NEW HAVEN, Conn.—In sole possession of first place in the Ivy League for the first time in school history and one of four undefeated teams remaining nationally in the FCS, Columbia (6-0, 3-0 Ivy League) travels to New Haven, Conn. to take on Yale (5-1, 2-1 Ivy League) in a key Ivy League matchup on Saturday. Kickoff is at 1 p.m. ET at the historic Yale Bowl.
WHERE TO LISTEN/WATCH
SportsNet NY (SNY) will televise the game with Ron Vaccaro (play-by-play) and Jack Ford (color analyst) calling action. Sol Steinberg will handle production. The contest will also be simulcast and live streamed on the Ivy League Network. Jay Alter (play-by-play) and former Columbia player Shawn FitzGerald (color analyst) will call action on the Columbia Online Radio Network available at www.gocolumbialions.com.
COLUMBIA LOOKING TO START SEASON AT 4-0 IN IVY LEAGUE AND 7-0 ON SEASON
A win over Yale on Saturday would give Columbia its first-ever 4-0 start to Ivy League play since the conference was formed in 1956. With wins in each of its first three Ivy League games, Columbia is 3-0 in league play for the first time since 1996. A win would also give Columbia seven wins to start a season for the first time since 1932 when the Lions won their first seven games en route to a 7-1-1 year under head coach Lou Little. Columbia’s school-record for best start to a season is 8-0 in 1903 when the Lions finished 9-1 under head coach William F. Morley.
Since the Ivy League was formed in 1956, Columbia has only completed four seasons with a .500 or better record in Ivy League play: 1961 Ivy League Champions (6-1), 1962: 4-3, 1971: 5-2, 1996: 5-2.
FIRST WINNING SEASON SINCE 1996
With its six wins, Columbia is already guaranteed of its first winning season since 1996 when it finished 8-2 and 5-2 in Ivy League play. Columbia has already won more games than it accumulated in its first two seasons under Al Bagnoli: 2-8 in 2015 and 3-7 in 2016. The last time the Lions put together a .500 or better overall season was in 2006 when they finished 5-5 overall and 2-5 in the Ivy League.
6-0 START FOR FIRST TIME SINCE 1996
With its six wins to start the 2017 season, Columbia begins a year at 6-0 for the first time since 1996. Columbia starts its season at 6-0 for the just the second time since 1945. Columbia has started a season at 6-0 or better only six times in school history: 1903 (8-0), 1904 (6-0), 1932 (7-0), 1945 (6-0), 1996 (6-0) and 2017 (6-0).
With its six wins already in 2017, Columbia has already surpassed its win total of five victories over the previous four years (2013-16). The Lions went 5-35 during that span. In just two-and-half seasons at Columbia, Bagnoli has already won more games (11) than Columbia won in the previous five seasons (2010-14) before he became head coach. The Lions went 8-42 during that five-year span.
In 1996, Columbia won six straight games to start its season en route to an 8-2 overall record and 5-2 Ivy League record. Two of those wins were in overtime: Sept. 21 vs. Harvard (OT), 20-13; Sept. 28 at Fordham, 17-10; Oct. 5 at Holy Cross, 42-16; Oct. 12 at Penn (OT), 20-19; Oct. 19 Lafayette (Homecoming), 3-0 and Oct. 26 at Yale, 13-10. The streak ended with a 14-11 home loss to Princeton on Nov. 2. Ironically, Columbia defeated Al Bagnoli’s Penn-coached team 20-19 in overtime in 1996.
COLUMBIA VYING FOR SECOND ALL-TIME IVY LEAGUE TITLE
Columbia has won just one Ivy League championship in program history: 1961. In 1961, Columbia tied for the league title with a 6-1 overall record, defeating all league teams except for Princeton (30-20 loss). Coached by Aldo T. Donelli and led by captain William V. Campbell, Columbia defeated Penn 37-6 on Nov. 18, 1961 to claim a piece of the Lions’ first and only title.
COLUMBIA ON SEVEN-GAME WIN STREAK
Columbia’s current seven-game win streak marks its longest win streak since 1935. With its 22-17 win at Dartmouth, Columbia claimed its seventh consecutive win while closing out the 2016 season with a 31-13 victory over Brown. The last time Columbia won seven straight games was from Oct. 27, 1934 to Oct. 19, 1935.
The seven-game win streak ranks tied for the third longest win streak in school history. The school-record is eight consecutive wins set two different times. It won a school-best eight consecutive contests to open the 1903 season. Columbia also won eight straight games from Oct. 28, 1933-Oct. 20, 1934.
