Lions Open Ivy League Play, Host No. 25 Princeton Friday at 6 p.m. on ESPNU


Series: Columbia and Princeton meet for the 88th time since the series began in 1874. Columbia and Princeton are two of the first three schools to take up football. Princeton owns a 70-16-1 edge. Columbia won last year's matchup in Princeton, 28-24, but the Tigers have won three straight over the Lions in New York.

GAME NOTES NEW YORK—Columbia (2-0) opens Ivy League play and takes on its third opponent of the 2018 season on Friday, Sept. 28 when it hosts No. 25 ranked Princeton (2-0) at Robert K. Kraft Field at Lawrence A. Wien Stadium. Kickoff for the matchup is set for 6:02 p.m. ET. Columbia and Princeton are two of the first three schools to take up the game of football. The game will be televised nationally on ESPNU and streamed live on WatchESPN with Chris Cotter (play-by-play), Jack Ford (color analyst) calling action and Todd Jones producing. Lance Medow (play-by-play) and former Columbia football players Ted Gregory and Shawn FitzGerald will call action on the Columbia Online Radio Network. The audio only broadcast is available for free at www.gocolumbialions.com. FRIDAY'S TOP STORYLINES

  • Riding a four-game win streak, Columbia opens Ivy League play Friday night when it hosts Princeton. Both teams enter the game with 2-0 records.

  • Columbia hosts its first matchup of the season after opening with two road games for the first time since 1983.

  • For the second straight year, Columbia opens a season with a 2-0 record. The Lions are 2-0 for the sixth time since joining the Ivy League in 1956.

  • Dating back to the end of the 2016 season, Columbia Football has won 11 of its last 13 games. The Lions are coming off their most successful season in 21 years after posting an 8-2 record and second place finish in the Ivy League at 5-2 in 2017.

ABOUT THE LIONS Winners of 11 of its last 13 games, Columbia opens Ivy League play and plays game No. 3 of its 2018 season after defeating NEC champion and NEC preseason favorite Central Connecticut State (41-24) and registering a Lou Little Cup win at Georgetown (23-15) last Saturday. The Lions sustained several injuries to key players at CCSU. The Lions recovered three fumbles, limited its opponents to 45 yards rushing and used a three-quarterback system to register a convincing win over CCSU in its season opener. In week two, Columbia limited the Hoyas to 25 yards rushing and Chris Alleyne kicked three field goals as the Lions captured the Lou Little Trophy for the second straight season with a 23-15 win at Georgetown. Columbia is also coming off one of its most successful seasons in school history in 2017 under Head Coach Al Bagnoli. The Lions returned 14 of 22 starters (seven on offense and seven on defense) and six All-Ivy League selections from a program that recorded its best season in 21 years. Last year, Columbia posted an 8-2 record, finished second in the Ivy League with a 5-2 record, began a season with six straight wins for the first time since 1996, put together the school's longest win streak since 1935 (seven games) and posted one of the nation's top-five best yearly comebacks in the FCS with a five-win improvement from 2016 to 2017. Along the way, it was the Lions' resiliency, toughness and work ethic that captured the attention of their fans, the New York City media and national media members alike. COLUMBIA 2-0 FOR SECOND STRAIGHT SEASON A 23-15 win over Georgetown on Saturday gave Columbia two wins to start a season for the second consecutive year and for the third time since 2006. Since Columbia joined the Ivy League in 1956, the Lions have opened a season with two straight victories only six times: 1978, 1996, 2005, 2006, 2017 and 2018. A win over Princeton would give the Lions a 3-0 start to its season. Columbia has started a season with three straight wins only four times since 1940: 1940, 1945, 1996, 2017. COLUMBIA ON FOUR-GAME WIN STREAK Following back-to-back road wins at CCSU and Georgetown, Columbia is currently on a four-game win streak after closing out the 2017 season with back-to-back victories at Cornell (18-8) and Brown (24-6). It is the first time since the 2010 season that the Lions enter a new season following back-to-back wins in a previous season. AL BAGNOLI WINS CAREER NO. 250 Columbia Head Football Coach Al Bagnoli captured career victory No. 250 this weekend in the Lions' 23-15 win at Georgetown. In his fourth season as Columbia's head coach and 36th year overall, Bagnoli has a career record of 250-115. Friday's game marks Bagnoli's 365th career game as a head coach. Columbia will honor Bagnoli for his achievement in a pre-game ceremony on the field. COLUMBIA ON SCHOOL-RECORD SIX-GAME NON-CONFERENCE WIN STREAK Columbia will play its final non-conference game on Oct. 6 vs. Marist riding a school-record six-game non-conference win streak. It established the record with a 41-24 victory in its season opener at Central Connecticut State and extended the streak with a 23-15 win at Georgetown. The current streak, which began at Wagner on Oct. 8, 2016, was previously tied for the record with another four game win streak which began at Fordham on Sept. 28, 1996 and ended at Lafayette on Oct. 4, 1997. In 2017, Columbia completed its three-game non-conference schedule with a 3-0 record for the first time since the 2006 season. The Lions defeated Wagner (17-14), Georgetown (35-14) and Marist (41-17). Columbia has completed perfect non-conference seasons only six times since the Ivy League was formed in 1956: 1963, 1967, 1970 all with 2-0 records and 1996, 2006 and 2017 (3-0). COLUMBIA, LIONS PLAYERS AMONG NATIONAL STATISTICAL LEADERS IN A VARIETY OF CATEGORIES Through only two games, Columbia ranks among the nation's top-25 FCS teams in 16 different team statistical categories according to the NCAA. Through only two games, Columbia is ranked:

  • No. 1 in fourth down conversion percentage (1.000).

