NEW YORK - The football season finale between Columbia and Brown did not have an impact on the Ivy League title, but it meant a great deal to the 24 seniors that took the field for the final time in a Columbia uniform on Saturday, November 19.
Winning in the most dramatic way possible, stopping a fourth and goal from the one, goal-line stand in double-overtime, Columbia sent its seniors out with a come-from-behind, 35-28 win over the Bears on Robert K. Kraft Field.
Although junior quarterback Sean Brackett's was responsible for all five of Columbia's touchdowns, it was the seniors that took top billing in the thrilling game.
The Lions defense, anchored by senior linebacker Evan Miller who totaled a team season-high 19 tackles, had six takeaways and helped Columbia rally from a 21-7 fourth-quarter deficit.
Brackett rushed for touchdowns of two yards and one yard in the in a four minute stretch of the fourth quarter to tie the game at 21-21 with five minutes left.
After Brown's Alex Norocea missed a 43-yard field goal late in the fourth quarter, Columbia's Luke Eddy had a chance from 41 yards out with 13 seconds to go, but Brown's A.J. Cruz blocked the potential game-winning field goal to send the game in overtime.
In the first overtime period, Brown scored on the first play, a 25-yard pass from Kyle Newhall-Caballero to Jimmy Saros to take a 28-21 lead. On Columbia's possession, Brackett converted a fourth and one run to set up the Lions at the 14-yard line. Brackett then found Hamilton Garner in the left corner for the tying touchdown to send the game into the second extra session.
In double overtime, Brackett scampered 16 yards around the right end, breaking several tackles to give the Lions a 35-28 lead.
On Brown's possession in double overtime, Newhall-Caballero rushed for 12 yards, and passed for 12, putting the Bears on the one-yard line on fourth down. Chris Groth and Wells Childress each met Matt Sudfeld who tried to sneak past the goal line but was denied by Columbia's goal-line stand. The Columbia sideline stormed onto the field as the Lions sent off their 24 seniors with a dramatic win.
Brackett threw for 139 yards on 15 completions of 24 attempts and rushed for 62 yards, with four rushing touchdowns and one passing touchdown. Brackett's four rushing touchdowns were the most by a Columbia player since Johnathan Reese had four touchdowns vs. Dartmouth on October 21, 2000.
Newhall-Caballero completed 32 of 44 passes for 262 yards and three scores for the Bears.
Senior Evan Miller had a game-high 19 tackles, including three for a loss and a forced fumble. Fellow senior Ross Morand had 10 tackles with a fumble recovery and an interception. Senior A.J. Maddox had a 77-yard interception return along with five tackles and two for a loss, while fellow senior Neil Schuster added four tackles with a fumble recovery and interception.
Brown finished the season 7-3, 4-3 Ivy League, while Columbia picked up its first win of the season (1-9, 1-6 Ivy League).
It was Columbia's first overtime game since a 27-26 loss vs. Princeton in 2004, and Columbia's first overtime win since a 20-19 win vs. Penn in 1996.
"Did you know we're 5-1 in senior games?" Norries Wilson said. "This senior class beat Brown twice and Cornell twice. They know how to send out their seniors."