Sunday, November 07, 2010


Harvard 23 Columbia 7

Why Harvard Won

The Crimson offense was opportunistic, capitalizing on Lion turnovers and scoring all four times on drives that lasted no more than two minutes and 38 seconds. Meanwhile, the Harvard defense bent but didn't break allowing just seven points despite yielding 394 total Columbia yards.

Why Columbia Lost

The Lions turned the ball over four times, twice inside the Harvard red zone. Despite forcing the Crimson to go an awful one for 13 on 3rd down, the defense couldn't shut down Harvard when it really counted.

Key Turning Points

-The game was truly decided during one strange sequence in the second quarter. Trailing 3-0, the Lions punted to the Crimson with a little under eight minutes to go in the half. Matthew Hanson clearly muffed the punt and Columbia recovered, but the refs called it Harvard ball. Later in the series, Harvard went for it on 4th and 10 from the CU 35 and Craig Hamilton intercpeted Crimson QB Collier Winters at the CU 18. But Hamilton promptly fumbled the ball back to Harvard. Four plays later the Crimson had a TD and it was a 10-0 game.

Columbia Positives

-It was another strong game for WR Kurt Williams. He grabbed seven passes for 123 yards including a 36-yard TD. The converted junior defensive back is setting himself up nicely for next year.

-Alex Gross had another double-digit tackling day with 12, one for a loss.

Columbia Negatives

-Harvard was not nearly as dominating as advertised, and Columbia truly beat itself.

But the football gods played a big hand too. The Hamilton interception that was fumbled right back to the Crimson was the kind of play long-time Lion fans have sadly come to expect. The fact that the whole Harvard possession should never have happened save for a terrible "no call" of Matthew Hanson's fumbled punt return just adds to the special level of terrible luck Columbia continues to endure. It's hard not to feel truly snakebitten when things like that happen.

-All the Lion turnovers happened at crucial times, and Harvard took advantage of them.

Columbia MVP

Kurt Williams was stellar and now has 24 catches for 349 yards and two TD's on the year. Not bad for a guy who was on defense the last two years.


At Sun Nov 07, 07:06:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The officiating in the Ivies is awful, and we never get a break. Those clowns were incompetent. Home cooking. But those red zone mistakes will be Brackett's challenge--he has to fix them to reach his potential.

At Sun Nov 07, 08:37:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As always, Jake, your summary is outstanding although it also hurt that the Lions couldn't push the ball into the Harvard endzone on a first and two from the Harvard two yard line. Like Yale last year, we made a huge offensive play to get inside the opponent's five yard line, only to turn the ball over.

At Sun Nov 07, 08:39:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I watched the game on Harvard's Game Central and it was evident that the refs blew both first quarter fumble calls.

At Sun Nov 07, 08:43:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another positive was the play of both the offensive and defensive lines. The offensive line opened some nice holes for Kouroumna and the D-Line stopped Harvard's run nearly all day, although it was unable to sack the qb

At Sun Nov 07, 09:23:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why don't we run the ball more?

At Sun Nov 07, 09:56:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Run the ball?...U got the best running back on the team watching?

Go figure

At Sun Nov 07, 10:16:00 PM GMT+7, Blogger DOC said...

How do you hold Harvard to 1-13 on third down conversions, gain more yds per rushing attempt, and still manage to lose by 3 scores?
Its easy-turn the ball over 4 times.
If we can stop this trend (see Yale game) we win the next two and no one talks about replacing NW or anyone else.

At Sun Nov 07, 10:56:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If we played better than the other team, we would win.
I am tired of it .

At Sun Nov 07, 11:10:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Should Hamilton have knocked down the pass instead of intercepting it? Had he, the Lions would have taken over on their 35 instead of the 18 or perhaps a bit further up field.

At Sun Nov 07, 11:27:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I could not get the game on WKCR, bad feed, so I listened for free on the Harvard feed, to two guys with thick Boston accents. They seemed to like Brackett a lot, not surprisingly. They also commented on Frantz, who played his HS football at a school in Cambridge, and how he "lost his way" and ended up in Morningside Hts. HA ha

I too am disappointed in our season, even though we started off so strong. We have to hope that as our QB matures, along with Mr. Gerst, we will have a strong team. I am not sold on our coaching staff so much anymore, but it seems unlikely that we will have a coaching change. My son tells me that Coach Wilson said our goal is "to be in every game" - is this true? Can't we aspire to actually winning? A winning Columbia football record? Imagine.

Another point - we can't seem to win any games mid Ivy season. Has anyone else noticed this? We are effectively out of it by Week 4 of the Ivy season. This has to change.

I don't know who to pin the blame squarely on for our penchant for turnovers. Naturally, in our early wins we had hardly any, yet later - they seem to happen at the worse possible time. Can't the coaches key on this - ball protection, drills etc.?

At Mon Nov 08, 01:08:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

NW's goal of being "in every game" has been achieved to a large extent this year. But he and his coaches (and certainly we the fans) now expect more. I am as frustrated as the "if if if" poster. We are no doubt a much more competitive team than I remember (other than Wiley years) but we are not winning a single close game these past two years.

My sense is that we will have as good or better personnel on the field next year, so it is time to expect to WIN and not just be in it.

As for now, we need to beat Cornell confidently at home and "surprise" Brown on the road. Anything short of this is a disappointment for this season. Then in the off season put some mass on the D Line to cut down opponents' rushing, keep working with Brackett on ball protection and red zone drills and you will find we make those few extra first downs and an extra offensive TD per game and possibly avert one TD per game on defense more than this year.

Do that and we are an 8-2 team....and this should be NW's stated goal for next season.

