Bill Campbell Today
Game of the Day (Day 8)
November 18, 1961
Columbia 37 Penn 6
The promise the Columbia football team injected into the campus atmosphere after the opening week win at Brown was kept in the season's final home game, which clinched the Ivy title for the Lions.
More than 17,000 fans jammed Baker Field on a very cold day for a game everyone expected Columbia to win. But even then, Lions fans knew not to count their chickens before they hatch.
The first quarter belonged to the Lions as Tom O'Connor kicked a 28-yard field goal. Then special teams expert Lee Black picked up a punt blocked by Ron Williams in the Penn end zone to make it 9-0.
Early in the second quarter, it was Russ Warren doing his usual 1961 magic, running it in from the three for a touchdown and then adding the 2-pt. conversion on his own for the 17-0 lead.
The half ended not long after Dick Sakala scampered for a 40-yard TD to make it 23-0 and the Lion faithful knew the championship was just 30 minutes away.
The third quarter was highlighted by 68-yard run by Tom Haggerty. Columbia did not end up scoring after that run, but on the next drive Haggerty finished off a 46-yard drive with a two yard run to make it 29-0.
Penn put together a 58-yard drive after that, and managed to finally score on an 18-yard dash by Bill Novelli on a reverse. But Columbia answered back quickly with a 14-play 66-yard drive that ended when QB Tom Vassell took it in from the one. Sakala added the two point conversion run and the final score was 37-6.
When the game was over, fans poured onto the field and the players carried their captain Bill Campbell off on their shoulders.