Sports | Football

Columbia football blown out in season opener at Fordham

  • Kiera Wood / Senior Staff Photographer
    Catch me if you can | The defense, including junior Vinny Pugliese struggled to stop the Fordham offense in the air or on the ground after losing defensive leader senior Seyi Adebayo early.
  • Kiera Wood / Senior Staff Photographer
    taken down | Junior quarterback Brett Nottingham was sacked four times as Columbia lost 52-7 to Fordham.
  • Kiera Wood / Senior Staff Photographer
    the quarterback | Brett Nottingham appeared to suffer from some nerves early, and finished the day with 144 passing yards and two interceptions.

Updated 9/23 at 1:15 a.m.

Columbia’s 2013 football season got off to a rough start on Saturday afternoon, as the Lions (0-1) fell to Fordham 52-7 and lost two of their star players to season-ending injuries.

The Columbia offense had trouble establishing a rhythm and failed to score until the fourth quarter. The defense did not fare much better. Despite forcing four turnovers, the Lions allowed the Rams (4-0) to rack up 52 points on 606 yards of total offense.

“Obviously not what we anticipated, but we couldn’t sustain drives for a lot of reasons,” Columbia head coach Pete Mangurian said. “When you play a good team that’s explosive, it can get out of hand in a hurry. And that’s what happened.”

The Lions caught a bad break right from the get-go in Rose Hill. On the Lions’ first defensive possession, just 2:18 into the game, senior defensive end and co-captain Seyi Adebayo went down with an injury and limped off the field. Adebayo, who missed almost all of last season and was playing on a surgically repaired knee, got back in the game only to limp off the field once again. 

[Related: Nottingham, Adebayo sustain season-ending injuries in Fordham game]

The team announced Sunday afternoon that Adebayo will undergo season-ending knee surgery in the coming weeks, and that Nottingham had season-ending surgery for a wrist injury (see story, p. 1). Adebayo’s injury will end his collegiate career.

“He’s a big loss right then,” senior linebacker and co-captain Zach Olinger said. “But we let the ball start rolling, and we didn’t stop it. It’s unacceptable for anyone to have 260 yards rushing on us.”

Though Fordham’s first drive ended in a missed field goal, the Rams got on the board later in the first quarter. An eight-yard carry by running back Carlton Koonce capped off an 80-yard drive and put the hosts up, 7-0.

Kiera Wood/ Senior Staff Photographer
tough sledding | Senior running back Marcorus Garrett gained 89 yards on 15 carries, but the offense was in passing mode for much of the second half.

The Lions had a prime scoring chance early in the second quarter, as a couple of great throws by junior quarterback Brett Nottingham got Columbia deep into Rams territory. But Nottingham was picked off at the Fordham three-yard line, prematurely ending what had been a promising drive.

Fordham tacked on a second quarter field goal to extend its lead to 10-0, before an unusual sequence of plays extended Columbia’s deficit to 17-0 in the second half.

After a punt pinned the Rams at their own one, Fordham threatened once again thanks in large part to a pair of face-mask calls that gave the Rams 30 free yards. The Lions seemingly defused the threat when Rams’ quarterback Mike Nebrich fumbled at the Columbia 16.

But on the ensuing possession, Fordham corner Ian Williams blindsided Nottingham and the ball squirted into the endzone. Rams’ defensive lineman Brett Biestek fell on it to give Fordham its second touchdown of the afternoon.

“It was huge because we were kind of teetering on the brink right there,” Fordham head coach Joe Moorhead said of the play. “Really it was the turning point in the game in my mind.”

[Multimedia: Highlights, analysis of the Lions' 52-7 loss to Fordham]

Led by Nebrich, the Fordham offense took off from there. The Rams tacked on another three touchdowns, all of which came through the air, and at the end of the third quarter the home team was sitting on a 38-0 lead.

Nebrich would finish the game with 347 yards on 32-of-38 passing to go along with the three scores. The junior signal caller—who suffered a season-ending injury against Cornell just three games in to the 2012 campaign—added 86 yards on the ground to spearhead the Rams’ attack.

“We trust him with everything that he does,” said Rams wide receiver Brian Wetzel, who caught two of Nebrich’s touchdown passes. “We know that he’s going to make time back in the backfield. And we know that if we do our job and get open downfield, he’ll get us the ball.”

With the floodgates opened, the touchdowns kept coming for the Rams in the fourth. Fordham was up 52-0 by the time Columbia scored its first touchdown with 3:27 to play in the game.

The Light Blue finally got on the board when junior wide receiver Ryan Flannery caught a touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Trevor McDonagh, who came in for Nottingham, to make it 52-7. 

