After a 27-13 upset of then-No.20 Harvard, the Cornell football team will look to build upon its momentum tomorrow at 1 p.m., when it hosts Georgetown (3-3, 1-2 Patriot) for this year’s Homecoming game. The Red (2-2, 1-1 Ivy) has lost both of its games this season on the road, as it finds the confines of Schoellkopf Field to be much more inviting. However, the squad’s weekly breakfast on campus may also be a factor.
“It’s all about the Statler and the cooking and the food down at the hotel school [on Saturday],” said head coach Jim Knowles ’87.
Whether or not the food has anything to do with the team’s success, the Red will be facing a tough Hoyas team tomorrow that has compiled victories over Bucknell, Stony Brook, and Duquesne this season. The win over the Bison came in overtime on a 33-yard field goal, capping off a furious Hoyas comeback from 16 points behind. The Red faced off against Bucknell in its season opener, winning handily, 24-7.
While judging from like competition may give Cornell the edge, the squad cannot afford to let down its guard against Georgetown. After a dominating performance versus the Bison, the Red was outplayed by Yale the following week, losing 37-17. This time around, Cornell is fresh off its first win against Harvard in five years and will face off against Ivy League rival Brown next weekend.
“It’s huge [not to have an emotional letdown], especially since we’ve already experienced this earlier in the season coming off a dominating win over Bucknell and then not being mature enough as a team to handle the success and following it up with a poor performance at Yale,” said senior quarterback Ryan Kuhn.
In addition, the Red is looking for a little revenge, after the Hoyas rolled into Schoellkopf two years ago and pounded Cornell, 42-20.
“I know we don’t have a lot of history against Georgetown, but it is Homecoming, and in 2003 they came up here and they whipped Cornell and it led to a terrible season,” Knowles said. “Also, the fact that we are home and the seniors are undefeated at home is huge. This is for a home winning record right here, 3-0, and that’s a big deal to our guys.”
In Knowles’ short tenure with the squad, Cornell is 5-2 on its home turf, as compared to 1-6 on the road. The team gaining a home field advantage has been a goal ever since the beginning of last season.
“[Winning at home] is something we focused on from the day I got here – There is a real comfortable feeling [at Schoellkopf] and a sense of pride,” Knowles said. “It is something we stressed from day one. The first thing we said was that we were going to be tough to beat at home and it was going to be a hard place to play.”
The advantage should be of an even larger magnitude tomorrow, in front of the Homecoming crowd. The expected spike in attendance should create a positive atmosphere for the Red squad.
“I don’t know what our attendance has been like, because we believe so much in the place that it feels like 25,000 fans every week. We have some fans that cheer really hard. Hopefully Homecoming – with some good weather, and the team generating some excitement – we will have an even bigger crowd.”
Archived article by Bryan Pepper
Sun Assistant Sports Editor