October 1, 2001

But Cornell Shows Tremendous Improvement After Loss to Yale

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HAMILTON, N.Y. — After Cornell’s 40-13 loss to Yale last Saturday, football head coach Tim Pendergast had one week before his next test, one week to reinvigorate a weary squad and prepare it for an even tougher test — one week to turn despair into hope.

And in that one week, Pendergast delivered.

He faced questioned from all angles: why continue running the ball so often, when senior Ricky Rahne was a proven passer? Why use a 4-4 defense?

But through the press conference at the Yale Bowl and last week he stoically said, “Stay on course.” He had professed the gameplan in the preseason, and he would follow it come kickoff.

Saturday, Cornell fans watched hoping that they wouldn’t have to see a repeat of last week’s debacle. Colgate team was a better team than Yale, at least on paper. It beat the Red at Schoellkopf Field last year and boasted a strong roster.

Whereas Cornell looked disjointed offensively at Yale, against the Raiders, there were more than a few glimpses of a new balanced and effective effort on offense.

Throughout the game, the Red pieced together successful drives such as an 80 yard, 15 play one that ended in a two-yard Evan Simmons touchdown tying the game, 7-7 and burning 6:45 off the clock.

Pendergast staged another six play, 79-yard drive spanning 2:45 at the end of the third quarter that climaxed in another rushing TD from Nate Archer.

With two more drives reminiscent of last year’s comebacks both within the last four minutes of play, the Red gave a full effort and exciting finish to a game that many expected to be a blowout — something that definitely lacked in New Haven.

Colgate head coach Dick Biddle knew not to count on the same Cornell team from the week prior:

“I knew they’d be much better in the second game, since you have a first year coach,” adding, “I though they did a great job on offense.”

And even though the team was obviously upset at the loss, it knows that behind the leadership of Pendergast, the fruits of a continual progression towards improvement will show up on the field every Saturday just like it did in Hamilton.

“If there are a lot of things broken it takes time to fix them,” Pendergast said. “I don’t thing there are a lot of things broken, but I think that there are enough that it takes time to fix them.”

Archived article by Amanda Angel