Battle for a Georgia Peach
Rivals.com reports that 6"3 230-pound defensive end Chris Mooney is being recruited by Penn and Columbia.
In the the Georgia high school all star game known as the Cobb Bowl, Mooney had a hand in three sacks, as his team won 26-23. Scouts say he had great quickness and "tremendous growth potential."
Georgia State and Bowling Green are also after Mooney.
Check out this great picture, probably from Life Magazine or a similar publication, depicting an option toss from Paul Governali to Phillip Bayer in a 21-0 win over Princeton.
If you like, you can buy this picture on eBay here.
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Columbia 13 Fordham 11
September 21, 2002
Game #7 in my top 10 Columbia football games of the 2000's is the 2002 contest against Fordham that was also the first-ever official Liberty Cup game.
After the 9/11 attacks delayed the Columbia-Fordham game in 2001, the annual game between the two teams was re-named the "Libery Cup" to honor the memories of the Columbia and Fordham alumni who died that day.
The 2001 game between the two teams had to be rescheduled because of the 9/11 attacks just four days before the scheduled season opener. Instead, the Lions and Rams played in The Bronx on Thanksgiving day with Fordham winning in a rout.
Thanks to that quirk in the schedule, Columbia ended up playing the same team twice in a row... albeit almost 300 days apart.
The first official Liberty Cup game was played on a warm night at Wien Stadium. It was also the first local college football broadcast for the new YES Network. The Lions were facing life without recently graduated Johnathan Reese and were big underdogs to a Fordham team that featured star QB Kevin Eakin, wide receiver Javarus Dudley and running back Kirwin Watson.
But it was Columbia that struck first. QB Steve Hunsberger hit Travis Chmelka with a long bomb to the Fordham one. Hunsberger took it in himself on the next play and it was 7-0.
Fordham backed the Lions into a safety to make it 7-2 at the half, but the surprising Columbia defense held the explosive Ram attack on the other side of the ball.
(An off-color joke by the Columbia band making fun of the Catholic Church was the buzz at halftime. That would explode into a big controversy in the national press. But the real crime in the joke was the fact that it made fun of the VICTIMS of clergy abuse and not the abusers. Making fun of victims is never funny).
A short 27-yard field goal by Nick Rudd late in the third made it 10-2 and the Lions were rolling.
But Eakin finally broke through with a 56-yard TD pass to Peter Modelski in the early 4th quarter to make it 10-8. The 2pt. conversion attempt was no good.
Eakin engineered another drive to the Lion 24 and the resulting 41-yard field goal made it 11-10 Rams with about nine minutes to go.
Then came the real drama. Columbia got a late drive together and set up Rudd for a 29-yard field goal with just 2 minutes 38 seconds left. But the kick was blocked and the Lions' cause seemed lost.
The defense did a great job forcing a three-and-out to give Columbia one more chance from their own 42. But the Lions went nowhere on the next three plays and they faced a 4th and 10. Then Hunsberger completed one of the biggest clutch passes of the decade for Columbia with a 30-yard pass to Steve Cargile. with 25.7 seconds left. Hunsberger tossed an 8-yard pass to Dan Reed on the next play to set up Rudd for a second chance 37-yard field goal with 10.5 seconds to play for the amazing win.
The win would be the one and only victory of the season for the Lions and the last overall for Head Coach Ray Tellier.
Meanwhile Fordham shook off the loss, went 10-3 overall, and advanced to the second round in the D-IAA playoffs.
For sheer drama and surprise, the game was almost unrivaled throughout the decade. And you could argue that it was the toughest opponent the Lions defeated in the 2000's.