The Cornell sprint football team is still a work in progress. After a 13-6 loss to Penn a week ago, the Red played host to Navy at Schoellkopf Field on Friday night and fell to the Midshipmen, 41-0, dropping the squad to 0-2.
Navy receiving stars Kurt Laughary and Theo Williams combined for four touchdowns and torched the Red secondary for 199 yards. Red senior quarterback Alec Macaulay had a tough evening as well, throwing two interceptions at the end of the first half, which led to Navy touchdowns and put the game out of reach at 35-0 by halftime.
“Basically we were out-coached and out-played in that first half,” said Cornell head coach Terry Cullen. “They knew what we were doing and took advantage of our mistakes. Those two [interceptions] were from bad routes by our receivers, and it cost us.”
The first two contests of the regular season for the Red, however, do not count in the league standings. Navy, the two-time defending league champion’s, have not lost in the last two years.
According to Macaulay, the game was a good learning experience for the team.
“I learned from the game that we still have a lot of work to do,” he said. “I would attribute the interceptions solely to myself; they were sitting in tough defenses to throw against, dropping eight guys into pass coverage. And into that kind of defense you really need to make a perfect throw and those two were anything but perfect.”
The Red offensive line, according to Cullen, is still learning to play together and provide the proper protection for Macaulay and running room for junior Mike Fullowan.
The only chance Cornell had to make the game close, after falling behind 14-0, came in the second quarter when senior defensive lineman Stevie Baron recovered a Navy fumble at their 38-yard line. Following the turnover, the Red tried a halfback pass by Fullowan which fell incomplete and forced the Red to punt. The Midshipmen responded emphatically with a halfback option of their own, resulting in a 68-yard touchdown reception to Laughary, putting the game out of reach at 21-0.
“I guess the positive to take away from a game like this was our response in the second half,” Cullen said. “We adjusted well and our defense was able to stabilize the game for the most part. We were never able to get any consistency on the offense though to make hay.”
The Red’s first league game comes on Saturday afternoon, at home, against VMI. According to the Cullen, the fact that the team came out in the second half and played almost even football against the Navy starters, who did not make any substitutions until late in the fourth quarter, was a good sign for this growing team and should make an impact in weeks to come – Macaulay agreed.
“We always kept our heads held high during the game, especially in the second half,” Macaulay said. “Being down 35 points at halftime and then coming back and playing strong and even football the rest of the way shows the character on this team.”
Archived article by Josh Fox
Sun Staff Writer