After a much-needed comeback victory over West Orange last week, the Columbia Cougars hope to keep the momentum when they face Nutley tonight in one of their final three games of the regular season.
Columbia has beaten Nutley in the last two matchups between the teams. The more recent of those two meetings, a 14-11 Cougar win, came in 2010.
Nutley is only 2-5 this season, with wins over Livingston and Belleville. Their minus-144 point differential this season is a reflection of poor performances on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball.
The Cougars, however, are now 3-3 this season and have a chance to improve that mark against a Nutley team that gives up an average of 33 points per game to opponents.
Columbia is definitely going to need senior quarterback Deion Hudson to continue his impressive form after spearheading a comeback victory over West Orange just a week ago. Hudson went 16-for-24 with 200 yards and three touchdowns in the win.
Hudson’s top target was senior Manny Grant, who had six receptions for 114 yards, an effort that head coach Dave Curtin has grown accustomed to.
The performance marked Grant’s 100-plus yard performance of the year and makes him the team leader with 459 yards on 27 receptions. He also has a team-leading six receiving touchdowns.
Senior Kenneth Antwi was also a major part on the victory as he rushed for 70 yards on 20 carries. Antwi also scored twice on two-point conversions.
It wasn’t just an efficient offense that led Columbia to victory, however. The Cougar defense had one of its finest efforts of the season.
The Cougars forced five turnovers, including an interception from junior Eriq Royal and four fumble recoveries. The five turnovers are the most Columbia has forced in a single game so far this season.
The matchup between Columbia and Nutley is set for 7 p.m. at the Underhill Sports Complex.
The reporter is participating in a hyperlocal journalism partnership between The Alternative Press and Seton Hall University's Department of Communication & The Arts.