Columbia’s all-time win streaks: 8, Sept. 26, 1903-Oct. 31, 1903; 8, Oct. 28, 1993-Oct. 20, 1934; 7, Nov. 19, 2016-current; 7, Oct. 27, 1934-Oct. 19, 1935; 7, Sept. 24, 1932-Nov. 12, 1932.
MONUMENTAL TRIFECTA: DARTMOUTH-PENN-PRINCETON SWEEP
With victories over Dartmouth (22-17), Penn (34-31 in OT) and Princeton (28-24), Columbia swept all three opponents for the first time since the 1971 season. Since the Ivy League was formed in 1956, Columbia has defeated Dartmouth, Penn and Princeton in the same season only two times: 1971 and 2017. Dartmouth, Penn and Princeton combined to win each of the last three Ivy League titles.
COLUMBIA: ONE OF FOUR UNBEATENS
Columbia (6-0) is one of only four unbeaten teams at the FCS level. Those teams include North Carolina Central (8-0), North Dakota State (7-0) and James Madison (7-0).
FOR FOURTH WEEK LIONS EARN VOTES IN STATS, INC. NATIONAL POLL
For a fourth consecutive week, Columbia gained votes in the STATS, Inc. national poll. The Lions secured 115 points in the poll and are listed in the “others receiving votes” at No. 31. Columbia is the highest Ivy League school in the rankings and is one of three Ivy League schools receiving votes including Dartmouth (10 points) and Princeton (eight points).
For the first time this year, Columbia received votes in the FCS Coaches’ poll this week. The Lions earned three votes.
On Monday, Oct. 9, Columbia earned 23 points following its win at Marist. Columbia first earned 22 points in the STATS, Inc. national FCS poll on Monday, Oct. 2 following a 28-24 win over Princeton on Sept. 30.
The last time Columbia earned a national ranking was during the final 1947 poll where it came in at No. 20 in the Associated Press poll following a 7-2 overall record. Columbia has never been ranked since it joined the FCS.
COLUMBIA, LIONS PLAYERS AMONG NATIONAL STATISTICAL LEADERS IN A VARIETY OF CATEGORIES
Through its first six games, Columbia ranks among the nation’s top-25 FCS teams in 15 different statistical categories according to the NCAA. Columbia leads the nation in winning percentage (6-0, 1.000) and ranks No. 3 in time of possession (34:45), No. 3 in third down conversion percentage defense (25.7%), No. 5 in red zone defense (63.2%), No. 6 in first downs defense (102), No. 6 in third down conversion percentage (49.5%), No. 7 in fewest fumbles lost (2), No. 13 in fourth down conversion percentage (69.2%), No. 14 in kickoff returns (24.0), No. 16 in passing offense (277.2), No. 17 in fourth down conversion percentage defense (28.6%), No. 18 in completion percentage (64%), No. 19 in kickoff return defense (17.53), No. 23 in scoring defense (19.5) and No. 24 in team passing efficiency (148.72).
Individually, several Lions also rank among the top-25 national statistical leaders including quarterback Anders Hill, who ranks among the nation’s top-25 in seven categories: No. 11 in total offense (302.0), No. 12 in passing yards per game (277.2), No. 13 in completion percentage (66.0%), No. 16 in completions per game (21.7), No. 17 in points responsible for (16.0), No. 19 in passing efficiency (154.3) and No. 25 in passing touchdowns (14).
Additionally, wide receiver Josh Wainwright ranks among the nation’s top-25 in several categories including No. 7 in receptions per game (7.7), No. 12 in receiving yards per game (106.2), No. 14 in receiving touchdowns (7) and No. 20 in punt returns (10.0). Sophomore linebacker Michael Murphy is ranked No. 7 in fumble recoveries (2), senior punter Parker Thome ranks No. 8 in punting (44.4) and first-year quarterback Josh Bean ranks No. 15 in rushing touchdowns (7) and No. 16 in scoring (8.4).
Yale and Columbia meet for the 96th time in series history. Yale, which holds a 72-21-2 advantage in the series, has won eight of the last nine matchups. In games played in New Haven, Yale is 39-10-2 overall. Columbia claimed the last matchup in New Haven, a 17-7 win on Oct. 31, 2015, a win which marked Al Bagnoli’s first-ever Ivy League victory at Columbia.
