PU football finds new way to lose

Tigers let 20-point lead get away against Columbia

By: Mike Newman
  &nbspThis time the script was different.
  &nbspAfter two straight weeks of falling behind early, only to have a rally come up short, the Princeton University football team blew a 20-point lead in a losing effort against Columbia on Saturday night at Princeton Stadium.
  &nbspWith no time left on the clock, Columbia quarterback Jeff Otis threw up a hail mary which was caught in the end zone by Wade Fletcher to give the Lions a 33-27 victory.
   "This is a tough one to take," said Princeton coach Roger Hughes, whose team fell to 0-3 with the loss. "It never comes down to one play; there were plays that led up to the touchdown."
  &nbspPrinceton, which will face Colgate next week, built a 20-0 lead in the first quarter only to see the Lions claw back into it and eventually take the lead 27-20. After, Princeton drove down the field to tie the score, Columbia averted overtime with the last second bomb.
  &nbspA bright spot for the Tigers, who fell to 0-1 in the Ivy League, was the running game. Both Branden Benson and Jon Veach had strong performances. Benson ran for 102 yards and had two touchdowns, while Veach broke through the Lions’ defense for 99 yards with one touchdown. The 102 yard game for Benson is the first time he has rushed for 100 yards in his career.
   "I was very pleased with our offensive performance tonight," said Hughes. "Our kids were focused tonight and they left it all on the field."
  &nbspMatt Verbit threw for 212 yards for the Tigers, including a 71-yard touchdown pass to B.J Szymanski to open the scoring. Sam Snyder also picked off Otis to record the first takeaway of the season for the Tigers.
   "I am very proud of our guys and the way they played today," Hughes said. "The work effort of this team is great. We just have to go back to work tomorrow and fix some mistakes before a tough game against Colgate."