NEW HAVEN—The football team’s nightmarish season continued on Saturday at the Yale Bowl.
Columbia (0-7, 0-4 Ivy) struggled mightily on both sides of the ball. The defense gave up more than 50 points for the fourth time this season, while the offense was shut out for three quarters of the game as the Bulldogs (4-3, 2-2 Ivy) picked up a decisive 53-12 win.
“The football team did not play well enough to win, that’s obvious,” Light Blue head coach Pete Mangurian said after the game. “Too many mistakes.”
Even without injured starting running back Tyler Varga, Yale got on the board first, scoring on its second possession of the game. Quarterback Henry Furman made a couple of big throws on the drive, including a 16-yard pass to wide receiver Cameron Sandquist that gave the Bulldogs a first down at the Columbia 35. The Lion defense regrouped to force a long field goal, and Yale kicker Kyle Cazzetta’s 46-yard attempt narrowly cleared the crossbar to give the home team a 3-0 advantage.
The Bulldogs added to the lead on their next possession, putting together a 62-yard drive that culminated in a touchdown. Running back Candler Rich dropped Furman’s pass near the goal line on one play, but ran it in from 10 yards out on the next to give Yale a 10-0 lead.
Columbia was forced to punt on its next possession, giving Yale a chance to start pulling away early in the second quarter. But Light Blue senior linebacker Brian East intercepted Furman’s pass, taking it back 27 yards for a Columbia touchdown. The score remained 10-6, however, as senior kicker Luke Eddy’s extra point attempt was wide left, and the Lions were unable to turn the situation into a turning point.
“Brian made a big play,” Mangurian said. “Obviously you’d like to build on it, and you go out and miss the extra point.”
Furman and the rest of the Yale offense wasted little time bouncing back from the pick six. After going three-and-out on their next possession, the Bulldogs put together a pair of long touchdown drives to go up 23-6.
Sophomore Trevor McDonagh replaced first-year Kelly Hilinksi at quarterback on Columbia’s last drive of the half, but the Light Blue was unable to put any more points on the board in the second quarter.
“The quarterback is the quarterback, and he makes plays and moves the football team or there’s no point in continuing down that road. So we made a change, and Trevor did some good things,” Mangurian said. “Trevor had his moments, too, where he had wide open guys and didn’t hit them.”
McDonagh seemed to be getting into a rhythm on the Light Blue’s first drive following the intermission. The Lions picked up a couple of first downs on a pair of catches by sophomore wide receiver Chris Connors, and looked like they had another when McDonagh hit sophomore running back Cameron Molina for an 11-yard gain.
The play was called back following a hold, though, and Columbia was ultimately forced to punt. But senior Tyler Feely, who was filling in for suspended senior Paul Delaney, was unable to get the punt off following a high snap, and Yale got the ball at the Columbia 24.
The Bulldogs took advantage of the short field to go up 30-6 after Rich punched it in on a two-yard run for his second score of the game.
Yale dominated the rest of the way, tacking on a field goal and three more touchdowns, one of which came on a 94-yard run by running back Kahlil Keys that set a new school record.
The Light Blue offense finally broke through late in the fourth when McDonagh found junior wide receiver Ryan Flannery for a 23-yard touchdown pass. But it was far too little, far too late, as the Bulldogs closed out the decisive victory.