COLUMBIA HAS FLAIR FOR DRAMATIC WINS
In the early-going this year, Columbia has shown its resilience and toughness with two comeback wins against Penn and Princeton, two walk-off wins over Penn (34-31 in OT on walk-off TD) and Wagner (17-14 on walk-off field goal) and four victories that were secured in the last two minutes of regulation: Dartmouth, Penn, Princeton and Wagner.
Against Wagner, the Seahawks tied the game at 14-14 and had a chance to go ahead on a field goal, but Columbia blocked the attempt. Columbia gained possession of the ball back and quarterback Anders Hill drove the Lions 54 yards down the field where placekicker Oren Milstein converted a 29-yard field goal as time expired for the win.
Trailing 24-21 with 1:12 to play at Princeton, wide receiver Ronald Smith II caught a pass from Hill and raced 63 yards down the field for the game-winning touchdown. With Princeton driving on its final possession, sophomore Ben McKeighan intercepted his second pass of the day to seal the victory.
Against Penn, the Lions trailed 21-7 in the fourth quarter and used two interceptions to storm back, tie the game at 21-21, then take a lead 28-21 on a Hill pass to tight end Rory Schlageter. Penn sent the game into overtime with a touchdown with 1:21 to play. In overtime and after Columbia’s defense held Penn to a field goal, Hill found Josh Wainwright for a 24-yard touchdown on a third and nine play to give the Lions a 34-31 win.
Already, Hill has led the Lions on three game-winning drives in the early-going this year.
At Dartmouth, Columbia built a 22-7 lead then had to hold off a late Dartmouth comeback. On the last play of the game with Dartmouth threatening score a touchdown at CU’s seven yard line, Columbia’s Mike Hinton sacked DC’s quarterback and time expired securing a 22-17 Columbia victory.
PERFECT NON-CONFERENCE RECORD
Columbia completed its three-game non-conference schedule with three consecutive wins for the first time since the 2006 season. The Lions defeated Wagner (17-14), Georgetown (35-14) and Marist (41-17). In addition, Columbia has won four consecutive non-conference games, a streak it will carry over into the 2018 season.
Columbia has completed perfect non-conference seasons only three times since the Ivy League was formed in 1956: 1996, 2006 and now 2017.
ABOUT THE LIONS
Columbia begins its final four-game stretch with a 6-0 overall and 3-0 in Ivy League play for the first time since 1996. Columbia finds itself in sole possession of first place in the Ivy League.
It makes its second consecutive road trip to Yale after defeating Dartmouth 22-17 on the road. It also registered a thrilling 34-31 come-from-behind overtime victory over Penn before 13,081 fans. Columbia has also registered a 17-14 win over Wagner, a 35-14 win vs. Georgetown and a 28-24 come-from-behind win at Princeton to start 1-0 in Ivy League play and a 41-17 win at Marist.
Columbia returned 13 starters (seven on offense and six on defense) and 57 lettermen to a youthful and talented team that finished 3-7 overall and tied for a sixth place finish in the Ivy League with a 2-5 mark.
The 2016 Lions concluded their season with a victory at Brown, while five of their seven losses were decided by 10 or fewer points. Three All-Ivy League picks return in sophomore placekicker Oren Milstein, senior defensive back Cameron Roane and senior defensive lineman Lord Hyeamang. Additionally, Columbia returned players who accounted for 88 percent (162 of 185) of its points scored, 82 percent (1,651 of 2,014) of its passing yards, 51 percent (1,037 of 2,014) of its receiving yards, 60 percent (3 of 5) of its starters on the offensive line and 49 percent (333 of 680) of its tackles in 2016.
ABOUT THE BULLDOGS
Yale enters Saturday’s game with a 5-1 overall and 2-1 Ivy League record. The Bulldogs have registered Ivy League wins over Cornell (49-24), Penn (24-19) and dropped a 28-27 last second loss to Dartmouth.
Yale is led by quarterback Kurt Rawlings, who has completed 70.2 percent of his passes (118 of 168) for 1,418 yards and 13 touchdowns. His top targets are Christopher Williams-Lopez, who has caught 37 passes for 405 yards and three touchdowns, Jaden Graham, who has 17 receptions for 197 yards and two touchdowns and J.P. Shohfi (14 catches for 209 yards and a TD). Zane Dudek (551 yards on 61 carries, 9.0 yards per carry average) and Deshawn Salter (484 yards on 72 carries) lead the Bulldogs’ rushing attack.
