Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Best for Last

Safety Dance: Shalbrack's TD was indeed one for the ages

Columbia 28 Brown 14

Why Columbia Won

The Lions ran at will led by 171 yards from speedy QB Sean Brackett. The offensive line dominated against a Brown run defense that was allowing just 86 yards on the ground per game and features two potential NFL draft picks. Meanwhile, the defense pressured Bear QB Kyle Newhall-Caballero and Columbia safeties Andy Shalbrack and Adam Mehrer contained the Brown receivers. Other than an undertrown ball by Brackett that was picked off early in the game, the Lions played error-free ball.

Why Brown Lost

The pressure on Newhall-Caballero produced two interceptions, both by Mehrer, one of which was returned for spectacular 85-yard TD after a lateral to Shalbrack. Brown was a shocking two of 13 on 3rd down conversions. The defense had no answers for Brackett and while it contained all-purpose Lion WR Austin Knowlin, it could not deny him on his two TD scores.

Key Turning Points

-Leading 7-0, Brown picked off Brackett to take over at their own 19 and seemed ready to take control of the game. On 3rd and two from their 27, Newhall-Caballero lofted a deep ball to an open Farnham at the Columbia 30, but Farnham inexplicably dropped the potential TD pass. After the ensuing punt, the Lions went on an 11-play 80-yard drive that ended with an option pitch for TD to Zack Kourouma. Columbia had tied it a 7-7 and grabbed the momentum.

-Columbia's next possession looked good, but ended when a 4th and two run attempt at the Brown 25 came up a yard shy. The Lion defense came up big and forced a three-and-out. Taking over at their own 21 after the Bear punt, Columbia used a varied running attack with Brackett, Knowlin, and Leon Ivery attacking the Brown line. The 10-play drive ended with Knowlin stretching the ball across the north end zone stripe for a five-yard score and a 14-7 lead.

-After the ensuing kickoff, Brown took over at its 29 with a 1:04 to go. A series of incredible ups and downs would be jammed into those last 64 seconds.

After getting one first down to the Brown 40, Newhall-Caballero was intercepted by Augie Williams and it appeared the drive was over, but sophomore Shea Selsor was flagged for a late hit and Brown had new life. Selsor immediately made up for it on the very next play with a huge sack that put Brown back to its own 47 with 10 seconds left.

Brown decided to try to get the final 53 yards with two plays, first with a 16-yard completion to Spiro Theodosi that put the ball at the CU 37 with about four seconds left. Newhall-Caballero's final heave of the half was well short of the end zone as Mehr picked it off in the middle of the field at the 15. Mehrer was able to get some room along the east sideline but seemed bottled up at midfield when he lateralled the ball to Shalbrack who avoided going out of bounds along the west side and went in for a thrilling score. The crowd's celebration was delayed forever by a flag on the Brown side of the field, but after a long conference the penalty was called on the Bears for sideline interference. One of the most thrilling TD's in Columbia history would stand, and the Lions took a 21-7 lead into the locker room.

-Both teams were unable to do much with the ball in the 3rd quarter until the Bears took over for their third possession of the half at their own 30 with 5:15 left in the quarter. Mostly through the air, Brown started a march that included a nice scramble on 4th and three at the CU 21 to keep the drive alive. One play later, they had first and goal at the Lion four. But a holding penalty and two incomplete passes forced a 4th and goal at the Columbia nine. That 4th and goal was the first play of the fourth quarter and it ended when Newhall-Caballero was forced to try to run for it and he was stopped by Augie Williams.

-On Brown's next possession, the Bears drove to a first and goal at the CU 7, but an offensive pass interference penalty pushed them back once again and Brown was faced with another 4th and goal, this time at the eight. On that play, Newhall-Caballero threw a pass for a four yard loss. Columbia took the ball at their 12 and iced the game with a six-play drive that ended with a 37-yard TD pass on a quick slant to Knowlin.


The defense was stout. Knowlin's TD's, despite battling terrible leg cramps, were dazzling. But QB Sean Brackett made Columbia's offense go, despite getting knocked out of the game briefly by a big hit from Brown's Kelly Cox, (who had 19 tackles). Brackett made those 171 yards on just 20 carries and was never sacked or tackled for a loss all day. It was Senior Day at Wien Stadium, but the frosh Brackett was the man behind the wheel.


At Sun Nov 22, 08:28:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jake, great game, great write-up that is much appreciated by Columbia Football Fans. I'm planning to savor this victory for a long, long time.

At Sun Nov 22, 08:32:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hard to describe how exciting that game was yesterday unless you were there. That interception/lateral/85 yard TD run was unbelievable. Congratulation to the Lions. What a Great Senior Day!

At Sun Nov 22, 08:44:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jake this game restored my shaken faith in Columbia football (after the Yale game) - great win for the program!

Just one remark, and while I hate to be the guy who points out your few mistakes - in your writeup - you mention Mehr - I think you mean Mehrer - Adam Mehrer - from GS!

At Sun Nov 22, 09:15:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The entire Columbia defense played brilliantly yesterday against Brown, but the stat leader with 12 tackles was Augie Williams so he deserves special mention. Williams came out of nowhere to make a huge contribution to the teams' success against Cornell and Brown in the last two games of the season.

At Sun Nov 22, 10:42:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

W edominated the line of scrimmage; that's why we won. On the three possiession TD, we drove 88, 77 and 82 yards, if I'm correct. No short field for us. the Shalbrack TD was the single greatest play in columbia history for several reasons: it occurred as time expired and Brown was threatening; the interception itself was magnificent; Memrer's run was brilliant; Mehrer's instinct in lateraling to the speedy Shalbrack was breathtaking; Shalbrack's run was magnificent; and the wall of blockers that formed around those two guys was textbook. A video of that one play should be posted in HD.

