September 21, 2004

Sprint Football Drops Opener

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Although the Red started its opening game against the Pennsylvania Quakers strong with an early seven point lead, a combination of turnovers, an inconsistent passing game and a porous defense opened the door for the Quakers to outscore the Red 35-13 and win on the season’s first night.

On the Quakers’ first possession of the game, Red senior linebacker Billy Snider exploded into the backfield on a critical third-and-nine play and sacked Penn gunslinger Mike Loguidice for a 6-yard loss.

‘That really was a huge play for our defense,’ said head coach Terry Cullen. ‘We tried to set the tone early in the game with that sack and we were really able to shut them down the entire quarter.’

What followed was a 50-yard, 5:54 drive that was capped by sophomore tailback Michael Fullowan’s one-yard touchdown surge, his first of two touchdowns on the evening. Fullowan played despite a hip pointer injury he suffered two weeks ago. In total, Fullowan gained 33 yards on seven carries on the drive — an average of 4.7 yards per carry. Thus, all signs were positive after the first two possessions of 2004 for the Red.

The first quarter was dominant for Cornell, as the squad maintained a 7-0 lead by limiting Penn’s running attack to minus five-yards on four carries. However, Penn tailback J.T. Hutchinson broke through in the second frame with two touchdown runs. His first came on a nine-yard dash in the quarter’s first possession to tie the game at 7-7, and his second score came with 3:45 remaining in the half, giving the Quakers a 14-7 lead.

Failing to stop the Quaker offensive attack combined with untimely turnovers doomed the Red in the second half. Hutchinson amassed 113 yards on 15 carries to lead Penn — including a 12-yard touchdown run in the third quarter that extended the Quaker lead to two scores.

‘We were just not able to handle their wide-outs,’ said Cullen. ‘We would stuff them on first and second down and then they would hit one of their many wide receivers on third-downs — that would just kill us. Their running game played off the success of their passing attack.’

Sophomore quarterback Nick LiVigne started the second drive of the third quarter from his own 42-yard line with an interception that broke the Red”s spirit. The Quakers would add another score seven plays later to put the game out of reach, burying Cornell in a 28-7 hole. LiVigne was picked off on the next drive as well, and the beaten up Red defense gave up yet another Hutchinson touchdown run. LiVigne threw for 113 passing yards on 11-for-26 attempts, with no touchdowns and two interceptions.

‘LiVigne’s performance was just a product of our inexperience at the receiving position and our inconsistency,’ remarked Cullen. ‘To win in this league we’re going to have to be able to catch the ball better. But I was proud of our offensive line who protected [LiVigne] well all night.’

While there were some positives for Cullen’s crew after game one of 2004, the Red will need to rebound quickly from their first loss. Cornell is hosting Army — a team known for running the football — Friday night at Schoellkopf Field.

Archived article by Josh Fox
Sun Staff Writer