On defense, Yale is led by Hayden Carlson (40 tackles, 1 INT), Foyesade Oluokun (31 tackles, 4.0 TFL, 2.0 sacks) and Jason Alessi (24 tackles, 2 INT). In addition, Matthew Oplinger leads the Bulldogs with eight sacks and 10.0 tackles for loss.
THIRD DOWN DOMINANCE
Columbia continues to make plays on third down both on offense and on defense. Offensively, Columbia has converted 50 of its 101 third down conversions (49.5 percent) on the year to rank second in the Ivy League and rank No. 6 nationally in that statistic. On defense, Columbia has limited opponents to a 25.7 percent (18 of 70) conversion rate on third downs, which ranks No. 3 nationally and leads the league by a large margin.
Columbia has also been successful on fourth downs on both offense (69.2 percent) and defense (28.6 percent), ranking among the nation’s top-20 in both categories.
LIONS DOMINATE TIME OF POSSESSION
Columbia has won the time of possession battle in each of its six games. On the year, Columbia ranks No. 3 nationally and leads the Ivy League in time of possession after maintaining possession for 34:45.
ANDERS HILL LEADS COLUMBIA OFFENSE AT QUARTERBACK
For the second straight year senior Anders Hill is back as Columbia’s starting quarterback. He returns to anchor an offense that improved with every game in 2016 and looks even more polished in 2017. It also is the second consecutive year that Columbia has employed the same offensive system.
Hill has started 14 consecutive games and in those 14 starts, has guided Columbia to seven straight wins and an 9-5 record as the starter. His seven-game win streak is the longest for a Columbia full-time starting quarterback since Gene Rossides won six straight as the starter from Oct. 25, 1947-Oct. 2, 1948. Already in 2017, Hill has completed 66.0 percent of his passes (130 of 197) for 1,663 yards and 14 touchdowns and ranks third on the Lions in rushing yards with 149 yards on 70 carries and two TDs.
Upon entering into the 2017 season, most impressive and most memorable is what Hill accomplished over Columbia’s final three games of the 2016 season against Harvard, Cornell and Brown. The three-game span saw him complete 60 percent (49 of 82) of his passes for 616 yards, six touchdowns and four interceptions.
In his career, Hill has completed a school-record 66 percent of his passes (323 of 507) for 3,868 yards, 25 touchdowns and 18 interceptions in 27 games and 14 starts.
Hill has improved in virtually every aspect including his conditioning and strength.
DYNAMIC DUO: WIDE RECEIVER TANDEM PROVES TO BE THREAT
Columbia has the most dangerous wide receiver tandem in the Ivy League in sophomores Josh Wainwright and Ronald Smith II. The duo entered the 2017 campaign as a bit of an unknown league-wide as most of their key performances occurred during the back end of the 2016 season. This year, both players have displayed a knack for getting open and a flair for the big play.
Already this season, Wainwright and Smith have accounted for 56.1 percent of the Lions’ receptions (73 of 130), 63.4 percent of their receiving yards (1,055 of 1,663) and nearly half of the Lions’ touchdowns (11 of 24).
In 2016, Wainwright led the Lions in receptions (42), receiving yards (515) and touchdown receptions (5). He also caught a touchdown pass in each of Columbia’s last three games in 2016 and also finished second on the squad in all-purpose yardage with 800. He finished fifth in the Ivy League in both receptions per game and receiving yards per game, seventh in the league in all-purpose yards per game and also caught an 88-yard touchdown reception, Columbia’s longest scoring play of 2016.
This year, Wainwright has 46 catches for 637 yards and seven touchdowns. Wainwright also leads the Lions in all-purpose yards with 740 for the year (637 receiving,100 on punt returns). For his 15-game, 14-start career, Wainwright has caught 88 passes for 1,152 yards and 12 touchdowns.
On Oct. 2, Smith was named Columbia’s first Ivy League Offensive Player of the Week since Oct. 4, 2010 when he set a school-record and Princeton Stadium record with a career-high 236 receiving yards on 10 receptions. He also caught the game-winning touchdown pass on a 63-yard catch and run. His 236-yard receiving game ranks 11th among single-game totals in Ivy League history and marks the fourth highest total in FCS football this year. He also tied a career-high with two touchdown receptions and caught two TD passes for the second consecutive game. He surpassed Columbia’s single-game receiving yards record of 214 yards set by Bill Wazevich vs. Princeton on October 7, 1967. His game-winning 63-yard touchdown reception marked the longest catch of his career. The performance marked Smith’s third 100-yard receiving game of his career. His previous career-high for receiving yards was 195 yards and his career-high for receptions still stands at 11 vs. Yale on Oct. 28, 2016.
