Plastered on the wall of the Bucknell football team’s locker room on Saturday afternoon was a hand-drawn sketch of Ricky Rahne staring the Bison in the face. Listing the volumes of honors and records the Cornell junior quarterback racked up last season, it seemed less an homage and more a most-wanted poster.
The Bison were gunning for Rahne, and during the Red’s 38-15 loss, he didn’t seem to have all that much ammunition to defend himself with.
Despite piling up 314 yards — good enough for ninth all-time on the Cornell single-game passing list — Rhane’s day on the field didn’t match his day on paper.
“Stats become a little misleading,” explained head coach Pete Mangurian. “Ricky Rahne could have thrown for no yards, and it wouldn’t have mattered one way or the other.”
“Joe Splendorio was wide open on a corner route, and Ricky threw it out of bounds,” Mangurian continued, offering an example of Rahne’s errors.
The afternoon began well enough as Rahne drilled a 15-yard touchown pass to sophomore wideout Keith Ferguson in the back of the end zone.
But soon after, the tide turned on both Rahne and the Red.
Late in the second quarter, Rahne hoisted a pass in the direction of Kevin Farese only to have Bucknell strong safety Justin Lustig jump in the way to pick off the ball at the Cornell 37-yard line .
The Bison eventually capitalized on the turnover with a 30-yard field goal.
“He’s a pretty good quarterback, and they’ve got some pretty good receivers,” Bucknell head coach Tom Gadd noted. “And I thought we did a nice job of containing them.”
After Cornell abandoned an ineffective ground game that only gained 26 yards, Rahne was forced to put the burden of offensive production on his shoulders.
“That was our number one thing, defensively; we wanted to stop the run,” Gadd added. “We wanted to make [Rahne] have to throw.”
And throw he did, putting the ball in the air a school-record 64 times. However, he also commited three interceptions, was sacked on four occasions, and fumbled once.
“I didn’t make the plays that I needed to make,” Rahne said glumly, adding, “I have guys open, I’m not hitting them.”
As the ominous clouds hanging over Christy Matthewson-Memorial Stadium gave way to sheets of rain to open the second half, Rahne was once again intercepted a minute after halftime. A pass sailing over the head of a Red receiver landed in the hands of a Bison defensive back, and allowed Bucknell to put another 3 points on the board with another successful 30-yard field goal.
“I had plenty of time [in the pocket],” Rahne said. “Coach can’t call plays that make me throw the ball in the right spot.”
“I take as much responsibility for this loss [as anyone],” he continued.
To be fair to the Cornell signal caller, his wide receivers committed their share of lapses.
“When receivers aren’t running the routes exactly the way they’re supposed to run them, then as a quarterback, you stand and wait to see where they’re going to be,” Mangurian stated. “But as you’re standing there and waiting, here comes the rush.”
“How many dropped balls did we have?” he asked rhetorically.
But, in the end, the Ricky Rahne who last season stepped into the vacant quarterbacking role and nearly led the Red to the Ivy League title didn’t make his presence felt on Saturday.
“I don’t think Ricky’s anywhere close to where he was last year,” Mangurian expressed. “He didn’t play up to his capacity at all.”
“But nobody will be harder on Ricky Rahne than Ricky Rahne.”
Archived article by Shiva Nagaraj