Bounce Back, or Crash Land?
The ol' Yale Bowl doesn't look so intimidating from here
Columbia Lions vs. Yale Bulldogs
October 30, 2010
Location: Yale Bowl
Kickoff Time: 12 noon
Gametime Weather Forecast: Partly cloudy and 58 degrees. Moderate wind, (always a factor at Yale Bowl)
The Spread: Yale is favored by 2 points
Watch the Game Live on the YES Network! And listen live on SideLion Pass. My halftime guest on the SideLion Pass broadcast will be former Head Coach Ray Tellier! We’ll talk the history of Columbia-Yale, especially his very successful run against the Bulldogs in the mid to late 1990’s. And just wait until you hear what Coach Tellier has to say about current Lion QB Sean Brackett!
Columbia Game Notes
Yale Game Notes
HOW TO GET TO THE GAME:
From Merritt and Wilbur Cross Parkways:
Take Exit 57 (Route 34 East) directly to the Yale Fields, or take Exit 59 (Whalley Avenue) and follow Yale Bowl Signs to the Yale Fields.
Take Eastbound Exit 44 or Westbound Exit 45 to Route 10 and follow Yale Bowl signs. Or, take Exit 47 (Downtown) and follow Route 34 to the Yale Fields.
From Downtown New Haven:
Go north on Chapel Street, then turn left on Derby Avenue (Route34) to the fields.
From I-91: Take Exit 1 (Downtown) and follow Route 34 to the Yale Fields.
For MapQuest or your GPS: Yale Bowl's address is 276 Derby Ave. West Haven, CT 06516-1046
Both teams are coming off emotionally deflating losses. The Lions blew a late lead to drop a Homecoming contest against Dartmouth, while the Elis fell to Penn in a big game to determine first place in the Ivies.
Last year’s 23-22 loss to Yale had to be the most disappointing game of 2009 for the Lions. It ruined a brilliant debut for then-freshman QB Sean Brackett. Columbia seemed to have the game wrapped up with a 22-17 lead and a first and goal on the two late in the 4th quarter. But two costly fumbles gave the Elis the win.
The geographic subplots are numerous. Columbia head coach and offensive coordinator come from the UConn program, along with six players and three starters who are from Connecticut. That includes the starting QB Brackett, from Brooklyn, CT.
The Lions haven’t defeated Yale since 2001, a 28-14 win at Wien Stadium highlighted by a 70+-yard TD pass from Jeff McCall to Doug Peck.
Sean Brackett was nine years old that day.
Yale’s eight game winning streak over the Lions is second only to Penn’s 14-game streak over Columbia for the longest opponent streak around the Lions necks.
About half of the last eight losses have not been close. In addition to last year’s close loss, the 2003, 2004, 2006 and 2007 games all could have gone either way.
Lions fans are still especially sore about the 2006 game, where then-Yale Head Coach Jack Siedlecki called a late timeout to secure a tack-on TD and earlier, Mike McLeod did a backflip into the end zone in a hot dog play.
The 2004 game at the Bowl ended with a glaring “no call” from the refs on an incomplete pass to tightly covered TE Wade Fletcher in the end zone, that would have been the tying TD.
The 2007 game was tied, 0-0, at halftime in a driving rainstorm.
In 2008, Lion superstar DE Lou Miller was ejected from the game for making a hit out of bounds. Upon further review, the hit was found not to be especially flagrant, and Miller received no further suspension or penalty.
The two schools have a long history together… and it’s not all bad.
Columbia and Yale became the first two future Ivy teams to play football against one another in 1871. Yale won, 3-0.
And Columbia University was founded by a group of young Yale grads when they formed classes in the back rooms at Trinity Church in Lower Manhattan in 1754.
Keys to the Game
Pressure and Pick off Witt
Just because the Lions couldn’t get enough pressure on Dartmouth’s Conner Kempe, doesn’t mean they can’t mix things up and achieve that against Yale. Switching Alex Gross to middle linebacker this week, may free up more of the outside pass rushers to lock on target.
Witt is improving in this category but he still can be picked off, especially if he’s pressured. Columbia has not INT’s in each game of this current losing streak and grabbing at least one Saturday could turn things around.
Let Sean Run, and then Watch the Offense Run
It’s been pretty obvious: the Lion offense has been stagnant when Brackett has been playing like a regular drop back passer. When he starts running, the rest of the offense starts to click as well. Obviously, you don’t want to risk injury, but when Brackett puts himself out there opposing defenses seem to get clueless going forward.
Brackett has now started 10 games in his career. Columbia is 5-5 in those games, 3-4 Ivy. It’s time for Brackett to be given almost full responsibility for the team’s fortunes… at least on offense.
Brackett almost shocked the Elis last year in his first ever varsity game.
Now it’s time for him to finish what he started.
Let Brackett be Brackett.