Friday, August 29, 2008

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.


At Fri Aug 29, 01:24:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wiley may have been a very good player but he couldn't control himself and probably cost the Lions a win vs. Princeton when he celebrated after a tackle, giving the Tigers a first down after the penalty was assessed. They scored after that, when they should have had to punt.

At Fri Aug 29, 08:17:00 PM GMT+7, Blogger Jake said...

That may be true about the Princeton game, but Wiley single-handedly gave us so many wins it seems unfair to point that game out above all others.

At Fri Aug 29, 09:28:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with Jake on Wiley--he was a once a decade type player. Saw him single handedly decide the outcome of the Harvard game at CU that we won in OT--want to say he blocked game winning fg and scored critical td in that game...

At Fri Aug 29, 10:47:00 PM GMT+7, Blogger cathar said...

Marcellus Wiley was absolute proof of the theory (which I once heard endorsed by all of Bob Shoop's coaching staff at a dinner) that one truly dominant player at a key position is all you really need for success in the Ivy League.

Really, opponents seemed like hapless, fumbling children playing aginst him, he was that good for his time. Even occasionally used as a running back, he was a fearsome force indeed.


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