Day of Atonement?
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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 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).
HOW TO GET TO THE GAME:
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.
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.
**IMPORTANT HISTORICAL NOTE**
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.