Sunday, November 16, 2008

Goal Line Grand


The defense put the offense on its backs for a big win (CREDIT: Columbia Athletics/Gene Boyars)



Columbia 17 Cornell 7


Why Columbia Won

The defense was dominant, limiting Cornell to just 48 yards rushing and somehow holding the Big Red to just 7 points on 376 yards passing. The four interceptions of Cornell QB Nathan Ford, along with four sacks sealed the deal.


Why Cornell Lost

Other than one stage of the game late in the second quarter, the Big Red offense wasn't consistent. After making an adjustment to stop the strong early Lion rushing attack, the Big Red had no more answers when Columbia readjusted and moved the ball well on the ground again in the late second half.


Key Turning Points

1) With the game tied at 7-7 and less than a minute to go, Cornell had a 1st and goal at the Lion 3. After an incomplete pass, the Big Red tried three straight Nathan Ford rushes and couldn't get it in the end zone. The Lions took over on downs and were able to preserve the tie going into the locker room.

2) After Columbia squandered is first two possessions of the second half that started inside Big Red territory, Cornell started a drive on their own 20 and began to move. One first down from the Columbia 45, Calvin Otis made a great play to intercept a Ford pass and the Lions got the ball at their own 22.

3) Columbia's ensuing drive stalled at the Cornell 30, but Jon Rocholl convinced the coaches to let him try a 47-yard field goal against the wind. The kick sailed through and the Lions had a 10-7 lead with a little more than two minutes left in the 3rd quarter.

4) The game hit another lull until midway through the fourth quarter when Austin Knowlin reversed his field 3-4 times, broke 5-6 tackles and sprinted into the south end zone with a 76-yard punt return for a touchdown. That made it 17-7 and the Lions defense made it stand up.

-Knowlin's TD was foreshadowed earlier in the game, when he reversed his field twice on a busted reverse play that should have gone for a five yard loss but ended up as a seven yard gain.

-The Lions offense squandered some golden opportunities, but it avoided the big mistake and did not turn the ball over once in the game.

-Lou Miller had another stellar game, with three tackles for a loss including a sack. How they keep him off the All Ivy first-team defense will be beyond me if he indeed doesn't get that honor at season's end.

-M.A. Olawale had a solid day, making a number of great running plays and avoiding any bad throws. This was the first game that he started wire to wire, and he did not seem to tire out at all.

-Alex Gross had an incredible 15 tackles, including one sack and an interception. He should be the Ivy League's leading tackler when the stats come out Monday. He too, deserves to be on the All Ivy first team.

-The Cornell offense never got deeper than the Columbia 39 yard line throughout the second half.

14 Comments:

At Sun Nov 16, 09:09:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Any video of Knowlin's punt return TD?

 
At Sun Nov 16, 11:28:00 AM GMT+7, Blogger dabull said...

Congrats to the Lions. No turnovers and the big goal line stand added to Knowlins return allowed them to overcome the fact they couldn't add to the score although they had great starting field position in the second half. It was Cornell that shot themselves in the foot with the four second half picks.

 
At Sun Nov 16, 01:22:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You'll see the replay of Knowlin's TD when Joe Case's SideLion Report comes out around mid-week.

My only beef with the game is that a couple of times in the second half when we were inside Cornell's 30-yard line we went almost exclusively to the pass, which is not M.A.'s strong suit, and wasted excellent scoring opportunities. We were running it down their throats most of the time, so how do you explain that strategy? Once again a glaring weakness in play selection. However, no complaint about the overall improvement, and we have a chance to finish on a high note at Brown.

 
At Sun Nov 16, 07:16:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree that the play calling at times was uneven. We should not have forced a few of the out patterns. Kourouma has the speed to turn the corner and should get more touches. MA looked great at times and needs to test defenses with a few more deep throws. Great job by the defense. I think we can beat Brown if we play our best game.

 
At Sun Nov 16, 10:40:00 PM GMT+7, Blogger dabull said...

Brown is really going to test our pass defense which has given up a lot of yardage the last couple games. I don't know maybe we go nickel all day. I know Cornell's kid Baker had a field day catching passes with our linebackers trying to cover him in the flats. I'm hoping with M.A. in there we can keep it on the ground and kill a lot of clock. You're a little right about the play calling too. We did move the ball well on the ground and when we get to Cornell's 25 we suddenly throw three straight times and get sacked on the last one. Drive over, no points.

 
At Sun Nov 16, 11:00:00 PM GMT+7, Blogger cathar said...

This sitting in the rain for victories is not great fun. Next season, can we win in fair weather?

Otherwise, however, it was a most satisfying afternoon.

 
At Mon Nov 17, 02:44:00 AM GMT+7, Blogger DOC said...

Great game all around especially the turnover differential. Next week will be tough if we dont mount more of a pass rush against Brown QB Dougherty. They also have a much more balanced offense with a better rushing attack than Cornell.

 
At Mon Nov 17, 03:15:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Clearly, Olwaole Needs to touch the ball more on planned QB runs. He and Knowlin are two of the most dangerous open field runners in the league and should be getting the ball 40+ times per game between the two of them.

Why not line Knowlin up in the backfield, Wildcat formation?

 
At Mon Nov 17, 04:06:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Quick Thoughts: (1) Stopping Cornell from going into the end zone on a first and goal from the three was the Columbia Defensive Highlight of the Year; (2) Austin Knowlin's dazzling punt return was the Columbia Offensive Highlight of the Year; (3)Freshmen Owen Frazer and Chris Groth played very well at Nose Guard--Frazer deserves Ivy League Rookie of the The Year Honors. The Lions should have a tremendous defensive line next season with Frazer and Groth in the middle and Conor Joyce and Lou Miller at the ends; (4) M.A. Olawale had a solid game at quarterback--remember this was his first game. He's getting better each game; and (5) Our offensive line play was excellent. Congratulations to the Lions on this victory.

 
At Mon Nov 17, 04:07:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Quick Thoughts: (1) Stopping Cornell from going into the end zone on a first and goal from the three was the Columbia Defensive Highlight of the Year; (2) Austin Knowlin's dazzling punt return was the Columbia Offensive Highlight of the Year; (3)Freshmen Owen Frazer and Chris Groth played very well at Nose Guard--Frazer deserves Ivy League Rookie of the The Year Honors. The Lions should have a tremendous defensive line next season with Frazer and Groth in the middle and Conor Joyce and Lou Miller at the ends; (4) M.A. Olawale had a solid game at quarterback--remember this was his first game. He's getting better each game; and (5) Our offensive line play was excellent. Congratulations to the Lions on this victory.

 
At Mon Nov 17, 09:45:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Conor Joyce is a graduating senior. Is he coming back for a fifth year?

 
At Mon Nov 17, 09:04:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Goal line stand was a singular defining moment for this team this season.

 
At Tue Nov 18, 12:44:00 AM GMT+7, Blogger friend12 said...

+ Less mistakes
+ OL dominated
+ DL was strong
- Poor down field coverage primarily 1st half
- Poor coverage of TE (79)
- Trouble finishing within 30 yards. Very confusing play calling amoung other things.
- Could blitz more often, DL was making penitration, but, for the most part there was time for quick outs. A screen pass could have hurt us.

Overall, a great game and if we paly tight there is a good chnace we can beat Brown.

 
At Thu Nov 20, 07:24:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cornell game highlights available at
http://www.gocolumbialions.com/newMediaPlayer/console.htm?type=vod&oemid=9600&id=153951
Knowlin's punt return about two minutes in.

 

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