Riding a wave of momentum following its first victory of the season, the sprint football team (1-3, 1-1 CSFL) will try to seek revenge for an early season loss as it enters its showdown against Penn (3-0, 1-0) tonight at Schoellkopf Field.
Breaking out for 32 points in the win against Princeton last weekend, Cornell enters the contest hoping that its offense is finally on track after a tough first half to the 2004 season.
“We played pretty well offensively last week. We moved the ball well … we just had some trouble scoring,” said head coach Terry Cullen.
Sophomore running back Michael Fullowan is vital to Cornell’s attack, having been responsible for six of the team’s seven offensive touchdowns. Last week, the all-CSFL player ran for 133 yards and a touchdown on 28 carries. He also threw one touchdown pass.
Currently, Fullowan ranks third among the league’s leading rushers, having accumulated 329 yards on 93 carries for the season.
“We can definitely run the football, but we haven’t been able to balance our offense,” Cullen said. “If we can get some more balance to our offense, we’d be more successful.”
Usual starting quarterback junior Alec Macaulay will try to improve the Cornell passing game as he returns to the lineup against Penn after sitting out last week’s game with a shoulder injury.
Sophomore Nick LiVigne played effectively in Macaulay’s place at Princeton, completing 11 of 17 passes for 151 yards while also running for one score. LiVigne will return to his starting role at wide receiver where he led the team in both catches and yards in the team’s loss at Navy.
“We are a lot better team with Macaulay back at quarterback and LiVigne back at receiver,” Cullen said. “We have a little more quality everywhere now. [LiVigne] has turned into a very good receiver.”
Cullen has also been pleased with the Red’s play on special teams lately, praising the punting unit for winning the battle for field position in the rainy conditions of the Princeton game.
Defensively, Cornell has played pretty solidly through much of the season, allowing an average of 370 yards per game, which ranks them as the fourth best in that category in the league. Senior linebacker Billy Snider leads the team, and is second in the CSFL having already recorded 41 tackles through the team’s first four games.
Snider and the rest of the defense will have their work cut out for them against the Quakers. Penn features both the top quarterback and receiver in the league, as well as the second-leading rusher.
Led by quarterback Mike Loguidice, whose 655 passing yards puts him just 121 short of the team’s single season record, the Quakers have racked up 416 yards of total offense per game. The all-time leading receiver for the Quakers, Pat Monaghan, has been Loguidice’s favorite target this season, catching 18 passes for 224 yards.
“[Monaghan] killed us in the first game,” Cullen said. “We’ve put in some new schemes to try to slow him down.”
Meanwhile, Cornell has probably not soon forgotten Quaker running back J.T. Hutchinson who earned CSFL offensive player of the week for his performance in the teams’ first meeting this season. After a poor first quarter, Hutchinson became unstoppable for Cornell’s defense, running for 113 yards and four scores on just 15 carries in that game.
Penn has also excelled defensively this season. The Quakers have held opponents to averages of just 281 yards and 12.7 points per game. Linebacker Mike Russo leads the team with 25 tackles, while defensive lineman Nicholas Kopec leads the team with six and half tackles for a loss, including three sacks.
The Quakers will have plenty of momentum going into tonight’s game, as the squad pulled off a come-from-behind victory over defending league champ Army last week, 31-17. The balanced Quaker offense continued its solid 2004 campaign as Hutchinson rushed for 186 yards while Loguidice was an efficient 19-for-22 for 173 yards against the Black Knights.
“They are playing pretty well right now,” Cullen said. “They have a great football team.”
Archived article by Scott Reich
Sun Staff Writer