Cornell was able to hold Dartmouth's potent air attack to 226 yards, but it was the run game that handed the Red its fifth-straight loss.

Adrian Boteanu / Sun Staff Photographer

Cornell was able to hold Dartmouth's potent air attack to 226 yards, but it was the run game that handed the Red its fifth-straight loss.

November 5, 2016

Dartmouth Completes Comeback, Sending Cornell Football to Fifth-Straight Loss

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Before Saturday’s meeting, the Red and Green have faced off on the gridiron 99 times in a rivalry dating back to 1900. In the centennial meeting in Ithaca, Dartmouth captured its 59th win of the series in a come-from-behind 17-13 win.

Following a field goal on the game’s opening drive, Cornell led for the entire game, but Dartmouth capitalized on a late Cornell turnover to score the go-ahead touchdown. The Green clamped down on the Red to secure its first Ivy win of the season.

“It just stings today because the game was out there to be won,” said head coach David Archer ’05. “We didn’t deserve to win, we didn’t do enough to come away with the victory.”

Cornell’s offense — only able to muster a single touchdown against Princeton last weekend — began Saturday’s contest much more crisp and synchronized. In two straight drives to open the game, sophomore quarterback Dalton Banks led his squad to consecutive red zone trips that resulted in field goals.

“We had two awesome drives right out the gate, but there are a few little things we wish we could have back,” Banks said. “It was tough to see that happen twice but we were still getting points on the board. We have to keep driving the ball and moving the ball, and the touchdowns will come.”

The opening drive was highlighted by short passes from Banks. Since the losing skid began, Banks had trouble finding his receivers, often opting for the high-risk, high-reward long balls. However, against Dartmouth, Banks went 16 for 23, with only one pass for over 10 yards.

“We have a good, quick offense where we can get the ball out quick,” the quarterback said. “It’s effective and we like it and that was our plan: to keep rolling with it. In the second half they made a few adjustments so we had to throw it down field a little bit, but overall that was our game plan.”

Archer added that film showed the short passing game was the best approach for moving the offense down the field.

“Every week we try to take what they give and [the opportunity of short ball] is certainly something we saw on film,” he said.

Banks would go on to finish the day 28 for 43 for 216 passing yards. For the first time since the Red’s 27-13 Homecoming win over Yale, Banks was not intercepted all game.

“Everything was rolling,” Banks added. “We were moving the chains and that’s just how we have to keep going. I was confident going into this one like I am every game.”

Sophomore quarterback Dalton Banks and the offense focused on a small ball strategy against Dartmouth. In the first half, only one of 16 completions was for more than 10 yards.

Adrian Boteanu / Sun Staff Photographer

Sophomore quarterback Dalton Banks and the offense focused on a small ball strategy against Dartmouth. In the first half, only one of 16 completions was for more than 10 yards, but the sophomore was not afraid to use his feet, too.

However, interceptions on the other side of the ball have been a major positive for the Red this season. After a zero-turnovers performance against Princeton, senior safety Justin Solomon added to Cornell’s league-leading interception total with his third of the year.

Game in and game out, it has typically been the Green’s pass offense that takes center stage, but Cornell’s secondary held Dartmouth’s league-leading pass offense to 226 yards, below their average of 258 yards per game.

Yet, with its passing game limited, the Green did its damage on the ground. On 42 attempts, Dartmouth’s rushers amassed a total of 179 yards, with Miles Smith accounting for 119 and the Green’s first touchdown.

“We knew they were going to try and run the ball on us,” said junior linebacker Kurt Frimel. “We knew the power play was going to be big for them and that they were going to throw the ball — they have a good core of receivers. They are a very well coached team, so we were kind of expecting that sort of balanced attack.”

Frimel also said some of the problems in the run defense came down to “one guy mak[ing] a mistake [or] not fill[ing] a gap.”

The rush defense cannot shoulder all the blame for Saturday’s loss, however. A late turnover killed all momentum the Red had and gifted Dartmouth its game-winning drive.

