Reversal of Fortune
Marcellus Wiley was a man among boys (CREDIT: Columbia Athletics)
Game of the Day (Day 23)
October 5, 1996
Columbia 42 Holy Cross 16
One of Columbia's most infamous losses in the 1980's was a 77-28 drubbing at Holy Cross. It remains the most points Columbia has given up in the modern era.
The game seemed like it marked the end of the Columbia-Holy Cross series. But in 1996, the two schools decided to try it again with a home-and-home series beginning at Holy Cross.
The Lions, led by Marcellus Wiley on both sides of the ball, turned the tables despite the hostile crowd and injury problems.
Columbia's starting QB Bobby Thomason was sidelined with a fractured hand, putting young Paris Childress in the driver's seat.
The Crusaders took an early 3-0 lead on a short field goal, but a beautiful 24-yard TD run by Jason Bivens made it 7-3 Lions at the end of the first quarter.
Bivens got his second TD on the next possession, capping a 65-yard drive to make it 14-3. After a 37-yard field goal by Matt Linit, Wiley scored his first TD on a short run to make it 24-3 late in the second. Holy Cross squeezed out a field goal just before halftime to make it 24-6 at the break.
The Crusaders kept the momentum in the second half, first forcing a Childress fumble and a 30-yard TD return on that fumble recovery. Moments later the Lions fumbled again at their 20, but the defense held on a fourth down play on the ensuing Holy Cross possession to stop the bleeding temporarily.
Still, in the fourth quarter the Crusaders got things started with a 40-yard field goal to narrow the score to 27-16.
But then Wiley and the Lions really took over. Coach Ray Tellier started handing the ball to Wiley more often and it paid off as he scored two more TD's to put the game away.
Childress finished the game going 18 of 27 for 184 yards, passing just enough to make the running game work well.
When the game was over, Columbia was 3-0 to start a season for the first time since 1946.