The Red took memories of a blowout of Princeton and a two-week break into Friday night’s home opener, but ran into a wall called Navy. The Midshipmen (4-0, 1-0 CSFL) outscored the sprint football team 38-11 in the second half en route to a 45-14 victory. Navy has a five-game winning streak against Cornell (1-3, 0-1 CSFL) dating back to 1998. Cornell head coach Terry Cullen dismissed the notion of a moral victory, but praised his team for dominating the first half against a physically superior veteran team.
“All in all we played very well,” Cullen commented. “If we don’t give up [the 94-yard kickoff return and 11-yard reverse pass for two third quarter touchdowns], it’s a real football game. It really was a question of age more than anything. Their seniors just beat up on our young kids. By the fourth quarter we were tired, and they just kept coming.”
Offensive success in the first half was sparse for both squads, as Cornell took a 3-0 lead into the final minute of the second quarter. Navy scored its first points, and took the lead for good, on a 10-yard carry by quarterback Chris Ashinhurst with 47 seconds to play in the half.
The Midshipman scoring explosion began in the third quarter, but Red sophomore quarterback Alec Macaulay singled out a few breaks for Navy that showed up on the scoreboard but didn’t truly reflect the closeness of the game. Those breaks included the third quarter kickoff return for a touchdown by Collegiate Sprint Football Special Teams Player of the Week Trevor Garabedian-Prophet.
Macaulay, who completed 14-of-28 passes for 174 yards on the day but threw two second half interceptions, also pointed out Cornell’s red zone difficulties.
“We outplayed Navy in the first half and moved the ball on them all night. We just seemed to have trouble punching it in the end zone,” he said.
Cullen agreed by saying that “every time we got close to the goal line something bad seemed to happen,” and he used this as an opportunity to praise junior kicker Chris Garnic. Garnic has converted six of eight attempts over the last two games, including a career-best 42-yarder against Navy, to set a new school record with 15 career field goals.
Cornell’s offense was by no means ineffective against a Navy team that didn’t allow a single first half first down in a 14-0 win over Army the week before. Freshman tailback Michael Fullowan had another successful game on the ground, gaining all of the Red’s 106 rushing yards. But Navy’s own running game flourished on the backs of six players with at least 24 rushing yards each, and the defense made multiple key stops to keep Cornell from seriously threatening in the second half.
This week, Cullen plans to build on efforts that have been constantly improving, and to take advantage of a team that is finally healthy for the first time this year. The Red will look for a season sweep against Princeton this Friday at 7 p.m. on Schoellkopf Field.
Archived article by Dan Schiff