It was the epitome of a perfect drive for the run-oriented Cornell offense. During the Red’s second drive of the third quarter, already up 24-8 over the rival Raiders from Colgate, junior tailback Luke Siwula’s number was called nine times in a row, eventually setting up a 1-yard touchdown run from sophomore quarterback Nathan Ford with 6:39 left in the stanza, putting the game out of reach.
“It’s great when the offense has confidence in you to run the ball that many times,” Siwula said. “Hats off to the blockers and the offensive line that paved the way for me. I don’t feel like I’m doing anything special. I’m just trying to do my part.”
After the Ivy League’s premier ground game was halted on Oct. 7 at Harvard, Siwula, Ford and the senior-laden offensive line made up for the conference defeat with an authoritative win this past Saturday, icing the game by dominating the line of scrimmage throughout the affair, especially in the second half. In total, Siwula rushed for 145 yards in the game, with over 100 coming in the second half on 17 carries.
After yielding seven sacks against Harvard two weekends ago, the offensive line regrouped and had its way with the Colgate defensive front. The Red did not give up a single sack in the contest while controlling the trenches in short yardage situations, including a successful fourth-and-2 5-yard scamper from Ford in the middle of the second quarter.
“I thought our offensive line really challenged them today,” Knowles said. “We had played well at that position for three games until last week and we really asked our guys to respond this week. It’s really the only position on our team with a majority of seniors. I thought it would be more of a battle going into the game, but they just went in and established the line of scrimmage.”
Although Ford accumulated 300 yards through the air two weeks ago, it was the lack of the run game that made the Red offense predictable and one-dimensional. However, while the Red came into this past Saturday’s game with the same game plan of throwing the ball early, it was having a lead thanks to forced turnovers by junior Colin Nash, sophomore Graham Rihn and the defense that allowed the running game to make a name for itself late in the contest.
“Coach put together a great game plan today,” Siwula said. “We took our shots early, got a lead, and then relied on our senior offensive line to carry us the rest of the way. I know the guys up front really studied hard for Colgate in terms of film, and it showed this week.”
According to Colgate strong safety Geoff Bean, it was a combination of Siwula’s running power and an inability of the Raider defense to wrap up that made for the lopsided affair on Schoellkopf Field this past Saturday.
“A lot of it was us just not wrapping up,” Bean said. “We were getting there and we were doing what we were supposed to be doing, but we just weren’t wrapping up. Give credit to [Siwula]. He was running hard and he’s a good [running] back. I just think we played poorly today and we just didn’t get the job done.”