Columbia football captured the Empire State Bowl in a dramatic home victory over Cornell on November 17 — and with that, the team notched its first back-to-back winning seasons since 1961–62.
Hero honors for the day went to wide receiver Mike Roussos ’22. Cornell had taken a 21–17 lead with 58 seconds to go when Roussos scooped the ball on a squib kickoff and returned it 87 yards for a touchdown. The Lions defense then held Cornell as the clock ticked down, sealing the comeback and closing out the season on a high note.
Roussos also scored earlier in the game, on a first quarter 91-yard punt return. Other highlights included Chris Alleyne ’19’s 33-yard field goal — the culmination of a drive set up by an interception by Fara’ad McCombs ’22 — and a touchdown run in the fourth quarter by Kyle Castner ’19.
“It’s such a momentum boost, because you not only have the short-term momentum of winning the game, but you also get a tremendous amount of momentum heading into the off-season and recruiting,” said Coach Al Bagnoli. “I couldn’t be happier for everyone concerned.”
The Lions finished the year with a 6–4 overall record (3–4 Ivy League).