NEW YORK—Sophomore wide receiver Josh Wainwright caught a game-winning 24-yard pass from senior quarterback Anders Hill to give Columbia a 34-31 walk-off, come-from-behind overtime win against Penn Saturday at Robert K. Kraft Field at Lawrence A. Wien Stadium. After Wainwright gathered in the game-winning touchdown, many of the season-high 13,081 fans stormed Robert K. Kraft Field in celebration.
With the win, Columbia improved to 5-0 for the first time since 1996, began Ivy League play at 2-0 for the first time since 1996, snapped a 20-game losing streak to Penn and won its second consecutive Homecoming Game. In its first two Ivy League contests, Columbia has now defeated the two 2016 co-Ivy League champions in Princeton and Penn. It also marked Columbia's third game won in the final two minutes and represents the Lions’ second walk-off victory of the year.
“We’re making strides, getting more and more resilient and we’re gaining more and more belief in ourselves,” Patricia and Shepard Alexander Head Coach of Football Al Bagnoli said. “It was just a really good day for our program, the institution and our city. I couldn’t be more proud of our players; they did a great job. Kudos to our players.”
Wainwright’s catch occurred after Penn kicker Jack Soslow converted a 41-yard field goal to give the Quakers 31-28 lead on the first possession of overtime. Columbia gained possession at Penn’s 25-yard line and after two rushing plays, faced a crucial third-and-nine play from the Penn 24-yard line. Hill dropped back for a pass and found Wainwright in the end zone.
“In the huddle, we had an idea of what we wanted to call,” Wainwright said. “Anders did a great job of finding me and then getting the ball to me. It was great execution.”
The Lions battled back from a 21-7 fourth quarter deficit with 21 unanswered points and took a 28-21 lead with 4:11 to play. It was Columbia’s second come-from-behind victory of the season.
“Today, you’re playing the other co-defending champion, you’ve already beaten Princeton and now you have Homecoming,” Bagnoli said. “Everything gets rolled up into bigger packages and you’re playing more meaningful games. That’s all you can ask for. Early-on today, it was a little bit of a learning curve for our players today. The moment was different for them and they finally caught their breath and just went and played. We figured, ‘We can do this, relax’ and we settled down. Then we started playing better from the second quarter on.”
Columbia cut the deficit to 21-14 on a one-yard touchdown run by first-year quarterback Josh Bean following a seven-play, 39-yard drive. Columbia first-year linebacker Justin Woodley intercepted a pass giving the Lions the ball at the Quakers’ 39-yard line following a holding penalty. The score was setup by a reverse sweep that ended in a pass from Hill to Wainwright for 20 yards. Following an eight-yard run by Hill and a three-yard run by Tanner Thomas, Bean punched it in from the one-yard on a fourth-and goal play.
After Columbia’s defense forced a three-and-out, Columbia tied the game at 21-21 when Hill connected with Wainwright for a 59-yard scoring strike. Hill hit Wainwright in stride and he strolled into the end zone.
On Penn’s next possession, Woodley gave Columbia the ball back when he picked off the second pass of the day and returned it nine yards to Penn 19-yard line. Columbia took a 28-21 lead when Hill found sophomore tight end Rory Schlageter for a seven-yard touchdown pass.
Penn (2-3, 0-2 Ivy League) sent the game into overtime when it drove eight plays in 80 yards and tied the game at 28-28 when quarterback Will Fischer-Colbrie found wide receiver Justin Watson for a 17-yard touchdown pass with 1:21.
Penn took a 7-0 lead when Will Fischer-Colbrie scored on a two-yard touchdown run with 4:26 left in the first quarter. Following a five-play, 37-yard drive, the score was setup by a Brian O’Neil interception and 20-yard pass from Fischer-Colbrie to Justin Watson. Penn went up 14-0 when running back Karekin Brooks ran five yards around the right end for a touchdown. The play culminated a seven-play, 75-yard, 2:37 Quaker drive.
Columbia cut the deficit to 14-7 when first-year Josh Bean scored on a two-yard run with 6:27 to play in the second quarter. After running up the middle three consecutive times, Bean finally scored on an end run on fourth and two play. Following a nine-play, 66-yard scoring drive, the touchdown was set up by a 41-yard pass play down the middle of the field from quarterback Anders Hill to Josh Wainwright. The score marked Bean’s fourth rushing touchdown of the year.
With Columbia deep in its own territory, Penn’s Nick Miller intercepted a Lion pass and returned it 25 yards for a touchdown to give Penn a 21-7 lead with 11:09 left in the third quarter.
Columbia forced four Penn turnovers including two forced fumbles and two interceptions. Woodley intercepted two passes, while defensive backs Ryan Gilbert and Landon Baty forced fumbles. Sophomore linebacker Michael Murphy recovered two fumbles and led Columbia with career-highs of 12 tackles and 4.5 tackles for loss.
