It's like a flashback to the 70's!
Columbia 24 Towson 10
Why Columbia Won
The defense played brilliantly, and the Lions offense woke up in time to take control of the game at several key moments. The most telling stat was the 224-87 advantage Columbia enjoyed in rushing yards. That took a team effort on both sides of the ball.
But perhaps most importantly, when the game's momentum seemed to shift strongly in Towson's favor, the Lions went on a brilliant 11 play, 80 yard TD drive to turn a shaky 14-10 lead into a dominant 21-10 cushion.
Why Towson Lost
The Tigers had no consistency, neither with play calling nor with execution. No one Towson back even carried the ball more than seven times. The defense couldn't handle the Lions multi-faceted running attack, especially when Sean Brackett and Nick Gerst started getting into a groove.
Key Turning Points
-Trailing 3-0 in the 2nd quarter and facing a 2nd and 10 on his own 33, Brackett found WR Mark Muston for a 26 yard pass play that seemed to ignite the entire slumbering offense. The Lions marched the remaining 41 yards and scored on a 19 yard TD pass from Brackett to Zack Kourouma. That gave Columbia the lead they would never give up.
-After Towson took a Brackett interception and turned it into a TD just two plays later, the score was Columbia 14 Towson 10 late in the 3rd with the Tigers seemingly on a roll. But Brackett made some huge runs on an 80 yard drive, including a 25 yard scamper on a 3rd and 13 on the CU 40 to keep the march alive. Later, Gerst made several nice moves to get into the end zone on a 13 yard run and the Lions were back in control.
-The offense improved thanks to a big jump in quality from the running game. Leon Ivery ran better than he had in week one, but getting Brackett's full running talents into the mix and the addition of Gerst made the biggest difference.
-Sophomore DE Josh Martin was a force on what seemed like every play. It also looked like Towson held him on every play. The refs only called it once, but Martin still finished with three sacks and four QB hurries. Remember, Martin is the young man who had committed to Wyoming before reconsidering and comng to Columbia. He sure seemed like BCS quality talent today.
-It wasn't just the sophs, freshman kicker Luke Eddy absolutely drilled all his PAT's and his one FG attempt from 37 yards was also very impressive. In all my years of watching Ivy football, I've never seen a kicker get so much air under the ball.
-Calvin Otis snagged two interceptions deep in Columbia's own zone to snuff out Tiger scoring chances. It sure is good to see him back after missing so many games last year.
-The Lions responded well to the tough loss of WR Mike Stephens by spreading out the receiving goodies to six different receivers. TE Andrew Kennedy had the most grabs with four, but Nico Gutierrez proved he can be the big time deep threat with two catches for 52 yards.
-Brackett had a number of highlight reel plays, especially a 44 yard toss to Gutierrez where he avoided two Towson pass rushers and got the ball off at the last moment off his back foot. The Fran Tarkenton comparisons will continue.
-In addition to Eddy's kicks, the entire special teams effort was much improved. Greg Guttas punted and kicked off very well, and Gutierrez safely fielded a bevy of Tiger punts.
-Not many, but the blown coverages and tackles on the lone Towson TD were tough to watch. Sadly, we all know the coaches will have to make the team watch that play in film sessions this week!
Despite all the encouraging improvements on offense, the defense kept the Lions in this game throughout and the defense was sparked by the dominant play of Josh Martin. Not since Marcellus Wiley played here have I seen a Columbia pass rusher just terrorize an opposing team play after play. Even recently graduated sack master Lou Miller never had such a game, but Martin has a LONG way to go before he can truly challenge Miller's legacy.
It was just one game after all... but what a game.
In other News...
-Brown beat up Harvard to win 29-14. The Bears seem like the team to beat for now.
-Columbia's next opponent, Princeton, won a double thriller against Lafayette. The best personal story of the year, Jordan Culbreath, scored the winning TD.
-Dartmouth had to play lowly Sacred Heart without star RB Nick Schwieger who was out with an illness. Still the Big Green should have mauled Heart by more than the 21-19 final score.
-Yale outlasted a better than expected Cornell, 21-7.
-Penn once again fought valiantly, but fell to Villanova.