NEW YORK -- Columbia dominated the point of attack Saturday afternoon, out-rushing Brown, 288-83, en route to a 28-14 victory over the Bears at Robert K. Kraft Field at Lawrence A. Wien Stadium on Senior Day. First-year quarterback Sean Brackett led the way for the Lions (4-6, 3-4 Ivy League) with 171 yards on 20 rushes and 151 passing yards and a touchdown.
The Bears (6-4, 4-3 Ivy League) opened the scoring midway through the first quarter when Kyle Newhall hit Buddy Farnham on a 29-yard pass. But Columbia came back with three straight scores - two in the final 1:11 of the half - to take a 21-7 lead.
First, Austin Knowlin scored on a five-yard run, capping a 79-yard, 10-play drive. Then, with Brown pressing for a score before halftime, junior safety Adam Mehrer intercepted Kyle Newhall's deep pass down the middle at the Lions' 15. Meher returned the ball just past midfield and lateraled left to fellow safety Andy Shalbrack, who picked up blockers as he veered towards the left sideline and went 49 yards for a touchdown as the half ended.
After two long drives deep into Lions territory ended on downs, Columbia added to its lead midway through the fourth quarter when Brackett connected with Knowlin on a quick slant that the senior all-purpose receiver broke for a 37-yard score, his second touchdown of the game.
Brown scored on the ensuing possession, going 77 yards in seven plays, but the Lions thwarted the Bears' final drive with under two minutes left and ran out the clock, with senior quarterback M.A. Olawale coming onto the field to take the final snap on his only play of the game, during which Columbia held the ball for 36:06.
Junior linebacker Augie Williams finished the season strongly with 12 tackles, including eight solo stops.
Brackett's 171 rushing yards was the Lions' season high and it was Columbia's first home win vs. Brown since 1996.
Columbia finishes with its best Ivy League record since 2003 and ties its best League finish (tied fourth) since 1996 (Columbia also finished tied for fourth in 2001).
While a number of underclassmen stepped up to provide heroics, in the end, it was all about the seniors.
"The last game of their freshman year, they sent the seniors out with a win at Brown," Patricia and Shepard Alexander Head Coach of Football Norries Wilson said. "Today they went out the right way. I'm proud of this team and their effort."
"This group of seniors has meant so much to Columbia Football and Columbia Athletics," said M. Dianne Murphy, Director, Intercollegiate Athletics and Physical Education. "We are proud that their hard work and dedication paid off with a fabulous win on senior day. It was a fitting end to the collegiate careers of 26 outstanding young men. I thank them for their immeasurable contribution to our program."