Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Clutch Bowl


Nice trophy! And it's ours!



Columbia 20 Cornell 17


Why Columbia Won

The defense kept the Lions in the game as the offense went through a very slooooowwww wake up call througout the first three quarters. In the final stanza, QB Sean Brackett ran and threw beautifully to lead the Columbia awakening while the defense forced Big Red punt after punt. And after failing to do so in three other games this season, Brackett successfully led the Lions on a game-winning final drive.


Why Cornell Lost

Despite scoring seven more points than their 10 point per game season average, the Big Red offense failed to put Columbia away and went into complete hibernation in the fourth quarter. The Big Red had the ball for 15 plays from scrimmage in the fourth quarter and gained a total of 24 yard on those 15 plays for a average of 1.6 yards per play. Meanwhile, the Cornell defense finally faltered as it had no answer for a running and gunning Sean Bracket.


Key Turning Points


-After Cornell scored to make it 17-3 with 2:19 left in the third, the Lions finally woke up... and fast. Up to that point, Brackett had run for a decent 57 yards on 13 carries. But on that possession alone, he ran three times for 30 yards as he led the team on a 70-yard TD drive in just 2:51. Brackett would run eight more tmes for 64 more yards and the winning touchdown to finish with 25 carries for 151 yards.


-With Columbia still trailing by 17-13 with just 4:42 left, the Big Red took over at their own six after Greg Guttas' most clutch punt of the year. Cornell got one first down, but the Lions defense held on the next set of downs on a third and two when Matt Stotler knocked down a short pass over the middle.


-The game winning 59-yard drive featured just two third downs. The first one was a third and 10 from the Lion 41. On an injured foot, Brackett ran for a gutsy 16 yards to keep Columbia alive. The second third down was a third and seven from the Cornell nine. On that play, Brackett zinged a strike to Nico Gutierrez putting the Lions just inches from the first down. Two Brackett runs later, Columbia had the lead.


Columbia Positives

-After failing to execute on late fourth quarter drives in the losses against Fordham, Dartmouth and Yale, the Lions finally put it all together in the final march against Cornell. In addition to Brackett's heroics, there was a super catch by Ian Cummins and Gutierrez did well to hold on to his catch in heavy traffic. The offensive line also held up brilliantly. It was clutch all around.


-Columbia's defense was exceptionally clutch down the stretch. Overall, the Lions held Cornell to just 74 yards rushing, had three sacks, and forced nine punts.


-The Lions were penalized just three times for a total of five yards.


-Columbia's kicking game and special teams were as good as I've ever seen them in a single game. Luke Eddy was perfect on his two FG tries and two PAT's, (he now has hit all 26 this season, a new CU record), Guttas punted seven times and had some very clutch kicks, including a 47-yarder and his last punt that buried the Big Red at the six. And Guttas' final squib kickoff was a thing of beauty that Cornell could not handle and iced the game when Columbia recovered.


Columbia Negatives

-Favored by 19 points, Columbia just didn't come out of the gate strong enough to earn that distinction. Had the Lion defense not played as well, Columbia would never have had the chance to win in the final quarter.



Other Stars of the Game

-Alex Gross made his final game at home, well... just like almost all his other great games at home with 14 total tackles and three pass breakups.


-Ryan Murphy sped around the Cornell line time after time and terrorized Big Red QB Jeff Matthews for two sacks and another QB hurry.


-Speedy Nick Gerst had 52 yards on just eight carries and caught two passes for nine yards.



COLUMBIA MVP


Too many of his throws were high and he was a bit slow to get going, but Sean Brackett put his team on his back and logged 355 tough all purpose yards in a dramatic come-from-behind win.

Sean Brackett is your inaugural Empire State Bowl MVP.

45 Comments:

At Sun Nov 14, 08:42:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jake u gotta get some sleep. What time did you post? In any case thanks again for all you do. For an out of town parent u are a lifeline. Frankly you should be part of the recruiting program because you do so much for parents following their sons.