For his 10-game and seven-start career, Smith has caught 48 passes for 810 yards and eight touchdowns. Smith missed the Dartmouth game due to injury.
IVY LEAGUE LEADERS
Columbia leads the league in two statistical categories: opponent third down conversions (25.7) and time of possession (34:45).
Individually, junior punter Parker Thome is the only player to lead the league in a statistical category: punting (44.4).
BIG PLAY LIONS
Columbia now has a group of playmakers who can make big plays. It has three receivers- Josh Wainwright, Ronald Smith and Emerson Kabus- who each have a catch for over 60 yards or more and each has registered a 100-yard receiving game. In defensive back Will Allen, Columbia also has a kickoff returner capable of scoring a touchdown on any given play. The return of running back Lynnard Rose from injury gives the Lions another playmaking threat.
In six games, Columbia has had 29 total plays gaining 20 yards or more, 15 plays gaining 30 or more yards and a whopping 10 plays of 40 or more yards. Of the 10 40-yard plays, five have gone for touchdowns including a 59-yard TD pass to Josh Wainwright, 69-yard TD pass to Wainwright, 46-yard TD pass to Ronald Smith, 63-yard TD pass to Ronald Smith and 55-yard TD pass to Wainwright.
OFFENSIVE QUICK HITS
*Columbia is averaging 400.2 yards of total offense per game, up from 326.5 yards per game in 2016. It is averaging 277.2 yards passing per game.
*Columbia is averaging 29.5 points per game, up from 18.5 points per game in 2016.
*Columbia is averaging 21.0 first downs per game, up from 17.7 first downs per game in 2016.
*Quarterback Anders Hill is on a hot streak. Combining his last four games against Marist, Princeton and Penn, he has thrown for 1,306 yards and nine touchdowns, completed 98 of 141 passes (69.5 percent) and had only four passes intercepted.
*Hill has been responsible for 16 of Columbia’s 24 touchdowns on the year (67 percent). He ranks No. 17 nationally and No. 2 in the Ivy League in points responsible for (16.0 per game).
*One under-the-radar statistical category that stands out is Hill’s efficiency and success on third downs. Coming into Saturday’s game, on third downs, when Hill passes, he has incredibly completed 35 of 44 passes for 382 yards and six touchdowns and has converted first downs 21 times. He has been sacked 6.0 times and thrown two interceptions. Against Dartmouth on third down, Hill completed seven of eight passes for 59 yards, gained two first downs and threw for a touchdown.
*Each week receivers Josh Wainwright and Ronald Smith take turns leading the Ivy League in receiving yards. This week, Wainwright ranks second in the league with 637 yards on 46 receptions and seven touchdowns. After missing the Dartmouth game, Smith is now ranked No. 7 in both catches (27) and yards (418) and four touchdowns.
*Three receivers have totaled 100-yard receiving games: Ronald Smith (school-record 236 at Princeton), Josh Wainwright has two 100-yard games (193 vs. Penn, 104 vs. Wagner) and Emerson Kabus (114 at Marist). All three have at least one catch of over 60 yards.
*On Saturday at Dartmouth, sophomore wide receiver Kaleb Pitts stepped up for the injured Ronald Smith. Pitts caught eight passes for 91 yards including a 40-yard pass from Anders Hill in the second quarter.
*Junior wide receiver Kyle Castner was the surprise of preseason. The former quarterback made a position switch to wide receiver in the offseason. In six starts, Castner has 11 catches for 122 yards.
*Backup first-year quarterback Josh Bean has scored seven rushing touchdowns in five games played. He is used primarily in short yardage rushing situations and registered back-to-back two touchdown games vs. Penn and at Dartmouth. Bean leads the team and ranks No. 3 in the Ivy League in scoring.
*Sophomore running back Lynnard Rose saw action for the first time this year at Marist. Rose missed the first three games with an injury. He rushed for 32 yards on seven carries and caught a pass.
COLUMBIA BRINGS THE DEFENSE
Over the last three seasons, Columbia’s defense has proved to be a team strength. Defensive coordinator Paul Ferraro has guided a unit that ranked among the nation’s best in a variety of statistical categories. So far this year, Columbia’s defense has allowed just 19.5 points per game (No. 23 nationally) and it ranks No. 5 nationally in red zone defense (63.5%). In addition, opponents have converted just 25.7 percent of their third downs (No. 3 nationally), 28.6 percent of their fourth downs (No. 17 nationally) and 76 percent of their first downs (No. 6 nationally).
