(info about the day, including how we lost the script in the post-game madness and how Liz missed it will be put here one day. In the meantime, check out the spread it got in the Facebook the following year. Be careful, this is a huge image and will take forever to download)
This was a glorious day. Columbia made pretty much every major
newspaper, network, whatever. I'd love to
see some footage of this day, and besides,
probably more than a few shots of the Band. The only printed
mention of the Band, though, was in a paragraph
on the AP wire. This is the best article we
found the paragraph in.
October 9, The Courier-Journal Louisville, KY, page 1C
After 44 losses, Columbia winning streak hits one
NEW YORK - It's not often that the
television crews arrive after the football
game instead of before it. But then it's not
often that Columbia University wins a game.
Yesterday was an exception as the Lions
snapped college football's longest losing
streak at 44 games with a 16-13 victory over
"This time we didn't turn the ball over,"
Columbia coach Larry McElreavy said. "We
played a football game the way it's supposed
to be played."
McElreavy said it was "about four minutes
after the game was over" before he finally
realized Columbia had won.
"I didn't think the game was over," he
said. "I was trying to keep my players off
the field so we didn't get a 15-yard
Solomon Johnson's 2-yard touchdown run
with 5 minutes, 13 seconds left provided the
margin of victory for the Lions, whose last
previous victory was in the fifth game of
the 1983 season, a 21-18 triumph over Yale.
After that game, Columbia tied Bucknell,
lost to Holy Cross and tied Dartmouth. Then,
in the next-to-last game of the 1983 season,
a 31-6 loss to Cornell, the defeats began to
build. And build. And build.
Three of the losses in the streak were
"This is really what you dread,"
Princeton coach Steve Tosches said. "Life
can be cruel, but this is not the end of the
world. We were not the better team on the
field today. They deserve the victory and my
compliments to them."
The Columbia players surged onto the
field to celebrate with the 5,420 fans who
braved a steady rain and temperatures in
the low 40s. Both goal posts were torn down. [one's now in the Band Room]
The anarchic Columbia marching band
joined the pileup on the field, complete
with sousaphone, trumpets, flutes and drums.
Band members massed outside later, dangling
from the open jaws of Columbia's bronze lion
statue and chanting slogans against
The victory came on Columbia's fourth
game of the season. It was also homecoming
day, when stars of the school's nationally
ranked teams of the late 1940s were present.
"They've got the monkey off their backs
now," said Joe Karas, a 1949 graduate.
Columbia, an NCAA Division I-AA team,
broke the Division I record of 34 straight
defeats set by Northwestern.
The only NCAA losing streak longer than
Columbia's 44 was 50 by Macalester College,
a Division III school in St. Paul, Minn.,
which did not win from 1974 to 1980.
Columbia, which had lost 33 straight Ivy
League games, is 1-2 in the conference,
while Princeton is 2-2 for the season and
2-1 in the Ivy League.
Sophomore Greg Abbruzzese rushed for 182
yards to spark the Lions, who had a few
anxious moments before finally nailing down
the long-awaited victory.
Princeton came back following Johnson's
touchdown and apparently scored on Judd
Garrett's 22-yard run, but the play was
nullifed by a clipping penalty.
After an exchange of punts, Princeton,
which once led 10-0, had a last chance to
tie, but Chris Lutz missed a 48-yard
field-goal attempt on the final play of the
John Sharkey, a senior tackle for
Columbia, said he watched in disbelief from
the sidelines as Lutz's last-second kick
fell short and wide.
"It's hard to believe that we actually
achieved what we set out to do," Sharkey
said. "This almost makes up for all the
LONGEST DIVISION I LOSING STREAKS
44 - Columbia, 1983-88
34 - Northwestern, 1979-82
29 - Morgan State, 1983-86
28 - Kansas State, 1945-48
28 - Virginia, 1958-60