  • No. 1 in blocked kicks allowed (0).

  • No. 1 in blocked punts allowed (0).

  • No. 1 in fumbles lost (0).

  • No. 1 in red zone offense (100%).

  • No. 1 in winning percentage (100%).

  • No. 2 in rushing defense (35.0).

  • No. 3 in first downs defense (29).

  • No. 13 in team sacks (3.5).

  • No. 15 in fumbles recovered (4)

  • No. 17 in third down percentage defense (.286).

  • No. 17 in turnover margin (1.00).

  • No. 19 in red zone defense (.714).

  • No. 21 in time of possession (33:03).

  • No. 21 in turnovers lost (3).

  • No. 22 in total defense (309.0).

  • No. 23 in scoring defense (19.5).

  • No. 24 in sacks allowed (1).

Individually, several Lions also rank among the top-25 national statistical leaders in six different categories:

  • Chris Alleyne (No. 1 in field goal percentage (100%); No. 1 in field goals per game, 2.5; No. 10 in scoring, 11.0).

  • Cameren Carter (No. 1 in fumbles recovered, 2).

  • Daniel DeLorenzi (No. 9 in sacks, 1.25 per game).

  • Ryan Gilbert (No. 19 in tackles, 10.0 per game).

ABOUT THE TIGERS No. 25 ranked Princeton opens Ivy League play with a 2-0 record following two convincing victories over Butler (50-7) and Monmouth (51-9). The Tigers have outscored their opponents 101-16 and outgained their foes 1,155-596 in yardage. In the first half alone, Princeton has outscored its opponents 74-16. Princeton enters the week ranked No. 25 in the AFCA Coaches poll and unranked with 88 votes in the STATS FCS poll. The Tigers are led by quarterback John Lovett, who is a former Bushnell Cup winner who sat out last year with an injury. He has thrown for 509 yards and seven touchdowns while completing 35 of 51 passes. Lovett has also rushed for three touchdowns and 119 yards on 16 carries. Charlie Volker leads the Tigers' rushing attack as he averages 9.6 yards per carry (249 yards on 26 carries). Princeton's top-two receivers are Jesper Horsted, who has scored five touchdowns and caught 15 passes for 290 yards (145.0 yards per game average and Stephen Carlson, who has 13 catches for 195 yards and two touchdowns. On defense, Princeton is led by Mark Fossati (16 tackles), Tom Johnson (13 tackles), James Johnson (12 tackles) and TJ Floyd (nine tackles, one interception). LIONS OPEN SEASON WITH BACK-TO-BACK ROAD GAMES FOR FIRST TIME IN 35 YEARS For the first time since 1983, Columbia opens a football season with two road games: at CCSU (Sept. 15) and at Georgetown (Sept. 22). In 1983, Columbia opened its season at Harvard, then traveled to No. 17 Lafayette. In 1983, the Lions played their entire schedule on the road or at neutral sites while the school was building its current facility, Lawrence A. Wien Stadium. LIONS PICKED FOURTH IN IVY LEAGUE PRESEASON POLL Columbia was picked to finish fourth in the annual preseason Ivy League Football Media Poll announced on August 20 by the conference office. In a poll voted upon by various members of the media who cover Ivy League Football, the Lions earned 76 total points, one first-place vote and tied Penn for the No. 4 spot. 2017 Ivy League champion Yale was picked to finish first with 129 total points and 11 first-place votes, Princeton (104 points, three first-place votes) was picked second and Harvard (99 votes/one first-place vote) was third. Following Columbia and Penn was Dartmouth (65 points) at No. 6, Cornell (37 points) at No. 7 and Brown (26 points) at No. 8. It is the first time in 21 years and since 1997 that Columbia was picked as high. The 1997 Lions were coming off a 1996 season where they finished in second place with 5-2 Ivy League and 8-2 overall record. The highest place Columbia was ever picked to finish in the Ivy League was third place in 1963. Columbia has been picked to finish fourth in the league standings on four different occasions. Last year, Columbia was picked to finish seventh and ended up finishing in a tie for second place with a 5-2 Ivy League record and 8-2 overall record. Here is a look at the predicted order: 1. Yale (11 first-place votes) 129; 2. Princeton (3) 104; 3. Harvard (1) 99; 4. COLUMBIA (1) 76; 4. Penn (1) 76; 6. Dartmouth 65; 7. Cornell 37; 8. Brown 26.

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