PROVIDENCE, R.I.—Columbia (2-7, 1-5 Ivy League) plays its final game of the 2016 season when it travels to Providence, R.I. to play Brown (4-5, 3-3 Ivy League) for the series’ 81st meeting on Saturday, Nov. 19. Kickoff is at 12:30 p.m. ET at Brown Stadium.
WHERE TO LISTEN/WATCH
The Ivy League Digital Network will televise the game with Scott Cordischi (play-by-play) and John Anderson (color analyst) calling action. Kevin Hession will produce. Jerry Recco (play-by-play) and Sal Licata (color analyst) will call action on the Columbia Online Radio Network available at www.gocolumbialions.com. WKCR-Radio (89.9 FM), Columbia’s student radio station will also broadcast the game live from Brown Stadium.
FINAL GAME FOR 2016 SENIORS
The contest marks the final collegiate game for Columbia’s 23-member Senior Class. The seniors were honored in a pre-game ceremony prior to their final home game last Saturday against Cornell. Among those seniors honored prior to the Cornell game included Justin Aimonetti, Keith Brady, William Carson, Mark Cieslak, Christian Conway, Toure Douglas, Jackson Conway, Cameron Dunn, Nathan Gibbs, Denzel Hill, Scooter Hollis, John Hunton, Ben Kaplan, Jared Katz, Brock Kenyon, Tyler Kwiatkowski, Skyler Mornhinweg, Cameron Nizialek, Kendall Pace, Matt Panton, Willie Peoples, Gianmarco Rea and Alan Watson.
BAGNOLI CONCLUDES SECOND SEASON AT HELM
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 238-114 overall record and previously 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.
ABOUT THE LIONS
Columbia plays its 10th and final game and sixth Ivy League contest of the 2016 season on Saturday. Columbia lost a 42-40 decision to Cornell in its final home game last Saturday. Columbia has already matched its victory total from the 2015 season. Columbia’s two victories on the year include a 9-7 Homecoming win over Dartmouth on Oct. 22 and a 15-13 win at Wagner on a rainy Oct. 8.
The 2016 season has seen Columbia receive important contributions from its 2016 freshman class. A total of 21 freshmen have seen significant action this season, while 20 freshmen made the travel roster to Harvard on Nov. 5.
From the previous year, the youthful Lions returned 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 nation’s No. 3 ranked recruiting class at the FCS level. Those newcomers account for 37 percent of its 2016 roster.
Quarterback Anders Hill has started each of the last seven games and has completed 131 of his 248 passes for 1,429 yards and eight touchdowns. He is averaging 158.8 yards passing per game. Alan Watson leads the Lions in rushing with 469 yards on 113 carries. Josh Wainwright is the Lions’ leading receiver with 37 catches for 365 yards and three touchdowns, Scooter Hollis has 34 receptions for 338 yards, Cameron Dunn has 30 catches for 329 yards and two touchdowns and Ronald Smith leads the Lions in yards per reception (16.5), receiving yards per game (82.8) and touchdown receptions (four) on 20 catches for 331 yards.
Columbia’s defense has been a strongpoint for the Lions most of the season, allowing 26 points per game, 369.4 yards per game and holding teams to a 31 percent third down conversion rate. Linebacker Gianmarco Rea is Columbia’s team leader in tackles (98) and sacks (5.0-26). Safety Brock Kenyon has three interceptions and 66 tackles, linebacker Keith Brady (64 tackles), linebacker Christian Conway (57 tackles, 4.0 sacks) and safety Landon Baty (50 tackles) are all key contributors.
ABOUT THE BEARS
Brown (4-5, 3-3 Ivy League) enters its 10th and final game on a two-game win streak after defeating both Yale 27-22 on Nov. 5 and Dartmouth 24-21 on Nov. 12. The Bears are led by quarterback Thomas Linta, who has completed 54.6 percent (100 of 183) of his passes with six touchdowns. Johnny Pena leads the Bears in rushing with 445 yards on 120 carries and four touchdowns, while Alex Jette (49 catches for 511 yards, 3TD), Garrett Swanky (34 catches for 340 yards, 2 TD) and Anton Casey (26 catches for 201 yards) lead the receiving corps. On defense, Brown is led by Will Twyman, who has made 90 tackles on the year with three interceptions. Other leading tacklers are Richard Jarvis (57 tackles), Connor Coughlin (45 tackles) and Jay Williams (43 tackles).
