That Ivies 70's Show: CANCELED!
Schoelkopf's Look is Changing
Cornell Moves to FieldTurf, Astroturf now Extinct in the Ivies
It had to happen sometime, but the last vestige of the 70's is finally disappearing from the Ivies.
Cornell is ripping out its old school Astroturf surface and replacing it with FieldTurf. At one time, Columbia, Penn and Cornell all used those hard-as-concrete artificial surfaces that so many players and fans hated. Well I should say "most players," because a lot of running backs preferred the old Astroturf because it really gave you killer traction and speed when natural grass could slow you down. In fact, a lot of pundits at the time attributed Ed Marinaro's successes to Cornell's new turf that was installed in time for Marinaro's super senior season of 1971, (he ran for 1,881 yards in nine games!).
Columbia's Astroturf-to-FieldTurf transition was a little strange. Just when everyone in sports was moving back to natural grass in the late 80's and 90's, Columbia made the move from grass to Astroturf, (actually I believe the surface was officially called "Omniturf"), for the 1995 season. To be fair, this newer brand of artificial turf was easier on the players and generally more cushioned than old school Astroturf. But the reasons for the switch at Columbia were many. First and foremost, the cost of maintaining a natural grass field at New York City labor costs was getting prohibitive. Second, Title IX requirements were forcing Columbia to add women's lacrosse and field hockey teams and creating a field that they could use along with the football team in the same weekend was a big plus.
But in 2005, former Head Coach Bob Shoop's insistence on switching to FieldTurf became a reality. The fact that Columbia made the switch that most athletes prefer well earlier than schools like Princeton, Harvard and Cornell was impressive.
This leaves just Yale and Brown as the only schools without FieldTurf, (Penn's surface is officially not FieldTurf but it is a FieldTurf clone), and they are sticking with natural grass for now. It will be interesting to see if this difference gives them an advantage or a disadvantage to deal with in the coming years.
The Columbia Athletics homepage is again going with that cool countdown clock to the beginning of the football season. There's something about that clock that is mesmerizing. (I'm not kidding)
Game of the Day (Day 87)
Nov. 20, 1971
Columbia 24 Brown 6
Anyone who remembers the Lions' 1971 season will tell you all about the cliffhanger games that seemed to be the norm week after week. But the final game of the season provided a much needed break for Columbia's cardiac-challenged fans.
The 5-3 Lions would have been heavily favored, but starting QB Don Jackson injured his knee in practice and did not play. Sophomore Glenn Erickson started in his place and overcame a slow start to help the Lions win.
But the real stars were Columbia flanker John Sefcik and linebacker/kicker Paul Kaliades. With the Lions trailing 6-3 in the third quarter, Sefcik made a diving catch of an Erickson pass in the end zone seconds after another nice grab to set up the TD.
Kaliades, who already scored 5 points on a 31-yard field goal and two PAT's, returned a 4th quarter interception for a touchdown and kicked another PAT to finish with 12 points.
Another star was sophomore Rich Manfredi, who ran for a 43-yard touchdown in the third quarter to make it 17-6.
The overall Columbia defense was dominant, holding the Bears to just 80 rushing yards on 45 carries, (1.7 yards per carry), and Brown completed just 13 of 32 passes.
The win capped the Lions' first winning season since the 1961 championship year. They wouldn't get another better than .500 season for 23 years.