Columbia Meets Princeton at Home in Saturday's Ivy League Football Opener
Courtesy: Columbia University Athletics/Mike McLaughlin

NEW YORK – Columbia will look to open its Ivy League season with a win when the Lions host Princeton on Saturday, October 2 at 12:30 p.m. on Robert K. Kraft Field.  Columbia is looking for its second straight victory and its second straight win over Princeton after the Lions defeated the Tigers, 38-0, in last year's Ivy League opener.

Columbia is returning from a 24-10 victory vs. Towson last week at home, when sophomore quarterback Sean Brackett passed for 157 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 89 yards on the ground, keying a three-pronged rushing attack with classmate Nick Gerst (73 yards, touchdown) and senior Leon Ivery (64 yards, touchdown). 

Sophomore defensive end Josh Martin had a huge game with six tackles and two and a half sacks and senior linebacker Alex Gross had a team-best 12 tackles.

Princeton defeated Lafayette 33-30 in double overtime last Saturday in its home opener at Princeton Stadium.  Quarterback Tommy Wornham threw for two touchdowns and rushed for another as the Tigers won their first game under new head coach Bob Surace.

Princeton leads the all-time series with Columbia with a 64-14-1 record. The Lions and Tigers opened the Ivy League campaign in 2009, when Columbia routed Princeton 38-0 in New Jersey.  The Lions broke open a 9-0 game at halftime with 29 second-half points, sparked by Jared Morine’s interception return for a touchdown midway through the third quarter.

Every Columbia game can be heard on 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.  Saturday’s audio broadcast also will be simulcast on SIRIUS Satellite Radio, Channel 130.

Columbia has never won two games in a row against Princeton.

PICK ME! picked senior defensive back Calvin Otis as one of the Defensive Back Performers of the Week for his performance vs. Towson.  Otis had a pair of fourth-quarter interceptions and seven tackles, including six solo stops, in Columbia’s 24-10 win last Saturday.

Alex Gross leads the Ivy League in tackles (26), while Josh Martin leads the League in sacks with 3.5.  Offensively, quarterback Sean Brackett leads the League in pass efficiency (155.7). As a team, the Columbia defense has yielded a league-low 13.0 points per game to opponents in the early season.

Just ask Leon Ivery, Sean Brackett and Nick Gerst. The trio ran for 226 and a pair of second-half scores as the Lions controlled the line of scrimmage to the tune of a 224-87 advantage over Towson in rushing yardage. Brackett had 89 yards on the ground to lead Columbia, and added 157 yards and a touchdown through the air. Gerst had a career day, rushing for 73 yards and a touchdown, while Ivery average 8.0 yards per rush on eight attempts and also crossed the goal line.

If Columbia fans or foes didn’t know that name before, they do now.  Martin was a game changer in the Lions’ win over Towson with six tackles, four solo, 2.5 sacks, 1.5 tackles for a loss and four QB hurries.

Columbia has faced Princeton in its Ivy Leagiue opener in each of the last nine seasons, dating back to the 2000 campaign. Last year, the Lions defeated Princeton 38-0 at Princeton Stadium to start the Ivy campaign on the right foot. Columbia is looking for its first home win against Princeton since a 17-0 victory in 1997.