Roar Lions Roar is brought to you by IvySport.
You can check out IvySport's Columbia products here.
Before I analyze the Tigers, let's look at the announced starting lineups for Columbia according to the just released game notes.
At WR, Mike Stephens is indeed out and I expect him to be out for the next few weeks.
That gives the official start to seniors Paul Havas and Kurt Williams, with freshman Connor Nelligan and junior Ian Cummins as the backups.
Replacing Stephens on the two-deep as a kick returner is freshman Alec Fisher who impressed last week.
Nick Gerst is listed as the backup RB and hoping that means he will get more than the nine carries he had last Saturday.
Junior Eric Walker gets his first start, (at least on paper), at left guard.
On defense, AJ Maddox is listed as one starting corner... although he was listed as the starter last week too and he didn't play, (ah the little games with the two-deep, how much fun they must be to play). His absence, and Ross Morand's absence were sorely felt against Albany and getting either one back this Saturday could make a huge difference. Alas, Morand is not listed on the two-deep at all.
Other new names listed as backups include sophomore CB Jeremy Mingo and sophomore LB Brian East, (who got into a good deal of the Albany game).
Sophomore Paul Delaney is listed as the starting punter.
Princeton's Bob Surace is under the gun
Taking on the Tigers
The frustration in Tigertown is pretty obvious as Princeton is riding a 10 game losing streak and confidence in second year Head Coach Bob Surace is very low.
But Princeton's 0-2 record so far this season masks the fact that the Tigers player powerhouse Lehigh pretty tough in week one, and take away a turnover or two last week against Bucknell and you've got a team that some could argue is slowly on the rise.
But optimism alone won't turn this program around or grab them a win Saturday night.
This unit still doesn't seem to be buying in to OC James Perry's system or personality, but its injuries and other personnel issues that are the real problem.
QB Tommy Wornham have never been All Ivy caliber, and he's starting this season on a bad not. He's still struggling with interceptions and while he can be a good runner he's never had quite enough leg to win a game on his own.
Speaking of legs, Princeton seems to be recovering a bit in the running game for the first time since Jordan Culbreath went down with a life threatening genetic disease in 2009, (Culbreath came back to make a miraculous contribution last season, but well off his 1,200 yard pace of 2008. He has now graduated and is thankfully doing pretty well).
The Tigers sent up a glimmer of rushing hope in week one when freshman Chuck Dibilio had a strong performance against Lehigh and earned Ivy Rookie of the Week honors. But Debillo is not listed on the two deep at this week and it's a mystery whether he's 100%.
Junior Akil Sharp is doing a decent job getting most of the carries other than Debillo, but he only has 16 carries total.
A bigger concern is the wide receiving corps. Senior Isaac Serwanga, (a guy Columbia recruited heavily), is the go-to guy right now but this crew is as thin as we thought it would be at the beginning of the season after Trey Peacock graduated.
This unit was supposed to be much improved with the return of star players like senior LB Steven Cody who missed just about all of last year with an injury.
But it's hard to judge how badly the defense is doing on numbers alone, because Princeton played offensive juggernaut Lehigh in game one and gave up a lot of points because of offensive turnovers in week two against Bucknell.
Cody is indeed still the leader, but another star is junior DT Caraun Reid from the Bronx.
Junior SS Mandela Shaeffer is the team's leading tackler, which says a lot of good things about him but bad things about a defense with a defensive back as its top tackler.
Special teams are a definite strength for Princeton up and down the line.
Senior PK Patrick Jacob may be the best in the league, while junior punter Joe Cloud is also excellent.
The RB Sharp is a dangerous kick returner and is generally more dangerous at this position than with the set offense.
Kickoff is 6pm at Princeton Stadium.
There are just a few days left to register for the cool Columbia tailgate event at Princeton Stadium.
The deadline to RSVP is September 30th.
Click HERE to register/RSVP for the event online NOW.