Sunday, October 26, 2014

Dartmouth Big Green 27 at Columbia Lions 7 (NCAA Football, Ivy League) - October 25, 2014

These days, I am more interested in seeing games at new venues than visiting places I have already been. More succinctly: so many stadiums, so little time. Of course, road trips are the best way to do that, since I've seen a game in every major stadium in New York. But there are still some smaller college facilities in the city and surrounding area that I have yet to add to my venue count, so I'll be focusing on those going forward. This weekend was perfect for fall football so I checked the schedule and found that the Columbia Lions, in the midst of a 16-game losing streak, were hosting Dartmouth in an Ivy League game on Saturday afternoon.

The Lions play at Robert K. Kraft Field at Lawrence A. Wien Stadium, another doubly-named venue that honours more than one wealthy alumnus. Kraft, of course, is the owner of the New England Patriots, who contributed $5 million to the Columbia athletics department in 2007 and had the field named after him as a result, while Wien was another philanthropist whose $6 million donation in 1984 helped build the new stadium.

It was homecoming for Columbia, so a big crowd was on hand but that still left plenty of seats, especially on the visitor's side as you can see above. The stadium is a couple of blocks from 215 Street station on the 1 train, in Inwood, the northernmost neighbourhood on Manhattan Island. That's the Henry Hudson Bridge in the left background above, which leads to the Bronx. All tickets are $15 for assigned seating, but you can pretty much sit where you want if it is high enough. There were concession stands but the lineups were huge, so I didn't bother trying anything. This is a pretty basic football stadium, but that's all you need for this level of competition.

Dartmouth came in 4-1 and ranked 18th in the FCS while Columbia was 0-5 and ranked 121st of the 124 schools in the FCS (Savannah State, Houston Baptist, and Davidson were worse). Needless to say, a close game was not expected. Dartmouth scored on their first drive, going 75 yards in 10 plays, capped by a 33-yard run from Kyle Bramble (#22 below, fumbling on another play). The drive took only 3:19; the Lions took 3:23 on their first possession but only moved 20 yards on 5 plays. In other words, time of possession didn't mean much.

Dartmouth added a field goal and scored a touchdown early in the second quarter when Alex Park connected with Victor Williams to make it 17-0. Although the Lions managed a touchdown to make it relatively close, the Big Green ended the half with another touchdown pass from Park to Williams. The Lions never threatened again, passing on 50 of their 67 plays from scrimmage to move the ball but all of their drives eventually stalled. Cameron Molina (below) was their leading rusher with 29 yards on just 10 carries.

Dartmouth added a field goal in the third quarter and the teams played the fourth without any real intensity to make the final 27-7 for the visitors. This was the 4th time this season that the Lions scored exactly 7 points, once they scored 6 and the other time they exploded for 28 in a game they lost by 33 to Monmouth. In other words, Columbia football is really, really bad. At least the weather was great.


I had planned to see the Jets hosting the Bills on Sunday but put my ticket up for sale to see if I could make a small profit and surprisingly, it was sold. I skipped the game, won handily by the Bills as the Jets try their best to enter the Marcus Mariotta sweepstakes. My interest in seeing pro games in New York City is waning; the teams here are mostly crap yet their tickets are priced as if they are champions in waiting. I'll be seeing games when the secondary market prices tickets more realistically, but other than that will be concentrating on finding compelling sports road trips.

Next Up

I'm off to London in two weeks. The centrepiece is the NFL game between the Jaguars and Cowboys which should be a blowout, but I've also four soccer games during my three days there, including Manchester City at QPR, for which I have already acquired a ticket in the second row. Can't wait for that! Check back to see how my first international trip in over a year turns out.



1 comment:

  1. I was at the last home game of the 2014 Columbia FB season vs. Cornell. I enjoyed it very much. As you stated, you can see anywhere you want despite what the tix says about your seat. I love the fact that on the NE end of the stadium, where the home sidelines are, fans can be walking around the alleyway that leads to the stadium exit and on the other side, you can see both teams entering and leaving the stadium before/after halftime and postgame and be up close and personal with them. All in all, despite the fact it isn't a stadium with all the modern pizazz that many stadiums we're familiar with have, Wien Stadium has to be one of the best places to see a sporting event in NYC area.