NEW YORK—Senior quarterback Anders Hill passed for a career-high four touchdowns—two each to sophomore wide receivers Josh Wainwright and Ronald Smith II—as Columbia registered a 35-14 Lou Little Cup victory over Georgetown Saturday at Robert K. Kraft Field. For the first time since 2006, Columbia Football begins a season with a 2-0 record as the Lions won their third consecutive game for the first time in seven years. Following the win, Columbia was presented with the Lou Little Trophy.
Next week, Columbia (2-0) opens Ivy League play at defending Ivy League champion Princeton on Saturday, Sept. 30.
“We did a lot of really good things,” Patricia and Shepard Alexander Head Coach of Football Al Bagnoli said. “We have to continue to grow and not allow ourselves to get comfortable. If we can do that and shore up some areas that we still need work on, we’ve got a chance to be a pretty good team. It was good to see that growth. Everyone says between week one and week two is when you show the biggest improvement. For us, there was a significant difference in execution, scoring opportunity utilization between week one and week two and we protected the ball really well today. A lot of positives, there is still a long ways to go, but we’re still capable of doing so much more. We’re just going to take it week-to-week and improve.”
Columbia (2-0) built a commanding 21-0 halftime lead and for the second straight week, held an opponent scoreless through the first half. It was Columbia’s largest halftime lead since it led 26-3 vs. Wagner on Oct. 10, 2015.
Columbia struck first in the second quarter when quarterback Anders Hill found Smith for an 18-yard touchdown pass. Smith caught the ball, broke a tackle and dove into the end zone for his first touchdown of the year. The score ended a 46-yard, eight play drive that lasted 2:33 and featured the running of senior Chris Schroer (14 yards) and a key fourth-down-and-one conversion. Columbia also retained possession of the ball after it stopped Georgetown’s fake punt attempt in which first-year Carson Powell tackled a Hoya ball carrier.
Columbia went up 14-0 when Hill found Wainwright open down the middle of the field for an 11-yard scoring strike. The Lions took possession on Georgetown’s 25-yard line after the Hoyas fumbled a snap on an attempted punt. It took the Lions four plays to score.
Columbia took a 21-0 lead into halftime when Hill found Wainwright again for an 11-yard touchdown pass just seven seconds before halftime. The play capped an eight-play, 47-yard scoring drive and was setup by a 22-yard pass from Hill to Wainwright.
Columbia went up 28-0 when Hill passed for his fourth touchdown of the day when he found Smith for a nine-yard fade pass. The touchdown made it 28-0 Columbia.
Georgetown (1-2) got on the board in the fourth quarter and cut the deficit to 28-7 when Carl Thomas caught a two-yard pass from backup quarterback Clay Norris. The score culminated a 75-yard, six-play scoring drive that lasted 3:20.
Freshman quarterback Josh Bean provided an insurance score with 7:52 to play when rushed in from two yards for his second touchdown of his career. The touchdown made the score 35-7.
“We can still be a lot better,” Bagnoli said. “That’s what continually drives us—to get better—play-by-play, day-to-day, week-to-week. We’re not satisfied. We’ve got a tough game next week and we’ll start preparing for next week. Last year we played a ton of young players and as the season progressed, we showed the potential to become a pretty good team. So we ended the season against a good Brown team and carried that momentum through to the offseason, then through the preseason and had a battle royale against a good Wagner team in the opener. Today, we felt more comfortable and did a very good job of protecting the football this week against Georgetown.”
It was a complete performance for Columbia, which scored on five of its six red zone opportunities. On offense, Hill completed 20 of 35 passes for 158 yards and his career-high four touchdowns. Columbia’s sophomore wide receiver duo of Wainwright and Smith combined for four touchdown receptions, 16 total receptions and 140 receiving yards. Wainwright tied his own career high with two touchdown receptions and hauled in nine receptions for 74 yards, while Smith also tied a career-high with two TD catches on seven receptions for 66 yards. Schroer rushed for a career-high 93 yards on 15 carries.
