NEW YORK—Columbia (0-3, 0-1 Ivy League) plays its final non conference game when it travels to Staten Island, N.Y. to take on Wagner (3-1, 1-0 NEC) on Saturday, Oct. 8. Kickoff is at 6 p.m. ET from Wagner College Stadium. Columbia faces Wagner for the second time in as many years as it defeated the Seahawks 26-3 at Robert K. Kraft Field on Oct. 10, 2015.
WHERE TO LISTEN/WATCH
NEC Front Row will televise the game live with Pete Mundo (play-by-play) and John Jastremski (color analyst) calling action. Jerry Recco and former Columbia football player/Columbia Hall of Fame inductee Ted Gregory will broadcast live on the Columbia Online Radio Network.
BAGNOLI ENTERS SECOND SEASON
Patricia & Shepard Alexander Head Coach of Football Al Bagnoli is in his second season guiding the Columbia Football program. Bagnoli is in his 35th year as a head coach with a 236-110 overall record and nine Ivy League titles at Penn. He has turned football programs around at both Union College and Penn, where he guided the Quakers to nine Ivy League championships. He hopes to lead Columbia to its first winning season in 10 years. The Lions last went 5-5 in 2006.
ABOUT THE LIONS
Columbia plays its fourth game of the 2016 season after dropping its first three games: a 13-9 decision to Saint Francis U (Pa.) in its season opener on Sept. 17 and a 17-14 contest on a come-from-behind effort at Georgetown on Sept. 24. It uncharacteristically lost a 48-13 decision to Princeton in its Ivy League opener last weekend.
The Lions return two All-Ivy League picks in defensive back Jared Katz and punter Cameron Nizialek, along with eight starters on offense and six on defense. Seventy-five letterwinners return to the squad. Columbia also added 41 newcomers to the team, the No. 3 ranked recruiting class in the nation at the FCS level. Those newcomers account for 37 percent of its 2016 roster.
ABOUT THE SEAHAWKS
Wagner (3-1, 1-0 NEC) enters the game after defeating Sacred Heart 45-20 to open NEC play last weekend. The Seahawks defeated Saint Anselm (38-16) and Concordia (38-0) before losing at Boston College, 42-10 on Sept. 24. Wagner is an undefeated 3-0 in home games this year. The Seahawks are led by quarterback Alex Thomson, who has thrown for 753 yards and seven touchdowns and completed 63 of his 111 passing attempts. Denzel Knight (340 yards, 3 TDs) and Matthias McKinnon (282 yards, four TDs) are Wagner’s leading rushers, while Keith Foster (10-143, 2 TDs), Ryan Owens (9-132, TD) and Brandon Peoples (9-59) are its leading receivers. Santoni Graham leads the Seahawks in tackles (32), followed by Quinton Hampton (25 tackles) and Tiquan Garner (22 tackles).
Columbia and Wagner meet for the second time in football and the second time in as many years. Columbia registered a 26-3 home win over Wagner in the two school’s first-ever football meeting on Oct. 10, 2015 at Robert K. Kraft Field. Last year’s victory marked Al Bagnoli’s first at Columbia. It was also the largest margin of victory for the Lions since a 42-14 triumph over Princeton on Oct. 2, 2010.
Since Al Bagnoli took over as head coach, Columbia has been competitive in almost every game. Of Columbia’s last 11 losses, eight have been decided by 10 points or fewer. Saturday’s 35-point loss to Princeton was uncharacteristic of Bagnoli’s teams at Columbia. Columbia’s first two losses were decided by an average of 3.5 points per game. During its 10 losses in 2014, Columbia lost all 10 games by 28.6 points per loss. The Lions were competitive in every game in 2015 as six of their eight losses were decided by 10 points or less.
COLUMBIA BRINGS THE DEFENSE
Through three games, Columbia has been strong on defense. It ranks No. 29 nationally in total defense (345.0 yards per game), No. 3 in first downs defense (55.0), No. 21 in passing yards allowed (180.3) and No. 31 in third down conversion defense (0.333). In addition, the Lions rank No. 11 in team tackles for loss (8.0).
