NEW YORK—Three Oren Milstein field goals and a stellar Columbia defensive effort proved to be the difference as the Lions registered a 9-7 come-from-behind win over Dartmouth Saturday at rainy and windy Robert K. Kraft Field.
The victory marked Columbia’s first Ivy League win of the year, matched its 2015 victory total of two and erased a 15-game losing streak in Homecoming games dating back to the 2000 season. Columbia improved to 2-4 on the year and 1-2 in Ivy League play, while Dartmouth dropped to 3-3 overall and 0-3 in the Ivy League.
“I’m really happy for our kids,” Patricia & Shepard Alexander Head Coach of Football Al Bagnoli said. “They’ve been working so hard and have given great effort. It’s great to see something go their way. We played well in the second half. We had some opportunities to score touchdowns instead of field goals, but at least we put points up on the board. We utilized the wind when we had it and we were able to hold on for the win.”
“I couldn’t be happier for our kids, our alumni base and the entire Columbia football community. It was an awesome win; nobody left early considering the suspense of it. Dartmouth’s a good football team, very physical, they’re coming off a terrific year last year an established program. For us to take the next step, we’re going to have to start beating teams that are established.”
A freshman, Milstein was named the John Toner Homecoming Player of the Game after he converted field goals of 31, 20 and 33 yards. He entered the game ranked No. 1 in the nation in field goal percentage and is now 9 for 10 on the season. Two weeks ago on Oct. 8, he connected on a school-record five field goals in Columbia’s 15-13 win at Wagner.
Milstein and Dartmouth kicker David Smith faced swirling winds and gusts of up to 40 miles per hour. With 27 seconds left in the game, Dartmouth’s Smith missed a 47-yard field goal that fell a foot short of the goal post. With 2:15 left in the contest, the Big Green started the game’s final drive from its own one-yard line, converted on a fourth and 10 and moved 69 yards in 12 plays. The Big Green drive stalled at the Columbia 30-yard line where Smith was forced to attempt the field goal. Previously, Smith missed a 50-yard field goal with 10:03 left in the game. The kick sailed right of the upright.
With 7:40 left in the game, Milstein missed his first field goal of the season a 38-yarder taken straight into the wind.
It was the Columbia defense that limited Dartmouth and came up with big plays all afternoon. The Big Green was held to 1-17 on third downs, 74 rushing yards and completions on just 14 of 39 passes. Senior safety Brock Kenyon picked off his second pass of the year, batted away two passes and finished with eight tackles, freshmen defensive linemen Daniel DeLorenzi and Michael Geraghty both registered big play sacks and the Lions totaled eight pass deflections and 5.0 tackles for loss for 18 yards. Senior Gianmarco Rea led the Lions with 11 tackles.
“Our defense played terrific,” Bagnoli said. “We are trying to establish ourselves as one of the best defensive teams in the league. When the defense had to stand up, they did. Paul Ferraro and staff have done a great job, the kids have bought in. They really have a very good feel in year two of running the same system. They play with confidence, the coaches do a great job of putting them in positions and the players do a good job of executing.”
“I give Columbia credit,” Dartmouth Head Coach Buddy Teevens said. “Columbia was very efficient offensively, their kicking game was solid and they played lights out on defense. They deserved to win. They shut us down offensively. Defensively, if you hold a team to nine points, you figure you’re going to win those games. It wasn’t through lack of effort, they beat us.”
Milstein gave Columbia its first lead of the day at 9-7 on a 33-yard field goal with 1:05 left in the third quarter. His third field goal of the day was setup by a 27-yard, five-play scoring drive fueled by junior quarterback Anders Hill who found senior Toure Douglas open for an 18-yard pass play.
Columbia cut the margin to 7-6 on a 20-yard Milstein field goal with 9:11 left in the third quarter. The Lions drove 48 yards in nine plays to setup the score, using an 11-yard reception by freshman Christian Everett and a career-long 20-yard run by freshman Hunter Petlansky on a key fourth and one play.
Dartmouth took a 7-3 lead with 5:03 left in the second quarter on a 65-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Jack Heneghan to wide receiver Hunter Hagdorn. Hengehan lofted the ball high over the Columbia secondary to Hagdorn, who caught the ball in stride and ran 20 yards untouched into the end zone.
Milstein gave Columbia a 3-0 lead with 7:26 left in the second quarter on a 31-yard field goal. The score was setup by a 34-yard run by quarterback Anders Hill, who faked a handoff and ran into the open field. The scoring drive went 46 yards on six plays.