On defense, the Lions held Georgetown to 257 total yards of offense, only 15 rushing yards on 22 attempts, totaled 7.0 tackles for loss, limited the Hoyas to just 12 first downs and only two of 11 (18.1 percent) on third down conversions. Safeties Landon Baty and Ryan Gilbert led Columbia with six tackles apiece and middle linebacker Calvin Falkenhayn came off the bench to register five tackles and lead the Lions with 2.0 tackles for loss, including a sack.
Columbia’s special teams recovered a fumble punt attempt and forced Georgetown to miss two field goals.
POST GAME NOTES
*Today’s weather at kickoff was 84 degrees and sunny.
*Columbia wore black uniform tops and white pants.
*With the win, Columbia is off to its first 2-0 start to a season since 2006. In 2006, the Lions defeated both Fordham (37-7 on Sept. 16, 2006) and Georgetown (23-21 on Sept. 23, 2006) to begin the year at 2-0. The Lions ended up concluding that campaign with a 5-5 overall and 2-5 Ivy League record, the last time the Lions put together a .500 or better season.
*Columbia won its third consecutive game. The last time Columbia won three straight games was in 2010 when the Lions were victorious in three straight contests from Sept. 25-Oct. 16.
*Columbia won back-to-back home games for the first time since the 2012 season when it defeated both Yale (Oct. 27) and Cornell (Nov. 10).
*Columbia led 21-0 at halftime. The 21-point lead was Columbia’s largest since it led 26-3 vs. Wagner on Oct. 10, 2015.
*For the second consecutive game, Columbia held an opponent scoreless at halftime. Today, the Lions led 21-0 at halftime. It led 14-0 vs. Wagner last Saturday. Prior to this season, the last time Columbia held an opponent scoreless in the first half was at Princeton on October 3, 2009. Columbia won the game 38-0.
*Senior quarterback Anders Hill threw for a career-high four touchdowns. The scoring passes came on 18, 11, 11 and nine yards. Hill’s previous career-high was three set two times last year: vs. Yale (Oct. 28, 2016) and vs. Cornell (Nov. 12, 2016). The last time a Columbia player threw for four touchdowns in a game was Trevor McDonagh (4) on Oct. 11, 2014 at Monmouth. Hill completed 20 of 35 passes for 158 yards. It was Hill’s third career 20-completion game.
*For the fifth consecutive game, sophomore Josh Wainwright hauled in at least one touchdown reception. He also tied a career-high with two touchdown receptions. Previously, he caught two TD receptions in last season’s finale at Brown on Nov. 19. His nine receptions ranked as his second highest game in terms of receptions.
*Sophomore Ronald Smith II also tied a career-high with two touchdown receptions. He scored on catches of 18 and nine yards. Smith has now scored six career touchdowns.
*Senior running back Chris Schroer rushed for a career-high of 93 yards on 15 carries.
*Sophomore running back Tanner Thomas rushed for a career-high 49 yards.
*Junior Kyle Castner made a career-high two receptions in his second career start. Castner has made three catches in two games.
*Senior tight end Marcus Briscoe hauled in his first catch of the year.
*Linebacker Calvin Falkenhayn registered his first career sack in the third quarter. He finished with a career-high five tackles, 2.0 tackles for loss for 16 yards and 1.0 sack.
*Senior defensive lineman Dominic Perkovic registered Columbia’s first sack of the season in the second quarter. The sack was a seven-yard loss for Georgetown.
*Senior punter Parker Thome averaged 44.8 yards per punt and placed three inside the 20-yard line.
*Sophomore placekicker Oren Milstein converted all five of his point after attempts. He is now a perfect 23-for-23 on point after attempts in his career.
*Over Columbia’s first two games, the Lions have outscored their opponents 35-0 in the second quarter.
*Columbia converted its first fourth down of the year in the second quarter on its first scoring drive.
*Columbia improved to 3-2 all-time vs. Georgetown. Today’s win snapped a two-game losing streak to the Hoyas and marked Columbia’s first vs. Georgetown since the 2006 season.