Friday, October 28, 2016 | 7 p.m. ET | Robert K. Kraft Field at Lawrence A. Wien Stadium
Yale (1-5, 1-2 Ivy)
YaleColumbia
Columbia (2-4, 1-2 Ivy)

NEW YORK—Columbia (2-4, 1-2 Ivy League) hosts Yale (1-5, 1-2 Ivy League) for a Friday night game on Oct. 28 at Robert K. Kraft Field at Lawrence A. Wien Stadium. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. ET. Columbia faces Yale for the 95th time in series history.

WHERE TO LISTEN/WATCH

NBC Sports Network will televise the game nationally with Paul Burmeister (play-by-play) and Ross Tucker (color analyst) calling action. David Gibson will produce. Jerry Recco and Sal Licata will broadcast live on the Columbia Online Radio Network. WKCR-Radio (89.9 FM), Columbia’s student radio station will also broadcast the game live from Robert K. Kraft Field.

BAGNOLI ENTERS SECOND SEASON

Patricia & Shepard Alexander Head Coach of Football Al Bagnoli is in his second season guiding the Columbia Football program. In his 35th year as a head coach, Bagnoli owns a 238-111 overall record and led Penn to nine Ivy League titles. He has turned football programs around at both Union College and Penn, where he guided the Quakers to nine Ivy League championships. The Lions last went 5-5 in 2006. He has won four of 16 games coached at Columbia. Columbia was 0-16 in its previous 16 contests.

LIONS LOOKING FOR SECOND STRAIGHT WIN, SECOND STRAIGHT IVY LEAGUE VICTORY, THIRD WIN IN PREVIOUS FOUR GAMES

A win on Saturday would give Columbia its second consecutive victory over an Ivy League opponent. The last time Columbia won two consecutive Ivy League games was in 2009: a 30-20 win at Cornell on Nov. 14 and a 28-14 home win over Brown on Nov. 21. The last time Columbia won back-to-back victories overall was when it won three straight between Sept. 25-Oct. 16 (Towson, Princeton and Lafayette). The last time Columbia won three of its previous four games was the same time between Sept. 25-Oct. 16 (Towson, Princeton and Lafayette).

ABOUT THE LIONS

Columbia plays its seventh overall game and fourth Ivy League contest of the 2016 season on Friday night. Winners of two of their last three games, Columbia registered a 9-7 Homecoming victory over Dartmouth last Saturday. After falling 35-10 at Penn on Saturday, Oct. 15 at Franklin Field, the Lions registered their first victory of the season, a 15-13 win at Wagner on a rainy Oct. 8. The Lions dropped their 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. Columbia uncharacteristically lost a 48-13 decision to Princeton in its Ivy League opener on Oct. 1.

The youthful Lions return two 2015 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 returned 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. Columbia traveled 17 of those newcomers to Penn on Oct. 15.

ABOUT THE BULLDOGS

Yale enters its Friday matchup at Columbia with a 1-5 overall and 1-2 Ivy League record. The Bulldogs have lost each of their last two games: 44-37 at Fordham (Oct. 15) and 42-7 vs. Penn (Oct. 21). Yale is led by quarterback Tre Moore, who has completed 79 of 160 passes for 673 yards and three touchdowns. Alan Lamar leads the Bulldogs in rushing with 53 attempts for 298 yards and a 5.6 yards per rush average. Five Bulldogs have reached double figures in receptions led by Myles Gaines (19 catches for 153 yards), Robert Clemons (16 catches for 86 yards), Christopher Williams-Lopez (15 catches for a team-high 222 yards and two TDs) and Reed Klubnik (11 catches for 97 yards and TD). Yale’s defense is led by Hayden Carlson who has registered 58 total tackles (37 solo) and two interceptions. Darius Manora (42 tackles), Foyesade Oluokun (39 tackles) and Jason Alessi (33 tackles) are also key contributors, along with team sack leader Kyle Mullen (4.0 sacks and 6.0 tackles for loss).

COLUMBIA-YALE SERIES

Columbia and Yale meet for the 95th time in series history. The Bulldogs own a 71-21-2 all-time advantage in the series. Columbia claimed last year’s meeting on Oct. 31, 2015, a 17-7 Lion victory at the Yale Bowl. Yale has claimed 12 of the series’ last 14 matchups, but Columbia has won two of the last four. In games played in New York, Columbia has won three of the last nine.

