Well folks, it took 10 weeks but it finally happened—the Lions pulled off the improbable and beat the Brown Bears 35-28 in a double overtime thriller! I usually try to stay away from exclamation points, but I’m telling you, after this win, I could probably use one for every sentence! Celebration time, you guys! Okay, I’m actually done with that. Even though this was the swan song of Norries Wilson’s career as head coach of Columbia’s football team, it was a great way for him and the seniors to go out. I have to say, I’m a lot more used to assessing the damage the Lions received as opposed to the damage they inflicted, but I’m sure I can think of three things to brag about to discuss (because I’m supposed to be a responsible, impartial “journalist”) in the final “three quick thoughts” of the year for football.
1. Forcing turnovers
When I take a look at the box score the most glaring item is always turnovers, and this game was no exception. The Lions forced an incredible six turnovers from Brown—three interceptions and three fumbles. Whenever you can get that many turnovers, you’re usually going to win the game. One could say that Brown pretty much gave the game away, but from witnessing it, the Lions were the ones to create those interceptions and fumbles. And even though the Lions failed to score after it, Anthony Maddox’s second quarter interception and subsequent 77 yard return was really a game saver, as the Lions looked far too close to dead in the water before that play made momentum shift in their favor.
2. Waking up when it counts
It’s not exactly that the Lions were asleep during parts of the game, but they definitely did make the big plays when they needed them most. Maddox’s interception was probably the best example of this, but quarterback Sean Brackett’s effort in the fourth quarter and overtime is another. Brackett scored both touchdowns with runs in the fourth quarter, threw for the game tying touchdown in the first OT, and ran 16 yards for what turned out to be the game winner in the second OT. But the defense really woke up at the end of the game, as after they allowed a touchdown in just one play in the first OT, they tightened up for a goal line stand as time expired. When you get big plays at key moments, it’s a beautiful thing.
3. Ah, f*** it, we freaking won, y'all!
Thank you to the brilliant Lee Corso for that little reference, but I think my final thought is just celebration! And maybe I shouldn’t say this because of that whole “impartial” thing, but you know what? I’m very, very happy for this group of young men. Avoiding a winless season by pulling a fourth quarter comeback in the final game is nothing short of remarkable, and no matter what, these players will always be able to look back on this season with a sense of pride because of how it ended.