Lions Host No. 24 Dartmouth for 74th Annual Homecoming Game
AME NOTES NEW YORK—Columbia (3-2, 0-2 Ivy League) hosts its 2018 Homecoming Game on Saturday, Oct. 20 when it hosts first-place and No. 24 ranked Dartmouth (5-0, 2-0 Ivy League) at Robert K. Kraft Field at Lawrence A. Wien Stadium. The matchup marks Columbia's 74th annual Homecoming Game since 1946. The game will be televised live on Sportsnet NY (SNY) and live streamed on ESPN+ with Lance Medow (play-by-play) and Sal Licata (color analyst) calling action. The Columbia Online Radio Network will air a simulcast of the television broadcast live with Medow and Licata. The audio only broadcast is available for free at www.gocolumbialions.com. SATURDAY'S TOP STORYLINES
Columbia hosts first-place, undefeated Dartmouth (5-0) on Saturday for its 74th annual Homecoming Game. Dartmouth is one of four remaining undefeated teams at the FCS level.
Columbia's Homecoming tradition began in 1946. Columbia has won each of its last two Homecoming Games: 34-31 in OT vs. Penn last year and 9-7 vs. Dartmouth in 2016.
Columbia has won five of its last seven games and 12 of its last 16 games dating back to the conclusion of the 2016 season. 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 12 of its last 16 games, Columbia is coming off a closely-contested 13-10 loss to Penn last Saturday. The Lions had several opportunities to win the game but couldn't convert. Columbia has also suffered injuries to a variety of key players and is relying on a number of first-years and sophomores at a variety of positions. On Oct. 6, Columbia concluded its non-conference schedule with a 3-0 record after defeating Marist 34-24 The Lions' Ivy League opener was a 45-10 loss to No. 21/25 Princeton on Friday, Sept. 28. Columbia won its first two games against Northeast Conference champion and NEC preseason favorite Central Connecticut State (41-24) and a Lou Little Cup win at Georgetown (23-15). Columbia is also coming off one of its most successful seasons in school history in 2017 under Head Coach Al Bagnoli. In 2018, 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. 74TH ANNUAL HOMECOMING GAME Columbia hosts its 74th annual Homecoming Game on Saturday when it hosts Dartmouth. Homecoming became an annual tradition at Columbia that began on Oct. 5, 1946 with the first-ever Homecoming Game against Navy. Thirty-five thousand fans watched Columbia defeat Navy 23-14 that day at Baker Field. The Lions have claimed each of their last two Homecoming Games. Last year, Columbia won a thrilling 34-31 overtime victory over Penn when quarterback Anders Hill found Josh Wainwright open in the end zone for a game-ending touchdown. That game drew 13,081 fans, Columbia's largest Homecoming crowd since it drew 13,785 on Oct. 18, 2003. In 2016, Columbia placekicker Oren Milstein converted three field goals and the Lions defense limited Dartmouth to 1 of 17 on third down as the Lions defeated the Big Green, 9-7. That win snapped a 15-game Homecoming losing streak for Columbia. Each year, win or lose, a Columbia player is selected for the John Toner Homecoming Player of the Game award. The award is chosen by members of the media. COLUMBIA, LIONS PLAYERS AMONG NATIONAL STATISTICAL LEADERS IN A VARIETY OF CATEGORIES Through five games, Columbia ranks among the nation's top-25 FCS teams in 11 different team statistical categories. According to the NCAA, Columbia is ranked:
No. 1 in blocked punts allowed (0).
No. 5 in fourth down conversion percentage (.833).
No. 5 in time of possession (33:39).
No. 5 in fewest penalty yards (153).
No. 6 in fumbles lost (1).
No. 7 in kickoff returns (27.00).
No. 8 in first downs defense (86).
No. 13 in fewest penalty yards (227).
No. 13 in fewest penalties per game (4.75)
No. 19 in fewest penalties (29).
