Princeton (1-1) at Columbia (0-2)

Oct. 4, 1:30 p.m. -- Lawrence A. Wien Stadium, New York, N.Y.


Princeton coach Roger Hughes can't explain exactly why, but his team's games against Columbia always seem to be close. Memorable Tiger-Lion clashes in recent years include a 42-32 Princeton win last season (Columbia led by four at the start of the fourth quarter); a 27-26 overtime win for Princeton in 2004; and Columbia's 33-27 victory in 2003, decided by a 49-yard touchdown pass in the closing seconds. Early season emotion may play a role in the tight contests, Hughes said. Since 2000, the Princeton-Columbia game has been the Ivy League opener for both teams.

This year

Princeton bounced back from its opening loss at The Citadel with a 10-7 win over Lehigh at home Sept. 27. The Tigers dominated the stat sheet but didn't take the lead until Connor Louden ’09's fourth-quarter field goal split the uprights with the clock reading 0:00. Columbia could have used some late-game heroics in its first two games. The Lions lost each by a touchdown -- 29-22 to Fordham Sept. 20 and 31-24 at Towson Sept. 27.

Players to watch

Princeton cornerback Cart Kelly ’10

Kelly, in his second year as a starter, likely will face off against All-Ivy receiver Austin Knowlin, who torched the Tigers for 146 yards and two touchdowns last season. In a preseason interview, Kelly told PAW that while the Princeton defensive backfield had limited experience, it is a unit that looks forward to challenges. "You have to have that mentality that you can cover the person in front of you," he said. "I prefer to go man-to-man because you have less to worry about. It's just 'cover this guy,' and that's what you need to do."

Columbia junior quarterback Shane Kelly

Kelly (no relation to Cart), a transfer from Temple, is a threat to run or pass who keeps defenders off balance. "You think he's going to run, and he goes and chucks it," said Eric Jackson, Princeton's defensive-backs coach. Kelly's numbers are solid -- 29 completions on 51 attempts, four touchdowns and just one interception -- but Columbia coach Norries Wilson is looking for a more assertive attitude. He said the quarterback "needs to be able to run the team, not just manage the team."

Roster notes

Dan Kopolovich ’10 started Princeton's first two games at defensive back and is expected to be in the lineup again at Columbia. He remains the No. 2 quarterback on offense. ... Jeff Jackson ’11, had nine tackles, a sack, and an interception against Lehigh, starting in place of linebacker John Callahan ’10, who will miss the rest of the season with knee injury. ... Fullback Jonathan Meyers ’12, who made headlines by passing up scholarship offers from Florida and Notre Dame to play football and lacrosse at Princeton, also is out for the season with an injury.

Final quote

On quarterback Brian Anderson ’09, who called a key pass play in the final drive against Lehigh: "I've got so much confidence in Brian that when he suggests something like that, I listen. He suggested a play in the Citadel game that worked well, too. When we recruit quarterbacks, [we want them to be] a coach on the field. Brian, being a coach's son, understands that."

-- Roger Hughes, Princeton head coach

Image courtesy Tomas R. Vigo/Flickr.com