Columbia’s defense is anchored by its three senior linebackers, Gianmarco Rea, Christian Conway and Keith Brady, who account for 38 percent of the Lions’ total tackles. The trio is extremely talented at getting to plays and making tackles. Rea ranks No. 3 nationally in tackles per game (12.0), while Conway currently ranks No. 6 (11.3). Rea and Conway rank 1-2 atop the Ivy League in tackles, while Brock Kenyon (No. 7 with 26), Landon Baty (No. 8 with 8.3) and Keith Brady (No. 10, 22) are also ranked among the league’s top-10. Five of the Ivy League’s top-10 tacklers reside on Columbia’s defense.
Columbia’s defensive success is a carryover from the 2015 season, which saw a tremendous leap in defensive efficiency, as Columbia went from the 115th best team in total defense in 2014, to the No. 8 ranked team at 291.1 yards per game a season ago. Columbia also yielded just 19.8 points per game, which ranked as the FCS’s No. 17 best tally, while holding opponents to 13 points or less four times. It also ranked No. 2 in the Ivy League in total defense and led the conference in pass defense (186.9 yards per game).
In addition, Columbia ranked No. 8 nationally in rushing defense (103.4 yards per game), No. 5 in third down conversion defense (.265) and No. 3 in first down conversion defense (148). The defense also accumulated 23 sacks for 140 yards, which ranked No. 4 in the Ivy League.
Defensive coordinator Paul Ferraro returned six starters from the 2015 team, including one defensive lineman (Dominic Perkovic), all three linebackers (Gianmarco Rea, Christian Conway and Keith Brady) and two defensive backs (Jared Katz, Brock Kenyon).
COLUMBIA DROPS 48-13 DECISION TO PRINCETON IN IVY LEAGUE OPENER
Using a two-quarterback system, Princeton totaled 437 offensive yards and scored 48 unanswered points in registering a 48-13 victory over Columbia in the Ivy League opener for both teams Saturday at Robert K. Kraft Field. Princeton quarterbacks Chad Kanoff and John Lovett combined for 337 total offensive yards, threw for four touchdowns, completed 26 of 33 passes and played a role in all seven Tigers touchdowns.
The 35-point loss was uncharacteristic of Columbia Football under Al Bagnoli as the Lions have played mostly competitive games since he took over in 2015. Eight of Columbia’s last 11 losses have come by 10 points or less.
Princeton (2-1, 0-1 Ivy League) took control in the second quarter with touchdowns on four consecutive possessions to take a 34-6 halftime lead. The Tigers went up 13-6 on a 26-yard touchdown reception by Trevor Osborne from quarterback Chad Kanoff. On its next possession, Princeton’s John Lovett scored on a two-yard run to take a 20-7 lead with 5:36 left in the second quarter following a nine play, 70-yard drive. On Columbia’s next possession, Princeton’s Brannon Jones forced and recovered a fumble at Columbia’s five yard line. On the next play, Princeton scored on a five-yard touchdown pass when Lovett scrambled to the sideline and found Joe Rhattigan in the end zone. The Tigers led 27-6 with 5:18 left in the first half. Princeton made it 34-6 on a five-yard scoring run by Lovett with 18 seconds to go before the half.
Columbia’s defense entered the game ranked No. 11 nationally in total defense, No. 5 in scoring defense, No. 3 in passing yards allowed and No. 1 in first downs defense.
Columbia (0-3, 0-1 Ivy League) grabbed the lead when quarterback Anders Hill scored his second touchdown of the year on a four-yard run in the first quarter. The score gave the Lions a 6-0 lead after a pass failed for the two-point conversion. Setup by a 27-yard interception return by Brock Kenyon, the score capped an eight play, 55-yard scoring drive that took 3:00. Hill connected with Cameron Dunn for a 34-yard reception, Columbia’s longest pass play of the season up that point.
Princeton tied the game at 6-6 on a 13-yard touchdown touchdown pass from Kanoff to Rhattigan. The touchdown followed an 11-play, 80 yard, 3:28 drive which featured a 31-yard pass play from Kanoff to John Lovett on a triple reverse.
Princeton added two touchdowns in the second half as Kanoff found tight end Scott Carpenter for a nine-yard touchdown pass and Lovett rambled in for a two-yard touchdown.