At Sun Nov 22, 11:03:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great job by the entire team, but I think the O-line deserves special mention. They were our most consistent unit all year. Coaches missed the boat on Williams, he obviously is more than just a special teamer. He gives us great help in pass coverage from his linebacker spot but plays the run terrificly as well. Outstanding motor, he's going all the time. Brackett gives us great hope for next year. Hope afterall is the key to being a Lion fan.

At Sun Nov 22, 11:35:00 PM GMT+7, Blogger DOC said...

Oh lets savor this one!
Keys to victory:
-Rush for 288 yards against a tough rushing defense.Utilize rollouts, pitchouts, options.
-Sack the opposing QB twice for loses
(a few other plays he barely crosses
the line of scrimmage while being hounded by defenders). I'd love to see the stat for QB hurries and hits for this game as well.
-Control the clock, the line of scrimmage, and protect the ball.
-play a "complete game" 4 quarters 60 minutes effort all around.
- Oh yes and stage a "highlight reel" play as time runs out in the half to demoralize the opponent!

At Sun Nov 22, 11:37:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with the poster who said that the offensive line deserves special mention for it outstanding play throughout the year. At the same time, we ought to cite the defensive line which also played well all year. Bruce Fleming and Chris Groth did a great job in the middle and Lou Miller, Matt Bashaw, Shea Selsor and Josh Smith were outstanding at the ends. Freshman Will Patterson contributed in the last two games of the season and could become another Lou Miller. Then of course there is Owen Frazer. Can anyone inform us of his status. Great player last year.

At Mon Nov 23, 12:15:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My 2 cents: defense was heroic again and again; O line play has been great, Brackett got great protection, O line coach deserves a lot of credit; Brackett was magnificent; but in the future we will need to reduce our dependence on his running or he won't last; very nice play design expansion with utilization of Knowlin as RB. And The Man, Coach W, deserves a huge amount of credit for keeping the whole thing together despite some truly heartbreaking losses and injuries to key players.

At Mon Nov 23, 01:36:00 AM GMT+7, Blogger cathar said...

And now on to basketball! The men could be very good indeed. We have two freshmen in Cisco and Davis who are already stutting their stuff, Brian Grimes seems to have every bit of the ability we've been waiting for over the last two seasons, Patrick Foley is healthy, Noruwa Agho is just terrific and Asenso Ampim is always a fierce competitor. It's hard to look past those first two league games vs. awesome Cornell, but this is nonetheless a very good Columbia team still in the process of developing fully.

As for the women, Sarah Yee and Judie Lomax are guaranteed first-team All-Ivys, and Coach Paul Nixon in general has created a highly competitive, high-scoring unit. There may be an Ivy championship in the offing, in other words.

At Mon Nov 23, 03:46:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not quite ready to go on to basketball. Too many good things left to be said about yesterday's exciting victory over Brown. For example, how about the freshman placekicker, Dean Perfetti. My understanding is that he never played football in high school. Yet he comes from the jayvee and goes a perfect 6 for 6 in PAT's in the final two games against Cornell and Brown. Then, how about the offensive play of Austin Knowlin and Mike Stephens and the super play calling from whomever on the Lion side. Knowlin and Stephens made a couple of great catches, but it was using Knowlin as a running back that helped take some pressure off the amazing Sean Brackett.

At Mon Nov 23, 06:04:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Left tackle Adams will be the best offensive lineman in the Ivies the next two years. He was just dominating at the point of attack/

At Mon Nov 23, 07:32:00 AM GMT+7, Blogger Tom said...

Jake: There have been many ups and downs this season. You have consistantly maintained the positive and balanced approach appropriate to college athletics.

Thank you for your game analysis and your overall perspective on Columbia football.

At Mon Nov 23, 08:14:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations to Columbia. A win over Florida is a great accomplishment. It was Brown and not Florida? Sorry, the euphoria had me confused.

At Mon Nov 23, 08:43:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The firing of Roger Hughes is disgraceful. Hughes is a class act who has had a good record. Just sickening. Shame on Princeton.

At Mon Nov 23, 09:07:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The firing of Roger Hughes was more than justified by the thumping the Lions gave to the pussycats.

At Mon Nov 23, 09:14:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hughes has more losses than any football coach in Princeton history and only three winning seasons in ten years.

Where is the good record in that?

At Mon Nov 23, 08:09:00 PM GMT+7, Blogger brian said...

27 years ago...I wandered into a Boston College game against Army and watched a small Freshmen QB enter the game in the 2nd quarter...he proceded to do things on the field that was hard to explain, he ran and passed and WON!! He built a program and (helped build a school)..he was small and not recuited......this past Saturday Sean Brackett reminded me of that player...(Doug Flutie))...Now I do not expect Sean to win the Heisman trophy and become an NFL player, its not possible in these BCS days but, he can be a great player for Columbia and possibly get us a title and help build the program... if the admin can get us a few more players......lets build on that...thanks for the reporting this year Jake!

At Tue Nov 24, 01:15:00 AM GMT+7, Blogger DOC said...

Brackett is listed (generously?) at
6'1" ,same as Olewale. He looks smaller on the field but more than
made up for it with his field instinct, ball fakes, and toughness.
His backup, Jerry Bell, has talent as well. We are in good shape at QB
for the next several years...


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