But the score was far too little, far too late. Fordham closed out the win to remain unbeaten.

eli.schultz@coulmbiaspectator.com | @CUSpecSports

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Duke posted on

Well, they almost pulled it out.

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Anonymous posted on

Not biased much are you, but I guess that's how Columbia teaches journalism these days. For your information grabbing the facemask is a serious violation and should always be penalized, the Columbia team can only blame themselves for these mistakes.

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UnionLeague posted on

That's a revolting way to start the season. I guess the Columbia football organization hasn't learned anything and they clearly don't comprehend that you might want to have a defense as part of the team. Very pathetic. I have a feeling that if these jokers don't wake up, it's going to be a worse than average season (hard to imagine). Can these guys beat anyone?

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Anonymous posted on

Blaming this on the defense is interesting when your team opens up against an offense that is in the top ten in FCS that, in the past two weeks, beat then ranked #8 Villanova and FBS Temple. And your offense gives up 14 points on turnovers. Did you watch the game? Opening against Fordham this year does not give you a good assessment of what the Lions are capable. However, it looks to be a long season.

I apologize in advance for any journalistic errors :)

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UnionLeague posted on

The 52 points are the responsibility of the defense and the Offensive Line is a defensive unit as well. So by my calculation the Defense did an inadequate job. Do you disagree?

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Anonymous posted on

Actually they can. They can beat 5-ft tall people outside their frats, after sunset. hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

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UnionLeague posted on

That's a revolting way to start the season. I guess the Columbia football organization hasn't learned anything and they clearly don't comprehend that you might want to have a defense as part of the team. Very pathetic. I have a feeling that if these jokers don't wake up, it's going to be a worse than average season (hard to imagine). Can these guys beat anyone?

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Anonymous posted on

really - we have someone here decrying the level of journalism exhibited by the Spec? Please... more like we should be wondering why year after year we can't post a winning season in football- that is more of a concern to me.

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UnionLeague posted on

Makes no difference if your quarterback transferred from Stanford if you play without a defense. The geniuses running the organization still don't realize that the defense is the key differentiator among winning teams.

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What happened... posted on

With the O-Line. It was just sad seeing the O-Line collapse play after play.

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Crying Lion posted on

We're bad...

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Anonymous posted on

Who's bad

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UnionLeague posted on

I'm sorry for the kids who play on the field, but the real blame here is the Management. The Team is a product of the GM/Coach and Coordinators and they are the ones tasked with coming up with the vision and recruiting the players who can win at an Ivy level. The University needs to reach out to the larger Columbia Community to develop the resources and expertise to make Columbia Football a winning franchise. Some people say collegiate sports are not relevant to the mission of higher education, however, while Columbia is competing in this field it needs to address it in a way that is appropriate to a major university. What it says to outsiders is that Columbia is incapable of managing its large resources effectively and its personnel choices are substandard. It may only be football, but this type of organization reflects poorly on the reputation of the University at large.

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Anonymous posted on

Yesterday, I attended the game at Fordham's Rose Hill Campus and could not help but notice that Columbia was wearing their away uniforms and that Fordham was wearing special commemorative uniforms during the game. I asked a Columbia fan, who said he was an alumni, if he knew why Columbia was wearing their away uniforms and not a special one. The gentleman replied that Columbia chose not to because it is their tradition to wear away uniforms for away games.

Is this accurate? What are the facts here? Did Columbia decline? If so, why? I'd be interested in knowing the facts.

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3Q2HQ posted on

I'm a student here and was wondering the same thing? Why the # of dislikes without comment?

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Alum posted on

By the score, I thought we were playing Oregon for a second...

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CU_Alum posted on

"The Lions seemingly diffused the threat..."

"Defused", not "diffused".

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sports posted on

Thanks for the tip. It's been fixed.

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CU_Alum posted on

No, it hasn't.

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Anonymous posted on

"Apex Alpha Males" indeed.

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Princeton Alum posted on

We stopped playing Rutgers in 1979 when things got to this level. Fordham is changing conferences and going down a different path. Time for Columbia to drop this game from the schedule.

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bill campbell posted on

"Roar, Lions, Roar"!

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Disgusted fan posted on

The "genius" Bill Campbell is responsible for this debacle. He chose Mangurian over the legendary coach Greg Toal of Don Bosco Prep. I am convinced that Don Bosco could beat Columbia.Maybe Bill Campbell can reprise his role as head coach.His winning percentage might actually eclipse that of Mangurian. The Morningside Heights "Brain" Trust will regret firing Norries Wilson when this season is done.

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Anonymous posted on

It was far more than just Campbell blew this one. Bob Kraft insisted on ties to the New England Patriots and Dianne Murphy wanted Cornell ties, thus a former Cornell head coach, patriots assistant coach looking for a job after being fired by Tampa Bay. A fish rots at the head.

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