Occupy the Win Column: Scouting Brown
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Love or hate Norries Wilson, love or hate the athletic department, there's no denying that the 2011 Columbia Lions players deserve the dignity of achieving at least one win this season.
It's come down to one last chance against one of the best teams in the Ivies, Brown. And after last week's upset loss to Dartmouth, you know the Bears will be more focused than ever in hopes of finishing their season with a win.
Nothing seems to come easy for Columbia football, especially this season where non-conference opponents like Sacred Heart who were set up as "easy" wins turned out to be a lot stronger than anyone thought.
At least with Brown, we all know we're taking on a serious powerhouse that can beat just about any team in FCS football.
You don't have to be a Brown fan to enjoy the thing of beauty that is the Bears scoring machine.
5th year senior QB Kyle Newhall-Caballero is having his best season with 15 TD passes and just four INT's. Pickoffs used to be his one downside, but he is just throwing one pick for every 82 passes thrown this season, (that has to be some kind of record).
"KNC" is spreading the wealth to a lot of receivers. Four different Bears already have more than 25 receptions this year and two have more than 40. (By contrast, only one CU WR has 40 or more catches).
The top target is senior Alex Tounkara-Kone, (yes, Brown also leads the league in hyphenated names), with 43 grabs for 539 yards and four TD's. Junior Tellef Lundevall is a close second with 41 receptions for 451 yards and four TD's, and then there's Jimmy Saros. Saros may be the most dangerous of them all even though he has only 39 catches for 407 yards and three TD's. Junior running back Mark Kachmer is also a frequent aerial target with 26 catches, two for TD's.
The running game has been spottier, but mainly because Brown likes to throw so much. Kachmer has 543 yards rushing and averages 4.7 yards per carry, but he only gets about 14 carries per game. Sophomore John Spooney has a 5.2 per carry average, but he only gets about 11 carries per contest.
The offensive line has allowed just 10 sacks despite all that passing. They're good.
The Brown defense is only mediocre against the run, allowing 135 yards on the ground per game. In both of their two losses this season, the opposing running games were the biggest reason why.
The passing defense is much stronger. The Bears allow fewer than 190 yards passing per game and have 12 interceptions.
They don't put too much pressure on QB's with just a modest 16 sacks so far this season.
But the key is the Bears just don't miss too many tackles, especially in the secondary led by junior AJ Cruz.
The best special teams weapon is Cruz, who averages more than 30 yards per kickoff return and has a TD return this season.
Primary punt returner junior Anthony Franciosi averages just four yards per return. Cruz averages just three yards per return when he handles punts.
Sophomore placekicker Alexander Norocea is 7 of 12 on field goals and he does not have a range much beyond 35 yards. He doesn't boom his kickoffs either.
Senior punter Nathan Lovett, on the other hand, is a booming punter who had seven punts of 50 yards or more and 20 boots inside the 20.
Senior Farewells (continued)
Kalasi burst onto the scene in week 2 of his freshman year when he won Ivy Rookie of the Week honors after a tough loss at Towson. Injuries marred much of the rest of his freshman and sophomore seasons, but he came back stronger this year and last. Fans will long remember his forced fumble and takeaway in the Penn game at Homecoming this year.
Another Lion QB who has shown his ultimate loyalty to the team by changing positions, in his case to tight end. Extremely well-liked hard worker who will be missed.
We haven't really seen Raphael on the field in his four years here, but he made a great story when he first committed to Columbia when several Southern California newspapers featured his hard-working mom from the Los Angeles area. Truly, Lopez is a Columbia success story no matter how you slice it.
An extremely talented and fast player, Maddox made an impact on day one and only injuries have slowed him down. Surely a career highlight will be his pick six to give the Lions an early lead at Princeton this season. I'm not sure if he's eligible or even considering doing a 5th year, but we'd love to keep him!
Being the younger brother of all-time Columbia sack leader Lou Miller can't be too easy. But Evan never rested on his brother's laurels and has worked hard all four years. He will always be remembered for that fateful night at Lafayette in 2009 when he was thrust onto the field after Alex Gross was suddenly injured. Miller ended up having a strong game and the following week against Penn he had 12 tackles.