 
At Sun Nov 14, 09:24:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In a funny way, I thought yesterday was the best team game of the year. The Defense held and gave the Offense the ball enough times until it finally got going. And the Offense did "finally get going." Congratulations to the team for showing mental toughness and gutting out a win!!

 
At Sun Nov 14, 09:45:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's interesting your mention of Brackett throwing too high several times, even to wide open receivers. I noticed that too. It appears that he often starts slow and then comes on strong (sometimes too late unfortunately), but when he's hot , he's hot. I hope he can work with the coaches on making some adjustments in his technique, because he certainly has enormous potential. He definitely has the fire in his belly, which is worth a lot, and which he proved on his gusty leap in the endzone.

 
At Sun Nov 14, 10:36:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tremendous endgame, with both offense and defense coming through to come from behind. Brackett played a second half for the ages and an incredibly gutsy final drive. This was a team-building win, better than a 19-point blowout would have been.

By the way, it looked like Brackett had a hamstring injury, because they wrapped his thigh in ace bandages between drives in the late fourth quarter. I sure hope he can play next week in Providence.

 
At Sun Nov 14, 10:52:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jake, One of your preseason concerns was upgrading the kicking game. After this post I went back and looked up freshman Luke Eddy's statistics for this year. Am I correct or did he not have a perfect season at Wien Stadium with no missed FG's or PAT's? Has that ever happened for an entire home season in Columbia history? He made every kick this entire year, including the League longest 48 yarder, except for the 49 and 39 yard misses last week at Harvard. You have to give the coaches big kudos for going out and really recruiting and addressing the biggest team need from last year. You alluded to it here several weeks ago but freshman Eddy and sophmore Brackett have arguable cases for all-Ivy this year. How promising is that going into next year? Great recruiting.

 
At Sun Nov 14, 11:07:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did anybody see the JV game this Friday? If so can you give some detail on how the offense and defense played. Thank you

 
At Sun Nov 14, 11:09:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jake, I think that Brackett needs a go to WR a la Knowlin. Our #1 recruiting priority has to be somebody who scares opponents, takes up double coverage, keeps the safeties honest, and can fly. I think we lack speed at the WR position, or our kids aren't being coached on how to get separation. I also think that Brackett is the best offensive player in the Ivy League. He willed us to win in that final drive.

 
At Sun Nov 14, 11:09:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jake, I think that Brackett needs a go to WR a la Knowlin. Our #1 recruiting priority has to be somebody who scares opponents, takes up double coverage, keeps the safeties honest, and can fly. I think we lack speed at the WR position, or our kids aren't being coached on how to get separation. I also think that Brackett is the best offensive player in the Ivy League. He willed us to win in that final drive.

 
At Mon Nov 15, 12:14:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Under the circumstances, it might appear petty to openly wonder -- once again-- about our offensive play calling. But that play calling contributed to the circumstances requiring a great comeback.

Leonlion

 
At Mon Nov 15, 01:42:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No doubt that Sean Brackett deserves the First Empire Bowl MVP. He's absolutely a great football player with the Heart of a Lion. However, I cannot help but feeling that Sean would love to share the MVP award with all his Columbia teammates, and particularly the 26 graduating seniors who triumphed on Senior Day at Baker Field.

 
At Mon Nov 15, 01:48:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jake, you are right to describe the Guttas' kickoff at the end of the game as "a thing of beauty." I don't how he did it, but he put more "English" on the ball than in all of England. Guttas and Eddy have emerged as a great one-two kicking duo. And they are only going to get better.

 
At Mon Nov 15, 01:59:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Without question, the Lions turned it all around in the fourth quarter yesterday and gave their fans a Game to Remember. One of the big positives with the play of both the offensive and defensive lines. Senior Matt Stotler came thru with a clutch deflection of a third down pass. Ben Popeck and Chris Groth were dominant inside and Murphy, Adebayo, Smith, Martin, Patterson and company played tough on the outside. And finally, there may be some more good news coming as I saw Owen Fraser race out onto the playing field in the fourth quarter. Imagine how good the Lion defensive line will be next year with a healthy Fraser.

