Princeton vs. Columbia preview

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Steve Cody ’11 (© Beverly Schaefer)

Princeton (1-1, 0-0 Ivy) vs.
Columbia (1-1, 0-0 Ivy)
Oct. 3, 3 p.m.
Princeton Stadium
Princeton, N.J.

By Vikram Rao ’11

Princeton opens its 2009 Ivy League season Oct. 3 against Columbia. Both teams come into the game with 1-1 records. The Tigers dropped their first game to The Citadel by a 38-7 score before rebounding with a 17-14 win against Lehigh. Columbia defeated Fordham 40-28 and fell 22-13 to Central Connecticut State.

The Tigers likely will be without senior All-Ivy running back Jordan Culbreath, who sprained his ankle against Lehigh. Culbreath also has been diagnosed with a minor case of anemia. Without Culbreath, the Tigers will rotate juniors Meko McCray and Kenny Gunter and freshman Akil Sharp at running back. Sophomore quarterback Tommy Wornham is making only his third start, and the Tigers will be relying heavily on their senior-laden offensive line.

Defensively, the Tigers will be faced with the difficult task of halting Columbia’s three-headed offensive monster. Quarterback M.A. Olawale is threat to pass or run. (He’s thrown for 316 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for two more scores.) Running back Ray Rangel has rushed for 248 yards on just 36 carries, good for a 6.9 yard per carry. And wideout Austin Knowlin is perhaps the best receiver in the Ivies. Knowlin was named a preseason All-American by The Sports Network and has notched 11 receptions and one receiving touchdown this season.

History

Last season, the game between these teams came down to the wire. The Lions took a 24-21 lead on a Jordan Davis touchdown run with 10:35 remaining in the fourth quarter. Less than two minutes later, quarterback Brian Anderson hit wide receiver Trey Peacock on a post pattern for a 52-yard touchdown. The Tigers forced and recovered a fumble on Columbia’s next drive, sealing the game. In 2007, Princeton knocked off Columbia 42-32 at home in a wild game. Princeton has won the last five matchups between the teams and leads the overall series 64-13-1.

Players to watch

Princeton inside linebacker Steve Cody ’11

Cody led the Tigers in tackles as a sophomore. He missed the first game of this season but affirmed his role as the team’s defensive playmaker against Lehigh, making 11 tackles and returning an interception 77 yards for a touchdown. He brings great speed to the position, and he’ll have to do a lot of running as he chases down Olawale and Rangel.

Columbia senior strong safety Andy Shalbrack

With Culbreath out, the pressure will be on Wornham to beat the Lions with his arm. He’ll have to go through Shalbrack to do so. In two games, Shalbrack has notched 19 tackles, broken up two passes, and made one interception. A stalwart in the Lions’ secondary, Shalbrack brings great size to the position at 6-feet, 1-inch, 210 pounds. Whether Princeton’s wide receivers and tight ends are able to win physical battles against Shalbrack and the rest of Columbia’s big secondary will be one of the biggest questions of the game.

Around the Ivies

The only other Ivy matchup on Saturday is Penn at Dartmouth. Cornell looks to improve to 3-0 at Colgate. Harvard is also on the road at winless Lehigh, while Yale hosts Lafayette and Brown hosts Rhode Island.

Final quote

On the Ivy League season: “There’s only seven [league games] and if you lose one or more you’re certainly behind the eight ball, fighting an uphill battle.”

– Princeton head coach Roger Hughes

Princeton’s probable starters

Offense

Defense

WR 19 – Trey Peacock ’11

LT 75 – Mark Paski ’10

LG 65 – Andrew Mills ’11

C 78 – Andrew Hauser ’10

RG 76 – Marc Daou ’10

RT 72 – J.P. Makrai ’10

TE 48 – Harry Flaherty ’11

WR 82 – Jeb Heavenrich ’11

QB 7 – Tommy Wornham ’12

TB 29 – Meko McCray ’11

FB 25 – Matt Zimmerman ’11

K 99 – Ben Bologna ’10

DE 77 – Mike Catapano ’12

NT 92 – Matt Boyer ’11

DE 85 – Joel Karacozoff ’10

LB 50 – John Callahan ’10

LB 51 – Steve Cody ’11

LB 43 – Scott Britton ’10

LB 56 – Brad Stetler ’10

CB 3 – Cart Kelly ’10

S 17 – Wilson Cates ’10

S 18 – Dan Kopolovich ’10

CB 23 – Glenn Wakam ’11

P 41 – Otavio Fleury ’12

 

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