Columbia wins as chastened band returns

The chastised Columbia University marching band returned to the field Saturday under strict orders to stop making wisecracks about the winless football team — and the results were music to long-suffering Lions fans.

Columbia won, roaring back against Brown for a 35-28 double overtime victory that finally gave the Lions’ snarky band something to cheer about.

"It’s fantastic to finally have a win," said shocked fan Chris Nugent, 32, of Manhattan.

During halftime, the self-proclaimed “cleverest band in the world’’ kept it low key — after last week mocking the Lions by rewording the fight song with "We always lose, lose, lose," instead of "Roar, Lion, Roar."

After an uproar from players, coaches, alumni and parents, the school barred the band from the Saturday’s final home game — only to retract the penalty following a Thursday apology.

Friday, the band’s manager tweeted: ”We’re back, baby. The Band is grateful that it will be able to honor its seniors and cheer for the Lions this Saturday.”

Rather than mock Lions, the band members Saturday dedicated the Gun N’ Roses song "Sweet Child of Mine" to "the political death of Herman Cain."

"The band is atrocious. They’re a terrible representation of the school," said Alex Peck, 55, an alumnus from Manhattan. "I’d love for any of those kids to strap on a football helmet and go out on the field."

But others supported the band members.

One embarrassed band member said, "We’re just trying to focus on all the positive things. This is the last game for many of us who are seniors. We’re just appreciative to be here and appreciate the experience."

In the game, Columbia quarterback Sean Brackett threw a touchdown pass and ran for a score in overtime, and the Columbia defense stopped Brown on a goal line as the Lions improved to 1-9, and 1-6 in the Ivy League.

After Brackett’s 14-yard touchdown to Hamilton Garner sent the game to a second overtime tied at 28-all, Columbia got the ball first. On Columbia’s third play, Brackett ran it in from 16 yards out.

On Brown’s seventh play of its possession in the second overtime, Kyle Newhall-Caballero completed a 6-yard pass to Tellef Lundevall on fourth-and-4 to set up first-and-goal at the 3.

But the Lions held Brown (7-3, 4-3) to a Newhall-Caballero incompletion, a 2-yard quarterback keeper and two rushes for no gain for the win.

Brackett had four rushing touchdowns and 62 yards, while throwing for a score and 139 yards.

The victory was Columbia’s first in an overtime game since a 20-19 win over Penn in 1996.

The win also snapped a 10-game losing streak for the Lions, and helped avoid what would have been Columbia’s first 0-10 season since 1987.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.