 
At Mon Nov 15, 02:02:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am way out in the midwest (my law school alma mater's team lost yesterday 83 to 20, guess who that was). I got interested in the team this year because one of my law partners is a Harvard College alum who played in the 1980s, and we discussed the season from time to time. (Even he thought CU was going to give the Crimson a run for their money, but alas....)

For the first time I decided to listen to the WKCR broadcast on the web. Am I wrong but it seemed that it was all doom and gloom until the very end? Is the coaching staff really in that much trouble after this season?

In any event, the end of the Cornell game was great fun to listen to. And thanks for all the info on this blog.

CC'71

 
At Mon Nov 15, 02:37:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aaron Kelton went undefeated at Williams this year. Perhaps his departure took something out of our defense this year.

 
At Mon Nov 15, 04:58:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We need to evaluate the quality of our weight training program. We need to get stronger. That is a key to he Penn success.

 
At Mon Nov 15, 06:09:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jake,
Can you please let us know about the JV game..How did you think they played?
Any standout players?
Thanks!

 
At Mon Nov 15, 08:16:00 PM GMT+7, Blogger Jake said...

JV won the game, but I have no other big details.

 
At Mon Nov 15, 08:48:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jake
I am chushed! I posted that the JV was up 30 to 7 when I left the game on Friday. I also noted #23 ran back a KO to their 30 yard line and ran from scrimmage for about a 30 yard TD right up the middle at the start of the fourth Quarter. What am I -- chopped liver?

 
At Mon Nov 15, 09:08:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The final JV score was 30-14. Jake, do you know why at gocolumbialions.com the school does not update the JV schedule to at least post the scores under the football tab? I am not asking for game stats or any other details, but I beleive someone could at least take the time to post a score. Your blog is the best source of information for Columbia football, including directions to games, history, game analysis, and or course, humor. Thank you for making the effort to make us feel connected when we are thousands of miles away. I did get to see two games live this year at the stadium and it appears progress is being made, but more is needed.

 
At Mon Nov 15, 10:30:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with the poster who questionned why at least the junior varsity scores are not posted on the Columbia University Athletics Website. More than the score, however, I believe the Lions are missing a great opportunity to publicize the junior varsity players by not posting a game summary and a list of the participants. Surely we want to give as much favorable publicity as possible to All Columbia Football Players including the junior varsity. If this is merely a manpower issue in the Sports Information Department, then the Columbia Coaching Staff would be smart to post its own summary on the Columbia Football Team's Website. Since Dr. Murphy is on top of everything, I'm very surprised that she is not insisting that the junior varsity get some publicity. Let's make sure there is some info posted on line about the next junor varsity game. Meanwhile, thanks to you, Jake, for another great football game summary. Fortunately, I attended the game and your comments, Jake, are right on.

 
At Mon Nov 15, 10:38:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice video highlight of Sean Brackett's Touchdown Hurdle on the Columbia Athletics Website. I've watched it a few times and it looks like the center of the Columbia Offensive Line blocked magnificently on that play. Kudos to the Columbia Offensive Line as well as our terrific quarterback, Sean Brackett.

 
At Tue Nov 16, 12:54:00 AM GMT+7, Blogger Bob L said...

Any reason Marcourus Garrett hasn't been used more. He certainly looked (and fast) the few times he handled the ball. Any thoughts about switching him to wide receiver to bolster the speed of the receiving corps?

 
At Tue Nov 16, 01:33:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Garrett will probalby be running as the #2 tailback next year.

 
At Tue Nov 16, 02:19:00 AM GMT+7, Blogger cathar said...

It was a nice win, but I'm still bothered some by the offensive playcalling. We didn't make a first down until late in the 2nd quarter, after all.

I was worried I wouldn't have been able to wear the "Empire State Bowl" t-shirt I bought if we'd lost, too. So thank goodness there.

On a lighter note, new head coach Aaron Helton went 8-0 in his first season at Williams, by winning the only game he really had to win for a Williams season to be successful. vs. Amherst. Norries must be feeling pretty good about this one as tribute to his own program.