Following strong passing from Banks to senior captain and tight end Matt Sullivan, sophomore running back Chris Walker fumbled the ball as the Red approached the Green’s red zone.

On the ensuing drive, Dartmouth quarterback Jack Heneghan overthrew his receiver on what would have been a sure touchdown; the junior went on to march his team down the field. He found Charles Mack in the endzone for the go-ahead score.

This loss comes on the heels of a players-only meeting following the demoralizing loss to Princeton, which was meant to “refocus” the team with three Ivy games remaining.

Archer said he saw a different team on the field during practice. The head coach said he believes that change in mentality was evident in Saturday’s game, despite the end result.

“I think these guys just reminded themselves who they are and to go out there and play,” Archer said. “I think the majority of them were playing so hard and just selling out every single time in practice and in games, I think that that catches up with you.”

The Red still has two games left to “keep going,” and they come against Columbia — the only team Cornell was victorious over in 2014 and 2015— and Penn — who was shutout by the Tigers on the road.

“I’m really proud of the kids. I’m so disappointed today, but I know these guys,” Archer said. “They’re going to come out. We’re going to keep reminding them of that because they’re good players, unbelievable kids and we’re going to keep going.”

7 thoughts on “Dartmouth Completes Comeback, Sending Cornell Football to Fifth-Straight Loss

  1. “I think these guys just reminded themselves who they are and to go out there and play,” Archer said. “I think the majority of them were playing so hard and just selling out every single time in practice and in games, I think that that catches up with you.”

    “Majority of them…”? So we’re saying some players have already given up and mailed the season in. Is it any wonder the attendance was 3,783. When will the Cornell administration get serious about standing behind this athletic program, with needed facilities improvements (i.e., indoor practice facility, Schoellkopf Field west stands replacement, etc.) and a new experienced coaching staff with a proven record of winning.

    • You’re absolutely on point regarding the lack of administrative support for the Cornell football program. Athletics are part of the whole college experience, and alumni support Cornell academic s AND athletics. Both deserve to be held to the highest standards.

  2. Has there been a week where Archer has not (1) lost and (2) offered some platitude about how much he loves these kids and how great the weather is in Ithaca?

    I am certain he is a good man but he is an abject failure as a coach at Cornell. Of course, there is no debate or qualification about it (other than his own).

    Perhaps a problem is recruiting? Who would want to go to a school that aggressively debases itself annually and cannot win a sporting match? The soccer team is worse but their coach is new and takes responsibility.

    Someone needs to return Cornell to its glory. Soon, there will be no one left to support it. Certainly not its Alumni.

    David Archer, we call on you to resign and save your dignity as well as Cornell’s.

  3. Anyone who comes to an Ivy League school based on the performance (or lack of same) of their athletic teams has already lost the plot. Alumni who donate based on same criterion are equally clueless.

    Seriously, who really cares? You actually want money spent on athletics, as opposed to (say) more student housing (or any number of more important things)? Seriously?

    • I resolutely agree- it is academics that most matter.

      But Ivy League speaks foremost to an ethos of excellence and an expectation of success across all endeavors. The reality is Cornell has two to three times the student body size to these schools it is losing to, the most porous admissions, and lowest academic rank. Football is not the only change that should be made. It is a symptom of mediocrity.

  4. Archer is way over his head…doesn’t have a clue as to how to finish a game…I said this last year
    and it deserves repeating….. this guy wouldn’t know how to successfully coach a pop warned
    team…..however the program gets NO support from the director of athletics…who should be
    given the heave ho also….and the Cornell administration….who appears to be satisfied w
    sub par performance….as a former athlete at Cornell I am disgusted….I hope financial support
    slows to NOTHING. from Cornell alumni…,then maybe someone up there will take some
    much needed action…..clean house now

  5. As an older alum I’ve seen the sentiments expressed in the above comments ebb and flow multiple times. I wonder if they suggest that Cornell should drop a sport or two in order to concentrate efforts on sports with higher success potential. In particular, I wonder if the Ivy League should get out of football and its potential for CTE. If Harvard wants to use its financial-aid money to recruit against the Power Five maybe they should do it via another football conference.

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