There is plenty that Cornell sprint football head coach Terry Cullen could be dreading as his team heads into its match-up against Navy (3-0), the defending Collegiate Sprint Football League champions, 7 p.m. tonight in Ithaca. But instead, he is maintaining an optimistic attitude.
“I’m looking forward to it,” said Cullen about the game. “We’ll see if we can step it up a notch.”
Having had 18 of 22 starters return this year and riding a 12-game win streak into today’s showdown, Navy is the clear favorite to win the league championship again this year.
“They are unlike any team in the league,” commented Cullen about the Midshipmen. “They are head and shoulders above everybody.”
Navy boasts impressive defensive numbers through its first three games this season, having given up a mere 6.3 points per game while holding opposing offenses to a paltry 176.7 yards of total offense.
On the other side of the ball, the Red will try to bottle up a balanced Navy attack that has averaged a respectable 24 points per game with the league MVP at quarterback. However, the Midshipmen’s weak point on offense has become apparent, as they have already turned the ball over 14 times this season.
Meanwhile, Cornell (1-1) will try to ride the waves of momentum into this match-up after its impressive 46-18 trouncing of Princeton two weeks ago. The Red’s offense dominated the Tigers’ defense as the team racked up over 480 yards of total offense. Led by freshman Michael Fullowan’s 12 carries for 143 yards and three touchdowns, Cornell’s rushing attack accounted for 250 of these yards.
Cullen commented that he was impressed how Fullowan has “stepped in” as the team’s new starting tailback after it lost the original starter, sophomore Ben Hertzberger, due to illness.
Not to be outdone by the ground game, sophomore quarterback Alec Macauley threw for two scores and 189 yards to round out the balanced Cornell offense. Admitting that he is surprised at how well the passing game has been this year, Cullen said that, “We threw the ball extremely well.”
Senior Henry Kim was the receiver of choice for Macauley, as he led the team with five receptions for 78 yards.
“Kim was dominant out there,” said Cullen. “They couldn’t cover him.”
The defense, too, looked much improved after giving up 41 points to Army in Cornell’s first game. The Red held Princeton scoreless throughout the second half while also preventing the Tigers from converting any of its extra point attempts. Further, the Tigers had just 219 total yards as Cornell held them to a mere 62 yards in the air.
With a new coaching staff, Cullen described that, “We didn’t know what to expect from Princeton. We made some adjustments at half.”
The adjustments paid off as Cornell shut down the Tiger offense in the second half.
The Red has already made impressive strides on defense over its first two games, as Cullen commented that, “all in all, we are getting better on defense.”
Also, there have been a few pleasant surprises for the Red on defense. Most notably, the play of senior defensive end Ryan Walker has improved dramatically from last year. Walker notched 1.5 sacks and four tackles in the Princeton game.
“He has become dominant on the defensive line,” said Cullen.
Archived article by Scott Reich