By John Jeansonne, page B19.
Apocalypse Now: Columbia Goes 5-0

   There is a lot of truth in those nutty 
Columbia University halftime shows. 
Yesterday, the Columbia band did its tribute 
to "the world in which we live: The Yankees 
in the World Series, a Democratic 
Presidential Candidate leading in the polls, 
an undefeated Columbia football team - and 
other signs of the Apocalypse."
   But the band should also have mentioned 
the weather.
   The weather was Biblical, the weather was 
cataclysmic. The weather was thoroughly 
dominant: Only the rain was driving 
   Neither Columbia nor its Homecoming 
opponent, Lafayette, ever made more than one 
first down in a possession. Only the wind 
was moving up and down the field. Columbia 
averaged 1.74 yards per play, Lafayette 
   The weather was unprecedented and, 
simultaneously, symbolic. When's the last 
time a game was played in a storm so big it 
should have had a name? Old Columbia heads 
couldn't remember. Just as another Columbia
grad marveled: "I don't believe I've seen a
3-0 Columbia win in my lifetime."
   Now he has. Yesterday, Columbia beat 
Lafayette, 3-0.
   Not only that, but the victory makes 
Columbia 5-0 this season. When's the last 
time that happened? "I think this is the 
first time any of us has ever been 
five-and-oh," said senior center Mike 
   Senior defensive end / emergency tailback 
Marcellus Wiley raised his hand to 
interject: "Pop Warner!" he said.
   The last time Columbia was 5-0 in 
football, in 1945, Pop Warner the coach was 
still coaching. But that was before most 
people were born. That was so long ago that 
parents could scare their kids with tales of
terrible evil winds and rains.
   Like yesterday. Both coaches decided very 
early that they should just play defense and 
hope to get a fairly close field-goal try 
with the wind behind the kicker.
   "The conditions were terrible for trying 
to do anything  -  hold the ball, hold your 
blocks," said Lafayette coach Bill Russo. 
"And the poor punters. The poor punters had 
to be scared to death all day long that they 
could have a kick blocked or get a bad snap 
that would turn the game. With the wind, 
maybe the toughest thing was the snaps for 
the punts."
   Lafayette fumbled 12 times, most of them 
on center snaps, and lost three of them. 
Columbia  -  is this another sign that the 
end is near? -  recovered all four of its 
own fumbles and, as coach Ray Tellier 
pointed out, had "zero turnovers. Zero! On a 
day like this, that's phenomenal."
   Field goal attempts from 52, 49 and 40 
yards, even with the wind, really were too 
much to ask of Lafayette's Brian Menecol. So 
it was still 0-0 with 7:43 to play when 
Columbia's Roy Hanks returned another short 
punt 15 yards to the Lafayette 33. And 
Tellier suddenly produced his own little 
   Tellier ditched his two-back offense 
featuring 5-7 sophomore Jason Bivens and 
went to the three-back wishbone, calling 
the 6-5, 270-pound Wiley over from his 
defensive end spot to play tailback. 
   Wiley bulled off guard for three yards, 
then swept left end, hurdling a defender, on 
a 19-yard run that was Columbia's longest 
play of the afternoon.
   That put Columbia on the 11-yard line. 
Three plays later, snapper Jennings and 
holder David Ramirez were set for 
placekicker Matt Linit's dramatic 24-yard 
field goal to win the game with 5:06 left.
   "Waiting for that snap was the most 
nervous I've ever been," said Ramirez, a 
senior receiver who has caught 88 passes 
during his Columbia career. "That was the 
biggest catch I've ever made."
   "I just tried to get it back there in the 
general vicinity," Jennings said.
   "It was so cold and so windy I couldn't 
have made it to overtime," Linit said. "So I 
just aimed right for the middle and kicked."
    It's the world in which we live: Another 
clockwork Columbia victory.