NEW YORK – The Columbia football team received a 151-yard, two-touchdown performance from starting running back Marcorus Garrett in a 37-14 loss to Monmouth in its 2013 home opener Saturday at Robert K. Kraft Field at Wien Stadium.
The Hawks strung together a 14-play, 48-yard opening drive to jump out to a 3-0 lead with 9:18 remaining in the first quarter. Miscommunication on a third and eight from the Columbia 29 led to a 46-yard field goal by Eric Spillane.
Travis Reim took the ensuing kickoff 48 yards almost to midfield and Garrett did the rest. The senior All-Ivy Leaguer took the ball for 12 yards on the first play before breaking off a 41-yard touchdown rush to put the Lions on top, 7-3, with 8:21 left in the opening quarter.
Late in the first quarter, Monmouth pinned Columbia inside the 10 and forced a punt to start with good field position and moved the ball into the red zone with the clock winding down. The Hawks regained the lead with a reverse play to Thaddeus Richards to put Monmouth on top, 10-7, with just six seconds to go in the first quarter.
Monmouth drove into the red zone on its first possession of the second quarter, but the Lions’ defense came up with a big stop on fourth and one after Chad Washington and Matthew Cahal stuffed K.B. Assante in the backfield for Columbia to take over on downs.
A 34-yard strike from Brendan Hill to Richards gave the Hawks another scoring opportunity, bringing Monmouth to the Columbia 22. However, Eric Spillane’s 39-yard attempt was wide left to keep it 10-7 with 3:08 before the half.
After a 13-yard reception by Denzel Hill and a 12-yard rush by Garrett, it seemed like the Lions’ offense was beginning to gain some traction. With the ball near midfield, quarterback Trevor McDonagh was pressured from behind and a tipped pass fell into Monmouth defensive end Darnell Leslie’s arms to end the drive with 1:58 left in the second quarter.
The Hawks two-minute offense gained 20 yards to set up a 36-yard field goal from Spillane to give Monmouth the lead by six with 40 seconds before intermission.
The second half began with the Monmouth defense forcing a Columbia three-and-out, which in turn led to a five-play, 45-yard scoring drive for the Hawks that was capped by a 17-yard touchdown run by Julian Hayes. The score remained 20-7 in favor of the Hawks until the five minute mark of the third quarter.
Garrett once again provided the spark Columbia needed, breaking a 43-yard run down the left sideline before being pushed out of bounds at the Monmouth 17. After an Alan Watson rush got the Lions inside the 10, Garrett punctuated the drive with a nine-yard scamper through the middle of the Monmouth defense. Eddy’s PAT brought the Lions within six at 20-14.
The Hawks added three points on a Spillane field goal three minutes later, sending the game to the fourth quarter with Monmouth up 23-14. Monmouth’s first drive in the final quarter was a methodical 11-play drive that ended with Brandon Hill finding Lamar Davenport with a 13-yard strike. K.B. Asante added a final touchdown on a 13-yard rush for Monmouth late in the quarter to close out the game, 37-14.
For the fifth time in his career, Garrett eclipsed the 100-yard mark, recording 151 on the ground to lead all rushers. Senior Paul Delaney did a stellar job in the kicking game, launching nine punts for an average of 43.9 yards, rocketing one 62 yards and landing three inside the 20.
The Lions will begin Ivy League play next Saturday, Oct. 5 at Princeton. Kick-off is slated for 1 p.m. and will be aired by ESPN3.