Best for Last
United in Victory!
Columbia 35 Brown 28 (2 OT)
Why Columbia Won
Columbia's defense forced six Brown turnovers, including three INT's of QB Kyle Newhall-Caballero who had only thrown four picks in all the previous nine games combined.
On offense, QB Sean Brackett just kept running for crucial yardage and completing just enough key passes to keep the Lions alive. He finished with four rushing TD's, one passing TD, and no interceptions.
Why Brown Lost
The Bears kept failing to put Columbia away, especially in the third quarter. The Brown long passing game was almost non-existent, and the defense finally became too tired to chase after Brackett.
Key Turning Points
-Late in the first half, Brown was leading 21-7 and driving again to a first and goal at the ten. But on that play, Newhall-Caballero's pass picked off and returned 77 yards by senior A.J. Maddox. Columbia did not end up scoring on the ensuing possession, but it kept Brown off the scoreboard and the Bear offense was never quite the same after that.
-Early in the third quarter and the score still 21-7, a Griffin Lowry fumble gave Brown the ball at the Lion two yard line. Then, Evan Miller went to work. On first down, he nailed Matthew Sudfeld for a two yard loss. Two plays later, he popped the ball out of a running Newhall-Caballero's hands and it was recovered by fellow senior Neil Schuster at the one.
-With the score still 21-7 early in the fourth quarter, Ryan Murphy sacked Newhall-Caballero on a first down and 10 at the CU 48 and Seyi Adebayo recovered at the Brown 46. An agonizing eight play drive ensued, but Brackett finally ended it with a two yard plunge for a TD and the Lions were back in it.
-On the ensuing Brown drive Columbia forced a three-and-out, finished off by Murphy's second sack back at the Bear five yard line. Three plays later, the Lions faced a 3rd and 3 at the Brown 33 when Brackett found senior Mike Stephens, who had to make an awkward turn to grab the ball before taking off for several more yards to the Bear seven. Three plays later, Brackett ran it in from the one for his third rushing TD of the game and the 21-21 tie.
-Trailing 28-21 in the first OT, Columbia faced a 4th and 1 at the Brown 16. Brackett banged it through for two yards and then on the very next play found TE Hamilton Garner for a 14 yard TD to send it to the Lions first-ever double OT.
-The team never gave up and several players had career days even in limited roles. Maddox and Ross Morand kept coming back from getting knocked out of the game with injuries. Fellow senior David Chao saved Columbia's bacon several times, especially when he grabbed a bad snap meant for Brackett and scampered ahead for a three yard carry on the Lions' second TD drive. On the final play of the day, somewhat unsung heros senior Chris Groth and transfer sophomore Wells Childress combined to stop Sudfeld maybe a hair shy of the end zone. Miller had 19 tackles, three of them for a loss.
-Brackett took over the game just like he did so many times in 2010, but never was able to this season before today. He begins the wait for his senior season on a high note.
-This time, the Lions made some good adjustments in the second half. The best one was the decision to finally start blitzing more.
-Lion kickoffs and punts were stellar all day and made a difference in the game.
-It took the offense too long to finally get going, and the long passing game was non-existent.
-For some reason, no one wants to block the blitzing defender on Lion PAT's and FG's. This is not just something that happened today.
There are a lot of candidates, but I have to give this one to Sean Brackett. He directed his troops to an amazing comeback and deserves the most credit for the win.