October 17, 2003

Gridders Look to End Skid Against Georgetown

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One week after being shut out by Ivy superpower Harvard on Schoellkopf Field, the football team (1-3, 0-2 Ivy) will again face a daunting task tomorrow, when it hosts Georgetown (2-4, 1-2 Patriot League) in a 1 p.m. tilt. The game will be the Red’s first-ever meeting against the Hoyas, and Georgetown’s first matchup against an Ivy League opponent since tying Penn, 0-0, in 1937.

“In the preseason, one of the things they talked about when they were discussing Georgetown’s schedule was that the Cornell game was their red letter game, because they haven’t played an Ivy League opponent in 66 years,” said Cornell head coach Tim Pendergast. “Something’s a little strange here, they’re banking on a non-league game as the most important game on their schedule. I think that’s because if Georgetown can win, that’s a milestone for them. They can say, ‘hey we made it. We’re up there with the Ivy League.'”

The Red will attempt to spoil that goal for Georgetown, but it will have a tough task. The Hoyas feature a potent offensive attack, headlined by wide receiver Luke McArdle. McArdle averages 195.5 all purpose yards per game, the best figure in Division I-AA. He has caught nine touchdown receptions from quarterback Andrew Crawford this year.

“They have an outstanding receiver,” said Pendergast. “[And] I think their quarterback throws the deep ball better than anyone we’ve faced.”

This double threat will provide a tremendous challenge to a Cornell defense that has performed better than the numbers would indicate thus far this year.

“I think there’s a little frustration knowing that if we would be a little more consistent, we could easily be 3-1 right now,” said senior co-captain Kevin Rooney, the anchor of the Red defensive line that helped keep the ever-potent Harvard offense to just 27 points last Saturday.

On the other side of the ball, the Red will be forced to play in the absence of several key offensive players, all of whom are out due to injury. Senior quarterback Mick Razzano will miss his first start in two years due to a torn abdominal muscle, an injury he sustained early in the season and aggravated last week against Harvard.

Additionally, sophomore tailback Josh Johnston will be out after suffering a high ankle sprain in the first quarter against the Crimson. Rounding out the MASH unit, junior offensive lineman Kevin Boothe is also likely out due to a broken right hand.

“We’re banged up,” admitted Pendergast. “But I’m not going to call Georgetown and ask if we can take a week off.”

Senior D.J. Busch will make his first start at quarterback for the Red in Razzano’s absence. Thus far this season, Busch has seen limited action, primarily to give him game experience for next season. Busch has completed one of seven pass attempts for a net loss of four yards. However, the lack of statistical success does not concern Pendergast.

“D.J.’s very excited, he’s very motivated right now,” he said. “We’re going to cut him loose and let him go.”

Another Red player recovering from injury is sophomore tailback Andre Hardaway, who saw his first extended game action of the season last week. Hardaway ran for 46 yards on 11 carries.

“Andre’s a very good back,” said Pendergast. “He’s still nursing a high-ankle injury. In that game, he developed some turf toe, and he’s battling that injury.”

However, injuries and personnel changes aside, the Red is confident that if it can execute and make plays, it will have a good shot to win tomorrow.

Archived article by Owen Bochner