Hope in Hanover?
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The Lions at Memorial Field, 2005
Columbia Lions at Dartmouth Big Green
October 22, 2011
Location: Memorial Field
Kickoff Time: 1:30pm
Gametime Weather Forecast: 54 degrees and partly cloudy
The Spread: Dartmouth is favored by 10 points
Columbia Game Notes
Dartmouth Game Notes
Video of the game synched up to audio from Columbia sportscasters Jerry Recco and Sal Licata is available on the SideLion Pass on GoColumbiaLions.com. The game is also on WKCR student radio at 89.9 FM in the New York area, (and you can get the WKCR feed over the internet too).
Memorial Field circa 1965
Both head coaches are basically on death watch as the smart money says neither of them will be back next year.
In Dartmouth Head Coach Buddy Teevens' case, a loss tomorrow would seal his fate for sure in what's been a mostly disappointing second tenure at his alma mater.
If the Big Green lose this homecoming contest, listen for some very loud "boos" from the crowd as the final seconds tick down.
There's still a lot of pressure on Columbia as you could argue that Head Coach Norries Wilson could save his job with two or three wins over these final five contests of 2011. if that's true, the Lions will have to start winning now or hang their hopes on beating three out of the next four opponents that include Harvard and Brown.
Another backstory is Dartmouth RB Nick Schwieger has a chance to get a rare 100+ yard trifecta against the Lions after going for more than 200 yards in the 2009 game and well over 100 yards last season at Wien Stadium. Columbia is dying for a chance to contain him and get some revenge against Green QB Connor Kempe after he had what seems like the best game of his collegiate career in New York last year.
Kempe himself is backstory, making his first start after being pulled from that spot for the last two games. He will be looking for a shot at redemption on the field tomorrow.
Columbia will be under pressure to play more mistake free in key moments after three straight penalties inside the Penn red zone last week sank their chances for a big upset win over the Quakers. Huge turnovers at crucial moments were key factors in the Lions' last two losses in Hanover in 2009 and 2007.
Columbia's Keys to the Game
This will be Columbia's final chance to prove it can stop or at least contain the league's best running back. The funny thing is that in Schwieger's two starts against Columbia, he hasn't been the only key reason the Lions lost despite his huge numbers. In 2009, it was a series of Columbia turnovers and the fact that QB M.A. Olawale was badly injured that killed them. Last year, it was Kempe's sterling play that made the real difference. Perhaps that leaves Schwieger with added motivation to put the Lions away all on his own this time.
Establish a Running Game
Columbia's running woes could see a respite tomorrow against the league's worst rushing defense. In short, the Lions NEED this to happen to win. Dartmouth's secondary is too good to go after without the threat of some ground yards to balance things out. Columbia may need to try some types of runs it hasn't in the past, including running out of the I, and using some classic draw plays.
Blitzing a lot could give Schwieger too many opportunities to burn Columbia, but the Lions will definitely lose if they the Dartmouth QB as much time as he got last year in New York.
Use Garner More
One way to beat the Green secondary could be to throw underneath to emerging sophomore TE Hamilton Garner a lot more, especially early in the game.
Figure out How to Handle Kick Coverage
Shawn Abuhoff can win games on his own with his return abilities, but the Lions can't just settle for poorly executed squib kicks either.
A pre-renovation shot of Memorial Field with the huge visitor stands still intact