Ivy League coaching legend Al Bagnoli and his Columbia Lions travel to the Bowl this Saturday for a showdown at noon. The game will be aired on ESPN+. It will be perfect fall football weather at the Bowl with a temperature of 50 degrees at kickoff.
Columbia enters the contest with a 2-4 record, however, the Lions dominated Penn in a 44-6 beatdown and played very well defensively versus Princeton in a 21-10 loss. Bagnoli’s squads at Penn and Columbia have historically been difficult for the Elis to beat. In a battle of injury plagued teams last season, Columbia prevailed in a 17-10 victory as the Bulldogs struggled to tackle and couldn’t move the ball effectively on offense. Sophomore quarterback Ty Lenhart commands the Columbia offense, although junior quarterback Josh Bean played extensively earlier in the season. Lenhart has completed 64.9% of his passes for 518 yards, 3 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. He is also a threat in the ground game as he averages 4.0 yards per carry and has scored 3 rushing touchdowns. Sophomore running back Ryan Young (5’9”, 225 lbs.) leads the team in rushing yards and was tough for the Bulldogs to bring down last season with his deadly combination of size and speed. Senior wide receiver Josh Wainwright is a dangerous playmaker that possess more talent than any wideout we have faced this season including Dartmouth’s Estrada. The Lions’ offensive line play has been up and down all season struggling versus Dartmouth (as most teams including Yale have as well), but clearly overpowering Penn’s defensive line. Tight end Rory Schlagerty hasn’t been a huge factor for the Columbia offense with just 12 receptions, but we expect to see Bagnoli try to get him more touches as the Bulldogs focus on shutting down Wainwright.
Columbia’s defense is likely the third best unit in the league behind Dartmouth and Princeton. Senior defensive end Daniel Delorenzi was a headache for our offensive line last year and has only improved this season posting 4 tackles for losses and 3 sacks. Senior outside linebacker Michael Murphy is a solid tackler with a knack for finding the ball. Senior middle linebacker Jalen Williams is a physical defender that has really stepped up this season in place of the injured Justin Woodley. Junior safety Ben Mathiasmeier leads the defense in total tackles with 40. Preseason 1st Team All-Ivy cornerback Will Allen is a shutdown defensive back that can play on an island. This is a game that will be won or lost in the trenches, so we will need tremendous intensity out of our offensive line for the full sixty minutes. If Rawlings absorbs hits like he did against Richmond, it will spell doom for the Elis.
Freshman kicker Alex Felkins is 5 for 8 on field goal attempts this season with two successful attempts over 50 yards. Punter Drew Schmid averages 37.4 yards per punt and has placed 9 punts inside opponents’ 20 yard line. Punt returner and kick returner Mike Roussos has been a momentum changer for the Lions averaging 19.4 yards per punt return and 23.1 yards per kickoff return. Roussos is currently ranked second nationally in yards per punt return.