LIONS’ TWO WINS MATCH 2015 TOTAL

Already in 2016, Columbia has matched its win total from the 2015 campaign. The Lions went 2-8 last year. Columbia has won two of its last three games. The last time Columbia entered a game contest after having won two of its previous games was in 2012 when it defeated Yale 26-22 on Oct. 27, lost 69-0 at Harvard on Nov. 3, then defeated Cornell 34-17 on Nov. 10.

BAGNOLI HOMECOMING

On Oct. 15, Columbia head coach Al Bagnoli made his first competitive return to the University of Pennsylvania since he was hired as Columbia’s head football coach on February 23, 2015. In 23 seasons from 1992-2014, Bagnoli guided Penn to nine Ivy League championships (1993, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009, 2010 and 2012), a 148-89 overall record and 112-49 Ivy League record. He also led Penn to three undefeated seasons (10-0 in 1993, 9-0 in 1994 and 10-0 in 2003), 12 years of seven or more victories and six perfect 7-0 Ivy League slates. Bagnoli also guided Penn on the longest winning streak in FCS history (24 wins from 1993-95).

CLOSE CALLS AND TIGHTLY CONTESTED GAMES

Since Al Bagnoli took over as head coach, Columbia has been competitive in almost every game. Of Columbia’s last 12 losses, eight have been decided by 10 points or fewer. Oct. 1st’s 35-point loss to Princeton and Oct. 15th’s 25-point loss at Penn was uncharacteristic of Bagnoli’s teams at Columbia. Columbia’s first two losses in 2016 were decided by an average of 3.5 points per game. The Lions were competitive in every game in 2015 as six of their eight losses were decided by 10 points or less. In contrast, during its 10 losses in 2014, Columbia lost all 10 games by a combined 28.6 points per loss.

Since Bagnoli became head coach at the start of the 2015 season, 10 of Colombia’s 16 games have been decided by 10 points or less. Columbia has won four of those contests.

COLUMBIA FRESHMAN CLASS SCORES 41 STRAIGHT POINTS

A Columbia freshman has now scored each of the last 41 Lion points. Freshman placekicker Oren Milstein scored all nine points in the 9-7 win over Dartmouth. Freshman quarterback Hunter Petlansky scored a touchdown and Milstein provided the extra point and a field goal at Penn. Milstein scored all 15 points on a school-record five field goals at Wagner. Freshman wide receiver Josh Wainwright scored Columbia’s second touchdown and Milstein provided the extra point vs. Princeton.

COLUMBIA BRINGS THE DEFENSE

Through six games, Columbia has been strong on defense. It ranks No. 32 nationally in total defense (348.3 yards per game), No. 20 in scoring defense (22.2 points per game allowed), No. 4 in first downs defense (99.0), and No. 8 in third down conversion defense (0.283). In addition, the Lions rank No. 20 in team tackles for loss (7.0 per game).

The Dartmouth game was a prime example of Columbia’s dominance on defense. The Lions held Dartmouth to a phenomenal 5.0 percent third down conversion rate (1-17), 74 rushing yards and completions on just 14 of 39 passes.

Columbia’s defense is anchored by its three senior linebackers, Gianmarco Rea, Christian Conway and Keith Brady, who account for 36 percent of the Lions’ total tackles. The trio is extremely talented at getting to plays and making tackles. Rea ranks No. 18 nationally in tackles  per game (10.3), while safety Brock Kenyon (48 tackles), Brady (47 tackles) and Conway (46 tackles) are among league leaders. Rea ranks No. 2 in the Ivy League in tackles, while Kenyon is seventh, Brady is eighth and Conway is 11th. The Lions have four of the Ivy League’s top-11 ranked tacklers.

All year, third down has been a successful situation for Columbia’s defense. Columbia leads the league and ranks No. 8 nationally on third down, holding opponents to a 28.6 percent conversion rate (28-98). On third down, freshmen Daniel DeLorenzi and Michael Geraghty are inserted into the defensive line. The duo ranks No. 8 and No. 9 respectively in the Ivy League in sacks despite playing primarily on third downs.

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).

