Columbia goes for second win of the season Saturday

After losing two heartbreakers and the hopes of taking home the Ivy League title this season, the Bulldogs (3-3, 1-2 Ivy) may finally get some consolation when they host the ever-struggling Columbia Lions (1-5, 1-2) tomorrow afternoon.

Yale has historically dominated Columbia and holds a 60-19-2 lead in the all-time series.

A familiar face will be on the Lions’ sidelines: Columbia head coach Bob Shoop, a former Yale football player and assistant coach, returns to his former stomping grounds.

But Shoop and the Lions should not expect a hearty welcome. After a 17-7 loss to the University of Pennsylvania last weekend, the Elis will be playing like they have nothing to lose.

Although both teams this season have had their fair share of bad games, tomorrow’s game will be determined by sheer talent, of which the Bulldogs have plenty, and determination, which the Elis will have to regain before the weekend.

“We have had a great week of practice and are focused on the Columbia game,” Yale head coach Jack Siedlecki said. “Disappointment cannot linger. We must move on and be prepared for Columbia.”

Yale tailback Robert Carr ’05 broke the school’s career rushing record last Saturday against Penn after rushing 167 yards for a career total of 3,047 yards. Eli quarterback Alvin Cowan ’05 set another record that day when he threw for the only touchdown of the day to tally a career total 37 touchdown passes, passing Joe Walland, who previously held it in 2000.

Meanwhile, in Wieman Stadium, Columbia kicker Nick Rudd also made history by kicking his record-breaking 21st career field goal to give the Lions their first win of the season. Rudd booted three field goals as the Lions beat Dartmouth, 9-6.

“We had tremendous team effort,” Shoop said in a press release. “Jeff was good when he had to be. We have to be a second-half team the second half of the season.”

Despite a dismal start, last weekend’s win moved the Lions into a four-way tie for fourth in the Ancient Eight. What is more, with a win this weekend, Columbia can gain sole possession of fourth place.

But if the Lions entertain thoughts of a victory, lead signal-caller Jeff Otis will have to play tough against Yale’s big defensive men, including defensive back Fred Jelks ’05, who has three interceptions this season, and defensive end Brandon Dyches ’06, who has four sacks. Although Otis has averaged 184.5 yards passing, Cowan still has the edge with 195.8.

The Bulldogs may have to keep an eye on Columbia wide receiver Brandon Bowser, who is averaging 70.5 yards receiving this fall as well as tight end Wade Fletcher who, despite only playing four games in 2004, is averaging 73.2 yards receiving.

But Yale will have its own predators on the field, including Carr and Eli wide receivers Ralph Plumb ’05, who is averaging 79.3 yards receiving, and Chandler Henley ’06, who is currently leading the Bulldogs in scoring this season with 30 points.

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