October 13, 2000

Football Hosts Colgate Under the Lights

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Sleep in late and still catch the game.

When Cornell hosts Colgate under the lights of Schoellkopf Field at 6 p.m. tomorrow, this becomes a reality.

The Red (2-2, 2-0 Ivy) returns home after two road games, and momentum is the word being bandied about by the team.

“We have a little momentum, and we just need to keep it going,” head coach Pete Mangurian said.

This momentum comes from the amazing second half that Cornell had against Harvard last weekend. The Red scored 29 points in the two quarters, and shutout the Crimson’s offense for an incredible win, coming from 28 points down to win the game.

Even though the team is trying to feed off this momentum, it is focusing on the Red Raiders.

“We have to let go of the win. It’s a hard thing to do, but I don’t think anybody will have a hard time getting up for this game,” Mangurian said.

One of the main reasons Cornell should be excited for this game is the chance to avenge last year’s 55-16 drubbing in Hamilton, N.Y.

“We want to come back and redeem ourselves in the up-state New York rivalry,” senior co-captain Joe Splendorio said.

The Red leads the all-time series 46-33-3, but has not captured a game since 1992, dropping four straight to the Red Raiders.

Colgate comes into the contest on a four-game winning streak, including a 34-6 victory over Princeton last week.

The Red Raiders are led by quarterback Tom McCune, who has 1,215 yards passing and 10 touchdowns through the air. He also has seven rushing touchdowns.

“The guy they have got in there is doing a tremendous job running the ball and running the offense,” Mangurian said of McCune.

Randall Joseph, who ran for 217 yards and three touchdowns against Cornell last year, has been injured for much of this year. This has caused Nate Thomas to step up, and he now has 222 yards on 40 carries. However, Mangurian is still worried about Joseph.

“He is a great back, and he ate us alive a year ago. He has been struggling with injuries and probably doesn’t have the kind of yardage he expected to have at this point. If I were him I would be thinking, ‘I’m going to come in here and get well against Cornell and the way it has been playing defense,'” the coach said.

And the Red should be worried about this, as it is giving up 303 yards per game. Colgate, for its part, is averaging 161 yards per game on the ground.

But the Red comes into this game with something to prove. It has lost both games it has played against Patriot League opponents thus far, and is hoping to avoid being swept by the conference.

“We can’t go 0-3 against the Patriot League,” junior quarterback Ricky Rahne said.

In order to do this, the defense will have to tackle better than it has in the past.

“We have to get ourselves in the right place and have two, three, and four guys around the ball [to tackle],” Mangurian said.

On the offensive side of the ball, Cornell will just be planning to stick with the game plan.

“They play pretty aggressive [defense]. Our receivers have to get off their bumps, and we just have to execute,” Rahne said.

And if the offense can execute, Rahne will become only the second quarterback in school history to pass for 4,000 yards. And his main target, Splendorio, became just the second receiver to earn over 2,000 yards through the air in his career.

But these accolades mean a lot of coverage for Splendorio.

“Every team has tried to scheme me up in some way. I have seen a lot of double coverage, and some triple coverage. I’m going to get [a lot of attention from the defensive backs] every week, so I don’t think this week will ba any different,” he said.

So while the Red is trying to prove that it can play with some of the best I-AA teams in the country, its fans can get a little extra sleep and still spend some time tailgating.

“It is definitely exciting as a player. I hope the fans can get into it,” Splendorio said, adding, “[They] get a little more time to [warm up] and get a little rowdy.”

Archived article by J.V. Anderton