No. 25 in fewest turnovers lost (7).
Individually, several Lions also rank among the top-25 national statistical leaders in four different categories:
Chris Alleyne (No. 9 in field goal percentage, 90%; No. 4 in field goals per game, 2.0).
Cameren Carter (No. 4 in fumbles recovered, 2).
Will Allen (No. 13 in kickoff returns, 27.0).
COLUMBIA, LIONS PLAYERS LEAD THE IVY LEAGUE IN VARIOUS STATS Through five games, Columbia and its players rank among Ivy League leaders in a variety of statistics:
As a team, Columbia leads the league in kickoff returns (27.0) and field goal percentage (.900).
Will Allen leads in kickoff return average (27.0).
Chris Alleyne leads in field goal percentage (88.9%) and PAT percentage (100%).
Daniel DeLorenzi is tied for the lead in sacks (0.80 per game).
Cameren Carter leads in fumble recoveries (2).
Other Lions are ranked among league leaders in a variety of statistics including Dante Miller (6th in rushing yardage), Josh Bean(7th in passing yards per game, 7th in passing efficiency, 7th in total offense), Kyle Castner (6th in receptions per game, 8th in receiving yards per game), Ronald Smith (7th in receptions per game, 10th in receiving yards per game), Chris Alleyne (2nd in field goals, 7th in scoring, 3rd in kick scoring), Ty Lenhart (9th in scoring, 5th in touchdowns), Ryan Gilbert (2nd in tackles), Sean White(10th in tackles), Daniel DeLorenzi (6th in tackles for loss), Ben McKeighan (2nd in passes defended). LIONS SUFFER INJURIES Columbia has already lost three players to injury this season: offensive lineman Charlie Flores (lower leg), wide receiver Josh Wainwright (knee) and running back Alexander Filacouris (knee). Placekicker Oren Milstein, starting middle linebacker Justin Woodley and defensive back Landon Baty could all be out for an extended amount of time. Starting quarterback Josh Beanmissed the Georgetown and Princeton games with an injury. ABOUT THE BIG GREEN Undefeated Dartmouth (5-0, 2-0 Ivy League) enters Saturday's game as one of the nation's four remaining unbeaten teams. The Big Green lead the nation in three key categories: time of possession (34:48), yards per reception (13.29) and total defense (233.0). Dartmouth has outscored its five opponents 195-46 on the year and is averaging 39.0 points per game and yielding just 9.2 points per game. The Big Green has outrushed its opponents 2290-1165 in yardage and has gained 12 turnovers to only three giveaways. Dartmouth enters Saturday's game after defeating Sacred Heart 42-0 last week. The Big Green already has victories over defending champion and preseason favorite Yale (41-18 on Oct. 5) and Penn (37-14 on Sept 29). Dartmouth is led by quarterback Derek Kyler, who has completed 74.2 percent of his passes (72-97) for 878 yards and nine touchdowns. Drew Hunnicutt (17 receptions for 343 yards, 2 TD), Drew Estrada (14 receptions for 156 yards, TD) Connor Rempel (12 catches, 137 yards, 3 TD) and Hunter Hagdorn (12 receptions for 162 yards, 3 TD) and are Kyler's favorite targets. Four players have rushed for over 175 yards for Dartmouth: Jared Gerbino (249 yards on 40 carries, 5 TD), Caylin Parker (241 yards on 34 carries, 3 TD), Rashaad Cooper (227 yards on 43 carries, 2 TD) and Miles Smith (178 yards on 45 carries, TD). Dartmouth's defense is anchored by Jack Traynor, who has recorded 32 tackles and 3.5 tackles for loss, Crudden McKinney, who has 23 tackles, one interception and 2.0 tackles for loss and Jackson Perry, who has totaled 20 tackles and 2.0 sacks. Isiah Swann leads the Big Green with five interceptions and Roco Di Leo and Niko Lalos have 3.0 sacks apiece.