Columbia freshman Josh Wainwright caught his first career touchdown pass in the fourth quarter when Hill found him open down the middle of the field and he raced into the end zone for an 88-yard touchdown. It marked the longest play from scrimmage in the last 10 years of Columbia football.
Kanoff completed 21 of 25 passes for 230 yards and three touchdowns, while Lovett rushed for three touchdowns on eight carries and 50 yards and completed five of eight passes for 59 yards and a touchdown.
For Columbia, Hill threw for 215 yards on 13 completions, Wainwright caught three passes for 97 yards and four Lions finished with double figures in tackles: Gianmarco Rea (12), Brock Kenyon (12 tackles and an interception), Christian Conway (11 tackles, one sack) and London Baty (10).
COLUMBIA-PRINCETON POST-GAME NOTES
•Columbia and Princeton met for the 85th time in series history. With the loss Columbia drops to 15-69-1 all-time vs. Princeton. Princeton won its sixth straight game against Columbia and third straight played at Robert K. Kraft Field.
•Columbia unveiled new blue Nike uniforms, blue jerseys with blue pants.
•The two teams played with the new Ivy League rules. Kickoffs were taken from the 40-yard line and touchbacks to the 20-yard line.
•Senior safety Brock Kenyon registered Columbia’s first turnover of the year. He intercepted a pass and returned it 27 yards to stall Princeton’s opening drive in the first quarter. It was his first career interception.
•Columbia took a lead for the first time this season in the first quarter when Anders Hill rambled four yards for the touchdown.
•Brandon Krcilek caught his first pass of the year, a three-yard reception in the first quarter.
•Senior Gianmarco Rea led the Lions in tackles for the second straight week with 12.
•Princeton’s 48 points were the most Columbia has yielded to an opponent since Monmouth scored 61 points vs. the Lions on Oct. 11, 2014. It is the most points yielded to an opponent since Al Bagnoli became head coach at Columbia.
•Today’s game marked only the third time Columbia lost by more than 10 points since Al Bagnoli became head coach. Only three of Columbia’s last 11 losses have been decided by 10 points or more.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING ABOUT COLUMBIA
“Columbia fans should be very proud. That program is going in the right direction with a Hall of Fame coach. Their defense didn’t give us much. It was a hard-fought, physical game. That’s a good Columbia football team over there. The future is very bright and there’s a lot of victories ahead for that team.”
- Saint Francis head coach Chris Villarrial said.
“I think Al Bagnoli was sort of the Division III version of Nick Saban 30 years ago. He had a program that was perfectly designed from top to bottom, and he had great players. I think that was because he had the entire college on board with what he was trying to do.”
-Tim Layden, Sports Illustrated
NEW OFFENSIVE MINDSET
Columbia is looking to play a more up-tempo offensive game in 2016. Last year, Columbia led the Ivy League and ranked No. 5 nationally in time of possession (33:31 minutes per game). According to Coach Bagnoli and Offensive Coordinator Mark Fabish, the Lions plan to play at a faster pace with improved speed on the field, two second-year quarterbacks (Skyler Mornhinweg and Anders Hill) and returning experience on the offensive line. Last year, the Lions ranked No. 103 nationally in total offense (296.7 yards per game) and No. 111 (14.3 points per game).
LIONS RECRUITING CLASS EXPECTED TO MAKE IMPACT
Columbia brought in a large 41-member recruiting class this offseason. The 2020 class was ranked No. 3 in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) and No. 2 in the Ivy League (behind Yale) by 247Sports.com Saturday Blitz.
The class features 14 student-athletes who earned all-state honors and 10 that won state championships during their high school careers. According to national recruiting websites, six were three-star athletes and four were two-star players.
The Class of 2020 is comprised of student-athletes from 19 states. Florida and Pennsylvania each have four representatives, followed by California, Illinois, New Jersey and Texas with three each.
Columbia put an emphasis on the offensive line and the front seven on defense, bringing in six offensive linemen and eight defensive linemen to go with five linebackers. The new Lions’ “hogs” check in at an average height of 6-3 and weight of 275 pounds. The defensive linemen weigh-in at an average of 241 pounds and stand at 6-2. The Lions also brought in five defensive backs and five wide receivers to lead the positional breakdown.
