For the seventh consecutive time, Colgate won the battle of Central New York, defeating the Red (1-4, 0-2 Ivy) by a 42-13 margin. The Raiders (4-3), on the strength of a balanced offensive attack and opportunistic defense, sent Cornell to its second straight loss.
Cornell drew first blood midway through the first quarter on a four-play drive which spanned 68 yards in just 1:12. After a pass interference penalty on Colgate and a three-yard run by sophomore running back Marcus Blanks, senior quarterback Mick Razzano connected with junior receiver John Kellner for a 22-yard gain. On the ensuing play, Blanks bursted through a huge hole and rumbled 32 yards down to the Colgate one-yard line. Co-captain senior fullback Nate Archer finished the scoring drive with his fifth touchdown of the year on a one-yard dive.
The Raiders tied the score at seven on their next possession, however, knotting the game on a five-yard touchdown run by running back Ray LaMonica. Lamonica, making his first collegiate start, dominated the scoring drive by carrying the ball five times for 41 yards.
Turnovers spelled doom for the Red in the second quarter, as Colgate scored 21 points with 14 coming off Cornell giveaways, to take a commanding 28-7 halftime lead.
With the ball at its own 40-yard line, the Red committed its first turnover when Razzano fumbled and the ball was recovered by Colgate’s Josh Sabo. The Raiders quickly capitalized on the miscue, needing just four plays to find the end zone. Running back Justin Polk capped the short drive with a one-yard run.
On its next possession, Razzano once again fumbled in his own territory. This time he dropped the ball at his own 13 after being sacked by Sabo. Colgate quickly took advantage of the great field position, needing just two plays to take a two-score edge. After quarterback Tom McCune found receiver Jamal Lamb for an 11-yard gain down to the two-yard line, LaMonica scored his second touchdown of the game, and Colgate’s second in 24 seconds.
“We did some uncharacteristic things tonight,” Cornell head coach Tim Pendergast said. “Offensively, we turned the ball over a couple of times and that really hadn’t been in our bag this year. We turned it over in bad field position and put our defense in some tough spots.”
Colgate’s ability to score off turnovers was lauded by Colgate head coach Dick Biddle.
“The turnovers are good when you get them [in the opponent’s] end of the field, and you can get points off of them,” Biddle said. “That was big for us.”
Colgate was not done, though, scoring once more before the intermission. After another defensive stand, the Raiders took control at their own 46-yard line. LaMonica then reeled off a 21-yard run to the Cornell 33. On the very next play McCune put the nail in the Red’s coffin, delivering a long scoring strike to tight end John Frieser.
Halftime could not slow down the Raiders, as Colgate continued its onslaught on its very first possession in the second half, scoring on a 53-yard catch and run by receiver Luke Graham.
The Red answered with a 77-yard march on five plays to break the string of 35 consecutive Colgate points. The drive, highlighted by a 34-yard scamper by Archer, ended on a five-yard run by Blanks, who had 86 yards rushing in the game.
McCune and Colgate responded to the Cornell touchdown once again, finishing the game’s scoring with McCune throwing his third touchdown of the game and second to Frieser. On the 73-yard drive, McCune completed all four of his passing attempts for 67 yards. He finished with 230 yards through the air for three touchdowns. He also hurt Cornell with his legs, running for 84 yards on 12 carries.
LaMonica carried the load on the ground for Colgate, rushing for 160 yards on 29 carries and scoring twice. All totaled, the Raiders racked up an impressive 509 yards of total offense compared to 301 for Cornell.
“I thought probably the biggest thing was we were able to throw the ball and run playaction passes that opened the running game, and vice versa,” Biddle said of his team’s balanced attack.
Although his team allowed 42 points, Pendergast noted some improvement over last week’s performance against Harvard, in which the Crimson scored 52.
“We were a little better in spots this week defensively than last,” Pendergast said. “We had some early stops defensively, but I think that after a while when you’re out there for a lot of plays and particularly in longer drive, you start to get worn down.”
Co-captain Nate Spitler noted that the defensive corps still has much to improve upon.
“We never hung our heads, never got down. We just couldn’t get anything going today. It wasn’t for a lack of intensity, lack of effort, it just wasn’t going our way,” the senior linebacker said. “We’re just not making enough big plays. We’ve got to sack the quarterback, knockdown some passes. We’ve got to do things that good defenses do.”
Archived article by Alex Ip