It Begins: Liberty Cup X
The Bronx Zoo
Columbia Lions vs. Fordham Rams
Liberty Cup X
September 17, 2011
Location: Jack Coffey Stadium
Kickoff Time: 1:00pm
Gametime Weather Forecast: 68 degrees and partly cloudy.
The Spread: Fordham is favored by 5 points, (the line opened Wednesday with the Rams favored by 3 1/2)
Columbia Game Notes
Fordham Game Notes
You can catch the game on the SideLion Pass on GoColumbiaLions.com with Jerry Recco and Sal Licata. If you're in your car, WKCR student radio is at 89.9 FM, (and you can get its feed over the internet too). Fordham's radio station has a good signal at 90.7 FM in New York, also with a website for streaming if you are outside of the NYC area.
HOW TO GET TO THE GAME:
(Easy tip for GPS owners: just find "New York Botanical Gardens" in your "points of interest" option. The Fordham campus and stadium are just across the street from the gardens).
1) From Long Island
a. Head to the Triboro Bridge and get on the Bruckner Expressway to the Bronx River Parkway. Take Bronx River Parkway to Fordham Road Exit (7W). Bear right up a small hill as the road splits following the underpass, then make a right at the light (Kazmiroff/Southern Blvd.) Turn left at next light into the main parking lot.
b. Take the Triboro Bridge to the Harlem River Drive all the way to the end until you reach Dyckman Street/10th Avenue. Take Dyckman all the way to the West Side Highway/Henry Hudson Parkway NORTH until you see the Mosholu Parkway Exit. Take Mosholu Parkway to the end. Make a right onto Kazmiroff Blvd. (Southern Boulevard). Turn right at the third light into campus.
c. Take the Midtown Tunnel and then continue all the way crosstown, (this is rough, double parkers and suicidal pedestrians make driving through Midtown Manhattan a no-no for me when I can avoid it), all the way to the entrance to the West Side Highway NORTH until you see the Mosholu Parkway Exit. Take Mosholu Parkway to the end. Make a right onto Kazmiroff Blvd. (Southern Boulevard). Turn right at the third light into campus.
d. Take either the Throgs Neck Bridge or Whitestone Bridge to the Hutchinson River Parkway North to the Pelham Parkway West. Take Pelham Parkway for approximately two miles until the road splits following the Bronx River Parkway Underpass. Stay right up a small hill and make a right at the light (Kazmiroff/Southern Boulevard). Turn left at the next light into the main parking lot. (I JUST DON'T RECOMMEND USING THIS OPTION UNLESS EVERYTHING ELSE IS AT A COMPLETE STANDSTILL... IT IS MORE THAN A LITTLE EASY TO GET CONFUSED BY THE "ROAD SPLITS" SECTION OF THESE DIRECTIONS. Plus, Pelham Parkway can be rough on the weekends).
2) From New Jersey and Most Points South
(from some points south of NYC it MAY make sense to come via Staten Island and the Verrazano Narrows Bridge... but this is not exceedingly common for getting to Fordham).
3) From the North
The Fordham website directs people to take the Pelham Parkway exit... but I HATE that idea. Make it easy on yourself and just take the Henry Hudson Parkway SOUTH to the Mosholu Parkway. Take Mosholu Parkway to end. Make a right onto Kazmiroff Blvd. (Southern Boulevard). Turn right at the third light into campus.
Fordham was doing some construction on its lots in past years, but that construction is over now. There should be ample parking in the Fordham lot, and if not, the guards at the gate will direct you to the very easy-to-find parking garages just up the road.
DITCH THE CAR AND TAKE THE TRAIN
Metro North stops right at Fordham.
The Subway does not stop very close to the Fordham campus, but if you insist then take the 4 or D line train to the Fordham Road stop. You can then transfer to the Bx12 bus to the Webster Ave stop and cross the street to Rose Hill Campus library entrance. Or you can walk to campus by going EAST on Fordham Road, (you should pass streets like Valentine and Tiebout Avenues, if you don't see them, you probably walked west by accident).
The Liberty Cup
In addition to the Liberty Cup trophy going to the winners, with a corresponding post game ceremony, Fordham has invited wounded warriors to present the game ball, participate in the pregame coin toss and to present the Liberty Cup to the winning team following the game.
The Liberty Cup honors students and alumni of both Columbia and Fordham who died in the September 11th attacks.
Fordham is playing its homecoming game in front of a crowd that wants to see some dividends now that more than a third of the team is on athletic scholarship. Fordham sacrificed its full membership in the Patriot League in favor of scholarships, and now it's a team without a conference and a mysterious identity. Any positives the scholarships have given to recruiting have probably been negated by this non-conference designation.
The Rams are coming off a no pressure loss to FBS UConn. But now the pressure is on. If they can't beat Columbia at homecoming in year two of athletic scholarships, then some heads could roll.
For Columbia, there is growing pressure on Head Coach Norries Wilson to bring the team a winning record for the first time. Wilson is in year six of his tenure and the honeymoon period is over.
I'd also say there's some bad blood between these teams, because after three straight very close games some emotions are definitely raw on both sides of the ball. Columbia's super promising DT Owen Fraser was badly injured on a questionable play two years ago on this field, and he has never fully recovered. Fordham fans have no love for Columbia's Ivy League persona.
Will it get ugly on or off the field?
Of course not.
But the rooting and cheering could get intense.
Keys to the Game
STOP THE RUN
Columbia's achilles heel last year and the year before that needs to start to heal. Fordham's Darryl Whiting is a big, strong back who can hurt the Lions deeply if he isn't somehow contained.
APPLY THE PRESSURE
Fordham's QB is likely to be freshman Peter Maetzold playing in his first game that really matters in college. (Game one against UConn was a no-win situation).
Maetzold needs to feel the heat both physically and emotionally as much as possible.
ESTABLISH THE RUN WITHOUT BRACKETT CARRYING THE BALL TOO MUCH
The best rusher on the Lions is QB Sean Brackett, but Columbia needs to be able to get yards and carries out of someone else with real consistency.
If junior RB Nick Gerst really doesn't play, the burden falls on super talented soph Marcorus Garrett, and of course... the offensive line.
LET BRACKETT BE BRACKETT
You don't want to overuse Brackett, but you can't keep him too much in a box either. Sure, you risk injury that way, but the only way to lower the risk of injury for sure is to bench him.
No defense Columbia will play this season can really adjust to Brackett when he ad libs. And if that's what it takes to win, the leash should come off early in the game and not just on a late drive.
REMEMBER THE PRESSURE'S ON THEM
Fordham needs this win more than Columbia does. And they have a lot of freshmen and sophomores starting on offense who will have to bring that win home. As long as the Lions play it cool and smart, (no dumb penalties or turnovers), the Rams could go a long way to beating themselves.