With a forced fumble, interception, and several blocked kicking plays, it could be said that the sprint football team played a defensive gem of a game against Penn this weekend. Unfortunately for the Red, Penn’s defense also did the same.
Penn quarterback James Donapel racked up 165 yards and one touchdown through the air and added one more on the ground to give the Quakers a 21-6 victory over Cornell. While Cornell only recorded one touchdown, moving the ball down field was not the issue. Moving it in the red zone was.
“We moved the ball pretty well down at Penn, we just didn’t finish,” said head coach Terry Cullen. “I thought we played well enough to win, but we also made enough mistakes to lose.”
Cornell used two quarterbacks in the loss, sophomore Alec Macaulay and freshman Nick LiVigne. The two combined for 181 yards in the loss, with Macaulay seeing more snaps on the field. Cornell’s freshman fullback Michael Fullowan also had a big day, leading both Penn and Cornell players in total rushing with 96 yards.
Part of not finishing was caused by mistakes. Cornell gave up 64 yards on nine penalties, and also incurred three fumbles. One proved costly enough.
Cornell took the ball the length of the field on its opening drive of the second half. On second and goal, with just inches to go, the ball was given to the tailback. Pushing his way forward, it appeared that he had made it into the end zone, giving Cornell a much-needed six points. Instead of signaling a touchdown, however, the officials signaled a fumble. Worse for Cornell, Penn had recovered the ball.
“I don’t really know what happened,” said Cullen, “but I know we didn’t get the touchdown.”
Cullen did note one bright spot in the loss: the play of senior lineman Ryan Walker. Walker caused a forced fumble, stripping Penn’s running back and recovering the ball. He also made several key defensive stops during the game.
Besides Walker, Cullen noted that he was surprised with the ability of the team’s underclassmen.
“That’s been a real positive of this team,” he said. “We’ve had a whole bunch of underclassmen step up. They’ve done very well.”
The Red wrap up its season this Friday against Army at 7 p.m. on the Schoellkopf turf.
Archived article by Matt Janiga