NEW YORK – Winners of three straight, Columbia is back to Ivy League action on Saturday, October 16 at Penn. Kickoff is set for noon in a game that will be televised on Comcast.
The Lions have won three of their first four games on Robert K. Kraft Field and will take to the road for the first time this season. Columbia's offense has racked up 42 points in each of the last two games and its defense ranks second in the Ivy League, having allowed 17 points per game.
Penn comes into the game with a matching 3-1 record and 1-0 mark in the Ivy League. Penn's league win came against Dartmouth in Philadelphia, a 35-28 overtime victory. The Quakers' lone loss of the season was at the hands of top-ranked Villanova.
THE SERIES WITH PENN
This will be the 89th meeting in the series between Columbia and Penn, which began in 1878. Penn has won 13 straight games in the series and holds a 66-21-1 advantage in the history of the series. Columbia’s last win against the Quakers came in 1996, a 20-19 victory in overtime. Down 19-13 in overtime after Penn scored first but missed the extra point, Columbia’s Paris Childress found Dennis Lee in the end zone to tie the game and Matt Linit knocked the ensuing extra point through the uprights to give the Lions a win, pushing Columbia’s record to 4-0.
LAST TIME OUT FOR COLUMBIA
The Lions won their third straight game, defeating Lafayette 42-28 at Wien Stadium on Saturday, October 9. Columbia’s offense scored 42 points for the second consecutive game, marking the Lions’ biggest output in consecutive games since 1946. Columbia led 21-17 at halftime as the Lions’ defense stiffened in the second half to help preserve the victory.
LAST TIME OUT FOR PENN
The Quakers led just 10-7 at halftime but scored 21 second-half points to defeat Bucknell 31-10 in Lewisburg, Pa. last Saturday. The Quakers improved to 3-1 on the season with the win, which was the 125th career victory for head coach Al Bagnoli, a new program record.
BRACKETT, GROSS TAKE HOME IVY LEAGUE WEEKLY AWARDS
For the second straight week, Columbia sophomore quarterback Sean Brackett is the Ivy League Offensive Player of the Week. On the other side of the ball, senior linebacker Alex Gross was named the Ivy League Defensive Player of the Week on October 11 after both made a number of big plays in Columbia’s 42-28 win over Lafayette on Saturday. Brackett completed 15 of 20 passes for 179 yards and three touchdowns, while rushing for 105 yards on the ground. Meanwhile, Gross made 11 tackles, forced a fumble and returned his first interception of the season 69 yards for a score to swing the game’s momentum midway through the second quarter.
THREE: THE MAGIC NUMBER
Columbia’s win over Lafayette was its third straight after wins against Towson and Princeton. It marked the first time since the 1997 season that the Lions have won three games in a row.
Columbia has racked up 84 points in its last two games, scoring 42 points against Princeton and Lafayette over the last two weeks. It is the Lions’ largest scoring output in consecutive games since the 1946 season, when Columbia defeated Lafayette 46-0 and Syracuse 59-21 to finish that season.
THE DEFENSE NEVER RESTS
Columbia’s defense has yielded 17 points per game, second in the Ivy League. The Lions’ defense has also created a number of opportunities, as Columbia holds a plus-five advantage in turnovers, the highest margin among Ivy League teams.
BRACKETT LEADS ALL FCS QUARTERBACKS
Sean Brackett continues to lead the entire Football Championship Subdivision and the Ivy League in pass efficiency (191.8). Brackett has completed 71.2 percent of his pass attempts this season and is averaging 9.7 yards per attempt. Throwing for just a shade under 200 yards per game, Brackett has tossed 10 touchdown passes to seven different receivers with just one interception on the season. For good measure, Brackett also has rushed for 273 yards this season, which ranks fifth in the Ivy League.
SPREADING THE WEALTH
In four games this season, 11 Columbia players have scored a touchdown. Alex Gross’s interception return for a score was the first for the defense, while Leon Ivery, Nick Gerst and Sean Brackett have all scored rushing touchdowns. Of Brackett’s 10 touchdown passes, seven different receivers have been on the other end – Andrew Kennedy, Zack Kourouma, Kurt Williams, Nico Gutierrez, Mike Stephens, Brian DeVeau and Clif Pope.
In each of its last three victories, Columbia has piled up more than 200 yards rushing. For the season, the Lions have totaled 823 yards on the ground, compared to 520 for their opponents.
LEAGUE LEADING LIONS
Columbia’s offense, after posting 42 points in consecutive games in weeks three and four, leads the Ivy League with an average of 29.2 points per game. At 205.8 yards per game, the Lions lead the league in rushing offense and have racked up more than 400 yards per game in total offense through the first four games. The Lions are also first in the Ivy League in third down conversion rate (40.7 percent) and turnover margin (plus-five).
LEAGUE LEADING LIONS, PART II
Columbia has three different players in the Ivy League’s top ten in rushing as Sean Brackett, Leon Ivery and Nick Gerst each average more than 50 yards per game on the ground. Brackett ranks first in the league in pass efficiency and seniors Nico Gutierrez and Andrew Kennedy each rank in the league’s top ten in receiving yards per game. Craig Hamilton’s 33.7 yards per kick return also is tops among all Ivy League returners. On the other side of the ball, Alex Gross leads the Ivy League with 50 tackles, averaging 12.5 per game. Josh Martin continues to lead the league with 3.5 sacks on the season and Ben Popeck is one of two Ivy League defensive players with two recovered fumbles on the season.
LIONS LOOKING TO MOVE UP THE IVY LEAGUE LADDER
For the second straight season, Columbia won its Ivy League opener against Princeton. The Lions are looking to improve to 2-0 in the league with a win at Penn. With a win on Saturday, Columbia would move to 2-0 in the league for the first time since 1996, when the Lions defeated Penn at Franklin Field, 20-19 in overtime.
Against Lafayette, Andrew Kennedy hauled in a touchdown pass for the second straight game after he was on the receiving end of a pair of scores in the win vs. Princeton. For the season, Kennedy has caught 14 passes for 222 yards and three touchdowns. Classmate Nico Gutierrez isn’t far behind with 12 catches for 200 yards and a touchdown.
In his first year, Luke Eddy has made a smooth transition to the Columbia kicking game. Eddy made his only field goal attempt so far, a 37-yarder vs. Towson and has converted on 15 straight extra points over the last three games.
GROSS A SEMIFINALIST FOR CAMPBELL AWARD
Columbia senior linebacker Alex Gross is one of 121 semifinalists for the 2010 William V. Campbell Trophy, endowed by HealthSouth, as announced by the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame on Sept. 30. A two-time co-captain, Gross has been a standout this season and was named Ivy League Defensive Player of the Week on Oct. 11 after making 11 tackles, forcing a fumble and returning an interception 69 yards for a game-changing touchdown in Columbia’s 42-28 win vs. Lafayette. Gross has been the backbone of a Columbia defense that has limited opponents to 17 points per game, good for second among Ivy League teams.
THIRD TIME IS A CHARM
The third Columbia Athletics Hall of Fame class will be inducted during Homecoming weekend on Friday, October 22. Former Lion standouts Walter Koppisch ’25 and Rory Wilfork ’97 will be enshrined along with legendary head coach Buff Donelli and Columbia’s 1961 Ivy League championship squad.