The week 8 win over Cornell provided 2 of the top 5 highlights of 2008
I just switched to Verizon FIOS from Cablevision.
We did it to save money and to get my own station, FOX Business Network, which is still not available on Cablevision.
But there was an added bonus to all this that I was not expecting...
I now get The NFL Network!
My marriage may be over.
Anyway, The NFL Network has a "Top 10" series running right now that's pretty good. They have a bunch of half hour specials featuring their picks for "Top 10 Rookie Seasons" and "Top 10 Bad Weather Games," etc.
10's a pretty big number, but I have been inspired to follow suit with some "Top 5" lists.
Let's start with:Top 5 Moments of 2008 5) Austin's 1st TD
Austin Knowlin didn't have as many catches and TD's as a wide receiver in 2008 as we would have liked. But the acrobatic TD catch and run he orchestrated at the end of the first half of the season opener against Fordham was a big season highlight.
The score put the Lions ahead 22-14 at the break and made it look like there was nothing Columbia couldn't achieve. At least in Knowlin's case, we know that's true.4) Columbia Comes Back
In the Homecoming classic against Princeton, Columbia fell behind the Tigers by a 21-10 score early in the 3rd quarter.
But the Lions mounted a fine comeback, going 71 yards on seven plays on the ensuin possession to make it 21-17. Then the defense put together two three-and-outs in a row, handing Columbia the ball at the Lion 49 after that second defensive stop.
It took nine plays, but when Jordan Davis finally got into the end zone with 10:35 left in the 4th quarter, the Lions had a 24-21 and the momentum.
It didn't last, and Columbia eventually lost. But the roar from the crowd when Davis scored the go-ahead TD was a good inkling of what's to come if the Lions continue to improve. 3) No Score for You!
Columbia jumped out to a 7-0 lead over Cornell in week 8, but things started going downhill in the second quarter and it looked like the Big Red would grab the lead going into halftime.
But looks can be deceiving.
Facing a Cornell 1st and goal at the Lion 3. After an incomplete pass, Big Red QB Nathan Ford rushed to the one before being stopped. With 43 seconds left in the half, Cornell called time out. Then they came out of the time out with a QB sneak into the middle that went nowhere, thanks to a tackle by Phil Mitchell.
Hoping to catch Columbia off guard on 4th down, Ford called a quick snap and attempted the exact same play, but Alex Gross and Lou Miller
pushed him back to the 2 and the ball went over to the Lions on downs.
For a defense that showed a marked improvement in the middle for 2008, this was the high mark for the entire season. 2) Millie Shakes things Up
Columbia's lead over Dartmouth had dwindled to 14-13 and it the momentum was going all in the Big Green's way, when the Lions took over from their own 19 with 1:38 left in the third quarter.
Columbia replaced Shane Kelly at quarterback with Millie Olawale, and the momentum shifted again. Olawale led the Lions down the field on a brilliant drive that he finished off with a quick run right up the middle for a 10-yard touchdown. That put Columbia back in control and the 21-13 score held up until the final gun.
Olawale finished the game with 52 yards on 8 carries and was 7-for-7 passing. He started the remaining four games of the season and had some brilliant flashes in that period. 1) Austin Ices It
A week after ripping off a 76-yard punt return for a TD that made things interesting against Harvard, Austin Knowlin repeated that feat with another 76-yard punt return for a score in a much more crucial situation against Cornell.
Columbia had a paper-thin 10-7 lead midway through the 4th quarter when the Big Red had to punt from their own 37. Knowlin made the catch, a couple of nice moves, and then got down the east sideline for the score.
The touchdown sealed the deal in a game where the Lion offense blew a number of opportunities to put Cornell away in the second half.
The 17-7 win was the more impressive of Columbia's two wins of the year, and it served notice that Knowlin can be a very dangerous weapon even when he's not a wide receiver. Don't be surprised if he breaks off a few more returns for touchdowns in 2009.