In 2016, Columbia ranked among national leaders in third down conversion defense (No. 5, 29.3), first down defense (No. 7, 177.0) and team tackles for loss (No. 14, 7.6 per game). In addition, Columbia ranked a respectable No. 39 in total defense (354.9 yards allowed per game) and No. 43 in scoring defense (24.7 points per game allowed).
Ferraro returned six starters from the 2016 team, including all four defensive linemen: Dominic Perkovic, Ivy League Second Team pick Lord Hyeamang, Connor Heeb and Mike Hinton, along with defensive backs in Ivy League Second Team selection Cameron Roane and Landon Baty. Additionally, the Lions returned seven of their top-8 defensive linemen, five linebackers with in-game experience and senior cornerback Denzel Hill, who emerged at the tailend of 2016.Columbia’s defensive success is a carryover from the 2015 season—Ferraro’s first season at Columbia—which saw a tremendous leap in defensive efficiency, as Columbia improved 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.
The Lions 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 QUICK HITS
*Columbia’s defense has held opponents to just 19.5 points per game and 342.0 yards of total offense per game. Running the ball has been hard for opponents against the Lions have yielded just 126.0 yards rushing per game.
*Columbia has also held opponents to just 17.0 first downs per game.
*Columbia has shut out four of its six opponents in the first half. The Lions have only allowed 28 first half points this year, 14 to Penn and 14 to Princeton. Through the first six games, Columbia has outscored its opponents 110-28 in the first half.
*Columbia ranks No. 2 in the league in turnover margin at plus-3 with 12 takeaways and nine giveaways. Ironically, after not registering a turnover in each of its first two games, Columbia has averaged 3.0 turnovers per game since and has totaled 12 turnovers (seven interceptions and five fumble recoveries) in its last four contests vs. Princeton, at Marist, vs. Penn and at Dartmouth.
*Three Lions are ranked among the top-15 league leaders in tackles: junior safety Ryan Gilbert (No. 4 at 52), senior safety Landon Baty (No. 5 at 48) and sophomore linebacker Michael Murphy (No. 14 at 36). Murphy leads the Lions and ranks No. 7 in tackles for loss with 6.0.
*Columbia has intercepted seven passes, led by first-year linebacker Justin Woodley and sophomore defensive back Benjamin McKeighan with two apiece. Baty, White and sophomore safety Hunter Lunsford are the others with interceptions.
*Defensive line is a team strength as the Lions returned a deep and experienced unit. All four starters and seven of its top eight players returned to the squad including Second Team All-Ivy League selection Lord Hyeamang (14 tackles, 3.0 TFL), senior Dominic Perkovic (17 tackles, 3.0 TFL), senior Connor Heeb (11 tackles, 2.0 TFL) and junior Mike Hinton (17 tackles, 2.5 TFL). Other key players are senior Alex Holme (14 tackles) and sophomores Arman Samouk (six tackles) and Daniel DeLorenzi (12 tackles, three QB hurries).
*Columbia had to replace all three of its starting linebackers from the 2016 season. The transition has been seamless as this year’s group of linebackers has displayed athleticism and toughness. Sophomore Jalen Williams (21 tackles, three QB hurries), junior Sean White (30 tackles, INT, 2.5 TFL, 3 pass breakups) and sophomore Michael Murphy (36 tackles, 6.0 TFL, two fumble recoveries 1.0 sack) have all emerged as starters and key contributors. Murphy earned STATS FCS National Defensive Player of the Week and Ivy League Defensive Player of the Week for this effort against Penn. In addition, junior Calvin Falkenhayn (10 tackles, 4.0 TFL) and senior Parker Tobia (10 tackles) have both played key roles. First-years Justin Woodley and Cameren Carter have also contributed. Woodley was named the Ivy League Rookie of the Week after intercepted two passes vs. Penn.
*Safety Ryan Gilbert leads the Lions in tackles with 52 (27 solo). He ranks fourth in the Ivy League in tackles. He has started all six games and registered a career-high 14 tackles at Princeton. He finished with 12 tackles at Dartmouth.
*Senior co-captain Landon Baty has been the Lions’ sparkplug on defense, ranking second on the squad with 48 tackles (20 solo) and registering an interception, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. e has had two games of registering a career-high 12 tackles vs. Wagner and at Dartmouth.
