Friday, October 15, 2010

Time to Shine

The Adams Family: Jeff Adams and the O-line need to pave the way for the Lion pride (CREDIT: Columbia Athletics)

Columbia Lions vs. Pennsylvania Quakers

Location: Franklin Field, South 33rd and Spruce Streets, Philadelphia, PA 19104

Kickoff Time: 12:00 pm

Gametime Weather Forecast: 62 degrees, partly cloudly, and very windy

The Spread: Pennsylvania is favored by 6 ½ points

Columbia Game Notes

Pennsylvania Game Notes


Columbia has lost 13 straight to the Quakers, by far their longest current losing streak against any Ivy team. Most of the losses have been downright ugly, but the last few games at Franklin Field have been tighter.

This is the most significant game for the Lions in at least seven years, and not just another game for the Quakers who have a chance to grab the inside track to the first repeat solo championship in the Ivies since the 2002-2003 Penn teams.

Despite Penn’s mostly dominant play as a program since 1982, both schools routinely recruit some of the same players as the local metropolitan regions overlap.

In other words, there are a lot of players on both teams that were either passed over or desperately wanted by the other guys. That always makes things more interesting.

For Penn’s side, they are at least playing the part of respectful adversaries. Head Coach Al Bagnoli had nothing but good things to say about the Lions in the weekly coaches teleconference. Even most of the fans on the chat boards are saying they expect a tough game.

Keys to the Game

Win the Turnover Battle

Penn’s big weakness has been turnovers. Every one of the three Penn QB’s this year has thrown too many interceptions relative to passes attempted. Turnovers have been the key to several key scores against the Quakers this season. And with their defense, it may be the best way to get on the board.

Columbia has taken very good care of the ball, and needs to continue to do so. Lion turnovers, especially in their red zone and in the Quaker red zone, were key factors in their last two losses to Penn.

Move Forward on the Ground

Columbia’s running attack will face a very rough test against the Quakers, but the Lions don’t need a 200 yard rushing performance to win. Simply moving the ball forward, even just at three or four yard clips at a time, would help a lot.

Attack the Back Four

The Penn defense is all about that front seven and how it controls the game. Hardly any opponents even get the chance to test the rest of the troops. And that doesn't mean you can expect the secondary to be weak. There are some talented players back there, including Stanford transfer Fred Craig, who played with a number of Columbia Lions in high school at Saint Xavier in Cincinnati.

But you can infer that the "back four" will be at least a little rusty. Opposing teams have only passed an average of 22 times per game against Penn, and that has a lot to do with a great pass rush and good coverage on short passes.

The Lions are uniquely qualified to test the Quaker deep coverage with Sean Brackett’s ability to scramble for time to throw to the many speedsters at wide out on the team right now.

Cover the Kicks, and Make the Most of Returns

Penn is returning kicks really well, but who can deny that Columbia's Craig Hamilton isn't one of the hottest returners in the league right now? The Lions need to win the overall kick returning battle Saturday, especially when it comes to giving the offense breathing room vs. the Quaker "D."

Play One Game, Not 14

Yes it's been 14 years since Columbia beat Penn. But this Lion team isn't responsible for any history but their own. They need to be amped up for a big game to determine this year's Ivy title, not worried about overcoming nearly a decade and a half's worth of futility.


At Fri Oct 15, 07:32:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about Gerst? Is he expected to play more than the last game? Or has he been slightly injured?

At Fri Oct 15, 11:21:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wilson said Gerst was not hurt, Zack and Leon were running well.
(listen to interview on Spec, Mouth that Roared,

At Sat Oct 16, 12:13:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not only has Zack been running well, but he was our leading receiver against Lafayette. Kouroumna is a threat to go all the way every time he has the ball. Leon Ivery is also rounding into an outstanding runner. With two more standout runners in Gerst and Garrett, we haven't been this deep at running back in years.

At Sat Oct 16, 12:17:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fullback Nathan Lenz has also developed into a very fine player who not only blocks well, but is a tough inside runner and a good pass receiver.

At Sat Oct 16, 12:20:00 AM GMT+7, Blogger Jake said...

The last time we had this deep a running attack was 1961 with O'Connor, Warren, etc. Gee, what else happened in 1961?

At Sat Oct 16, 12:25:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The high winds that are expected at Franklin Field tomorrow could be a factor and might help Columbia on kickoffs and field goals as Guttas tends to kickoff low and long and Eddy kicks PAT's and field goals with tremendous velocity.

At Sat Oct 16, 02:27:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read that the barometric pressure in Philadelphia at game time will be 29.6 inches. How do you think that will affect our passing game?

Relative humidity is forecast to be 53%. I believe that Penn is known as a team that plays well in when humidity is between 40-60%, although I believe Coach Wilson has recently been working on strengthening Columbia in that dimension as well.

