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Columbia surprises Yale, 17-7, for first win in the Yale Bowl since 1996

(Photo by Catalina Fragoso - Double G Media)

(Photo by Catalina Fragoso – Double G Media)


Yale football thought a return to the friendly confines of the Yale Bowl would cure what ails them but it was anything but that as the visiting Columbia Lions upset the Bulldogs 17-7 last Saturday in New Haven.

The loss dashed any and all Eli hopes for a slice of the 2015 Ivy League football championship.

Yale’s season record fell to 4-3 and left them at 1-3 in the Ivy League.

The win improved Columbia’s season record to 2-5 and 1-3 in Ivy League play. The last time Columbia registered a win in the Yale Bowl was in 1996, when the Lions edged the Bulldogs, 13-10.

“This gave us an opportunity to validate our football program with a win on the road over a quality opponent,” said a delighted Columbia coach Al Bagnoli, in postgame comments on the Ivy League Digital Network.

The difference in the game was an energized Columbia defensive effort which handcuffed an injury-riddled Eli offense, which allowed the Lions to earn their first Ivy League victory in three years.

It was a dismal day for Yale as they were only able to muster 120 yards of total offense and a meager five first downs.

The Bulldogs sole touchdown occurred in the first quarter when Jason Alessi received a punt on his own 20 and took it to the house to give Yale a brief 7-0 lead.

Alessi’s punt return was the third longest in Yale history.

Yale quarterback Morgan Roberts had a woeful day against the Lions completing 12 of 24 passes for 104 yards.

Roberts was also sacked three times by the ferocious Columbia pass rush.

Yale sophomore Rafe Chapple saw some action in replacing Roberts in the second and fourth quarters.

The Bulldogs are home again as the Brown Bears (4-3, 2-2 Ivy League) come to the Yale Bowl on Saturday, November 7.

The Bears were trounced by a red-hot Penn Quaker squad last week, 48-28.

Yale holds an 80-34-5 edge in the series.

Last year Yale defeated the Bruins, 45-42, in Providence.

The 12:30 p.m. kickoff can be seen on Fox College Sports Atlantic and heard on the Yale Football Radio Network (ESPN AM-1300).



In seven games, Roberts has connected on 159 of 291 passes (54.6%) for 1,751 yards.

The Bulldogs were down several key skilled players, which included wide receivers Bo Hines and Mike Siragusa.

The Yale backfield was also decimated by injury. Austin Reuland, third on the depth chart, was pressed into service.

The Bulldogs sophomore linebacker, Matthew Oplinger, had 8 tackles and two sacks the loss to Columbia.

Columbia Coach Al Bagnoli, a native of East Haven, is in his first year at the helm of the Lions.

Prior to that, Bagnoli spent 23 seasons at Penn where he guided the Quakers to nine league titles.

Harvard, (7-0, 4-0 Ivy), continues as the odds-on favorite to rack up another Ivy League title, after a thrilling 14-13 win over Dartmouth last Friday evening in Cambridge.

Harvard remains in 15th place in the latest FCS National Coaches Poll.

The Crimson, who currently have a 21-game winning streak heading into this weekend’s game with Columbia, will face Yale in THE GAME on November 21 in New Haven.


Follow Bob for all the Yale football game highlights, features and more: @WhitneyBob

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Bob Whitney

Bob is a college basketball columnist here at He also covers Yale football and the Connecticut Sun of the WNBA.
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