The Jersey Score
This picture says it all (CREDIT: Daily Princetonian)
Continuing now with the list of the greatest Columbia football games of the 2000's...
Columbia 33 Princeton 27
October 4, 2003
One of the Lions most improbable victories of all time took place on a drizzly night at Princeton Stadium.
New Head Coach Bob Shoop and the young Lions came into the game upbeat after nearly defeating a strong Fordham team at Fordham in week one, and then following that up with a last minute win over Bucknell in week two.
Columbia hadn't beaten the Tigers in Princeton since 1945, and this game started very much on the wrong foot as the Princeton rushed out to a 20-0 lead on three quick TD's in the first quarter.
The Lions settled down a bit with two field goals to make it 20-6, and it looked like that would be the halftime score when Travis Chmelka picked up a punt on a bounce at the Columbia 41 and raced all the way to the Tiger two before he was brought down. Ayo Oluwole then scored the TD from the 2 to make it 20-13 and Columbia was in business.
Columbia's defense then took over, causing multiple turnovers and stopping everything Princeton could throw or run at it. After the Lions tied it at 20, they would score the go-ahead TD with about nine minutes left in the game when QB Jeff Otis missed the handoff to Oluwole, but composed himself anyway and spun it for the score.
But the Tigers came back to life after that, executing a eight minute and 23 second drive to tie at 27-27 with just 26 seconds left.
No problem. After a decent kickoff return, Otis completed a short pass to get the Lions just beyond midfield. Then came one of the most dramatic single plays in Columbia history.
With no time left and Otis still dancing around looking for a receiver, he got an incredible block from his fullback and used the extra time to heave a classic "Hail Mary" into the Princeton end zone. Standing among a huge crowd of Tigers, including Princeton's 6"5 wide receiver B.J. Syzmanski who had been brought in especially to defend the final pass, was Columbia's star tight end Wade Fletcher. Fletcher somehow came down with the undeflected pass and the stunning game was over.