Columbia Lions Leave Devils Licking Their Wounds

Andrew DeCapua, Contributor

The Central Connecticut State University football team lost a close game at home against Columbia University with a final score of 22-20 on Saturday, Oct. 9, at Arute Field.

The Blue Devils appeared to have made progress on both sides of the ball coming out of the bye-week. The offense started slow, but once they picked up the energy, they could move the ball down the field. The defense also played better in this one, winning the turnover battle 2-0.

“I thought when we started picking up the tempo, that’s when we started to move the ball,” head coach Ryan McCarthy said. “When we caught them off guard, that’s when things started to open up when they weren’t getting their cleats in the ground as much,” he said.

Sophomore quarterback Romelo Williams led the Blue Devils in passing on 29-51 with 288-yards and three touchdown passes, all career highs for the sophomore. Senior wide receiver Tyshaun James caught 10 passes and totaled 98-yards. On the defensive side of the ball, junior cornerback Dexter Lawson Jr. had an interception, and senior defensive end Kelvin Apari had 1.5 sacks and four tackles for a loss.

The Lion’s first drive of the game resulted in an eight-play 69-yard drive capped off by a 1-yard touchdown run from sophomore quarterback Gabriel Hollingsworth. Columbia followed that up with a 30-yard field goal by junior kicker Alex Felkins in the second quarter.

The Blue Devils got on the scoreboard with 8:35 left on the clock in the second quarter when Williams connected with sophomore tight end Jadd Dolegala on a 14-yard touchdown pass. An interception by Lawson Jr. on defense and a muffed punt put the offense in position to tie the game before halftime. Unable to get into field goal range, Central went for it on fourth down and failed to convert. Leaving the Blue Devils down three at halftime.

The Blue Devils started their first drive of the second half pinned up against their goal line and gave up a safety on a sack of Williams in the endzone. Columbia would add to that lead early in the fourth quarter after Felkins nailed a 30-yard field goal to bring the score to 15-7.

The Blue Devils came out on the next possession and drove the ball 88-yards on thirteen plays and capped the drive off with a 16-yard touchdown pass from Williams to James, bringing them within a two-point conversion of tying the game.

After failing to convert on the two-point conversion attempt, the Blue Devils kicked it to the Lions. On the Lion’s subsequent possession, senior running back Dante Miller, broke free for a 65-yard touchdown run increasing their lead to 22-13 with 5 minutes and 38 seconds left in the fourth quarter.

The Blue Devils answered back quickly on their next possession by going 72-yards and eleven plays in only one minute and 37 seconds and ending on a touchdown pass from Williams to redshirt freshman Erik Surratt with just 57 seconds remaining in the game. A failed onside kick attempt sealed it as the Lions were able to just take a knee and run out the rest of the clock.

Despite the loss, there were bright spots that the Blue Devils can build off and be confident in going into conference play.

Coach Ryan McCarthy said the Blue Devils are improving and will continue to become stronger as the season continues.

“I think that we are improving, we have to obviously, but I think our better days are ahead of us,” McCarthy said.

The Blue Devils are now 1-4 overall and 1-0 in conference play and will travel to Fairfield for a conference match-up against in-state rivals Sacred Heart University next weekend on Saturday, Oct. 16.