Columbia and Brown meet for the 81st time in a series which began in 1902. Brown leads the all-time series with a 52-26-2 advantage. The Bears have claimed four straight contests dating back to a 13-6 Columbia victory on Nov. 19, 2011. Brown has won four straight home games against Columbia dating back to a Nov. 18, 2006 Columbia win in Providence. Columbia has a 9-28-1 all-time record in games played at Brown.
LIONS’ TWO VICTORIES MATCHES 2015 TOTAL
With two victories 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 four contests.
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 15 losses, 11 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 were uncharacteristic of Bagnoli’s teams at Columbia. Five of Columbia’s seven losses in 2016 have been decided by 10 points or less. Columbia’s average margin of loss in 2016 is 12.0.
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, 13 of Columbia’s 19 total games have been decided by 10 points or less. Columbia has won four of those contests.
REA, SCHROER NAMED TO ACADEMIC ALL-DISTRICT TEAM
Two Columbia football players—seniors Gianmarco Rea and Chris Schroer—were named to the College Sports Information Directors Association Academic All-District One Team, the organization announced.
The duo is part of a 25-member All-District 1 Team comprised of honorees from Northeast states. Rea and Schroer are now eligible to earn CoSIDa Academic All-America team honors. First, Second and Third Team Academic All-America awards are announced later this month.
COLUMBIA FRESHMAN CLASS SCORES 41 STRAIGHT POINTS
A fourth quarter pass to Cameron Dunn on Friday, Oct. 28 against Yale snapped a streak in which several Columbia freshmen combined to score 41 consecutive points for the Lions. The streak began against Princeton on Oct. 1 and concluded on Oct. 28 against Yale when senior wide receiver Cameron Dunn scored on a touchdown pass. Freshman placekicker Oren Milstein scored all nine points in the 9-7 win over Dartmouth (Oct. 22). Freshman quarterback Hunter Petlansky scored a touchdown and Milstein provided the extra point and a field goal at Penn (Oct. 15). Milstein scored all 15 points on a school-record five field goals at Wagner (Oct. 8). Freshman wide receiver Josh Wainwright scored Columbia’s second touchdown and Milstein provided the extra point vs. Princeton.
COLUMBIA BRINGS THE DEFENSE
Through nine games, Columbia has been strong on defense. It ranks No. 43 nationally in total defense (364.8 yards per game), No. 50 in scoring defense (26.0 points per game allowed), No. 17 in first downs defense (160.0), and No. 10 in third down conversion defense (0.309). In addition, the Lions rank No. 16 in team tackles for loss (7.6 per game).
Columbia’s defense is anchored by its three senior linebackers, Gianmarco Rea, Christian Conway and Keith Brady, who account for 35 percent of the Lions’ total tackles. The trio is extremely talented at getting to plays and making tackles. Rea ranks No. 8 nationally in tackles per game (11.0) and No. 13 nationally in solo tackles per game (5.7). He is also tied for the team lead in sacks (5.0-26). Safety Brock Kenyon (66 tackles and three interceptions), Brady (64 tackles) and Conway (57 tackles, 4.0 sacks) are among league leaders. Rea leads the Ivy League in tackles, while Kenyon is 11th, Brady is 12th and Conway is 15th. The Lions have four of the Ivy League’s top-15 tacklers.
All year, third down has been a successful situation for Columbia’s defense. Columbia leads the league and ranks No. 10 nationally on third down efficiency, holding opponents to a 30.9 percent conversion rate (47-151). On third down, freshmen Daniel DeLorenzi (team leader in sacks, 5.0-23) and Michael Geraghty (2.5-14) are inserted into the defensive line. The duo ranks No. 11 and No. 18 respectively in the Ivy League in sacks despite playing primarily on third downs. With his team-leading five sacks, Rea and Conway are both tied for eighth in the Ivy League in sacks.