Does anybody known when tomorrow's high tides are scheduled?

At Sat Oct 16, 03:45:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fine wines do well in 58-60 degrees and about 70% therefore we will beat Penn.

At Sat Oct 16, 11:30:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not sure where you got that info on Gerst. I was told he took himself out of the game with Princeton because of leg tightness . Thats why he was riding the bike on the sideline. He was needed more for the Penn game. We need this kid healthy

At Sun Oct 17, 02:19:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bummer...Penn stuffed our running game and ran through us....pretty straight forward why they won.

But the rest of the way every other ivy team looks beatable....Brown looks real down after KNC loss...Yale is even with Fordham....Harvard losing to Lehigh...Dartmouth may be the toughest remaining opponent and we have them at home you never know maybe someone trips up Penn later?

At Sun Oct 17, 02:56:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Penn game was depressing. Looks like Penn sized up our defense and figured we did not have the ability to stop the run (which I thought we could). What's weird, is even if we knew they were going to run every play, we couldn't defend it. Other teams now know this now and definitely will pick up on this and exploit it. Can we make adjustments--quick?!

At Sun Oct 17, 07:03:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Regrettably, the better team won today. Thankfully, we have another game this week. Beat Dartmouth...GO LIONS!!

At Sun Oct 17, 08:05:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Penn did not beat us as much as they didn't lose to us. The only major mistake they made we did not convert. We did not lose the game to them as much as we let our intensity down two times. One was the turnover they took in for a touchdown, and the other was on an extra point. Both mistakes killed us, and you can't do that away from home. Take away the result and it is tied. Of course Penn ran the ball well against us. They have the most experienced OL in the conference, block well, and have no athletes on the outside to pass consistently. Our positives were many. Stopped them on two fourth downs. Special teams special. And their defense, maybe best in conference, couldn't stop our offense. I'm disappointed we didn't win because we could have; but I do not feel like previous years when we didn't have the depth and overall talent, and were dependent upon opponent making mistakes. This league is the most competitive I have ever experienced as player and avid fan. Thus, we cannot let this game give us the hangover Lafayette did last year. Champ of this league will have at least one loss.

At Sun Oct 17, 09:34:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am with the last poster. Shake this off. Work on run defense and stop Dartmouth running attack next saturday and we stand a good chance of winning HC. At 4-2 nd 2-1, we should then have the confidence to beat Yale, Cornell, Brown for sure and a toss up vs Harvard who do not appear that dominant this year.

Someone will trip up Penn on the road.

Fingers crossed

At Sun Oct 17, 09:55:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like the positive attitude of the last two posters. A lot of times, teams can slip one week and come out firing the next. Keep the faith! We're still in the hunt!
Nice NY Times article profiling Brackett/Gross. We should now give credit where credit is due, and say thanks!

At Sun Oct 17, 11:27:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seems to me that we're only a few puzzle pieces away from being an outstanding complete football team. I'm confident that will happen very soon.

At Sun Oct 17, 11:34:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder how the freshman running back, Garrett, would have fared yesterday against Penn. I do not much about him, but liked the way he ran for 36 yards in his first varsity appearance. Could he be the breakaway runner we need to take some pressure off Brackett?

At Sun Oct 17, 11:44:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A real positive to take away from this game is Luke Eddy's 48 yarder. That was tremendous!
Also, Penn never had to pass because they had a comfortable lead the whole time. If they had to score some points quickly, they would have been forced to pass and we could've taken advantage of our strong pass rush and secondary....alas.

At Mon Oct 18, 02:04:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Got to adjust to the defense. Penn had 8 guys in the box most of the game. Quick slants, passes in the flat to Gerst with that 4.35 speed. Thats what opens the run against a defense like this. Got to get this kid in the open field, split him out...This is fastest most electric kid in the Ivy league. Kudos to Mistretta for a great game on D

At Mon Oct 18, 02:17:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A long time ago I said that next year would be our year, given that it would be the 50th anniversary of our last Ivy title. I stand by this statement because our team needs this time to gel sufficiently to beat teams like Penn.

But this year I think we can realistically come in second at 5-2 and 7-3 overall.

At Mon Oct 18, 02:28:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If I am looking at the glass half empty, I would say we are not read to play wit the "big boys". If I look at it half full, I say it is only one game, and we have the talent, but our game plan against Penn was poorly planned.

At Mon Oct 18, 02:44:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

While recognizing that it's difficult for any team to run the table in the sense of five wins in a row, neverthless a 6-1 record has to be the goal. The Lions are certainly capable of defeating all five of our remaining opponents.

At Mon Oct 18, 08:19:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you saw the game at FF or on the Penn video service, did you notice any Lion attempt at screens to try to counteract the Penn rush?


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