MAPLEWOOD, NJ -- The Columbia Cougars fell to 1-3 on the season after their 14-0 loss against Bloomfield Friday night at Underhill Field.
The score isn’t indicative of how the game went for the Cougars who, despite not finding the end-zone, hung with the Bengals all night.
With usual starter Jimmy Martinez out due to an injury suffered in last week’s game against Livingston, the Cougars turned to junior Eli Rivera to handle the quarterbacking duties. Columbia’s offense became one-dimensional, largely relying on the rushing attack.
The game was defined by its costly penalties, turnovers and missed opportunities for Columbia.
“If we’ve got a chance to get first downs, we have to take advantage of it. If we have good field position, we have to take advantage of it,” said Columbia head coach Dave Curtin after the game, referring to the missed opportunities.
The Cougars had several turnovers including a blocked punt, two interceptions and a fumble in their own territory that would lead to Bloomfield’s first touchdown.
With three minutes remaining in the first half, Bloomfield sacked Rivera with a monster hit, causing a fumble that the Bengals recovered at the Columbia five-yard line. On third-and-goal from the 17-yard line, Bloomfield quarterback Reggie Currie found receiver Karl Mcnair on a perfectly designed route, allowing him to waltz into the end zone untouched.
Freshman Kiambu Jones ran hard for the Cougars and showed great field vision on a few big runs in the second half. It seemed as though every time the Columbia offense got going, penalties set them back. They were unable to capitalize on any of their trips into Bengal territory.
Bloomfield’s James Lucas racked up more than 100 yards on the ground against the Cougars, and his 49-yard touchdown run with 4:39 to go deflated any hopes of a Columbia victory.
Columbia looks to snap the three-game losing streak when they host division opponent East Orange Campus next Friday at Underhill Field.
The reporter is a student participating in hyperlocal journalism partnership between The Alternative Press and Seton Hall University's Department of Communication & The Arts.