Cornell-Columbia Keys to the Game
Drew Quinn and the seniors make their final home appearance tomorrow
It looks like it will be another wet day at Wien tomorrow, and the wind could be a factor too.
1) Pick Off Nathan Ford
Columbia's defense has been very strong this year, but one glaring weakness has been a lack of interceptions. Picks will be crucial tomorrow as Cornell QB Nathan Ford has thrown quite a few this season and if he is able to avoid interceptions, he will have a huge day. Getting interceptions will also likely the result of good pressure on Ford, and that's another key to the game.
2) Get the Screens and Short Passes Going
You can really hurt the Big Red with short passing, despite the fact that they see that attack coming at them all the time in practice. Some short passes may also open things up for the deep passing attack later on, and some straight-ahead running throughout the game.
3) Cover the Kicks
Bryan Walters is having a good season returning kicks, as usual. But he's not doing as well as he did in his freshman and sophomore years. He's still dangerous though and can win close games on his own if allowed. The Big Red as a team have also covered up a lot of weaknesses on offense and defense thanks to a myriad of blocked kicks and stuffed returns. Columbia's kicking game needs to be as on the ball as possible.
4) Set the Tone
Columbia has lost a lot of games this season where they've outplayed the competition, but I can't think of more than one game this year where the Lions set the pace and tempo for the game. I think the best tempo for Columbia will be a slower one, forcing the Big Red to grind it out rather than move up and down the field quickly. The Lions can do that by stuffing the short passes on defense, and getting good running yards on offense.