WAINWRIGHT MAKES IMMEDIATE IMPACT
Freshman wide receiver Josh Wainwright has made an immediate impact. He ranks No. 36 nationally and leads the Ivy League in all purpose yardage (126.7), ranks No. 33 nationally and leads the Ivy League in punt return yardage (8.5) and ranks No. 11 nationally in kickoff return yardage (28.0). He has also caught nine passes for 135 yards. He leads the team in receiving yards and also registered his first career touchdown, an 88-yard TD pass in the fourth quarter against Princeton.
NIZIALEK RANKS THIRD NATIONALLY IN PUNTING
Senior Cameron Nizialek enters Saturday’s game ranked No. 3 nationally in punting with a 46.4 yards per punt average (12-557). He also leads the Ivy League. Last year, he was an All-Ivy League punter and placekicker. In addition, Matthew Panton also averages 40.4 yards per punt (12-485) and has placed eight punts inside the 20-yard line. In addition, Panton ranks No. 44 nationally and ranks No. 4 in the Ivy League in punting.
FRESHMAN IMPACT PLAYERS
Of Columbia’s freshman class, several will and have already made immediate contributions. At the skill positions, Tanner Thomas and Lynnard Rose will see action at running back, while Josh Wainwright and Christian Everett will play receiver.
Eleven freshmen are listed on the depth chart. Wainwright is the listed starter at one receiver position. He is the only offensive/defensive starter listed on the depth chart. Other freshmen listed on the depth chart include Wainwright (KR, PR), Jalen Williams (LB), Christian Everett (WR), Parker Coogan (C), Oren Milstein (PK), Tanner Thomas (RB), Lynnard Rose (PR/KR), Matt Tofano (LB), Michael Murphy (LB), Hunter Lunsford (SS) and Arman Samouk (DL).
IVY LEAGUE EXPERIMENTAL RULES
The Ivy League will use an experimental rule for the 2016 football season to move kickoffs to the 40-yard line and touchbacks to the 20-yard line in an effort to reduce concussions and further promote the safety and welfare of its student-athletes. These rules will only be used in Ivy League games.
The goal of the experimental rule is to limit kickoff returns, which account for 23.4 percent of concussions during games despite representing only 5.8 percent of overall plays. The League will evaluate the concussion and kickoff return data after the 2016 season.
The request was made to the NCAA as a part of The Ivy League’s overall review of concussions, which began with football in 2010 and has included eight other sports to date (men’s and women’s lacrosse, men’s and women’s ice hockey, men’s and women’s soccer, wrestling and rugby).
As a result of this comprehensive review of concussions, the League began an all-sports concussion data collection and study in 2013. Data from this study prompted discussion of kickoffs, which led to The Ivy League head football coaches suggesting this experimental rule change. The NCAA granted The League’s request for conference games only.
This experimental rule is the latest in a series of Ivy policies and rules that are designed to limit the incidence of concussions. Most recently in May, The Ivy League formally adopted another policy originating with the League’s eight head football coaches to eliminate to-the-ground (“live”) tackling in practices during the regular season, which will also go into effect with the 2016 campaign. Changing practice rules does not require NCAA approval.
BILL CAMPBELL NO. 67 FEATURED ON JERSEYS
For all of its 31 varsity sports, Columbia will wear a No. 67 patch on its uniform in honor of former Lion player, coach, confidante and friend Bill Campbell, who passed away in April, 2016 at age 75. A four-year student-athlete, Campbell captained the 1961 Ivy League Championship football team, which was inducted into the Columbia Athletics Hall of Fame in 2010, and earned All-Ivy League accolades as a senior. In 1963, Bill and a group of football and rugby alumni founded the Old Blue Rugby Club. He returned to Columbia to coach the Columbia Football team for six seasons between 1974 and 1979.
Campbell made his mark in the business world and became known as the “Coach of Silicon Valley.” He was vice president at J. Walter Thompson, an advertising agency based in New York, and then moved on to become general manager of consumer products for Kodak Europe. After Kodak, he joined Apple Computer in 1983, and rose to the level of executive vice president; he went on to found and served as president and CEO of Claris Corporation, a spin-off software developing company created and owned by Apple in 1990. Campbell assumed his role as chairman of Intuit, the maker of Quicken, QuickBooks, and Turbo Tax, in 1998 and served as its CEO until 2000. As an executive, Campbell’s marketing and strategic acumen helped build Claris, Apple, and Intuit alike into remarkable Silicon Valley success stories.
