Columbia 26, Yale 22

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange


NEW YORK -- Columbia's late drive stunned Yale and ended the Lions' nine-game losing streak against its Ivy League rival, 26-22, at Wein Stadium on Saturday.
After watching Yale tailback Tyler Varga add another level to the meaning "all-purpose" with a career-high rushing total while forced into quarterback duty, Columbia pounced on his key fumble and drove for the winning touchdown.
Columbia also ended a five-game losing streak this season.
Lions quarterback Sean Brackett completed 33-of-47 passes for 328 yards, including the winning two-yard touchdown pass to Marcorus Garrett with 45 seconds remaining.
With their quarterbacks depleted because of injuries, Yale pushed Varga, the Ivy League's leader in overall yardage, into that position.
The sophomore rushed for a career-high 220 yards and scored three touchdowns, but fumbled with 2:05 left. Ryan Murphy recovered for Columbia and Brackett led the Lions on the game-winning drive.
Columbia (2-6, 1-4) presented a challenge, along with Yale's creative quarterbacking needs, rallying from a 14-5 deficit in the second half to take a 19-14 lead.
Bracket capped a nine-play, 48-yard drive with a one-yard touchdown run with 11:38 left in the game to give Columbia its first lead since the first quarter.
The Bulldogs were without starting quarterback Eric Williams, who sustained a shoulder injury last week against Penn, as well as backups Derek Russell and Logan Scott, who were injured later in that game.
Coach Tony Reno's plan was to use Varga for the majority of snaps from center and the league's all-purpose yardage leader made the move work for most of the game.
Varga gave Yale a 20-19 lead by rushing for most of the Bulldogs' 75 yards on a drive he punctuated with a 25-yard touchdown run with 7:30 left in the game. Mordecai Cargill's two-point conversion run gave the Bulldogs a 22-19 lead.
But Varga's exploits were undermined by his late fumble.
Columbia wide receiver Connor Nelligan caught three straight passes for 52 yards on the final drive to move the Lions to the Bulldogs' three-yard-line.
Brackett then hit Garrett for the two-yard touchdown in the left side of the end zone.
Down 14-5, Columbia had gotten back in the game with a four-yard touchdown pass from Brackett to Jake Wanamaker in the right corner of the end zone on third-and-four with 1:51 left in the third quarter. That brought Columbia to within 14-12.
NOTES: Connor Nelligan had 11 catches for 138 yards, passing the 100-yard mark in receiving yards for the second time this season. ... It was the first time Tyler Varga took direct snaps in his career. ... Varga rushed for the most yards as a quarterback for Yale since Nick Crawford gained 204 in 1991.

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