The long wait is about to be over. At last, the Ivy League, which is the home of the last eight football teams in the country to start their seasons, will begin their respective 2005 campaigns tomorrow.
The Red football team will have an intriguing matchup in the Ivies’ opening weekend, as it will play host to Bucknell tomorrow at 1 p.m. on Schoellkopf Field.
The game pits the Red against a Bucknell team that beat Cornell in last season’s opener in Lewisburg, Penn. However, the loss came in an astonishing turnaround season for Cornell, as it went from 1-9 in 2003 (the victory coming against Bucknell at home) to 4-6 overall, and a 4-3 record in conference, which was good enough for third place in the conference standings.
Going into its first game of the year, the Red is normally at a disadvantage because its opponent already has game experience under its belt. However, this might be a different story tomorrow even though the Bison have played two games already. This is because Bucknell, who lost its first two games (a 19-16 overtime loss to Georgetown and a 21-18 loss at Stony Brook), has already needed to use three quarterbacks because of a variety of injuries.
Yet, that has not stopped the Bison, which run a spread-option offense, from running the ball. Currently, Bucknell ranks 21st in the country in rushing yards per game, with just over 214 yards per contest.
This will most likely make for a “strength vs. strength” matchup, as the Red ranked seventh nationally against the run last season, allowing just a shade over 100 yards on the ground per game. In fact, the only player to record over 100 yards rushing against the Red last season was former Harvard quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick who is now with the St. Louis Rams.
Yet, the Red can not simply key in on one back tomorrow, but rather needs to focus on shutting down the entire Bison attack, which had five different players rush for at least 20 yards in each of its first two contests.
On the opposite side of the ball, the Red will have to contend with Bucknell head coach Tim Landis’ 4-4 defense. To do that, head coach Jim Knowles ’87 will utilize the abundant athletic ability that his team possesses on the offensive side of the ball, including senior quarterback Ryan Kuhn.
Kuhn, who will begin the season as the Red’s starter for the first time, will be looked upon to throw the ball and run with it depending on the situation. Last season, Kuhn went 54-for-105 through the air for 615 yards, three touchdowns and four interceptions, and rushed for 90 yards and three touchdowns in his five games played.
Kuhn will receive plenty of support in the passing game from senior Brian Romney and junior Anthony Jackson. Last season, Romney hauled in 60 passes for 766 yards and three scores en route to a second-team All-Ivy selection, while Jackson chipped in with 314 yards on 23 catches in a limited role.
On the ground, Kuhn will hand the ball to a talented group of tailbacks, led by sophomore Luke Siwula, who emerged as the team’s starter this preseason. Joining him in the backfield are senior Joshua Johnston and Andre Hardaway, who tallied 475 and 348 yards on the ground, respectively.
Archived article by Chris Mascaro
Sun Sports Editor