Columbia football’s first home game of the season was this past Saturday. Bwog’s resident sports experts Akul Arora and Jeremy Sherman were there.
Heading into opening day at Robert K. Craft Field at Lawrence A. Wien Stadium at Baker Athletics Complex, there was a general consensus among fans: even though Columbia is an elite academic institution, the sparkling intelligence of its student body wouldn’t translate to success on the football field.
This set up a win-win scenario for the Lions squad. No matter the final score, the Lions players would still be attending one of the finest universities in the country. This was summed up best by one of the Lion faithful, “Monmouth sucks, I had to Google you!”
When they finally took the field against the Monmouth Hawks in the much-anticipated home opener, the crowd was pleasantly surprised.
Some teams excel at offense, some at defense. In this game, the Lions discovered their pride: Special Teams.
In a game known as football, it is surprising that the only facet of the game where balls are kicked is constantly undervalued. Consider the following statistics:
Columbia destroyed Monmouth in kick return yardage, 118-59.
Columbia pummeled Monmouth in punting yardage, 395-302.
Monmouth kicker Eric Spillane missed a 39-yard field goal, while Columbia kicker Luke Eddy was perfect on the day, nailing all 2 extra-points attempted.
Fair catch after fair catch, the Lions pinned Monmouth deep in their own territory. This prolonged Monmouth’s drives, forcing them to march down the entire length of the field before finally reaching the end zone. This gave the Lions offense some much-needed rest. In fact, the Hawks offense was on the field a whopping 39:51 of the 60-minute contest. This strategy paid off, giving Lions’ star running back Marcorus Garrett fresh legs so he could get into the end zone twice and please Ivy League Fantasy Football owners with a 26.1-point game.
Despite their special teams dominance, the game slipped away from Columbia, 14-37. Next week, the Lions take on their arch rivals the Princeton Tigers on one of the biggest stages in college football. You can catch the game on ESPN3 at 1:00p.m. on Oct 5. Or you can head down to New Jersey and get a live view of a thrilling game in a state known for its preeminent football programs, including Monmouth University .
1. According to Google.com, Monmouth University is located in West Long Branch, NJ.