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Columbia Grabs 29-14 Win Over Big Red in Empire State Bowl

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  • Kyle Evans 

A group of 30 Big Red seniors were honored prior to Saturday’s contest, but Cornell dropped a 29-14 decision to Columbia at Schoellkopf Field on Saturday, Nov. 18. Cornell fell to 3-7 (2-5 Ivy) while Columbia tallied its first conference win to improve to 3-7 (1-6 Ivy).

Jameson Wang went 32-for-47 in the passing game, amounting 345 yards and a touchdown on the day. He rushed a team-high 12 times including one ending in the end zone, but only net nine yards gained on the ground. Davon Kiser’s one rush for 10 yards led the running game for the Big Red. Kiser also led receivers with his first-career 100+-yard game. The sophomore totaled 121 yards on six grabs, including a haul in for 48 yards for the longest of either team on the day. Nicholas Laboy finished just shy of triple digits, clocking 99 yards on nine receptions. Doryn Smith and Drew Powell each also tacked on significant receiving yards, tallying 52 and 48 yards, respectively.

Columbia’s two-headed quarterback system in Joe Green and Caden Bell combined for 13 completions on 29 passes for 98 yards. Neither quarterback completed of 50 percent of their passes. Malcolm Terry II led Lion rushers with 91 yards on 20 carries. Bell, Joey Giorgi, and Edan Stagg each also tacked on some yardage with Bell adding 67, Giorgi hitting the half century mark, and Stagg breaking away for 28 on just two attempts. The former two each found the end zone. Only three Lion receivers hit double-digits. JJ Jenkins led the core with 41 yards on two grabs, Titus Evans added 23 on four catches, and Marcus Libman followed with 15.

FIRST QUARTER

  • Columbia took its opening possession deep into Cornell territory, getting as close as the Big Red 27. But three straight incompletions forced by the defense led to a 44-yard field goal attempt that fell short.
  • The Big Red would take advantage early after the missed kick, as Jameson Wang found Davon Kiser for a 33-yard pass completion to hit the Lions 40. Cornell would get as close to the 22-yard line but could not cash in, as a Jackson Kennedy field goal leaned to the left.
  • The Lions would put points on the board first after the miss by the Big Red, going on a 10-play, 78-yard drive with 67 of those coming on the ground.

SECOND QUARTER

  • Columbia would open the second frame in prime field position at the Cornell 38. The Lions would find its way to the 13-yard line before a Hunter Sloan tackle behind the line of scrimmage forced a Columbia field goal attempt, making the score 10-0.
  • Wang tried to get the offense going on the next drive, finding AJ Holmes on a 12-yard reception. However, Holmes was one yard short of the sticks, forcing a Kennedy punt.
  • The Lions continued to chew up yards on the ground, as Malcolm Terry II picked up 31 yards on third and six, putting them just outside the red zone. Cornell’s defense held up in its own end, forcing another Lions field goal.
  • Cornell went three and out on the following drive, but a booming 52-yard punt paired with a Lions holding penalty backed the blue and white up to its own 10-yard line.
  • Columbia would reach its 35-yard line before Caden Bell took off for a 65-yard touchdown over the left side, extending the Lions lead 19-0.
  • The Big Red’s offense continued to be stagnant, picking up eight yards over its next two drives combined to allow the Lions to touch the ball last, which turned into a 45-yard field goal, putting Cornell in a 22-0 hole at the halftime break.

THIRD QUARTER

  • The Big Red offense found a rhythm coming out of the locker room, as consecutive passes from Wang to Nicholas Laboy pushed them into Columbia territory. Wang continued to march Cornell into the red zone, capping off a 10-play 75-yard drive with his eighth rushing touchdown of the season to put the team on the board.
  • Cornell’s defense held up its end of the bargain, forcing a Lions three and out to hand the ball back to the hot Big Red offense. Wang would continue his second half slicing of the Lions secondary through the air, hitting Kiser and Laboy for separate 16-yard and 14-yard gains, putting Cornell closer to the red zone. But the momentum would soon dissipate, as Wang was intercepted for the first time at the Columbia 21-yard line as the Big Red offense came up empty.
  • The red and white would come up clutch on defense after the turnover, as Noah Taylor Taylor stuffed Malcolm Kelly II on a fourth down and one, giving its offense great field position at the Columbia 39-yard line.
  • The momentum shift was halted as the Lions picked off Wang in the closing seconds of the third and returned the ball 43 yards back to the Cornell 38-yard line.

FOURTH QUARTER

  • Penalties pushed Columbia out of scoring position for lead to a punt to set up Cornell’s first drive of the fourth.
  • The Big Red wasted no plays to find pay dirt, utilizing three plays and taking advantage of two Columbia penalties to get to the end zone. Wang connected with Kiser on a 48-yard heave in the end zone to bring up a 22-14 deficit.
  • Cornell looked to be putting together a big drive following back-to-back-to-back punts, but when facing a fourth-and-four at the Columbia 36-yard line, Columbia intercepted Wang for a pick six to put the game out of reach for the Big Red.