Missed Opportunities, Late TD Doom Princeton In 28-24 Loss To Columbia

  • October 1, 2017

Princeton University football vs. Columbia, Princeton, NJ, September 30, 2017.

Published on GoPrincetonTigers.com | Read the full article here

Columbia quarterback Anders Hill connected with Ronald Smith II on a quick cross that turned into a 63-yard touchdown strike with 1:12 remaining in regulation, a play that ultimately burned a Princeton team that played with fire throughout its Ivy League opener.

Columbia improved to 3-0 for the first time since 1996 and picked up its first win over Princeton since 2010 with a 28-24 victory in the Ivy League opener Saturday on Powers Field. Smith was the dominant presence in the game, catching 10 passes for a Columbia- and Princeton Stadium-record 236 yards and two touchdowns. The last 63 became necessary because of a fourth-quarter Princeton rally, when the Tigers grabbed their first lead of the second half on a 27-yard touchdown pass from Chad Kanoff to Stephen Carlson with 2:48 remaining in the game.

On the ensuing drive, Princeton forced a 3rd and 10, but Hill hit Schroer for 17 yards. The Tiger defense, which was on the field for more than 36 minutes in the game, forced another third down three plays later, but it turned into the winning pass to Smith.

Princeton had one more chance to go ahead, and three straight completions moved the ball into Columbia territory, but Kanoff’s attempt to throw the ball away on a near sack resulted in an interception by Benjamin McKeighan that ended the game.

That was just the final missed opportunity for the Tigers, who committed four turnovers, were 0 for 2 on fourth downs, gave up an onsides kick and had a punt go one yard during a quick rainstorm in the first half. Despite the mistakes, Princeton’s defense — led by a career-best 13 tackles by Thomas Johnson and an eight-tackle, two-sack effort by Mike Wagner — kept the team alive until the final minute, while the offense rallied late to grab the fourth-quarter lead.

Kanoff ended the game 24 for 40 for 312 yards and three touchdowns, including two to Jesper Horsted (eight catches for 96 yards). Carlson continued his breakout season with eight catches for 146 yards and a touchdown, while Tiger Bech added four catches for 34 yards. Charlie Volker carried 19 times for 71 yards, while freshman Collin Eaddy averaged 8.9 yards per carry (seven for 62) in the best performance of his young career.

Wagner (2.0) and Johnson (1.5) led a defensive effort that included six Princeton sacks, including one apiece from Mark Fossatiand Joe Percival. Sophomore TJ Floyd had an interception in the end zone that kept Princeton within one score, while Kurt Holubahad seven tackles, two breakups and half a sack.

Princeton remains home next weekend for its final nonleague game of the season, a 1 pm showdown against Georgetown. The game will be shown locally on NBC Sports Philadelphia (formerly CSN Philadelphia), and it will be streamed on both the Ivy League Network and WatchESPN.

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