Friday, September 19, 2008

Columbia-Fordham Keys to the Game

Let's pack the place tomorrow! (CREDIT: Columbia Athletics)

First off, get to the game if you can! Tickets are still available online and they will be for sale at the box offices.

If you can't get to the game, sign up for the SideLion Pass and listen and/or watch Jerry Recco and I call the game.

Here's what Columbia needs to do to win this game:

1) Contain the run

The one thing Columbia could not do last year is a special necessity tomorrow. Xavier Martin shredded the Lions in the 2007 opener and he seems like he has improved now that he is a sophomore. Martin has a very strong and veteran offensive line in front of him.

The good news is that Columbia is sporting a very "new look" defensive line with some very big boys up front. They will have to do their job and keep up their stamina on what should be a 70-degree+ day.

2) Establish the Run

Nothing will help new starting QB Shane Kelly and the defense more than a sustained running attack that makes yards and keeps opponents guessing. This is something Columbia hasn't had since 2004, (and it was spotty then too), so the potential upside of a real running game is especially high for the Lions.

Obviously this is easier said than done, especially against a Fordham team that's been super tough against the run. The flip side is that the Ram defense hasn't really been tested by a strong running attack. Columbia's deep bench at the tailback position and bigger offensive line can provide a real challenge if they're ready.

3) Win on special teams

Fordham has had some special teams problems in the Rams first two games, and the Lions need to keep that streak going. A blocked kick or two, a nice return or two, etc. could be game changers.

4) Pressure Skelton

Fordham's big QB John Skelton has been nearly flawless this season. He needs to be pressured into making some mistakes or else he'll get into a short passing rhythm that could really break the Lions early. Too many QB's just stood still in the pocket last year with no fear of harrassment. That can't happen tomorrow.

5) Bring the Enthusiasm!

Two years ago, the Lions swamped Fordham with a hyper-charged and hard-hitting effort on opening day. The Rams are coming off a long road trip loss at Dayton and Columbia needs to greet them at Wien Stadium tomorrow like a "deer in the headlights" tourist in Times Square.

And the FANS NEED TO SHOW UP AND GET LOUD!!!! This is how we can help the guys in light blue.


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