After setting career-highs for receptions (10), receiving yards (193) and touchdown receptions (two), Wainwright was named the John Toner Homecoming Player of the Game. Hill threw for three touchdowns and completed 21 of 33 passes for 258 yards. Sophomore Tanner Thomas finished with 10 rushes for 40 yards. Penn was led by Watson, who finished with seven catches for 78 yards and a touchdown, Colbrie-Fischer, who threw for 186 yards and completed 14 of 25 passes and Jay Cammon who led the Quakers with 13 tackles.
Columbia (5-0, 2-0 Ivy League) is back in action next week at undefeated Dartmouth (5-0, 2-0 Ivy League) on Saturday. Kickoff is at 12:30 p.m. ET on Eleven Sports.
POST GAME NOTES
*Today’s weather at kickoff was 69 degrees and partly sunny.
*Columbia wore blue uniform tops with white pants and white helmets.
*The win gave Columbia its first 5-0 start since the 1996 season when it won six straight games.
*The win gave Columbia a 2-0 start to an Ivy League season since 1996 when it won its first three games.
*Columbia won its sixth consecutive game. The last time Columbia won six straight games was in 1996 when the Lions were victorious in six straight contests from Sept. 21-Nov. 2, 1996.
*Columbia scored 21 points in the fourth quarter, last time the Lions scored 21 or more points in a quarter was in its last game against Marist (first quarter).
*Columbia snapped a 20-game losing streak to Penn. The last time Columbia defeated Penn was on Oct. 12, 1996 in overtime, 20-19 at Franklin Field. Ironically, Columbia head coach Al Bagnoli was the head coach at Penn when Brett Bryant blocked a Penn extra point attempt to tie the game in overtime.
*With his 10 receptions for 193 yards and two touchdowns, sophomore Josh Wainwright either tied or set new career-highs for all three statistical categories. With his 11 punt return yards, he finished with 207 all-purpose yards. He also scored the game-winning touchdown in overtime on a 24-yard pass and caught a 59-yard TD catch. It was his this career 100-yard receiving game and third multi-touchdown game.
*Sophomore Josh Wainwright was named the John Toner Homecoming Player of the Game. The John Toner Award is presented to the Columbia Football player judged to be the most outstanding performer in Columbia’s annual homecoming game. Past award-winners include Lou Miller; DL, 2009; Alex Gross, LB, 2010; Ross Morand, DB, 2011; Mike Waller, DB, 2012; Paul Delaney, P, 2013; Trevor Bell, DB, 2014; Dominic Perkovic, DL, 2015; Oren Milstein, PK, 2016. He becomes the first-ever offensive winner of the award.
*Senior quarterback Anders Hill completed 21 of 33 passes for 258 yards and three touchdowns. Hill threw for at least one touchdown pass in each of the last nine games. He has completed 20 or more passes in each of the last four games and for over 250 yards in each of the last three contests.
*Sophomore Rory Schlageter registered his first career reception on a seven-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter. The score gave Columbia a 28-21 lead with 4:11 to play.
*Senior Chris Schroer earned his first start of the season at running back today. He finished with 32 yards rushing on 10 carries.
*Sophomore linebacker Michael Murphy registered career-highs of 12 tackles and 4.5 tackles for loss for 24 yards. He also recovered two fumbles and registered one sack. He also had seven solo tackles and led the Lions with 12 tackles.
*First-year linebacker Justin Woodley intercepted a career-high two passes. The last player to intercept two passes was Murphy, who recorded two at Princeton. Woodley also finished with two tackles and a quarterback hurry.
*Senior defensive back Landon Baty registered his second forced fumble of the season. Baty also finished with six tackles.
*Junior defensive back Ryan Gilbert also totaled a forced fumble, along with eight tackles.
*First-year Josh Bean scored his fourth and fifth rushing touchdowns of the season. It marked a career-high for Bean. Both were scored on fourth and goal plays. On the first score, he ran around the left end for two yards on a fourth and goal play. The second was a two-yard run down the middle. Bean has scored five of Columbia’s eight rushing touchdowns on the year.
*Columbia scored two touchdowns on fourth down. On the year, Columbia improved to 8-12 on fourth down conversions.
*Sophomore placekicker Oren Milstein ran his streak to consecutive point after attempts to 34 straight.
*Columbia played an overtime game for the first time since it defeated Brown, 35-28, in two overtimes on Nov. 19, 2011. That was also the last time Columbia played an overtime game at home.
*The last time Columbia scored 34 points against Penn was on Nov. 18, 1961 when Columbia defeated the Quakers 37-6.
*Columbia improved to 22-74-1 all-time vs. Penn. It also snapped a 10-game Penn win streak in games played in New York City.
*Today’s crowd of 13,081 was the largest crowd to witness a Columbia football game at Lawrence A. Wien Stadium since the Lions drew 13,785 on Oct. 18, 2003 vs. Penn.