Rob SgarlataOne of my favorite Bill Parcells quotes is: “What you say you are is your philosophy; what you put on tape is your identity.” After watching us play, I would want a spectator to say we are a tough, smart football team that competes on every play, no matter the situation or the score.  This past weekend in New York City we took a positive step in establishing that identity.  In a physical football game, we won 24-16.  While there is a ton of room for improvement, all three phases of our game took a step forward.  A link to the game stats can be found here.

Defensively, we knew we would face a challenge with Columbia’s offense.  The Lions came into the game with solid quarterback play and a good scheme.  Senior captain Matt Satchell had another solid performance.  He recorded 13 total tackles and added two tackles for a loss and a sack on the day.  Leo Loughrey had a key interception in the second half.  Both of our starting corners, Ettian Scott and Jelani Williamson, had solid days combining for four pass breakups and a number of solid open-field tackles.  After surrendering 10 points over the first three drives of the game, the defense settled in during the second half.

Offensively, we played a more consistent game and made the most of our opportunities.  Kyle Nolan was 21-32 for 264 yards and was a part of all three of our touchdowns.  He threw two touchdowns to Justin Hill and ran for a third touchdown on a critical fourth and goal from the one-yard line to end the first half. Kyle was also our leading rusher with 45 yards on the ground.  Justin Hill had another solid performance with four catches for 118 yards and two touchdowns.  Senior Jake DeCicco led us in receptions with nine.  Our offensive line provided good protection most of the day and did not give up a sack to a talented Columbia defensive line.  While we threw the ball well, we need to continue to improve with our running game this week.

Our special teams definitely factored positively into the victory on Saturday.  Henry Darmstadter converted a critical 46-yard field goal in the first half.  Sophomore Alex Valles was solid on our coverage units all day.  Ben Priddy did a great job with the kickoff duties.  His squib kick at the end of the first half was the first play in a sequence that turned momentum in our favor.  Following an 11-play, 46-yard drive to end the first half which tied the score at 10, Priddy squibbed the kickoff with just 29 seconds left in the half.  I would describe this sequence as SISU.

Everyone in our program has their role to play. We ask all of the players and staff to know their role and try to play it to the best of their ability.  Senior Troye Bullock is a great example of this concept.  Troye makes the most of his reps on offense and on our special teams units.  On Priddy’s squib kick at the end of the first half, it would have been easy to relax and go into halftime tied at 10.  Our entire kickoff unit sprinted down the field.  Troye was able to recover the ball on the Columbia 21-yard line.  Two plays later, our offense scored to put us up 17-10 going into the half and changed the outcome of the game. The harder we work, the luckier we are going to be.  This sequence is the identity we want to put on tape.  I refer to this as a “SISU Rep.”

Lou Little is back on the Hilltop.  Thanks to Pat McArdle and Hoyas Bruce Simmons, Rory Quirk and Dick Williams for making this trophy a reality.  It is always great to compete in the New York area.  I want to thank all of our alums, parents and friends for coming to the game.  It was great to have the players sing the fight song with our supporters after the game.  Please take a minute to watch a highlight video from the broadcast.

We are back to work this week in preparation for our game against Harvard.  The win versus Columbia is a step in the right direction.  We need to continue to improve at the little things to achieve the identity we want to consistently put on tape.  I am looking forward to seeing everyone in Boston this Friday night!

Rob Sgarlata

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