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 RECEIVER RONALD SMITH II IS IVY LEAGUE ROOKIE OF THE WEEK
Columbia freshman wide receiver Ronald Smith II was named the Ivy League’s Football Rookie of the Week, the conference office announced on November 14. Smith becomes Columbia’s third Ivy League Rookie of the Week honoree this year as freshman placekicker Oren Milstein earned the honor two different times on Oct. 10 and Oct. 24.
Smith set career-highs for receptions (11) and receiving yards (195) and scored a touchdown in Columbia’s 42-40 loss to Cornell on Saturday. Smith’s 195 receiving yards were the most totaled at Columbia since Terry Brown finished with 207 yards vs. Cornell on Nov. 12, 1988. The 195 yards rank as the fifth all-time best performance in school history. The last time a Columbia player finished with more than 150 yards receiving in a game was on Nov. 12, 2011 when Kurt Williams registered 191 yards vs. Cornell. Smith’s touchdown reception came on an 11-yard pass from quarterback Anders Hill in the fourth quarter. He also registered a career-long 44-yard reception in the second quarter, which surpassed his previous long of 39 yards.
On the year, Smith has 20 receptions for 331 yards and leads Columbia in receiving touchdowns (four), receiving yards per game (82.8) and yards per reception (16.5). In only four games and one start, Smith also leads the Lions in most 100-yard receiving games with two (195 yards vs. Cornell and 114 yards vs. Yale).
It was his second 100-yard receiving day of the year as the St. Louis, Mo. native notched previous career-highs for touchdown receptions (two), receptions (six) and receiving yards (114) against Yale on Oct. 28.
Four Columbia football players were mentioned on the Ivy League’s Honor Roll including junior quarterback Anders Hill, senior linebacker Gianmarco Rea, senior running back Alan Watson and freshman placekicker Oren Milstein.
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 on Oct. 22, freshman placekicker Oren Milstein was named the Ivy League Rookie of the Week and co-Special Teams Player of the Week on Oct. 24. 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 also 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 eight games played this season, Oren Milstein ranks No. 2 nationally in field goal percentage (.917) and No. 13 nationally in field goals per game (1.38). He leads the Ivy League in field goals made (11, 1.38 per game) and field goal percentage (91.7, 11-12) and ranks second in kick scoring (5.5 points per game).
SPEEDY WATSON EMERGES AT RUNNING BACK
Senior running back Alan Watson has emerged as Columbia’s top rusher as he currently ranks No. 7 in the Ivy League in rushing with 469 yards on 113 carries for a 4.2 yards per game average. On the year, Watson has rushed for 100 or more yards two different times including Columbia’s previous game against Cornell (18-105).
Watson had a breakout performance at Wagner on Oct. 8, rushing for a career-high 107 yards on 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 all games since.
Watson and senior Chris Schroer (42 carries for 162 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. 19 nationally with a 38.4 yards per punt average. Columbia’s punt return defense ranks No. 22 nationally (4.9 yards per return) and its kickoff return defense ranks at a stellar No. 11 nationally (17.0 yards per return). Two Columbia players lead the Ivy League in a variety of special teams statistics including Cameron Nizialek (punting) and Oren Milstein (field goals).
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 LEADS IVY LEAGUE IN PUNTING
Senior Cameron Nizialek enters Saturday’s game leading the Ivy League in punting. He averages 44.6 yards per punt with a league-best long of 65 yards. Last year, he was an All-Ivy League punter and placekicker. In addition, Matthew Panton also averages 39.7 yards per punt (38-1,507) and has placed 16 punts inside the 20-yard line.
ANDERS HILL EMERGES AT QUARTERBACK
Junior Anders Hill has emerged as the starting quarterback for Columbia. Hill has started each of the last seven games for the Lions. He ranks No. 6 in the Ivy League in passing yardage per game (158.8), No. 7 in passing efficiency (106.2) and No. 5 in total offense (182.8).
