Princeton 44, Columbia 14
PRINCETON, N.J. (AP) _ Damani Leech and Rich Hill each had two of Princeton’s record-tying seven interceptions and the Tigers moved into first place in the Ivy League with a 44-14 victory over Columbia on Saturday.
The Tigers equaled the Ivy League interception mark they set against Cornell in 1987. Their nine takeaways were three short of the Division I-AA record shared by Grambling and Montana.
Princeton (7-0, 4-0 Ivy) converted seven turnovers into a 24-0 halftime lead and wasn’t threatened in winning its ninth straight over two years. It’s the Tigers longest victory string since winning 17 straight in 1964-65.
Columbia (3-3-1, 3-1) lost the services of quarterback Mike Cavanaugh, who broke his right leg in the second quarter.
Princeton intercepted Cavanaugh’s passes on Columbia’s first three possessions, and forced five first-quarter turnovers.
Cavanaugh left the game with 4 minutes remaining in the half after going 2-for-12 with five interceptions. The senior, who is Columbia’s leading rusher, was taken off on a stretcher after being tackled for a 5-yard loss by Mark Whaling.
Dave Patterson returned the game’s first interception 22 yards to the Columbia 18, and it took one play for quarterback Brock Harvey to score on a rollout. Leech’s interception in the next series set up Alex Sierk’s 33-yard field goal to make it 10-0.
Princeton could not capitalize on its next two interceptions by Hill and Ryan Moore. But Patterson’s fumble recovery set up a 4-yard touchdown pass from Harvey to Ben Gill.
Princeton made it 24-0 on Mike Clifford’s 1-yard touchdown run. The score was set up by Hans Schroeder’s interception. Leech picked off one more before the half ended, giving him seven in as many games.
Columbia’s Matt Lenzen threw a 10-yard scoring pass to Chris Valvo in the third quarter, the first touchdown allowed by Princeton’s defense in 178 minutes, 36 seconds.
Princeton is now plus-22 in turnover ratio with 18 interceptions and 13 fumble recoveries.