September 15, 2005

Fullowan Keys Sprint Football

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Junior tailback Mike Fullowan is one of the most versatile members of the sprint football team. Last year, Fullowan led the Red rushing attack, gaining a team-best 605 yards on the ground with six touchdowns and an average of 94.0 rushing yards per game. He completed 2-of-3 passing attempts, both of which went for touchdowns. As a receiver, Fullowan caught 10 passes out of the backfield for 33 yards and a score. He also returned eight kicks for 94 yards, an average of 11.8 yards per return.

Fullowan’s presence in the backfield and as returner this year will be crucial to the team’s success, as the squad opens its schedule tomorrow night at home in a non-league game against Penn.

“Mike is our go-to-guy on offense,” said head coach Terry Cullen. “He brings everything to the table – he runs, catches, is our kick and punt returner, and is one of our more explosive and steady offensive threats.”

Paired in the backfield with returning fullback Benjamin Herzberger and senior tailback Chris Mascaro, who due to injuries last year only rushed for 37 yards on 15 attempts, Fullowan is the anchor of a strong Red unit. Quarterback Alec Macaulay, now healthy after an injury-plagued 2004, returns for the Red and is poised for a strong senior campaign. The relationship between the quarterback and the running back has been crucial over the past couple years.

“Alec [Macaulay] and I are close on and off the field,” Fullowan said. “We are on the same page during the games, and off the field we can get ourselves into some trouble hanging out with one another.”

The camaraderie and team chemistry is one of the reasons why many of the Red players believe the first league championship since 1986 is a possibility. The team has trained hard in the offseason and hopes to match the high level of conditioning of teams such as Army, Navy and VMI – particularly late in the year.

“I think the stricter offseason workout program that the captains had us doing really helped,” Fullowan said. “We are a stronger, closer team because of that. Also, the addition of our new defensive coaches, coach Guccia and coach Rothman, has really improved on our already tough defense.”

The defense and the skill-position players on offense are a strength of the Red, according to coach Cullen, yet there are question marks on the offensive line and special teams – especially the kicking game.

“One of our most experienced lineman Mike Singer recently got injured in the Red/White scrimmage,” Fullowan said. “Fortunately, we have a lot of new guys that are ready to step up for a first game, in addition to our returning starters [sophomore] Ben Abramoff, [junior] Rob Kuruzca and [senior Daniel] Bjornstrom, so I have confidence in our offensive line.”

Fullowan needs to have confidence in his offensive line, as its success will mirror his. Despite the uncertainty of a new season, Fullowan is confident in his squad and hopes to improve upon last year’s 2-4, second-place finish.

“Our expectations are high,” Fullowan said. “We have a lot of returners that have been working hard all offseason, not to mention the new guys that are ready to step up and fill in for last year’s seniors. Knowing that we beat Penn last year has really lifted the team during the preseason, and we are all ready to get the season going on a positive note.”

As for specifics to look out for in tomorrow night’s contest, Fullowan noted that Penn’s defense, especially its ability to shut down the run, will be a focal point for Cornell. He said that the team hopes to run counter plays to disrupt the run defense, and shake up the passing attack by spreading the ball across the field with different formations.

“My goal this year is to get a ring,” Fullowan said. “It always is, and I think we have as good of a chance as anyone to accomplish it.”

Archived article by Josh Fox
Sun Staff Writer