Why Columbia will beat Penn football | WKCR Sports' Ryan Young


Penn football plays Columbia this weekend so as an introduction to the Light Blue, we asked WKCR Sports' Ryan Young to tell you why Columbia will beat Penn. For more information on Columbia, listen to WKCR's "The Firing Lion," in which Young interviews Lions coach Pete Mangurian. 

Why will Penn lose? Well, that’s a tough one. Let’s see.

Columbia’s head coach, Pete Mangurian, has been constantly vilified. His captain quarterback, Brett Nottingham — who transferred to Columbia, played three quarters and then spent nearly a year rehabbing from an injury —quit the team this week. The same team that Mangurian described as finally being on the same page this year.

Columbia has lost 15 games in a row, the fourth-longest losing streak in Ivy League history. It has dropped 19 road games in a row.

The Lions have lost 17 straight games against Penn, tied for the longest streak against one opponent in league history.

Since they faced Penn last year, the team has held one lead — for precisely 12 minutes and 52 seconds against Princeton two weeks ago.

Their average margin of defeat during this losing streak is by well over 30 points. Exactly zero of the games have been competitive.

So, I guess you could say … they’re due?

On the other hand, after what had to have been one of the toughest FCS schedules out there to begin Columbia’s season, this Saturday represents a chance to at least start turning the page. Penn, who likewise has faced a tough schedule, is winless as well.

And despite the record losing streak against the Quakers, the Lions have played them pretty tightly in recent years. In fact, the 21-7 loss against Penn on homecoming last year, was Columbia’s most competitive game on its current slide.

Columbia’s new starting quarterback, Trevor McDonagh, struggled mightily throwing the ball last season, but after replacing Nottingham at Monmouth last week, he threw for four touchdowns. During the losing streak, Columbia had not previously had a game where it had thrown for even multiple touchdowns (as a team). Maybe momentum can carry over — or maybe his success was just a result of playing the second or third team defense for the Hawks.

Nevertheless, the Lions have especially been successful with screen plays and short passes in recent weeks, so quick plays to running backs Cameron Molina, Chris Schroer or Turner DeMuth will be crucial for success. Penn has struggled defending the pass so far this year, but the Lions cannot rely on deep passes.

Otherwise, Columbia will need to force turnovers and keep the game close into the fourth quarter. Maybe Mangurian’s team will be world-beaters at winning close games —we clearly just don’t know yet.

Or maybe, Al Bagnoli will just feel so awful about going 19-2 against Columbia in his career, that he’ll finally let the Lions have one. He knows that regardless of what happens, his departure from his team this year will probably be a little more romantic than that of the one from across the sidelines.

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