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NEW YORK - The Columbia football team fell to No. 14/17 Lehigh, 24-10, on Saturday at Robert K. Kraft Field. The Lions (0-4) received another strong performance by running back Marcorus Garrett, who rushed 27 times for 150 yards and a touchdown.
Garrett eclipsed the 100-yard mark for the sixth time in his career and moved up to third on the all-time rushing list. He now has 1,664 for his career and is 329 away from reaching second.
The Lions first drive featured a heavy dose of Garrett, who had seven touches for 42 yards, to help Columbia get deep into Lehigh territory. Luke Eddy drilled a 23-yard field goal with 8:47 left in the first quarter to give the Lions the early 3-0 lead.
Eddy's field goal was the 22nd of his career, moving him into sole possession of second on the all-time list.
The Mountain Hawks took over with decent field position after they pounced on a squib kick at their own 36. Lehigh efficiently moved into Columbia territory, keyed by an 18-yard completion to Josh Parris on 3rd and 12 to bring the ball to the 11. With the Mountain Hawks inside the five, Marquel Carter came up the middle on a blitz to sack Brandon Bialkowski to help force a 22-yard field goal, tying the game with 1:50 remaining in the opening stanza.
After completing his first nine passes of the game, Bialkowski made his first mistake of the game with 12:48 remaining in the second quarter. With Lehigh in the red zone, Chad Washington tipped a pass on a screen play, and JD Hurt came up with an interception to keep the game tied.
Garrett broke off a 29-yard run to put Columbia in scoring position, but Luke Eddy’s 46-yard field goal attempted sailed wide left. The Mountain Hawks capitalized with a 71-yard drive that was punctuated by a six-yard touchdown pass by Bialkowski. The senior quarterback rolled left and threw across the field to Tyler Coyle in the endzone to put Lehigh up, 10-3, with 5:43 to go in the first half.
Kicking against the wind, Lehigh opted to squib the ensuing kickoff and the Lions could not maintain control, fumbling the ball to give it right back to the Mountain Hawks on the Lions’ 31. On the fifth play of the drive, Bialkowski’s 10-yard fade pass to the left corner of the end zone to Lee Kurfis made it 17-3 with 1:57 remaining before the break.
After a pair of punts to open the second half, Lehigh threatened again and moved all the way to the Columbia 12. On a second and long play, the Lions read another screen pass perfectly and Brian East came up with the pick to halt another scoring opportunity.
Despite not scoring after the turnover, Columbia kept the momentum after a 54-yard punt into the wind by Paul Delaney that was downed on the Mountain Hawk 3. Columbia’s defense forced a three and out, giving the Lions the ball back in Lehigh territory. Facing 4th and seven from the 36, Hilinski found Hamilton Garner for a 21-yard gain to bring the ball to the 12. Garrett did the rest, scoring on the very next play to pull the Lions within a score with 2:31 left in the third.
Lehigh regained control of the field position game on a 64-yard punt by Tim Divers, putting the ball inside the Columbia 1. The Lions went three and out and the Mountain Hawks regained possession at the Columbia 29 and ran seven plays, capped by an eight-yard touchdown pass to Curfis, to complete the scoring.
Bialkowski completed 33-of-50 passes with three touchdowns and two interceptions. Curfis caught 14 passes for 130 yards and two scores.
Vinny Pugliese anchored the defense with 11 tackles. Delaney had another stellar day punting the ball, placing three of his seven boots inside the 20 (two inside the 5), notching a season-long 67-yarder and averaging 42.6 per punt overall.
Next weekend marks Homecoming for the Lions, who will host Penn on Saturday, Oct. 19. Kick-off is slated for 1:30 p.m. and will be streamed on the Ivy League Digital Network.