September 25, 2006

Red Blanks Tigers in CSFL Opener

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The sprint football team got off to a fast start this past Friday as it was able to score within the game’s first five minutes on the way to a 29-0 shutout against Princeton.

[img_assist|nid=18524|title=What a rush|desc=Senior co-captain Mike Followan (23) caught a 66-yard touchdown pass in Cornell’s victory over Princeton this past Friday. (Sun File Photo)|link=popup|align=left|width=100|height=66]

The Red (2-0) never let the Tigers (0-1) into the game, as it gave up only 121 yards and allowed Princeton quarterback, junior Alex Kandabarow, to complete just 16-of-54 passes.

“Our defense played very well,” said head coach Terry Cullen. “The [defensive] line put good pressure on [Kandabarow] and generally harassed him the whole game.”

The Red’s defensive unit was able to force a Princeton punt after just three minutes, and sophomore quarterback Zak Dentes took only three plays to put Cornell ahead by completing a 66-yard touchdown pass to senior co-captain Mike Fullowan that made the score 7-0.

“We’re not a ball control team,” Cullen said. “We have a great bunch of receivers and have been able to come up with some big plays that allow us to score quickly.”

The Red wouldn’t take long to put more points on the board as senior co-captain Derek Johnson recovered a fumble a minute later and senior Jason Zittel kicked a 31-yard field goal more than halfway through the first quarter.

When Princeton went three-and-out on the following possession, Cornell took advantage once again as Dentes connected with junior Jason Remillard in double coverage for a 35-yard touchdown that made the score 16-0 going into the second quarter.

Because of the inability to scout in the Collegiate Sprint Football League, the Red were forced to make defensive changes in response to a unique offensive alignment from the Tigers — a spread formation that used a deep shot-gun and sometimes extended from sideline to sideline.

“I had never seen anything like this before,” Cullen said. “We switched the secondary to man-to-man [coverage] and brought a lot of guys [from the secondary] on blitzes.”

As a result, the Red knocked down Kandabarow on nearly every play and only allowed him to complete short passes to his receivers who were quickly tackled.

The high pressure paid off in second quarter as sophomore Rob Napolitano intercepted a pass and returned it 39 yards for a touchdown. After the extra-point, Cornell went into the locker room with a 23-0 lead.

Playing with a large lead, the Red continued to hound Kandabarow and refused to let the Tigers mount a second-half charge. Cornell capped the scoring midway through the third quarter when Dentes hit sophomore John Rossman for his third touchdown of the day. The extra-point attempt failed, and the 29-0 score would stay on the scoreboard for the remainder of the game.

The Red will need to wait two weeks before it can get back on the field when it faces Navy in its home opener on Oct. 6.