 
At Tue Nov 16, 02:31:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ironically Brackett ran behind a block from Nick Gerst on the winning TD. He took out the linebacker.

The Gerst kid got totally wasted this year...Agree with the last poster...The whole team looked different anytime this year when he was in the game...Lightning speed changes everything

 
At Tue Nov 16, 02:36:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here is a nice article on Coach Kelton. A great season by Williams, but the article does state: "Kelton inherited a team that finished 6-2 in 2009 and returned 18 of 22 starters." http://www.usatoday.com/sports/college/football/2010-11-09-aaron-kelton-williams-football-coach_N.htm

 
At Tue Nov 16, 04:22:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There must be a story behind why Gerst was not used more. If it was not injury, it must have to do with chemistry with coaches or favoritism to seniors or something not apparent to us.

Despite the comeback win, I am not convinced about our offensive coordinator and the play calling...nor whether the coaching roster should remain unchanged for next year. We underperformed versus our potential this season and the AD needs to understand why and you do not have to look much past the play calling to find the first reason.

I see some of the posters being a bit soft on the coaches because of the excitement of a last minute win, but as 19 point favorites there is a limit to the justified enthusiasm.

 
At Tue Nov 16, 05:03:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who made Columbia a 19 point favorite against Cornell? Was it the same guy who sold Apple stock short three years ago? Columbia deserved to be the favorite, but not by 19 points. Anyway, great game, Lions!

 
At Tue Nov 16, 06:31:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thats a great question about Gerst. How do you recruit talent when the best running back by far sits most of the time....From what I hear this is the nicest most humble kid you would ever meet...You wonder if the kid will stay when the word is there were 20other schools including D1's that wanted this kid bad...Hate to see that happen

 
At Tue Nov 16, 07:40:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Calm down about Gerst. Ivery and Kourouma are good players. Next year Gerst will be the feature back.

 
At Tue Nov 16, 07:57:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I noticed all the comments about Gerst. Has nothing to do with calming down. Has to do with winning football games. The best players need to play whether its a freshman or a senior.

 
At Tue Nov 16, 08:07:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about that! Brackett is Ivy League co player of the week. That's the third time this year he has won the award (he also won rookie of the week last year). Go Sean!

 
At Tue Nov 16, 08:10:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gerst has been great this year, but in some games (albeit limited action) he did not match up well in a couple of games,and he was stuffed repeatedly at the line of scrimmage. So it's not such an absolutist argument. He'll get stronger and faster next year and could be a real star.

 
At Tue Nov 16, 08:32:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congrats to Brackett...He will only get better...Thats a nice scary thought...As far as Gerst...That match up stuff is ridiculous...I listened on the radio last week and the commentator said he was like a bolt of lighning saying repeatedly this kid has got to be on the field. Utilize the kid. Running back, kick returner, wide out etc..

 
At Tue Nov 16, 10:41:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I didn't like the post about "Calm down about Gerst, he'll be the featured running back next year."
Columbias fans can not "wait for next year" for the next century!
That poster added Ivery and Kourouma (both seniors) are good.
Ivery was not that good over-all.
Kourouma was better but not as good as Gerst. I hope to God Wilson isn't running a Little League program where the seniors get to play more than juniors and seniors even if they're nowhere near as good. This is not Little League although it often looks like it. This is Div. 1 football.
It's also a TEAM games, where the BEST playerslay, regardless of
seniority, so that the TEAM can be successful. I've seen this type of nonsense before at CU and it stinks.
As for speed, speed trumps all in all sports including sumo wrestling.
Why should Marcorous Garrett be second-string RB? Maybe he's better than Gerst. Maybe the lesser RB...or the better one...
should be switched to WR. The point is, do whatever is best for the team to WIN.