Because of his tremendous leadership and passion for Columbia Athletics, the University dedicated the Campbell Sports Center in his honor in October 2013. In fall 2014, the athletics program retired uniform number 67 – the number Campbell wore as an offensive lineman and linebacker for the 1961 Ivy League Champions - for all 31 of Columbia’s varsity teams. At the 2015 Varsity C Celebration, the athletics program introduced a new award, the William V. Campbell Performer of the Year to be presented annually to the top male and female student-athletes of the academic year.
Columbia selected three captains for the 2016 season: wide receiver Scooter Hollis, quarterback Skyler Mornhinweg and linebacker Christian Conway. All three are seniors and two are transfers from the FBS level.
OFFENSIVE LINE IS TEAM’S MOST EXPERIENCED UNIT
Offensive line is Columbia’s most seasoned and experienced position group. The Lions return four starters, including three starters from the 2015 season. Columbia’s four returning offensive line starters are senior left tackle Kendall Pace, junior right tackle Bewley Wales, senior right guard Nathan Gibbs and sophomore Charlie Flores. The four veterans have combined for 62 career starts.
A four-year starter and leader of the group, Pace is in his senior year after having played/started in 32 games at Columbia. Wales, who started all 10 games at center as a sophomore last year, will make the transition to right tackle. Gibbs started all 10 games last year at right guard. Flores is back at left guard after a one-year hiatus. As a freshman in 2014, he started in five of 10 games played at guard.
Sophomore Tyler Schonewolf has started all three games this year at center.
LIONS PICKED SEVENTH IN IVY LEAGUE
Columbia was picked to finish seventh out of eight teams in the Ivy League’s annual preseason poll, voted upon by media members covering the conference and announced on August 9, 2016.
Harvard was picked to win the league with seven first place votes and 126 total points, followed by Penn at No. 2 with nine first place votes and 119 total points and No. 3 Dartmouth with 83 points.
Here is a look at the predicted order:
1. Harvard (7 first place votes) 126 points; 2. Penn (9) 119; 3. Dartmouth 83; 4. Yale 81; 5. Princeton 79; 6. Brown (1) 61; 7. Columbia 43; 8. Cornell 20.
A total of nine Lions were named to the College Sports Madness preseason All-Ivy League team, headlined by cornerback Jared Katz, who was a first team selection. Wideout Scooter Hollis and linebacker Keith Brady picked up second team honors, while punter Cameron Nizialek, offensive linemen Kendall Pace and Bewley Wales, defensive lineman Dominic Perkovic and linebacker Gianmarco Rea were honorable mention picks.
Former Union College Head Coach and current Tight Ends Coach/Passing Game Coordinator John Audino will return to the sidelines at Columbia in the 2016 season. Audino spent the 1977-81 seasons with the Lions, before going on to post a 152-89 record as head coach at Union, leading the Dutchmen to four Liberty League titles and five trips to the D-III playoffs. He took over as head coach at Union after Al Bagnoli departed for Penn.
Ricky Santos takes over as the Quarterbacks Coach at Columbia for the 2016 season. Santos was the 2006 Walter Payton Award winner as the FCS Player of the Year at New Hampshire, before launching a career in the CFL. He then spent the 2013-15 seasons at his alma mater, guiding first team All-American R.J. Harris as the Wide Receiver Coach and Punt Return Coordinator.
Seniors Jackson and Christian Conway fall in a long line of brothers that were once teammates at Columbia. Junior Turner DeMuth spent two seasons alongside his brother Garrett DeMuth ‘15CC, while senior Keith Brady played on the same team as his brother John Brady ‘15CC.
SEASON NO. 126
This year marks the 145th anniversary of Columbia’s first intercollegiate football game against Rutgers in 1870, one year after the first college game between Rutgers and Princeton. Columbia’s first Ivy League game was against Princeton in 1874. 2016 is the 126th competitive season of Columbia football.
FRIDAY’S ON THE LAWN
Columbia continues its tradition of conducting a Friday walk-through on the university’s main campus lawn. The event is open to the public.