Previously against Yale on Oct. 28, Hill had his best game yet, setting career-highs for completions (24), attempts (46), passing yards (246) and touchdown passes (3). The last time a Columbia quarterback passed for three touchdowns in a game was on Oct. 11, 2014 when Trevor McDonagh threw for four against Monmouth. Hill backed that game up with a 284-yard, three touchdown game on 24 of 40 passes against Cornell on Nov. 12.
CORNELL CLAIMS EMPIRE STATE BOWL GAME WITH 42-40 WIN OVER COLUMBIA
Chris Walker rushed for three touchdowns and a career-high 230 yards and quarterback Dalton Banks threw for 267 yards and two touchdowns to lead Cornell to a high scoring 42-40 win over Columbia in the 104th annual Empire State Bowl Saturday at Robert K. Kraft Field.
In a back-and-forth, high-scoring and exciting offensive affair which featured eight lead changes and three ties, the two teams combined for 1,121 total offensive yards, 55 first downs, 697 passing yards, two fumbles that resulted in touchbacks, three interceptions and five touchdowns of 20 yards or more.
Cornell took the lead for good at 28-24 with 4:52 left in the third quarter when Banks found Hayes Nolte for a 14-yard touchdown pass. The Big Red kept its 63-yard, eight play drive alive when it used a fake punt to convert on a fourth and five. On the fake punt play, Jake Jatis took the snap and completed a 33-yard pass to Chris Fraser to set up the score. After a 37-yard field goal by Columbia’s Oren Milstein, which cut the deficit to 28-27, Cornell went on a 15-play, 87-yard drive which ended in a one-yard touchdown run by Banks to go up 35-27.
Columbia wasn’t finished as it battled back with a 13-yard touchdown pass to freshman Lynnard Rose from quarterback Anders Hill to make the score 35-33. The Lions attempted to tie the game with a two-point conversion, but a flip pass failed to cross the goal line.
On the ensuing possession, Walker found an opening up the middle and rambled for a 71-yard scoring run to give Cornell a commanding 42-33 lead with 4:53 left. It was his third and final touchdown of the day. The Lions then answered with a touchdown pass from Hill to Ronald Smith to cut the deficit to 42-40 with 1:58 to go. Columbia then attempted an on-side kick, which was recovered by Cornell’s Collin Shaw.
A career-long 44-yard Oren Milstein field goal with four seconds left in the second quarter gave Columbia a 24-21 halftime lead. Cornell took a 7-0 lead just two minutes into the game when Walker scored his first touchdown of the day on a 27-yard run.
Columbia (2-7, 1-5 Ivy League) tied the game at 7-7 with 11:39 left in the first quarter when Hill found Josh Wainwright open for a 33-yard touchdown pass. The score was setup by a 43-yard pass from Hill to Scooter Hollis. Columbia went up 14-7 on a two-yard touchdown run by freshman Tanner Thomas following a 78-yard, eight play drive. A 32-yard run by Alan Watson and 11-yard quarterback scramble by Hill fueled the drive.
Cornell (4-5, 2-4 Ivy League) tied the game at 14-14 on a 47-yard touchdown pass from Banks to Ben Rogers following a 46-second, 80-yard drive spanning three plays. The Big Red started the drive on their own 20-yard line after a Columbia fumble rolled out of bounds for a touchback.
Columbia went up 21-14 when freshman Hunter Petlansky took the snap and ran 18-yards for his second career touchdown. Senior Christian Conway intercepted a tipped pass at the Cornell 27-yard line.
Walker tied the game at 21-21 when he ran 28 yards for a touchdown with 1:32 left in the second quarter.
Four Columbia freshmen scored touchdowns in the game: Petlansky, Wainwright, Smith and Thomas. Hill threw for 284 yards and three touchdowns and completed 24 of 40 passes. Watson ran for 105 yards on 18 carries. Smith finished with career-highs of 195 yards and 11 receptions. His 195 yards rank as the fifth most in school history and the most since Terry Brown finished with 207 receiving yards vs. Cornell in 1988. Gianmarco Rea led Columbia with 10 tackles, Landon Baty finished with seven and Keith Brady added six. Columbia honored its 23 seniors in a pre-game ceremony.