 
At Tue Nov 16, 08:51:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to agree with several posters, a hard look needs to be taken at the coaching staff. O and D coordinators this year in particular had issues. They have the players, but, don't use them. O play calling for several years leaves you scratching your head. An ineffective first half again, although, it appeared that coach Wilson took a more hands on approach which helped as the game went on. DL size and use of players this year really didn’t make sense. For example, the most effective tackles were the least used last week and using an obviously not ready Owen Frasher potentially putting him at risk. Hopefully they will give Owen Frasher time to get back into game shape so that explosive talent he has shows next year.

 
At Tue Nov 16, 10:13:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with last poster. If play your best team no matter what class they are. This decision to keep Gerst on the sidelines is what makes me question the coaches.

 
At Tue Nov 16, 11:54:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Regarding Gerst, we all may be getting ahead of ourselves. Do we have any REAL facts as to why he has been sidelined, before we jump to conclusions. Jake, do you have any undercover agents that can fill us in?

 
At Wed Nov 17, 12:30:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gerst has not been hurt. He has not been in trouble with the coaches for any on or off field actions. They simply didn't use him. ???????

No one inside or outside the program understands it. I have attended 37 of the last 39 games. It is a obvious to everyone, including people who don't know that much about football, that CU's Offense is dramatically more effective when Gerst is in the game. He runs harder and faster, hits the hole quicker, and makes cuts better than any back on the team. He should be getting 20 or more touches a game.

 
At Wed Nov 17, 01:47:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice to see we have some great football fans here...It was absolutley obvious to all that Gerst belonged on the field all year...We have not seen an electric back like this for a long time at Columbia...Averaged 6 yds a carry and watched most of the year...If this program is ever going to the next level you can not have this type of thing going on..

 
At Wed Nov 17, 04:40:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In the Brown game, the coaches should play the lineup they will go with next year. Start Gerst and possibly Garrett along with brackett and see what happens. Brown could not stop us last year in large part due to the running of Brackett and Knowlin. Yes, AK caught a TD pass at the end but this did not decide the game.

I would say that Gerst/Garrett are or will be better than AK for the run. The three of them spreading out the offense should give Brown headaches that will then open the pass up.

Come out swinging with a wide open offense and see if Brown can keep up.....we have a decent shot at them this weekend

 
At Wed Nov 17, 01:41:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Must respectfully diagree with everyone pushing so hard for Gerst. He's good, but so are Kourouma and Ivery, who may not be quite as fast or shifty as Gerst (debatable in Kourouma's case once he gets going, and Ivery is stronger and a more punishing runner than Gerst), but deserve the playing time for sticking it out for so long. Gerst and Garrett will have plenty of time to prove themselves, plus we'll need other good running backs next year.

 
At Wed Nov 17, 09:45:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to agree that Ivy and Kourouma have done a great job and all these Gerst comments may be off based. One back won't make or break the team. When the run is called and blocking are the things that will kill a running game. We have done reasonably well in the blocking department the last couple of years. Play calling is another story.

Gerst has showed great skill and has the potential to shine in the coming years, but, the other backs also have shown great things. Concentrating on Gerst or Frasher is mistake. One player doesn't make a team. As great coach once said, the team is all that matters.

 
At Wed Nov 17, 10:04:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is Division I football. The best players play. One football truism is "You can't coach speed and speed kills."

Gerst makes yards that the others can't because he hits the hole faster and makes better cuts. Sometimes holes open and close before the others get there. Speed off the ball is way more important that top speed. No one is saying that Ivery and Kourouma aren't good players. It is just the division of labor should be tilted toward Gerst.

There a number of seniors who have never seen real playing time and never will. You don't get to play just for staying with the program. Their contribution is in practice and team pride.

The object of the game is to win and you win by putting your best players on the field.

 
At Thu Nov 18, 01:49:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Someone said "The best players play."

That is true, but,

You don't play them when they are not in game shape and don't show the skill they had early on.

In our case, we just don't play them on both sides of the ball. How the coaches choose at times is truly a mystery.

The comment about speed is interesting. One thing to remember is that speed isn't everything. Size when it comes to OL /DL also is key. Strictly concentrating on speed especially on the DL is a huge mistake we have been making this year and it shows.

 

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