FRESHMAN KICKER OREN MILSTEIN EARNS IVY LEAGUE SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE WEEK/ROOKIE OF THE WEEK FOR SECOND TIME

After converting three field goals including the game-winner in Columbia’s 9-7 come-from-behind football win against Dartmouth, freshman placekicker Oren Milstein was named the Ivy League Rookie of the Week and co-Special Teams Player of the Week, the conference office announced on Monday. Milstein shared the co-Special Teams Player of the Week honor with Brown’s Alexander Jette.

Battling rain and 40-mile per hour wind gusts, Milstein converted three of his four field goal attempts, including the go-ahead and eventual game-winning 33-yard kick with 1:05 left in the third quarter. Milstein’s field goals came at 31, 20, and 33 yards.

Milstein first earned the dual honors on Oct. 10 after converting a school-record five field goals in Columbia’s 15-13 come-from-behind football win at Wagner. He also earned FCS Special Teams Player of the Week honorable mention honors. With Columbia trailing 13-12, Milstein converted his fifth and final field goal of the game, a 36-yarder with 2:42 left, to give the Lions a 15-13 fourth quarter lead. The record-breaking field goal proved to be the game-winner as Columbia won its first game of the 2016 season.

Milstein, whose field goals came at 18, 33, 39, 18 and 36 yards, set school records for field goals made (five) and most points scored by kicking (15). His five field goals surpassed the previous record of four set by Nick Rudd (vs. Princeton, 2003) and Howard Miller (vs. Wesleyan, 1915) and his 15 points surpassed Rudd’s kick scoring record of 13 points set in 2003 vs. Princeton. Milstein was a perfect 5-5 on field goals for the game. He converted his first career field goal in the first quarter on an 18-yard kick.

MILSTEIN AMONG NATIONAL LEADERS IN FIELD GOAL KICKING

After only five games played this season, Oren Milstein ranks No. 2 nationally in field goal percentage (.900) and No. 2 nationally in field goals per game (1.8). He leads the Ivy League in field goals made (nine), field goal percentage (90.0, 9-10), ranks second in kick scoring (6.0 points per game) and fourth in overall scoring (6.0 ppg.).

SPEEDY WATSON EMERGES AT RUNNING BACK

Senior running back Alan Watson has emerged as Columbia’s top rusher as he currently ranks No. 8 in the Ivy League in rushing with 291 yards on 72 carries for a 48.5 yards per game average. Watson had a breakout performance at Wagner on Oct. 8, rushing for a career-high 107 yards in 23 carries. He became the first Columbia player to rush for 100 yards or more since Cameron Molina ran for 174 yards vs. Brown on Nov. 20, 2015. It was his first career start. He has started at tailback in each of the last three games.

Watson and senior Chris Schroer (36 carries for 143 yards) give the Lions two different types of backs. Schroer is a between the tackles player, while Watson excels in the open field. Freshmen Tanner Thomas and Lynnard Rose are also key contributors and are the future of the Columbia running game.

SPECIAL TEAMS PERFORMANCE KEY TO COLUMBIA SUCCESS

Special teams play has become a key to Columbia’s success in 2016. Columbia’s punting game consistently helps the Lions win the field possession battle and ranks No. 15 nationally with a 38.9 yards per punt average. Columbia’s kickoff return average ranks No. 24 nationally and its kickoff return defense ranks at a stellar No. 23 nationally. Columbia players lead the Ivy League in a variety of special teams statistics.

Columbia has a specialist for every occasion. Cameron Nizialek is CU’s punter on long range situations, Matt Panton is its placement punter. Chris Alleyne is Columbia’s kickoff specialist, while Milstein kicks the field goals. Josh Wainwright and Lynnard Rose are its kickoff and punt returners.

NIZIALEK RANKS FOURTH NATIONALLY IN PUNTING

Senior Cameron Nizialek enters Friday’s game ranked No. 4 nationally in punting with a 45.7 yards per punt average (22-1,005). He also leads the Ivy League by a wide margin. Last year, he was an All-Ivy League punter and placekicker. In addition, Matthew Panton also averages 41.1 yards per punt (27-1,111) and has placed 14 punts inside the 20-yard line. In addition, Panton ranks No. 37 nationally and No. 4 in the Ivy League in punting.

COLUMBIA WINS SECOND GAME OF THE YEAR, 9-7 OVER DARTMOUTH ON HOMECOMING

Three Oren Milstein field goals and a stellar Columbia defensive effort proved to be the difference as the Lions registered a 9-7 come-from-behind win over Dartmouth Saturday at rainy and windy Robert K. Kraft Field.

