Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sputtering out of the Gate

Fordham 16 Columbia 9

Why Fordham Won

The Rams eventually wore the Lions down with a relentless running attack and a timely pass or two to score their first and deciding TD late in the fourth quarter. On defense, Fordham shut down the Lion running attack in all the key moments.

Why Columbia Lost

The Lions offense waited far to long to vary its attack, waiting until the games final drive to get big yards on a long drive. A botched snap ended what looked like a great chance for Columbia to tie it in the final seconds.

Turning Point

Just like last year, a special teams miscue shifted the momentum away from the Lions. After a brilliant short TD pass from Sean Brackett to Mike Stephens gave Columbia a 9-3 lead in the third quarter, the PAT was blocked. Columbia did not score again.

Columbia Positives

Brackett looked like a 5th year senior rather than a sophomore making only his fifth career start. He did not throw an INT, and he directed traffic successfully in some hairy situations throughout the game. While he did not run nearly as much as expected, he still did a good job to avoid the big hits when he did take off.

Alex Gross led the defense with 14 tackles and 10 solo stops in his first game bak since his week 4 injury in 2009.

Neil Schuster had a breakout game, especially against the run, with 11 tackles, a fumble recovery and a pass breakup.

The new-look defensive line did very well overall. Fordham did gain over 200 yards on the ground, but that was not due to any real weaknesses up front. New contributors Matt Stotler, Josh Martin, Seyi Adebayo and even freshman Joe Raimondi made a nice impression in sustained playing time.

Nico Gutierrez had his best game since freshman year with 88 total receiving yards inlcuding a beauty of a catch on Columbia's final drive.

Columbia Negatives

Too often, running Leon Ivery into the line resulted in nothing much for the Lion running attack. Ivery did yeoman work, and avoided fumbling the ball at least, but he was stuffed all too often.

The PAT block was all too much of a reminder of last season's kicking woes.

The turnover in the final minutes inside the Ram 10 was far too reminiscent of Columbia over the last several seasons. At that key moment in a tight game, we still did not see a really confident, careful squad with a killer instinct.

When it comes to the five keys to the game that I laid out yesterday, Columbia failed to execute on three of them.

They did not stop the Fordham run quite as effectively as they needed to, (although it was close).

They did not run the ball well enough.

They missed a PAT.

On the positive side, Brackett kept himself healthy and looked poised most of the game. The Lions also did not get burned by any trick plays.

Columbia MVP

Alex Gross gets the nod over Brackett as Gross truly directed an overall brilliant performance by the defense.

In other News...

The big shocker was on Staten Island where favored Cornell was stomped by Wagner by a staggering 41-7 score. We knew this would be a rebuilding year for the Big Red, but that's ugly.

Brown and Yale pulled off thrilling wins. The Bears beat Stony Brook in double OT, 33-30, and the Elis won on a TD in the last second.


At Sun Sep 19, 05:09:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Having been at the game, I can say that the brigh spot was the defense which really did all they needed to do, with the exception of allowing too much rushing. But they generally stopped them when they needed to. It was the offense that looked anemic, with the exception of the last drive. To blame it on the PAT I think is not the issue or he botched snap at the endfor that matter, Unless they can put more points and actually DOMINATE more games, they will always be prone to mistakes.

At Sun Sep 19, 06:36:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the offense could have controlled tbe ball and put up 21 points on sustained drives, we would probably have held fordham to 9 points....but too many punts (two of which were ducks both gave them good fied position and too many tries against our tired D.

Anyone know what happened to Mike Stephens...did he break his wrist?

At Sun Sep 19, 07:53:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kennedy wasn't involved very much. Know why?

At Sun Sep 19, 08:06:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

These teams are relatively even at this point in the season. The difference between them is that Fordam was playing its 3d game and Lions its 1st. Play this game at the end of the season and Columbia wins easily.

At Sun Sep 19, 09:17:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In my humble opinion, I think the criticism of the coaching staff is misplaced. We fumbled the ball three times in the second half and were outplayed in the punting game by an outstanding job by Fordam (could their punter have done any better?). Coaches are learning a lot about their team in the first game of the season. I thought we were at a real disadvantage playing a team with two games under its belt. Let's relax and remember it's still very early in the season. Go Lions!!

At Sun Sep 19, 09:27:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Personally, I think some of the posters here are mollycoddling our team too much. They should have won this game despite it being their first of the season. If we are too nice to place criticism when it is deserved then we lower our expectations below where they should be.

At Sun Sep 19, 09:36:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We'll, at least being the best Ivy team in the Empire State is within reach!

At Sun Sep 19, 11:35:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sadly for all, the "Knowles effect" now persists in both Ithaca and Durham.

ex-Cornell Coach Knowles' holdovers (eight returning starters) gave up 41 points today to a weak Wagner squad. His new charges at Duke have given up 54 and 62 points on consecutive weekends. Hopefully, Army will give him some rest next Saturday.

At Mon Sep 20, 05:12:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did Fraser play?

At Mon Sep 20, 10:51:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did not see Fraser

At Tue Sep 21, 02:02:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

1) Fraser was not dressed and Groth had very little play time. Injuries? The Defense was good, but, not having the "big guys" in the middle showed. Luckily none of the long runs up the middle hurt us too much. This week that could kills us. Hopefully the “big guys” are back and outside containment improves.

2) As usual the choice of offensive plays leaves one to wonder. Other mistakes didn't help either.


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