Cornell has opened each of the past two seasons with a win over Bucknell. When the Red welcomes the Bison to Ithaca tomorrow, the Red will have a chance to extend that streak to three.
Cornell will continue its annual tradition of opening the season against Bucknell (1-1). In last season’s meeting, Cornell won in large part due to a blocked extra point. The Red prevailed 28-27 in a down-to-the-wire thriller in Lewisburg, Penn.
Bucknell has already played two games this season. It opened the season with a loss at Duquesne, but evened its record in its home opener against Robert Morris.
The Bison use two quarterbacks with very unique styles. Senior Marcello Trigg sees the bulk of the action and is a more traditional quarterback. He threw for 219 yards and two touchdowns against Cornell last season. He suffered an injury in a game against Holy Cross and missed the final weeks of the 2008 season. Since his return, Trigg has been less effective as a running quarterback.
Sophomore C.J. Hopson also sees action at quarterback, but he is more adept at moving the ball with his feet. Hopson has 140 rushing yards already this season.
Cornell held Bucknell to just 46 rushing yards last season. The Red will need to be similarly thrifty in order to extend its winning streak against the Bison.
“Their offense is different,” said sophomore defensive lineman Matt MacFarlane. “They try to spread out the line and the linebackers to see if we can make the plays [in the open field.]”
The Red will try to attack the Bison defense with a balanced attack offensively.
“Bucknell is an aggressive team,” said senior receiver Horatio Blackman. “They’re pretty good up front [defensively.] Their secondary runs well but, like I said, we’re fast and well-conditioned, so we’re ready to go.”
Senior running back Randy Barbour agrees that the Red will need to use its superior speed to its advantage.
“They’re a pretty good defense,” he said. “They like to fly around; however I think we’re faster in our skill positions. Once we get on the perimeter, I think we can outrun them.”
Barbour ran for 114 yards and a touchdown when the teams met last season.
“[Bucknell’s] defense has always been pretty solid,” Knowles said. “They don’t do a whole lot on defense but they’re good.”
A key in last year’s Red victory was Cornell’s ability to pressure the Bison pocket while protecting their own. Cornell tallied three sacks, while Red quarterback Nathan Ford ’09 was never brought down behind the line.
Senior lineman Andrew Bohl hopes to keep senior quarterback Ben Ganter equally well-protected this season.
“They’re pretty quick, they have pretty high motors,” he said of Bucknell’s defensive linemen. “They’re going to try to outwork you. They move around a lot on the d-line so we just have to stay disciplined and make sure we’re staying on track and not trying to do too much.”
The Red football season will begin tomorrow at 12:30 p.m. on Schoellkopf Field.