Hill led Columbia’s offense as he completed 12 of 25 passes for 123 yards and ran for 30 more, senior running back Alan Watson ran for 74 yards on 17 carries, including a career-long 40-yard scamper and Everett notched career-highs for receptions (four) and receiving yards (54).
For Dartmouth, Heneghan completed 13 of 38 passes for 242 yards and a touchdown. Hagdorn caught three passes for 114 yards and his 65-yard touchdown reception. Folarin Orimolade led the Big Green with 10 total tackles.
Columbia is back in action when it hosts Yale on Friday, Oct. 28 at Robert K. Kraft at Lawrence Wien Stadium. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. for an NBC Sports Network television broadcast.
POST GAME NOTES
· Columbia was represented at the coin toss by its three 2016 captains: seniors Scooter Hollis (WR), Skyler Mornhinweg (QB) and Christian Conway (LB).
· Today’s weather at kickoff at Robert K. Kraft Field was 44 degrees and cloudy with light rain. The teams also endured swirling winds coming off the Hudson River.
· Columbia snapped a 15-game losing streak on Homecoming. The last time Columbia won a Homecoming Game was on Oct. 21, 2000, a 49-21 victory over Dartmouth at Lawrence A. Wien Stadium.
· Columbia and Dartmouth met in football for the 87th time in series history. Dartmouth now leads the all-time series 68-18-1.
· With the win, Columbia snapped a seven-game losing streak to Dartmouth in the series. Dartmouth has also now claimed 12 of the last 15 contests.
· Freshman placekicker Oren Milstein was named the John Toner Homecoming Player of the Game. Presented annually to the Columbia Football player judged to be the most outstanding performer in CU’s annual Homecoming game, the John Toner Award is named in honor of former Columbia assistant football coach, Connecticut Athletics Director and NCAA President John Toner. Toner, a Columbia football assistant from 1957-65, was a part of the coaching staff that guided Columbia to the Ivy League Championship in 1961. Toner’s dedication and contributions to the sport of college football as a coach, athletics director and NCAA executive were unmatched. Toner passed away on September 23, 2014 at the age of 91.
· In attendance today for Columbia’s Homecoming was New England Patriots owner Robert K. Kraft, the stadium’s namesake, all 20 individual Columbia 2016 Hall of Fame inductees including former football players Howard Hansen ‘52CC, Paul Kaliades ‘73CC and Johnathan Reese ‘02CC, representatives of three Columbia Hall of Fame team inductees and team representatives of Columbia’s national and Ivy League champions from the 2015-16 academic year.
· Freshman tight end Rory Schlageter made his first career start today.
· Freshman Lynnard Rose made his first career catch in the first quarter.
· Senior Brock Kenyon intercepted his second pass of the year in the first quarter. It was the third team interception on the year. Kenyon finished with two pass breakups and five tackles.
· Columbia quarterback Anders Hill scampered a career long 34 yards after a fake handoff in the second quarter. On the day, Hill threw for 123 yards and ran for 30 more.
· Freshman placekicker Oren Milstein converted three field goals for his seventh, eighth and ninth consecutive on the year, a 31-yarder in the second quarter, a 20-yarder and a 33-yarder in the third quarter. He concluded the day 9-10 on the year and entered the game ranked No. 1 in the nation in field goal percentage (6-6, 1.000). The last time a Columbia player converted three field goals in a game was on Oct. 8, 2016 at Wagner when Milstein finished with five in a 15-13 Lion win. Milstein missed his final attempt, a 38-yarder kicked straight into the wind.
· Columbia converted its sixth straight fourth down conversion on a 20-yard run by freshman Hunter Petlansky. The play was a fourth-and-short situation. On his third carry of his career, Petlansky faked a handoff to the tailback and kept the ball for a career-long 20 yards.
· Freshman wide receiver Christian Everett caught a career-high four passes for 54 yards with a long of 18.
· Freshman wide receiver Josh Wainwright returned to the lineup after missing last week’s Penn game. He caught three passes for 22 yards.
· Senior Alan Watson’s 40-yard run in the fourth quarter was a career long and individual long run of the year for Columbia. He finished with 74 yards rushing on 17 carries.
· Columbia is 2-0 when not scoring a touchdown and 0-4 when scoring a touchdown. In the Lions’ two victories this year, all scoring has come on field goals (eight total).
· Columbia has registered two come-from-behind victories on the year.