Friday, October 07, 2011

Day of Atonement?

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Wien Stadium

Columbia Lions vs. Sacred Heart Pioneers

October 8th, 2011 (Yom Kippur... in New York City)

Location: Robert K. Kraft Field at Wien Stadium on the Baker Athletics Complex

Kickoff Time: 12:30pm (Yom Kippur ends at 7:25pm, just in time for what could be a decent 7:30 kickoff, but no...)

Gametime Weather Forecast: Sunny, 71 degrees, fasting

The Spread: Sacred Heart is favored by 3 1/2 points

Columbia Game Notes

Sacred Heart Game Notes


You can catch video AND audio of the game on the SideLion Pass on 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).


My 2011 Guide to getting to Wien Stadium

Some SPECIAL Updates on traffic and parking from a local resident.


In the offseason, this looked like the one real sure win for the Lions in 2011.

Now Columbia is an underdog on its own home field.

Sacred Heart has righted its ship after an 0-2 start and is now 2-2.

Columbia is still looking for answers at 0-3.

The Pioneers are excited about taking on Ivy League schools and upping their profile.

The Lions are struggling to find out of conference opponents and have had to settle on a team that seats slightly under 48 people on their home field.

Sacred Heart has an attacking defense that has recorded a nice amount of sacks and tackles for a loss.

Columbia's pass rushers don't usually touch the opposing QB until the postgame handshakes.

The Pioneers' coach has been at the helm for 8 years and appears to be auditioning for another top job, perhaps in the Ivy League.

The Lions' coach has been at the helm for six years and appears to be auditioning to be the next CEO of Enron.

Columbia's Keys to the Game

Do Something on Offense

For most of the first three games this season, Columbia's offense has looked punchless. The running holes have not been there. The QB has been banged up, pressured, and often off-target.

But on the bright side, everyone is dressing the same.

If the Lions could get just one sustained TD drive in this game, a lot may change for Columbia the rest of the season.

If not... horrors.

Neutralize Spence and Moore

The way Columbia has been tackling, especially late in the game, the prospect of a speedy 230-pound fullback running at the Lions tomorrow seems scary.

It is.

Freshman Keshaudas Spence is that fullback and Columbia needs an answer for him.

After Princeton ran and ran all night last weekend to a victory over the Lions, I can't imagine any reason why Spence won't get at least 20 carries tomorrow.

Meanwhile, sophomore Greg Moore is a weapon the Pioneers can utilize as a runner and a receiver. If he gets into the open field, forget about it.

Get Brackett back on Track

This is still a major key for Columbia. Reports from practice say QB Sean Brackett IS healing nicely and will go at near 100% Saturday.

He needs to get into a rhythm soon.

If he is still hurting, the coaches need to rest him for the final six Ivy games of the season.

But as long as Brackett isn't asked to return kickoffs, I suppose we should be grateful.

Watch out for Embler and Mandas

The Dartmouth players were all talking about senior Sacred Heart defensive end Justin Embler after the Pioneers beat the Big Green two weeks ago.

He is a genuine terror.

Any success the Lions have on offense tomorrow will probably have to include some kind of answer for that young man.

Senior linebacker Chris Mandas is also a serious threat, especially at creating turnovers.

Mix it Up!

We call for this every week, and the need for it grows every time.

This would be a great time to try Paul Havas in the wildcat, or give Nick Gerst the ball 25 times and see what he can do, etc.

I wouldn't put too much money on seeing that kind of sustained surprise tomorrow, but it's worth the price of admission or the subscription to the SideLion Pass to find out for sure.


Tomorrow is the 23rd anniversary of the shocking Columbia victory over Princeton in 1988 to end the Lions then-record five year losing streak. I was a freshman at that game and will never forget it.


At Sat Oct 08, 04:41:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm taking the points and Brackett "near 100%" for the win.

Where's the closest ATM?

What? You expected the team to put up wins with Brackett barely able to lift his arm? Right!

At Sat Oct 08, 06:52:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Light commentary this morning....Hope our team can put a W on the board

At Sat Oct 08, 08:01:00 PM GMT+7, Blogger cathar said...

I too remember the Princeton victory that finally ended the ignominious "streak." (A streak since exceeded several times by other schools, as so many seem to forget.) It was an amazing day and I purposely went back to walk around campus where the joy (or anyway the iebriated celebrating) was palpable.

But ss for today, I suspect it still makes better sense to, even as one prays for a win, to continue to look forward to not-so-far-away basketball season.

At Sat Oct 08, 08:03:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Today at home the Lion's will turn things around. The defense must stop the run & the offense must run the ball with Gerst and spread the oppositions defense. Columbia 14, Sacred Heart 13.

