Undefeated Columbia, Princeton Meet Saturday On Powers Field In 2017 Ivy Opener
Welcome to Opening Day 2.0.
Two weeks ago, Princeton began its 2017 season successfully, knocking off Pioneer League champion San Diego 27-17. The Tigers moved to 2-0 last weekend with a 38-17 win at Lafayette.
So how is this another opener?
Well, Ivy League play is different.
A pair of 2-0 teams meet at Powers Field this afternoon, as both Columbia and Princeton will try to get off to a quick start in Ivy play. By the end of today, half the teams in the Ivy League will have one loss, and no team with two losses has won the title since 1982.
Both Princeton and Columbia walk into today’s game with confidence. While the Tigers have gotten some significant production from their younger players, the Lions have relied on several senior-dominated position groups to carry them to wins over both Wagner and Georgetown.
Only one team can join Harvard, Yale and the winner of Friday night’s Dartmouth-Penn game in the Ivy unbeaten club.
On Saturday, we’ll find out which it will be.
Lights, Camera, Action
Saturday’s Ivy League showdown on Powers Field will be televised live on Eleven Sports (check local listings) and streamed on the Ivy League Network. Bill Spaulding and Jack Ford will call the action for One World Sports. Fans can listen live on the Princeton IMG Sports Network (103.3 FM WPRB in Princeton) or through the TuneIn app (search “Princeton IMG Sports Network”). The RWJ Barnabas Health pregame show begins 30 minutes prior to kickoff.
Princeton and Columbia have played each other in the Ivy League opener every season since 2000, and this is only the third time that both teams have entered the game with matching 2-0 records. Princeton won the first two meetings (43-3 in 2005, 19-6 in 2006).
This is the 87th meeting between Princeton and Columbia, a series the Tigers lead 70-15-1. Princeton has won the last six games against Columbia, making it the longest active win streak for the Tigers against any Ivy League rival. Last season, Columbia scored the first and last touchdowns of the game, but Princeton scored 48 unanswered points in the middle for a 48-13 victory that ignited the Tigers’ championship season. Chad Kanoff completed 21 of 25 passes for 230 yards and three touchdowns in the victory.
Viewer Discretion Required
The last time Princeton hosted Columbia was Oct. 2, 2015, a game televised by the NBC Sports Network in unusual circumstances. A monsoon in the area kept the crowd under 4,000 and the offenses, well, inefficient (to be kind). Princeton gained fewer than 200 total yards in the game, but an early touchdown would be enough during a 10-5 win.
After a dramatic finish to the 2016 Ivy League season, the media is predicting another tight race this season. Both Princeton and Harvard shared first place in the annual preseason poll, while Penn finished just below those two schools. All three teams had either five or six first-place votes. Columbia was projected to finish seventh.
Armed And Ready
Senior quarterback Chad Kanoff has started Princeton’s last 22 games (15-7 over that stretch), and he earned All-Ivy League honors last season while leading the Tigers to the Ivy League title. He moved into third place on Princeton’s all-time passing list during the opener, and he is within shouting distance of the 5,000-yard mark:
PRINCETON PASSING LEADERS
1. Doug Butler, 1983-85 • 7,291 yards
2. Matt Verbit, 2001-04 • 5,202 yards
3. Chad Kanoff, 2013-present • 4,644 yards
4. Jason Garrett, 1987-88 • 4,274 yards
5. Jeff Terrell, 2003-06 • 4,166 yards
From Beginning To End (Zone)
Chad Kanoff threw six touchdown passes during his 2016 All-Ivy League season. He has thrown six in the first two games this season.
Stephen Carlson, who had only two career receptions entering the season, became the first Princeton receiver to catch at least three TD passes in a single game since 1991 (Michael Lerch, who caught four against Brown). He has 11 receptions on the season, and he is averaging 13.3 yards per catch.
Junior wideout Jesper Horsted, who earned All-Ivy League honors during Princeton’s 2016 Ivy championship season, became Princeton’s first receiver to catch at least 10 passes in one game since Connor Kelley during Week 7 of the 2014 season (he caught 12 against San Diego). Horsted, who has been both All-Ivy and an Ivy champion for two Princeton teams (football/baseball), currently leads the Ivy League with 9.0 receptions per game, and he is ranked third in the Ivy League with 83.0 receiving yards per game.
Princeton ranks fifth in the FCS with a 55.9 third-down conversion percentage this season. The Tigers were 9 of 16 last weekend, though they were 8 of 12 over the first three quarters.
Princeton has scored in all eight quarters of the season so far. Dating back to last season, the Tigers have scored in 25 of their last 26 quarter; the lone exception was the third quarter of a 31-3 win at Yale.
The Buck Stops Here
Kurt Holuba, a finalist for Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year last season, was named to the Watch List for the Buck Buchanan Award, which honors the FCS National Defensive Player of the Year. Holuba recorded eight sacks and 10 tackles for loss during an All-America performance last season.
Last weekend, Holuba was ejected on a targeting call in the second half, which was subsequently appealed by Princeton.
- The League office reviewed the play and appealed to the national coordinator per the NCAA’s process for games without replay;
- The national review committee concluded that the play was not targeting; and
- Thus, the League was free to (and did) reinstate Kurt Holuba for the entirety of the upcoming game vs. Columbia.
Making His Mark
Senior Mark Fossati had plenty of experience before the season, but he has made a major impact during his first two career starts. Fossati has posted double-digit tackles in both games so far, and he leads the Ivy League with 11.5 tackles per game. Fossati earned Princeton’s defensive game ball in both victories this season.