The victory marked Columbia’s first Ivy League win of the year, matched its 2015 victory total of two and erased a 15-game losing streak in Homecoming games dating back to the 2000 season. Columbia improved to 2-4 on the year and 1-2 in Ivy League play, while Dartmouth dropped to 3-3 overall and 0-3 in the Ivy League.

A freshman, Milstein was named the John Toner Homecoming Player of the Game after he converted field goals of 31, 20 and 33 yards. He entered the game ranked No. 1 in the nation in field goal percentage and is now 9 for 10 on the season. Two weeks ago on Oct. 8, he connected on a school-record five field goals in Columbia’s 15-13 win at Wagner.

Milstein and Dartmouth kicker David Smith faced swirling winds and gusts of up to 40 miles per hour. With 27 seconds left in the game, Dartmouth’s Smith missed a 47-yard field goal that fell a foot short of the goal post. With 2:15 left in the contest, the Big Green started the game’s final drive from its own one-yard line, converted on a fourth and 10 and moved 69 yards in 12 plays. The Big Green drive stalled at the Columbia 30-yard line where Smith was forced to attempt the field goal. Previously, Smith missed a 50-yard field goal with 10:03 left in the game. The kick sailed right of the upright.

With 7:40 left in the game, Milstein missed his first field goal of the season a 38-yarder taken straight into the wind.

It was the Columbia defense that limited Dartmouth and came up with big plays all afternoon. The Big Green was held to 1-17 on third downs, 74 rushing yards and completions on just 14 of 39 passes. Senior safety Brock Kenyon picked off his second pass of the year, batted away two passes and finished with eight tackles, freshmen defensive linemen Daniel DeLorenzi and Michael Geraghty both registered big play sacks and the Lions totaled eight pass deflections and 5.0 tackles for loss for 18 yards. Senior Gianmarco Rea led the Lions with 11 tackles.

Milstein gave Columbia its first lead of the day at 9-7 on a 33-yard field goal with 1:05 left in the third quarter. His third field goal of the day was setup by a 27-yard, five-play scoring drive fueled by junior quarterback Anders Hill who found senior Toure Douglas open for an 18-yard pass play.

Columbia cut the margin to 7-6 on a 20-yard Milstein field goal with 9:11 left in the third quarter. The Lions drove 48 yards in nine plays to setup the score, using an 11-yard reception by freshman Christian Everett and a career-long 20-yard run by freshman Hunter Petlansky on a key fourth and one play.

Dartmouth took a 7-3 lead with 5:03 left in the second quarter on a 65-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Jack Heneghan to wide receiver Hunter Hagdorn. Hengehan lofted the ball high over the Columbia secondary to Hagdorn, who caught the ball in stride and ran 20 yards untouched into the end zone.

Milstein gave Columbia a 3-0 lead with 7:26 left in the second quarter on a 31-yard field goal. The score was setup by a 34-yard run by quarterback Anders Hill, who faked a handoff and ran into the open field. The scoring drive went 46 yards on six plays.

Hill led Columbia’s offense as he completed 12 of 25 passes for 123 yards and ran for 30 more, senior running back Alan Watson ran for 74 yards on 17 carries, including a career-long 40-yard scamper and Everett notched career-highs for receptions (four) and receiving yards (54).

For Dartmouth, Heneghan completed 13 of 38 passes for 242 yards and a touchdown. Hagdorn caught three passes for 114 yards and his 65-yard touchdown reception. Folarin Orimolade led the Big Green with 10 total tackles.

COLUMBIA-DARTMOUTH POST-GAME NOTES

•Columbia snapped a 15-game losing streak on Homecoming. The last time Columbia won a Homecoming Game was on Oct. 21, 2000, a 49-21 victory over Dartmouth at Lawrence A. Wien Stadium.

•Columbia and Dartmouth met in football for the 87th time in series history. Dartmouth now leads the all-time series 68-18-1.

•With the win, Columbia snapped a seven-game losing streak to Dartmouth in the series. Dartmouth has also now claimed 12 of the last 15 contests.

