Bwog football correspondent CML recounts the Lions’ loss to Dartmouth.
The defining question for this Saturday’s contest between Columbia and Dartmouth wasn’t who was in the gutter — both teams were tied for last place in the Ivy League at 0-2 — but who was looking at the stars. When the pigskin first left the foot of the Big Green’s kicker and arced through the brisk October air, it became obvious that it was the Lions. The skyward-gazing kickoff returner was wrenched back to painful reality as the ball glanced off his unsuspecting body, and though Columbia retained possession, the infamous offense fumbled on the first play of the drive, this time relinquishing control deep in its own territory (and establishing a record for the ratio of fumbles to plays). Dartmouth, whose focus was evidently more terrestrial, nimbly picked the Lions’ defense apart with adroitness, perhaps uncharacteristic of perpetual inebriates to notch a touchdown and field goal in quick succession. The offense puttered around the line of scrimmage myopically, the Big Green scored another touchdown to extend its lead to 17, and the Lions found themselves thrown from the gutter into a spiraling abyss of futility.
But all was not lost until the very end of the second quarter. The offense had shaken itself out of its catatonia and reached the 10-yard line, but there was only time for one more play. Rather than electing to attempt a field goal and obtain a cocksure three points, Norries decided to go for the full monty. Surprisingly, the quarterback did hook up with his receiver; unsurprisingly, the receiver was brought to his knees one yard from the end zone as the final seconds squirted away. Thus the half ended with a particularly disappointing form of gridiron coitus interruptus, because the Lions weren’t able to pull it out.
In spite of this blown opportunity, Columbia did get some comeuppance. In the middle of the fourth quarter, the Lions faced fourth down, and Norries chose to more or less concede the game by punting. But seconds later, the defense came up with a big interception, transmuting the leaden punt into a golden forward completion. Strangely, the offense was able to finish the deal, driving 19 yards to double its point output against Ivy opponents. But it was too little and too late: apparently exhausted by its long campaign, the offense went flaccid again. The Big Green managed another field goal to put the score at 20-7, and the game ended with parents and students wondering why we even recruit athletes in the first place.