Mega Bowl III
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Columbia Lions at Cornell Big Red
November 12, 2011
Location: Schoelkopf Field
Kickoff Time: 12:30pm
Gametime Weather Forecast: Partly cloudy, 54 degrees
The Spread: Cornell is favored by 14 points
Columbia Game Notee
Cornell Game Notes
You can catch audio of the game on the SideLion Pass on GoColumbiaLions.com with Jerry Recco and Sal Licata. VIDEO of the game will be available for $7.50 on RedCast. HINT: DO WHAT I DO, which is buy the opposing team's video feed and then mute their audio while I listen to the Columbia audio. It usually syncs up pretty well.
If you're in your car, WKCR student radio is at 89.9 FM, (and you can get its feed over the internet too).
Columbia has beaten Cornell three years in a row and you know the Big Red circled this game on the schedule at the beginning of this season as a "must win" for the seniors. The chances of Cornell coming out flat in this game where they honor those seniors seem slim.
The Lions come in to the game realizing this is probably their last realistic chance to get a win this season.
Meanwhile, if Cornell loses it will be hard for the program to really convince alums that it has improved this season, (even though they truly have).
For Columbia, it's hard to believe a win will do much to change Head Coach Norries Wilson's fate... but stranger things have happened.
Columbia's Three Keys to the Game
Disrupt the Red Pass
Cornell's passing game is everything. If you can jam the receivers on the line and rush QB Jeff Matthews effectively, you can win.
Columbia will have to dare the Big Red to beat them with the run, but that means the linebackers will have to be ready to make a play when the run does come.
Also, I expect Cornell to test the Lions' secondary tackling. If short passes and screens turn into long gains, that's all the Big Red will do all day.
Establish the Run
If there ever was a game for Columbia to get out of the spread and try some straight ahead running, this would be it.
But we all know we won't be doing that, so it's essential that RB's Griffin Lowry and Alec Fisher get some consistent yardage. And QB Sean Brackett will also have to get running more tomorrow. Based on the way he ran against Harvard, Brackett seems healthier than he has been all year.
Test them Deep then Burn them Short
With Cornell's woes against the run, not too many teams have needed or tried to go long against the Big Red. It might be time to test the corners especially with speedsters like Kurt Williams, Paul Havas and Connor Nelligan. A few throws like that along the sidelines should open things up on the inside to Mike Stephens and Hamilton Garner.
22 Years Ago...
In November, 1989 a downtrodden and 0-8 Columbia team headed north to Ithaca in what looked like the slim hope of getting new Head Coach Ray Tellier his first win at Columbia.
Just like this year, that 0-8 Lion squad took on a 3-5 Big Red team.
QB Bruce Mayhew was a big star that day with 24 of 39 passing for 276 yards and two TD's.
TE Matt Less, one of CU's all-time greats, had eight receptions for 123 yards and a TD.
Oh, and Columbia WON 25-19.
I remember sitting in my dorm room that cold rainy Manhattan day following the game on WKCR and enjoying every minute of it.
Let's hope history repeats itself tomorrow.
In Other News...
For years, I've said that senior Co-Captain Bob Hauschildt is one of the smartest guys on the team.
My contacts at Morgan Stanley who supervised him there the last two summers say the same thing.
Now everyone knows.
Hauschildt has been chosen for the Capital One Academic All-District Football First Team.
This is awesome news.
Men's basketball tips off tonight against defending national champion UConn in Storrs. The game is being broadcast on ESPNU, so be sure to check it out!
Perhaps there's really nothing informative I can add about the Penn State scandal and the terrible way it's making so many of us feel.
But I will say this: I have been to two football games in Happy Valley and I can honestly say they were two of the most incredible sports experiences of my life.
They were the best combination of football enthusisam combined with friendly hospitality that I have ever seen in a group of fans anywhere.
The fact that it was the wonderful world of Penn State football that Jerry Sandusky used to help lure his victims will forever tarnish those memories for me.
May the victims gain some degree of comfort and justice soon.