•Freshman placekicker Oren Milstein was named the John Toner Homecoming Player of the Game. Presented annually to the Columbia Football player judged to be the most outstanding performer in CU’s annual Homecoming game, the John Toner Award is named in honor of former Columbia assistant football coach, Connecticut Athletics Director and NCAA President John Toner. Toner, a Columbia football assistant from 1957-65, was a part of the coaching staff that guided Columbia to the Ivy League Championship in 1961. Toner’s dedication and contributions to the sport of college football as a coach, athletics director and NCAA executive were unmatched. Toner passed away on September 23, 2014 at the age of 91.

•In attendance today for Columbia’s Homecoming was New England Patriots owner Robert K. Kraft, the stadium’s namesake, all 20 individual Columbia 2016 Hall of Fame inductees including former football players Howard Hansen ‘52CC, Paul Kaliades ‘73CC and Johnathan Reese ‘02CC, representatives of three Columbia Hall of Fame team inductees and team representatives of Columbia’s national and Ivy League champions from the 2015-16 academic year.

•Freshman tight end Rory Schlageter made his first career start today.

•Freshman Lynnard Rose made his first career catch in the first quarter.

•Senior Brock Kenyon intercepted his second pass of the year in the first quarter. It was the third team interception on the year. Kenyon finished with two pass breakups and five tackles.

•Columbia quarterback Anders Hill scampered a career long 34 yards after a fake handoff in the second quarter. On the day, Hill threw for 123 yards and ran for 30 more.

•Freshman placekicker Oren Milstein converted three field goals for his seventh, eighth and ninth consecutive on the year, a 31-yarder in the second quarter, a 20-yarder and a 33-yarder in the third quarter. He concluded the day 9-10 on the year and entered the game ranked No. 1 in the nation in field goal percentage (6-6, 1.000). The last time a Columbia player converted three field goals in a game was on Oct. 8, 2016 at Wagner when Milstein finished with five in a 15-13 Lion win. Milstein missed his final attempt, a 38-yarder kicked straight into the wind.

•Columbia converted its sixth straight fourth down conversion on a 20-yard run by freshman Hunter Petlansky. The play was a fourth-and-short situation. On his third carry of his career, Petlansky faked a handoff to the tailback and kept the ball for a career-long 20 yards.

•Freshman wide receiver Christian Everett caught a career-high four passes for 54 yards with a long of 18.

•Freshman wide receiver Josh Wainwright returned to the lineup after missing last week’s Penn game. He caught three passes for 22 yards.

•Senior Alan Watson’s 40-yard run in the fourth quarter was a career long and individual long run of the year for Columbia. He finished with 74 yards rushing on 17 carries.

•Columbia is 2-0 when not scoring a touchdown and 0-4 when scoring a touchdown. In the Lions’ two victories this year, all scoring has come on field goals (eight total).

•Columbia has registered two come-from-behind victories on the year.

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.

“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

“I give Columbia credit. They did some nice things, particularly on the defensive side of the ball, and got out of here with a win. So, my hat’s off to them. We knew coming in they were a team that was better than their record.”

               -Jason Houghtaling, Wagner Head Coach

“I give Columbia credit. Columbia was very efficient offensively, their kicking game was solid and they played lights out on defense. They deserved to win. They shut us down offensively. Defensively, if you hold a team to nine points, you figure you’re going to win those games. It wasn’t through lack of effort, they beat us.”

               -Buddy Teevens, Dartmouth Head Coach

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).

WAINWRIGHT MAKES IMMEDIATE IMPACT

Freshman wide receiver Josh Wainwright has made an immediate impact. His speed and athleticism gives Columbia a big play threat. He ranks No. 5 in the Ivy League in all purpose yardage (98.4), No. 4 in receptions per game (4.8) and No. 4 in receiving yards per game (51.4). 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.

Wainwright returned against Dartmouth after not playing at Penn.

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). Defensive linemen Daniel DeLorenzi and Michael Geraghty have seen immediate playing time.

LIONS RECRUITING CLASS MAKES HUGE 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.

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. The Lion football team will also feature 67 stickers on helmets.

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. 

CAPTAINS SELECTED

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 one of Columbia’s most seasoned and experienced position groups. 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 71 career starts.

A four-year starter and leader of the group, Pace is in his senior year after having played/started in 36 games at Columbia. Wales, who started all 10 games at center as a sophomore last year, is making 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 six 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.

PRESEASON ACCOLADES

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.

SECOND STINT

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.

SIGNAL-CALLING

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.

BROTHERLY LOVE

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.