NEW YORK – Columbia will welcome Towson to New York for the first time in more than a decade as the Lions play the second of four games at home to begin the season.
The Lions are coming off a hard-fought loss to Fordham last Saturday while Towson was defeated by FCS top-ranked Villanova last week. Columbia's defense forced a pair of second-half turnovers last week vs. Fordham while sophomore Sean Brackett racked up more than 200 yards of total offense.
Tickets for Saturday's game are available online, by calling 888-LIONS-11 or at the Wien Stadium ticket windows on game day.
Saturday's forecast calls for abundant sunshine with high temperatures reaching the low 80s. Fans who cannot make it to Robert K. Kraft Field can follow all the action online at gocolumbialions.com.
Today’s game will be just the fourth meeting between Columbia and Towson. The Lions hold a 2-1 advantage in the series, winning games in New York in 1997 (16-6) and 1999 (28-13). Towson won the last meeting between the two teams, 31-24, in monsoon-like conditions in Maryland on September 27, 2008.
CAN YOU HEAR ME?
Every Columbia game can be heard on gocolumbialions.com with Jerry Recco (play-by-play) and Sal Licata (commentary) calling the action. Student radio can be found on WKCR 89.9 FM with Tommy Di Benedetto providing play-by-play.
LAST TIME VS. TOWSON
Columbia rallied to tie the game twice in the second half, but after the Lions tied the score at 24 with five minutes left in regulation, Towson returned the ensuing kickoff into Lion territory and scored the game-winning touchdown four minutes later to capture a 31-24 victory in a game that featured a steady downpour and a 46-minute lightning delay. In that game, then-sophomore Zack Kourouma took a screen pass 59 yards for a touchdown to spark the Columbia offense in the first half.
LAST TIME OUT FOR COLUMBIA
The Lions locked up in a defensive struggle with Fordham. Columbia caused a Ram turnover early in the second half and broke a 3-3 tie to take a 9-3
lead. Fordham responded with 13 unanswered points to close out the game, fending off a last-minute Columbia drive to escape with a 16-9 victory in
Columbia’s season opener on September 18.
LAST TIME OUT FOR TOWSON
Towson ran into top-ranked and defending FCS national champion Villanova as the Wildcats routed Towson, 43-7 in Philadelphia. Senior WR Hakeem Moore did catch his fourth touchdown pass of the season, a 59-yard strike from Bart Blanchard.
2010 COLUMBIA FOOTBALL CAPTAINS
Seniors Alex Gross, Andrew Kennedy, Matt Moretto and Mike Stephens were elected as captains for the 2010 Columbia Football season.
Columbia gets some depth from players returning from injury. Alex Gross, Calvin Otis, A.J. Maddox, Owen Fraser, and Kalasi Huggins all missed significant time last season due to injury, but all will be ready to go in 2010. Unfortunately, senior WR Mike Stephens was injured in the Fordham game and will not play the remainder of the season. Senior Paul Havas will convert from quarterback to wide receiver to supply Columbia with increased depth at the position in Stephens’ absense.
In his first game since returning from an injury suffered last season, senior linebacker Alex Gross was all over the field last Saturday vs. Fordham. The Lions’ co-captain made 14 stops, including 10 solo tackles. Gross delivered a number of punishing hits, helping hold Fordham’s offense at bay for much of the game.
IN THE NICO TIME
Senior wide receiver Nico Gutierrez also had a strong first game, making a number of big plays for the Lions last Saturday. Gutierrez caught three passes for 88 yards, including a pair of 39-yard receptions from Sean Brackett.
DEFENSE SETS THE TONE
Columbia’s defense kept the Fordham offense in check for a majority of last Saturday’s game and helped to cause a pair of Fordham turnovers. The first turnover the Lions’ defense caused came early in the second half and resulted in six points on the next Columbia possession.
Starting at strong safety vs. Fordham, junior Neil Schuster had a big game with 11 tackles, including eight solo stops. He recovered the Fordham fumble that led to a Columbia touchdown and also had a pass breakup in the secondary.
BRACKETT BEGINS WELL
Sophomore quarterback Sean Brackett finished with more than 200 yards of total offense against Fordham. Brackett completed 13 of 21 passes for 170 yards and a score, while also rushing for 31 yards on the ground. He completed passes to six different receivers against the Rams last Saturday.
OVERTIME? WHAT'S THAT?
Trailing by seven points late in the fourth quarter at the Fordham four-yard line, Columbia nearly sent last week’s game into overtime with a tying touchdown. The Lions have only played five overtime games since the rule began in college football in 1996. The Lions are 2-3 all-time in games decided after regulation. Columbia’s last overtime game was a 27-26 loss to Princeton on October 2, 2004.