The Great Wall
Freshman CJ Wall has started both games at cornerback — the only member of the Class of 2021 to start on a non-special team unit — and his debut has been memorable. He has recorded interceptions in both games — both of which ended the opponent’s final drive — and he recovered a fumble inside the 5 against San Diego. Wall, who is averaging 6.0 tackles per game this season, was named the Ivy League Rookie of the Week after the San Diego win.
Junior Mike Wagner became a starter at rush linebacker last season, and he was named to the Ivy League Honor Roll last weekend after recording two sacks in Princeton’s 38-17 victory over Lafayette.
Junior Ben Ellis recorded a career-best 10 tackles at Lafayette last weekend. He is one of eight new starters on the Princeton defense, including three (Wall, Ellis, and TJ Floyd) in the backfield.
Just For Kicks
Sophomore Tavish Rice made only four of the first 11 field goal attempts of his Princeton career, but he has been a perfect 5 for 5 since, including all three of his attempts this year.
Junior LB Thomas Johnson, who ranks eighth in the Ivy League with 7.5 tackles per game this season, is the eldest of three Johnson family members on the team. His cousin Sam Johnson is a sophomore projected to be the backup tight end, while Thomas’ younger brother James is a freshman battling for a spot in the linebacker/special teams rotation.
Sophomore Will Johnson, who moved from wide receiver to cornerback in the offseason, is not related.
The Johnsons aren’t the only brothers on the Princeton football team. Junior tackle Stefan Ivanisevic, who started several games during the Ivy championship season last year, welcomed his younger brother Nikola, a Tiger freshman, to the offensive line group this season.
Princeton head coach Bob Surace ’90 is the reigning Ivy League Coach of the Year, and he is a three-time finalist for FCS National Head Coach of the Year honors. Last weekend, he earned a win over former teammate and close friend John Garrett ’88, who is in his first year as the head coach at Lafayette.
Princeton has had three players selected in the NFL Draft over the last five years (Mike Catapano ’13, Caraun Reid ’14, and Seth DeValve ’16). Both Reid and DeValve have scored multiple touchdowns in their young NFL careers, and DeValve currently ranks second for the Browns with 132 receiving yards this season.
The Crystal Ball
Princeton will play its final nonleague game of the season next weekend when it hosts Georgetown at 1 pm. The Tigers lead the all-time series 7-1, though Georgetown owns a win in the only game played at Princeton Stadium (21-20 in 2012). The game will be televised locally on CSN Philadelphia, and streamed live on both WatchESPN and the Ivy League Network.
Last year, Princeton forced Georgetown into five turnovers and limited the Hoyas to one conversion on 12 third-down attempts to lead the Tigers to a 31-17 road win.
Fans can come support Cancer Awareness; be one of the first 500 fans to receive an exclusive Pink Warrior Headband.
|Week 3: Columbia (2-0, 0-0 Ivy) at Princeton (2-0, 0-0 Ivy)|
|Date • Time • Location||Sept. 30, 2017 • 12:30 pm • Powers Field at Princeton Stadium|
|Watch Live||Eleven Sports (check local listings) / Ivy League Network|
|Tickets||Princeton Ticket Office|
|Radio||103.3 FM l Listen Live on the TuneIn App|
|Game Coverage||Live Stats l @PUTigers l @PUTigerFootball|
|All-Time Series||Princeton leads 70-15-1|
|Last Meeting • Current Streak||Princeton 48, COLUMBIA 13 l Princeton 6 wins|
|Princeton Information||Game Notes l Roster l Schedule l Statistics|
|Columbia Information||Game Notes l Roster l Schedule l Statistics|
|Ivy League||Standings l Statistics l Weekly Release|
|Last Week||Princeton 38, LAFAYETTE 17 l COLUMBIA 35, Georgetown 14|
|Next Week||Oct. 6: Georgetown at Princeton (1 pm • CSN Philadelphia/WatchESPN/Ivy League Network)|
Princeton Football • By The Numbers
1 • latest Princeton ranking among universities by U.S. News & World Report
6 • televised Princeton games this season; eight of the 10 games will alsobe shown on the ILN or ESPN3
9 • Princeton football players who have been awarded Rhodes Scholarships
11 • Ivy League Championships won by Princeton since the league officially formed in 1956
15 • Princeton players picked in the NFL Draft; three were taken in the last five years
22 • career interceptions by Dean Cain, former “Superman” star; total remains an Ivy League record
26 • Princeton players and coaches who are in the College Football Hall of Fame
28 • national titles won by Princeton; no college football program can claim more
42 • number worn by 1951 Heisman Trophy recipient Dick Kazmaier; no Princeton player has worn the number since
43.7 • points per game scored by the Ivy champion 2013 Princeton Tigers; total remains an Ivy League record
72 • Princeton’s total first-team All-America honorees; John Lovett (2016) is the most recent
153 • points Princeton scored during its last four must-win games of the 2016 title season; the opposing teams combined for only 31
193 • career receptions for Kevin Guthrie, the all-time Princeton leader
1869 • the year of the first college football game, played between Rutgers and Princeton
1878 • Princeton’s first “Big Three” title; the University celebrates with a bonfire on Cannon-Green when the Tigers sweep Harvard and Yale
4,208 • career rushing yards for Keith Elias, the Princeton record holder
27,800 • seating capacity at Princeton Stadium, which celebrates its 20th year in 2017, and where our tradition continues this season