As soon as Colgate tailback Randall Joseph broke past the final Cornell defender on his way to a jolting 60-yard touchdown run, fans fled from Schoellkopf Field en masse on Saturday night, with seemingly no desire to stay for the remaining 2:25.
With the score 23-9 in favor of the Red Raiders, the crowd apparently had had enough. And even though the home side gallantly stomped 59 yards down the field so that a last-second Ricky Rahne one-yard dive could reduce the deficit to 23-16, the suspense of the contest had been effectively nullified. Even the ensuing onside kick by Peter Iverson, though futile, couldn’t bring the fans back.
Joseph’s score took the wind out of the Red’s sails at a time when Cornell looked prepared to mount a comeback.
Facing a fourth-and-25 at its own 19 with 2:35 left, Cornell (2-3, 2-0 Ivy) opted to punt rather than risk a turnover on downs.
“I thought our chances were better with two timeouts left to kick the ball down there,” head coach Pete Mangurian said, explaining his decision. “We got a good kick, we got good coverage, and had about as good field position as you’re going to have.”
Surely, the last thing the Red expected was for Joseph to sweep to his right and cruise untouched for 60 yards into the endzone against a defense that had adamantly held its own without injured middle linebacker Dan Weyandt or safety Phil Rigeuer in the lineup.
“They broke a big play on us and scored,” Mangurian noted, adding, “And obviously that changes the whole thing and turns it all around.”
But, at the beginning of the fourth quarter, Cornell looked to have the game in control, leading 9-7 following an Iverson 40-yard field goal 29 seconds prior to the end of the third.
Patriot League stalwarts Colgate (5-1) —