Seniors Nate Archer and Nate Spitler already share a first name and the captaincy of this year’s football team. Only one pound and one inch separate the two — Archer is 6-1, 245; Spitler is listed at 6-2, 244.
Most recently, both parts of the pair were named as preseason honorable mention All-America selections by Don Hansen’s Weekly Football Gazette, a distinction that neither expected.
“I had no idea. I didn’t even know about it until coach said something about it after practice — when he told the whole team. It kind of caught us off guard,” Spitler said.
“I had no clue that this was even going on at all. It surprised me — I heard it on the radio that morning. It’s an honor, and I’m looking forward to living up to the expectations,” Archer said.
Spitler, the first junior ever to be named a Cornell football captain, led the defense in tackles last year (70 overall and 31 solo efforts) and was among the Ivy League’s elite inside linebackers. He was named an All-Ivy honorable mention last season.
Archer played a variety of roles in the Cornell backfield. With Evan Simmons and Justin Dunleavy ’02 taking the majority of carries, Archer often blocked. However he did have 20 receptions for 130 yards and 35 carries for 135 yards. After losing multiple players from the backfield, the fullback from New Fairfield, Conn. sees a larger role for himself in 2002.
“I’ve definitely noticed the eyes on me. Last year, I was able to take more of a back seat with Rahne, Dunleavy and Simmons,” said Archer.
Neither Nate thought that the All-America nod increased the pressure already weighing down their shoulders. After a 5-5 (5-2 Ivy) season in 2000, the Red went 2-7 in 2001 in head coach Tim Pendergast’s inaugural year. The two captains are more concerned with reversing the team’s luck than individual accolades.
“The guys have already spoken and we know that we’ve got to step up and have a good season. And I don’t think that it changes a thing,” Archer said of being a preseason All-American.
“I appreciate the complement, I worked hard. Really it doesn’t change anything. We still have to go out there and perform everyday. As far as rallying the troops, maybe it helps a little bit. But everyone on the team respects each other,” he added.
The Cornell football season will begin on Sept. 21 when Archer and Spitler will lead the Red against Bucknell. From then on the captains will try to accomplish something that no other Cornell football team has ever done — win an outright Ivy League title.
“I’d rather have a league championship than anything else,” Spitler said. “It doesn’t matter what awards they give me as long as we get a league championship.”
Archived article by Amanda Angel