Day 31: The Roadblock
Owen Fraser plugged up a major hole for 2008
Sometimes stats can be a little, or even a lot, misleading.
But one of the most eye-popping statistical improvements for Columbia football in 2008 compared to the year before was rushing yards allowed.
In 2007, an injury depleted Lion defense allowed a whopping 231 rushing yards per game. In 2008, that was cut down considerably to just 104 yards per game allowed. That's a 55% reduction, and it's dramatic.
There are many reasons for that improvment, but in my opinion the #1 reason was the addition of then-freshman Owen Fraser '12 at defensive tackle.
By any standard, Fraser had a breakout freshman season in 2008. He started in all ten games, finishing with 28 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, a sack and a fumble recovery.
It took only four defensive plays from scrimmage in the season opener against Fordham before Fraser recorded his first tackle. He never really stopped after that, showing great speed for someone with his 278 pound size.
Some Ivy pundits think he was robbed by "only" getting picked as an Honorable Mention All Ivy, and not at least 2nd Team.
Fraser came to Columbia after completing a stellar career at two high schools. At Trinity Pawling Academy, he was captain of the conference champion football team and the captain of the school's track and field squad.
Before that, Fraser was a first team all-stater at New York's Newburgh Free Academy.
As he enters his sophomore year, I would say Owen Fraser is a big key to the Lions success for the 2009 season.