With the few bright spots on offense and defense unable to make up for an inconsistent offense and the inability to stop the Army running attack, the sprint football team (0-2) dropped its home opener 24-6 Friday night.
Playing in front of a spirited crowd, the Red fell behind early as the Black Knights used a powerful running game to move down to Cornell’s 25-yard line on its first poessesion. From there, Army quarterback, Braden Amigo, used his only completion of the game, a strike to Stephen Lewis, to put his team ahead by seven.
After a quick three and out by the Red and a long punt return by the Black Knights deep into Cornell territory, Army went right back to their punishing running game, doubling their lead on Joseph McDonald’s 3-yard touchdonw plunge.
From there, though, the Red began to turn the game around as they took advantage of an Army turnover to reach the end zone themselves.
Senior Chris Deutschman recovered an Amigo fumble on Army’s 18-yard line. On the very next play, the Red used a little trickery as sophomore Michael Fullowan hooked up with classmate Eli Northrup for a touchdown pass on the halfback opition to pull Cornell within one score.
“We’ve been runing that play a lot in practice because we thought we could get [Army] on it,” said Northrup. “Mike just threw a really good ball and I was just waiting for it in the end zone.”
Fullowan and Northrup were the Red’s main offensive weapons for most of the night, as fullowan rushed for a total of 61 yards on 20 attempts, while Northrup ended with 59 yards on six catches. Northrup’s night was ended early, however, after he had to leave midway throught the second half with a knee injury.
Before the end of the first half the Red got a chance to get even closer after senior captain Billy Snider, one of Cornell’s bright spots for the game, blocked a Black Knights’ punt at Army’s 47-yard line. Cornell was able to move the ball 20 yards further before the Army defense held tough and kept the Red from tacking on more points.
Besides his blocked kick, Snider was the main reason the Cornell defense was able to keep the Black Knights from running away with the game, recording 14 tackles throughout the contest.
Army’s first possesion in the second half appeared to mirror their first possession of the game. Using their punishing running game led by Jacob Massaci, who finished the game with a 149 yeards on 27 carries, the Black Knights moved down to the Red’s 22-yard line. However, from there, the Red defense was able to stall the drive, keeping the game within range.
However, as Cornell’s defense started to look better and better, Army’s defense did the same. After the loss of Northrup, the Black Knights turned their focus to the Red’s running attack and succesffully shut down Fullowan for much of the rest of the game.
After an Army field goal late in the third quarter made it 17-6, Cornell had one more prime opportunity to draw closer. Again, Deutschman came up with a key turnover, making an off-balance sideline interception at mid-field. Yet, even with the great field position, the Red could not muster more than one first down before being forced to punt.
Taking over at their own 10-yard line, Army took control of the game from there. Unable to come up with big defensive stands on some key third-downs, the Red had no answer for Army’s wishbone attack. Patrick Hall put the exclamation point on he 8:27, 90-yard drive, as his 17-yard touchdown scamper put the game out of reach.
In the end, the Black Knights accumulated 358 yards of total offense including 333 yards on the ground as both Massacci and Amigo went over the 100 yard mark. Meanwhile, Cornell only managed 128 total yards, with 80 yards of that coming through the air.
Overall, though, Cornell felt like it played a pretty decent game against one of the better teams in the CSFL.
“Besides the first eight to 10 minutes when our defense was getting set, we played a pretty good game,” Northrup said. “I feel really encouraged by the game…I’m glad we get another shot at these guys.”
The Red will try to bounce back from this defeat in two weeks when it heads to Navy for a game on Sat., Oct. 9.
Archived article by Scott Reich
Sun Staff Writer