaim the Liberty Cup (CREDIT: FordhamSports.com)
Columbia fell to Fordham last night, 27-10.
(You can hear the audio archive of the game, and my debut as color commentator by first clicking the link above and then clicking the audio icon at the top of the story).
WHY FORDHAM WON
The Rams dominated the line of scrimmage all night and ran the ball at will. Freshman Xavier Martin and senior Jonte Coven both easily eclipsed the 100-yard mark and allowed Fordham to rack up 353 total yards on the ground. The Rams only threw the ball 15 times despite lining up in the four wide receiver set all night.
WHY COLUMBIA LOST
They gave up huge holes to the Fordham runners time after time, then made it worse by failing to wrap up the runners for key missed tackles. On offense, the Lions had no running attack of their own, and they committed two costly turnovers.
KEY TURNING POINTS
Leading 7-0 late in the second quarter, Fordham faced a 2nd and 9 from their own 49 when Xavier Martin broke several tackles on his way to a 51-yard touchdown run. On the ensuing possession Hormann threw his first interception of the game, which the Rams quickly turned into 3 points on a short field goal to make it 17-0.
1) It may not have been the best night for Craig Hormann, but he looked totally healthy and his injured knee certainly didn't play a big role in the loss.
2) Austin Knowlin lived up to his billing as Columbia's "go-to guy," with 9 catches for 130 yards, (some of them spectacular grabs), and one touchdown. Knowlin also had some good kick returns, including one that set up Columbia's first score of the night. If Columbia can find another consistent offensive weapon, especially on the ground, this team could take off.
3) Jon Rocholl was only 1 for 3 on field goal attempts, but they were all very long attempts and he did make the 49-yarder to end the half.
1) The aggressive and effective Columbia defense of 2006 was mostly M.I.A. last night. Besides the missed tackles against the Fordham runners, the Lions blew some sack opportunities as well.
2) Jordan Davis ran for 73 yards on 13 carries, but most of those yards were gained late in the game when the contest was already decided. Against the first team Fordham defense, the Lions were as inept on the ground as they were most of last season.
3) Hormann's best quality in 2006 was avoiding the interception, but last night he threw two picks when he should have eaten the ball or thrown it out of bounds.
An easy choice here: Austin Knowlin. The Columbia single season receiving yards record is an even 1,000 held by Don Lewis, (in the John Witkowski era). With 130 yards in game 1, Knowlin is well on his way to challenging that record, something I said he must do in a post I wrote more than five months ago.
Jake on the Mic
It was a lot of fun working in the booth with Jerry Recco in the first game, but I definitely need some more work. The game moved extremely quickly with no media timeouts, (plus the refs moved things along as if they were double-parked on Fordham road), and I was not ready for that fast pacing.
Hopefully, I and Columbia team will sound and look a lot better next week.