At Sat Oct 08, 09:08:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We need a win, period, any which way we can. We cannot go into Homecoming against Penn without a win. Say a prayer.

At Sat Oct 08, 11:12:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isn't god on their side?

At Sun Oct 09, 02:48:00 AM GMT+7, Blogger DOC said...

Very disappointed in our play today especially special teams that probably HANDED Sacred Heart at least 10 points (see margin of victory). Add lousy tackling and dropped passes at critical moments and (no surprise) we're Oh for the season. What can be done in time for Penn? Are we going to be embarrassed again?

At Sun Oct 09, 03:18:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

While the offense was not terrible, that is about the only half way decent thing I can say about today's "effort". Our placekicker missed two PATs and a third was blocked. Our kick-offs were awful; in fact they were below high school level. Our punting was awful. Our tackling was AWFUL. In one sorry effort we had the SH QB set up for a huge sack and the pass rusher decided to push him instead of bringing him down. When we should have brought pressure we failed to do so. And once again, the opponent came out at half time knowing what it needed to change and did it, while we went a quick three and out.

At Sun Oct 09, 03:26:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Could we play their nuns' school next year? "DOC" didn't mention missing three of four extra points, or our QB rushing more, 16 times, than all three RBs combined, 15, and outrushing them 96 yards to 61. That's a running game? Passing wasn't any better. Maybe our coach's title load is too heavy: Norries Wilson is: "The Columbia Shepard and Patricia Alexander Head Football Coach." Or is it Columbia's S and P Alexander Head Coach of Intercollegiate Football, Esquire? I can't remember. Anyway, maybe we could
get just a plain ol' coach somewhere.

At Sun Oct 09, 03:37:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...


At Sun Oct 09, 03:53:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gerst is playing on a bad ankle. Garrett is playing on a bad ankle. One of the O-line spot is starting the fourth- stringer. And others. They are the walking wounded. No wonder.

At Sun Oct 09, 04:54:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Mitch '68 said...

No one likes to see injuries but playing with injuries is an essential part of football. The ability to do so is part of being an effective player just like running or passing. I'm sure our opponents have injuries too.

Are injuries an explanation (or an excuse) for what is happening to this team? I don't buy it. Much more significant is the lack of preparation, motivation, and concentration evidenced by missed tackles and blocks, penalties, and above all MISSED PATs! We don't need coaches who are geniuses with Xs and Os to correct these mental errors. We don't need players who are the second coming of Bill Campbell. If only it were that easy! What we have now is a textbook case of a team that's going to find it very, very hard to beat anyone, including the nuns.

My suggestion? Start playing underclassmen immediately. Explain to the veterans that we must judge the lineup by results, and the results are unacceptable so changes must be made. The results may still be negative -- but a drastic shakeup is needed. After the season the coaches should be evaluated by the same standard.

I still think they will win one game this season, but I don't know who it will be.

At Sun Oct 09, 05:17:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How did our placekicking take such a huge step backward? Is it time to give Guttas a shot?

At Sun Oct 09, 05:24:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please give it up, the O was having a better game before he came in the game. To say be turned the game aroound for us is nuts. He,s a player but so is the other kid.

At Sun Oct 09, 05:27:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What does the rash of injuries say about our strength and conditioning program? And can anybody say that our tackling was at a minimal level of competence? What about the dropped passes? And why can't we handle any aspect of the game in which one of our players is required to kick a football? But most significantly I didn't see the type of effort which our opponent seemed to bring on every down. The program right now is in worse shape than at any time in the Wilson era.

At Sun Oct 09, 05:43:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

15 for 87


Very strange football organization

At Sun Oct 09, 06:44:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't see us winning a game all year.We are the only Ivy team going backwards with basically the same talent from last year( No Kennedy hurts) Time to have everything reevaluated from the AD all the way down. This is a bad cycle that needs to be fixed asap.

At Sun Oct 09, 08:08:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are all looking at this the WRONG way! Think outside of the box please... This is a GOOD (if not GREAT) thing... This puts Norries (and incompetent staff) one foot out the door.

At Sun Oct 09, 08:40:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We are all in a funk as is the team. It's as if we're moving at 80% the speed and tenacity of each of our opponents...always beat by a few steps or many steps (3rd and 23 and they run for 23.5).

Woud not have minded the loss if we had tried something, anything new

It's the players, it's the's a contagion.

It's hard to watch anymore.

At Sun Oct 09, 11:18:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe dad, but it's a team sport if he plays at graduation and it's best for the team so be it. Let it go

At Sun Oct 09, 08:37:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Geez...If I was the Dad I would have probably had a heart attack by now..Gerst is just one glaring piece that is not utilized...The whole scene is now pathetic...Theres a great bunch of kids here that have no direction


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