Weather Woes and Scouting Yale
Brandt Hollander is a superman on the defensive line (CREDIT: Yale Athletics)
The forecast for this Saturday in New York City is for rain and winds. This could hurt the Lions explosive passing game while augmenting Yale's run, run, run offense.
Meanwhile, Columbia remains a 30-point underdog to the Elis. I don't think I've ever seen a bigger spread in Ivy football. It's probably more of a thing of praise for Yale, which until last week's close win over Penn, looked head and shoulders above the rest of the league.
Obviously Yale begins and ends with Mike McLeod, but Columbia has allowed every running back it's faced this season to have a career day, so even if he were injured there's no reason to think McLeod's backups wouldn't do similar damage. And if the Lions defense somehow finds a way to bottle up the running backs, QB Matt Polhemus is an excellent runner in his own right.
I'm not as impressed by the Yale passing game, but if the Elis pass more than 15 times all day that will probably be a very good sign for Columbia. I am more impressed with a much-improved Yale defense that is not only holding opponents to fewer points this season, but is also setting up a number of scores for the offense.
There are some injury issues on this defense, but the real strengths, senior Brandt Hollander on the defensive line, and junior linebacker Bobby Abare, are ready to go. Hollander is particularly frightening, as he seems to be in the opposing team's backfield on every play.
Special teams aren't as fearsome, but are generall solid. Kicker Alan Kimball's field goal range appears to be no longer than 35 yards, but he's consistent within that range. Sophomore Reid Lathan is doing a very good job returning kickoffs with a 23+ yards per return average.
How do you beat this team? Probably by making them pass and creating a lot of turnovers. For Columbia, the best strategy may be to take as much advantage they can of what may be a tired and overconfident Eli team this Saturday.
As one commenter has already said, the Lions chances may be slim, but if Columbia does win this game you'd really hate yourself for missing it.