*Seniors Cameron Roane (2016 All-Ivy League Second Team) and Denzel Hill, along with sophomore Benjamin McKeighan (25 tackles) have seen the most action at cornerback. Roane has a team-high five pass breakups.
*Columbia has only registered six sacks on the season, the lowest total in the Ivy League. Mike Hinton registered the most important sack of the season on the final play of the Dartmouth game.
SPECIAL TEAMS NOTES
*Columbia has enjoyed superb special teams play in 2017. It has blocked two field goals (both vs. Wagner) and recovered an on-side kick (at Princeton).
*Field goal specialist Oren Milstein was named the Ivy League Special Teams Player of the Week (Oct. 9) after converting two field goals and all five of his extra points vs. Marist. He has nailed 16 of 19 career field goal attempts, won three career games on field goals and converted 37 of 39 career point after attempts. Previously, he converted 37 consecutive point after attempts. He has earned the Ivy League Special Teams Player of the Week award three times and has won five total conference awards.
*Senior punter Parker Thome leads the Ivy League in punting at 44.4 yards per punt. He also ranks No. 9 nationally in the same category. On the year, Thome has placed 10 punts inside the 20-yard line and seven of his punts have gone farther than 50 yards.
*First-year kickoff returner Will Allen ranks No. 3 in the Ivy League in kickoff returns with a 24.0 yards per KOR average (15 for 360 yards).
*Junior kickoff specialist Chris Alleyne has registered touchbacks in 12 of 31 kickoffs.
*Sophomore punt returner Josh Wainwright ranks No. 20 nationally and No. 3 in the Ivy League at 10.0 yards per punt return.
NATIONAL COACH OF THE YEAR CANDIDATE BAGNOLI IN THIRD SEASON AT COLUMBIA HELM
Patricia and Shepard Alexander Head Coach of Football Al Bagnoli is in his third season guiding the Columbia Football program. In his 36th year as a head coach, Bagnoli owns a 246-113 overall record and previously led Penn to nine Ivy League titles. He has turned football programs around at both Union College, N.Y. and Penn, where he guided the Quakers to nine Ivy League championships.
In Ivy League records, he ranks among all-time Ivy League coaches in league titles (tied for No. 2 with 9), most games overall coached in the Ivy League (No. 2 at 252), most games coached vs. Ivy League teams (No. 2 with 177), most overall coaching wins in the Ivy League (No. 3 at 156), most coaching wins vs. Ivy League teams (No. 2 with 117) and most seasons coached in the Ivy League (No. 4 at 26th). Nationally and combining all NCAA levels, Bagnoli ranks No. 6 among winningest active college coaches by victories with 245. Among national FCS coaches, Bagnoli currently ranks No. 3 among winningest active coaches with 245 wins and No. 11 among all-time winningest FCS coaches by victories (245).
Bagnoli’s players have also achieved success with three former players taken in the NFL Draft, 23 have signed NFL free agent contracts, five have won the Ivy League’s Bushnell Cup Awards, eight have earned First Team All-America honors, 125 were All-Ivy League First Team selections and 203 earned All-Ivy League honors.
In his 36 years as a head coach, Bagnoli has experienced only four seasons of sub-.500 football.
BAGNOLI AND PENN
Last week’s matchup marked the third meeting between Bagnoli and his former employer where he spent 23 seasons as the Quakers’ head coach from 1992-2014. In 23 seasons, 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).
At Penn, Bagnoli compiled a 20-3 record vs. Columbia. Against Penn, he is 1-2. He has now registered victories against all eight Ivy League teams.
CLOSE CALLS AND TIGHTLY CONTESTED GAMES
Since Al Bagnoli took over as head coach in 2015, Columbia has been competitive in almost every game. Of Columbia’s 15 losses under Bagnoli, 11 have been decided by 10 points or fewer. Only four have been decided by 10 points or more.
Five of Columbia’s seven losses in 2016 were decided by 10 points or less, while Columbia’s average margin of loss in 2016 was 12.0. A 35-point loss to Princeton on Oct. 1, 2016 and a 25-point loss at Penn on Oct. 25, 2016 were uncharacteristic of Bagnoli’s teams at Columbia. Additionally, the Lions were competitive in every game in 2015, Bagnoli’s first season at Columbia, 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 Columbia’s head coach at the start of the 2015 season, Columbia has won 11 contests.