At Mon Nov 08, 02:36:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is the kicking game OK?
CU misses a FG and H scores (3-0)
CU fumbles and H scores (10-0)
CU punt is 27 yds..H scores (16-0)
Third Quarter
H punts to our 9yd line...
CU is 3&out
WE punt 41 yds ....H scores (23-0)
Game over

At Mon Nov 08, 04:09:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dartmouth dominated Cornell in the second half of their game yesterday. It was pretty evident what happened and the Lions can do the same thing.

At Mon Nov 08, 05:39:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The coaching staff consists of fine men and good recruiters who appear to have the respect and confidenc eof the players. I think NW is all of the above. but I don't think that the on the field coaching has been as good as it could be. We need to have a better red zone offense. We need to recognize when to run and when to throw when we are inside the 10 yard line. We need to keep Brackett from making bad decisions. And why in the world did we go for the field goal when we were down two scores late in the 4th quarter?

At Mon Nov 08, 08:03:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love this blog but I think saying CU is snakebitten is too kind. It's a talented group that just isn't quite mentally tough enough. They respond poorly to adversity, frequently giving up quick touchdowns after fumbles or picks. I don't think many fans were surprised when Dartmouth marched the length of the field at the end of the game. Or when we failed to score at the end vs. either Fordham or Yale. It wasn't any different last year. The difference between 6-4 and 4-6 is a handful of plays at big moments. We rarely make them.

At Mon Nov 08, 08:11:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the kicking game poster-to be fair to Eddy, that fg was 49 yds into a slight wind and he just missed it left. Second fg was a pure miss. Guttas was pulled for Feely in 2nd half. He did ok. Meanwhile Harvard's punter was starting mlb who hadn't punted since HS. He was marginal at best. Our kicking game is miles better then last year. And Eddy kicking off is a smart move-has a big leg with good hang time.

At Mon Nov 08, 08:20:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Turn Over
Turn Over
Turn Over

The defense is doing ok (no perfect), but, lack of ball control is killing us. No turn overs, better offesive play calling and we win the last 2 games it is as simple as that.

Turn Over
Turn Over
Turn Over

At Mon Nov 08, 08:36:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I couldn't disagree more with the comment that these kids aren't "mentally tough enough." This notion is pure myth and reminds me of the cynical poster in the employee lunchroom, "The beatings will continue until morale improves." These kids have mental toughness is spades. They are competitive, internally driven and energetic. The observation that they have had breakdowns at critical times is a correct one, but making these kids more "mentally tough" or recruiting "mentally tougher" kids is not likely to turn a 3-7 or 4-6 team into an 8-2 team. This group has the talent and toughness to be successful.

At Mon Nov 08, 11:03:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jake, snake bitten means bad luck. Are we beset by bad luck? Or are we just a player or two short of being a really good team? I think the latter; I also think we can win both of our remaining games. We need a punishing FB, a TE to replace the graduating Kennedy, a few big LBs, a DL stud and we'll have a good team in '11.

At Mon Nov 08, 11:14:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

..."This group has the talent and toughness to be successful."...

So, i think the posters here are trying to figure out...then why are they not winning?

The majority of the visitors (including myself) to this blog love the Lions and want to see them be very successful...that being said, all the high expectations put on the Lions this year have fallen flat..

Is it the coaching? Bad system? Not prepared? Not teaching effectively? Not playing the most talented players? Etc..

Is it the players? Not making plays? Not prepared enough? Making bad decisions? Etc...

Is it something else?

Finish strong! Get those last two Ws of the season...

At Tue Nov 09, 05:12:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If Columbia wins its last two games, our Ivy record will be the same as last year's but the season will feel like a disappointment because beating either Princeton or Cornell this year is of little achievemment and means less than it did last year. Brown would be our only meaningful win.

If Columbia loses to Brown in the season finale, we will have no substantive Ivy wins and, in my opinion, did not even come close to one.

If Columbia loses our last two games, then the future looks bleak, to say nothing of the present.

At Tue Nov 09, 06:35:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's just get ready to play Cornell this week and focus on a win. The season is not over and until then let's not micro manage what could have or should have.
When the season ends, this is the time to evaluate the direction of the program and make the necessary changes should that be the case.
In the interim, let's stay positive and finish out the season with two more wins!

At Tue Nov 09, 08:57:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous ungvar said...

Kal Prince, Kentucky QB, headed to Columbia.

Says, "One of the top senior prospects in the state of Kentucky has made his decision and he’s headed to New York."

At Tue Nov 09, 08:59:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous ungvar said...

Any piece on Kal Prince:

At Tue Nov 09, 01:21:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

QB recruit Prince was quoted: "I’m really looking for a great fan-base, facilities and a place that will help me with a career beyond college."
The fan base is small but dedicated, as this board shows. But, the facilities are works in progress.

At Tue Nov 09, 02:21:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

as someone wrote here (Sun., 8:10AM PT), and a Crimson blog has it:
What Wilson said: “You’re going to tell the kid not to compete? It’s fourth and 10. He picked the ball off. I’m sure there’s some coach somewhere saying, ‘Hey, know the situation, and bat the ball down.’ So next time he gets a chance to pick a ball off, and he doesn’t know the situation, and he bats the ball down, and they score a touchdown if he does it on third down.”

What Wilson means: In perhaps the biggest turning point of the game, Harvard went for it on fourth and 10 in Columbia territory, and junior quarterback Collier Winters threw an interception to Lions defensive back Craig Hamilton. But senior receiver Mike Cook quickly stripped Hamilton, leading to a first-down fumble recovery for the Crimson. Here, Wilson is trying to be a supportive coach and support his playmaker in the secondary, but at the end of the day Hamilton’s mistake is inexcusable.


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