Columbia 42 Lafayette 28
Why Columbia Won
Sophomore QB Sean Brackett wouldn't let them lose. Brackett kept the offense moving at key moments with his arm and his feet all afternoon. Every time the Lions seemed to be in trouble, Brackett and/or a big kick return by Craig Hamilton put them back in control.
Why Lafayette Lost
The Leopards didn't take care of the football. The offense moved the ball extremely well, but a terrible INT/pick 6 and some lost fumbles sealed Lafayette's fate. The defense was also pourous at times, but the turnovers stymied an offense that was otherwise matching the Lion offense step for step.
-With Lafayette leading 10-7 early in the second quarter and in what looked like another scoring drive, Leopard QB Ryan O'Neil threw a pass right to Columbia LB Alex Gross. Gross picked it off and rumbled 69 yards for a TD. Lafayette would get the lead back again, but the big play from Gross kept the Lions from getting too far behind.
-On the opening drive of the second half, Columbia faced a 4th and 1 at the Leopard 32. After failing on a 4th down conversion with a bad pass in the first half, the Lions just used a simple running play to FB Nathan Lenz this time, and Lenz gained three yards to keep the drive alive. On the very next play, Brackett executed a beautiful double fake handoff and completed a 29 yard TD pass to a wide open TE Andrew Kennedy. Columbia never had less than a two score lead after that.
-Brackett keeps getting better and better. He never even came close to throwing an interception, giving him just one this season in 80 total attempts. His scrambling ability, even when everyone in the stadium knows he's going to run, is also better than ever.
-The Lion offensive line is starting to dominate, as opposed to just wearing down opponents over time. Columbia finally scored in the first quarter of a game this season, because the O-line came out right to shine right away.
-If Columbia thought losing Austin Knowlin meant losing a decent kickoff returner, that was very wrong. Hamilton now seems like he could break one every single time he touches the ball.
-The defense put in its worst performance of the season, looking particularly vulnerable to fakes and screen passes. Whatever the Leopards figured out about the Lion D that the previous three opponents did not needs to be fixed in time for Penn next week.
-Still too many penalties, and this time it wasn't the refs' fault.
Sean Brackett's 105 yards rushing and three TD passes should only promote his legend across the Ivies even more. Remember, folks, this is just a sophomore who will only get better if he stays healthy.