COLUMBIA-DARTMOUTH POST-GAME NOTES
*Columbia wore all white uniforms.
*The win gave Columbia its first 6-0 start since the 1996 season when it won six straight games.
*The win gave Columbia a 3-0 start to an Ivy League season since 1996 when it won its first three games.
*Columbia won its seventh consecutive game. The last time Columbia won seven straight games was from Oct. 27, 1934 to Oct. 19, 1935. The school-record for most consecutive victories is eight straight wins set two times from Oct. 28, 1933 to Oct. 20, 1934 (eight straight) and from Sept. 26 to Oct. 31, 1903 (eight straight). Columbia also won seven straight two different times from Nov. 14, 1903 to Oct. 15, 1904 and from Sept. 24, 1932-Nov. 12, 1932.
*Columbia won its sixth game, its most wins in a season since 1996 when it finished 8-2 overall and 5-2 in the Ivy League.
*Sophomore wide receiver Josh Wainwright set a new career-high with 11 receptions for 99 yards. His previous career-high was 10 in two different games. Wainwright has now caught at least one touchdown in eight of his last nine games played. He missed his fourth career 100-yard receiving game and second straight 100-yard game by one yard. Over the last two games played, Wainwright has caught 21 passes for 292 yards and three touchdowns.
*Senior quarterback Anders Hill tied a career-high for completions with 27 in 35 attempts for 298 yards and a TD. Hill threw a touchdown pass for the 10th consecutive game. In the first half alone, Hill completed 19 of 22 passes for 202 yards and a touchdown.
*Making his first career start, sophomore Kaleb Pitts finished the day with career-highs for receptions (seven) and receiving yards (86). In the game’s first drive alone, he set a new career-high for receptions. His previous career-high was one reception three different times. In the first quarter alone, Pitts had five catches for 66 yards, including a career-long of 40 yards.
*Oren Milstein converted a 27-yard field goal in the second quarter and has now converted 4-6 field goals on the year. For his career, he is 16-19 on field goals in two years. Milstein’s streak of 37 consecutive PATs came to an end when he missed the PAT on Columbia’s second touchdown in the first half.
*Senior Chris Schroer caught a career-long 28-yard reception in the third quarter. He has caught six passes this year.
*First-year quarterback Josh Bean tied a career-high for rushing touchdowns as he scored two in the game for his sixth and seventh TDs of the season. Bean is now tied for the team lead with Josh Wainwright in scoring with seven touchdowns. He has scored seven rushing touchdowns on 16 carries. The first score came at the 7:53 mark in the second quarter on a one-yard run. The second score was a two-yarder in which he ran around the right end and scampered across the goal line.
*Safeties Ryan Gilbert and Landon Baty led the defensive effort with 12 tackles apiece. Baty tied a career-high with 12 tackles. Gilbert had eight solo tackles. The duo was followed by sophomore linebacker Michael Murphy (six tackles) and sophomore defensive back Benjamin McKeighan and senior defensive lineman Dominic Perkovic with five tackles apiece.
*Columbia’s defense held Dartmouth to 0 for 9 on third down and 2-5 on red zone conversions with only one touchdown.
*Columbia registered two sacks on the day, including Mike Hinton’s game-ended 10-yard sack. Coming into the game, Columbia had registered just four sacks for 23 yards.
*For the fourth time this season, Columbia’s defense held an opponent scoreless in the first half. In the first half alone, the Lions yielded just 136 total yards, including 49 rushing and 87 passing. Dartmouth was held to 0-5 on third downs.
*Columbia defeated Dartmouth in Hanover for the first time in 16 years and snapped a seven-game losing streak to the Big Green in games played in Hanover. The last time the Lions were victories in Hanover was on October 20, 2001, a 27-20 win. Columbia also defeated Dartmouth for the second consecutive season. Last year, the Lions registered a 9-7 win over the Big Green. The last time the Lions defeated Dartmouth in back-to-back games was in 2000 and 2001. Columbia also improved to 19-68-1 overall against Dartmouth.
*For the first time in five years, Columbia scored in double figures against Dartmouth. The 22 points mark the most points Columbia has scored against Dartmouth in 10 years and since it scored 28 in a 37-28 loss on Oct. 20, 2007 at Memorial Field.
*Should Columbia win next Saturday at Yale, it would begin a season at 7-0 for the first time since it began the 1932 season with a 7-0 record. Columbia’s program-best start to a season was 8-0 in 1903 en route to a 9-1 finish.