Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Games of the Day (Day 94, 93, 92, 91, 90)

I may not see one of these for another few days

I will be travelling for the next few days, so blogging may be a bit of a challenge.

Just in case, I'm leaving some quick summaries below to keep up with my goal of marking 100 different Columbia football until the start of the season.

Day 94 and 93: Doug's Greatest Hits

Yesterday's post about the Nov. 15, 1975 win over Cornell in Ithaca made me want to highlight the two other truly great games in Doug Jackson's Columbia career.

First was his 33-carry, 194-yard rushing performance in the 1975 28-25 Lion win over the Penn Quakers at Baker Field. After an 80-yard TD drive capped by a 2-yard Jackson score, the Lions made it 14-0 after a 50-yard Jackson TD dash on their next possession.

Another Jackson TD in the 2nd quarter gave Columbia a 21-7 lead, but the Lions almost blew it with a number of 2nd half turnovers. After Penn closed to 21-19, the rare-throwing CU QB Mike Delaney ran off tackle for a 31-yard TD to ice the game in front of 4,125 fans.

Second,(Game 93), is another game from 1975, the Lions surprisingly close 35-30 loss to the Harvard Crimson at a chilly Harvad Stadium on October 11th. 11,000 fans showed up for that one, though they seemed more engrossed with their transitor radios as they were following Game 1 of the World Series playing at Fenway Park a few miles away, (the Sox won that game, 6-0).

Jackson burned the Crimson for 179 yards and two TD's on 36 carries that day. After falling behind 35-17, the Lions stormed back to 35-30 and had a chance to take the lead with a few minutes left in the game when they face a 4th and 1 from the Crimson 11. But Delaney bobbled the ball and fell for a two yard loss. The Lions did get one more chance when they took possession at the Harvard 40 with 1:24 left, but they didn't get another 1st down.

Making Columbia's efforts even more impressive was the fact that Harvard eventually won the Ivy title outright that season after tying with Yale in 1974.

And you all know what happened to the Red Sox, right?

Game 92: Ray's First Win

Ray Tellier's achievements as Columbia's head coach from 1989-2002 were many. But it all started with a tough 25-19 road win over the Big Red in 1989.

The big star of the game was junior QB Bruce Mayhew who completed 24 of 39 for 276 yards and 2 touchdowns. Senior tight end Matt Less, one of many great Columbia tight ends in the last 30 years, caught 8 of those passes for 123 yards and a touchdown.

The win was especially sweet because it came a week after an agonizing loss, even by Columbia standards, to Dartmouth at Wien Stadium. The Lions blew a late lead to fall to the Big Green 13-12 and seemed destined for a winless season.

A funny postscript to this game was a piece in the New York Times a month later about the notes some readers attach to charitable donations to the Times' Neediest Fund:

A note with a $10 check from Dr. and Mrs. Alfred V. Sloan Jr. of Manhattan said simply, ''Please accept the enclosed in honor of: Columbia-25, Cornell-19.''

The reference was to the Columbia University football team's sole victory of the season - on Nov. 12 - and only the third victory since 1983. ''I was so elated, I said let's celebrate,'' Dr. Sloan said, ''This was a particularly tough game and Columbia shouldn't have won it.''

Dr. Sloan, who has been attending Columbia games since 1933, explained that although he did not go to the school, he came from a true-blue Columbia family. ''My mother got her bachelor's degree from Teachers' College in 1919, my father got his M.A. in 1915 and his M.D. in 1916. My son, who got his B.A. in 1985, is now working for his master's at Teachers' College.''

Game 91: Ray's Last Win

Fast forward 13 years and we have one of Tellier's most exciting wins as a coach, and it would be his last. The Lions beat eventual Patriot League champ Fordham at Wien Stadium 13-11 in a game televised nationally on the YES Network.

The Lions' Nick Rudd made a 37-yard field goal with 10.5 seconds left to play.

Fordham had blocked Rudd's 29-yard field goal attempt with 2 minutes 38 seconds left. But the Lions went 40 yards in 7 plays, including converting a 4th and 10 play to set up Rudd's game-winner. The win put the Lions at 1-0, but they would finish the season 1-9.

Game 90: Middle of the Road

Tellier won 42 games as Columbia's head coach, which means win #21 versus Lafayette in 1996 was the mid-point of his success.

The game was played in a virtual monsoon, and Columbia held on for a 3-0 victory and was 5-0 on the year after the win.

Matt Linit kicked it through the shaking uprights from 24 yards away with 9 minutes 54 seconds left in the fourth quarter.

The wind was coming in gusts of 40 miles an hour off the Harlem River and carrying sheets of rain with it.

The Lafayette field goal kicker, Brian Menecola, missed attempts of 52, 49 and 35 yards.

Columbia's winning score came thanks to some good Tellier strategy. After a 14-yard punt return by Roy Hanks to put CU on the Lafayette 33, defensive star Marcellus Wiley, moved to right halfback, and he broke a 19-yard gain to the Lafayette 11. Columbia inched up a few more yards before Linit's kick.

The real shocker of a game in those conditions was that Columbia had no turnovers!


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