November 9, 2001

Red Looks to Even Ivy League Record in Final Home Match for 16 Seniors

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The football team (2-5, 2-3 Ivy) will conclude the home portion of its 2001 campaign when it welcomes the Columbia Lions (2-5, 1-3 Ivy) to East Hill tomorrow for a 1p.m. tilt.

Cornell will be looking for its first three game winning streak since early 1999, coming off wins at Dartmouth and Princeton. The Red have faired well historically against the Lions, having emerged victorious its last two times against them. Historically, Cornell owns a commanding 56-29-3 lead in the series.

Senior running back Evan Simmons has been an integral component of the Red’s recent turnaround. All season long first year head coach Tim Pendergast has extolled the virtues of using the ground game to open up the passing attack and it appears in recent weeks that it has been paying off.

“In order to be effective, I think we are going to have to do that (have Evan run well) again,” senior wide receiver Tim Hermann acknowledged.

Simmons turned in a three-touchdown effort against Dartmouth and a 106 yard game against Columbia. The impact was not only felt on the offensive end of the ball, as the improved consistency of the offense helped reduce the burden of the defense.

Cornell will need all the strengths it can muster against a talented Columbia team that sports one of the better tailbacks in the league in Johnathan Reese. Reese ranks fourth in the league in both touchdowns (five) and yards per game with 90.6.

“We want to control the best we can a very talented running back and a very good running attack,” Pendergast said.

Despite recent improvements the Red’s defense remains a glaring weakness for the team. Cornell is sloted seventh in the Ivies in scoring defense surrending an average of 31.3 points/game. Only doormat Dartmouth has been more permeable permitting 32.1 points/game.

Defending against the rush has been the Red’s achilles heel. The team has allowed an average of just over 200 running yards per game.

Said Pendergast, in reasoning the squads competitive balance: “Columbia’s a little better, in terms of defending against the run, than we are. and we’re a little better defending the pass. Teams have had to throw the ball a little more against them.”

“It’s a very equally matched game,” Simmons aded.

If Columbia is able to force the Red to look to the air for yardage, the might be to the homeside’s advantage.

Passing has been the stable of the Red historically over the last several seasons.

Guided by standout senior quarterback Ricky Rahne the Red’s aerial game still is fourth best in the Ivy League, despite the earlier failure of a passing game to complement it. The receiving corps largely depleted by graduation last season has been led to by junior Keith Ferguson who has grabbed 45 receptions for a total of 463 yards. The four catches he had at

Finding a winning streak has provided the Red with much needed confidence as it heads into the closing games of its season.

“The wins keep guys going. We all want to go out with wins in the last two games,” Simmons said.

Saturday will mark the last Schoellkopf apperance for 16 seniors: Andy Balough, Justin Dunleavy, Tim Hermann, Matt Holleran, Peter Iverson, Thomas Kaplun, Kyle Mork, George Paraskevopoulos, Jay Posner, Ricky Rahne, Phil Rigueur, Bryan Sacco, Evan Simmons, Rich Zacek and Cory Ziskind.

Rahne has forever etched his name into the annals of Cornell football. During his glorious career for the carnellian and white he took control of 20 offensive records. He needs 18 more yards to move him ahead of Princeton’s Doug Butler for third on the All-Time Ivy League passing list.

But for most of the seniors the goals are less lofty but no less important.

Said Hermann: “We [the seniors] want to leave our mark and show the other guys what it takes. We want to show [the younger players] that when your having a tough time you just have to work through it. We want to show them how to win in November. Hopefully, that will carry on till next season.”

Archived article by Gary Schueller