COLUMBIA-CORNELL POST-GAME NOTES
•Columbia honored its 23 seniors in a pre-game ceremony.
•Columbia totaled season-highs for points scored (40), total offensive yards (562), passing yards (397), completions (30), rushing yards (165) and first downs (29).
•Columbia’s 40 points were the most it has scored in a game since Nov. 12, 2011 when it scored 41 in a 62-41 loss at Cornell.
•The 562 offensive yards were the most for Columbia since it finished with 528 yards of total offense on Oct. 2, 2010 vs. Princeton (528).
•Freshman Ronald Smith set career-highs for receptions (11) and receiving yards (195). He registered a career-long 44-yard reception in the second quarter. It surpassed his previous long of 39 yards.
•Smith’s 195 receiving yards were the most totaled at Columbia since Terry Brown finished with 207 yards vs. Cornell on Nov. 12, 1988. The 195 yards ranks as the fifth all-time best performance in school history. The last time a Columbia player finished with more than 150 yards receiving in a game was on Nov. 12, 2011 when Kurt Williams finished with 191 yards vs. Cornell.
•Senior Alan Watson rushed for his second career 100-yard rushing game with 105 yards on 18 carries. His previous 100-yard performance came on Oct. 8, 2016 at Wagner, where he rushed for career-highs of 23 carries and 107 receiving yards.
•Junior quarterback Anders Hill finished the day with 284 yards passing and three touchdowns. His 284 yards were the second most passing yards in his career (289 vs. Yale) and his three touchdowns tied his performance earlier this year vs. Yale.
•Junior offensive lineman Markham Paukune made his first career start today.
•Senior Scooter Hollis caught a 43-yard pass from Anders Hill in the first quarter. The play represented Columbia’s second longest pass play of the year.
•Freshman Josh Wainwright scored his third touchdown of the season on a 33-yard TD reception from Anders Hill.
•Freshman Tanner Thomas scored his first career touchdown in the first quarter on a two-yard run around the end.
•Columbia’s 24 scored points in the first half set season-high for team scoring. Previously, Columbia scored 23 points vs. Yale in a 31-23 loss on Oct. 28.
•Columbia’s 14 first quarter points were the most it has scored in an opening period this season.
•Columbia’s 24 points at halftime tied for the most points scored by the Lions in the first half.
•Sophomore Mike Hinton recovered his first career fumble in the second quarter. The fumble was recovered in the end zone for a touchback.
•Senior linebacker Christian Conway intercepted the first pass of his career in the second quarter when he jumped up and gathered in a tipped pass. The play gave Columbia possession of the ball at the Cornell 27-yard line.
•Freshman Hunter Petlansky scored his second career touchdown in the second quarter on an 18-yard run.
•Freshman Oren Milstein kicked a career-long 44-yard field goal to close out the first half. He converted a 37-yard field goal in the third quarter for his second of the game. Milstein entered the game ranked No. 3 nationally in field goal percentage. He is now 11-12 on the year on field goals.
•Freshman Lynnard Rose caught his first career touchdown pass in the fourth quarter on a 13-yard pass from Anders Hill. It also marked his career-long reception.
•Columbia led at halftime for the second consecutive game.
•Columbia and Cornell played in the Empire State Bowl for the 104th time in series history. Cornell now leads the series 64-36-3. Cornell has now won four straight games in the series.
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. 8 in the Ivy League in all purpose yardage (80.4), No. 6 in receptions per game (4.6) and No. 9 in receiving yards per game (45.6). He leads the team in receiving yards (365 yards), has caught three touchdown passes and also registered his first career touchdown, an 88-yard TD pass in the fourth quarter against Princeton.
FRESHMAN IMPACT PLAYERS
Of Columbia’s freshman class, several have already made immediate contributions. At the skill positions, Tanner Thomas and Lynnard Rose have seen significant action at running back, while Josh Wainwright, Ronald Smith and Christian Everett have made major contributions at receiver.
Twelve 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 also 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.
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 returned 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. These four veterans have combined for 85 career starts.
A four-year starter and leader of the group, Pace is in his senior year after having played/started in 39 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 nine 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 prior to home football games. The event is open to the public.