October 26, 2007

Sprints Closes Out Season at Home Against Army

Print More

Cornell will look to put the finishing touches on its 2007 sprint football season with a home victory over rival Army. The last time the two teams faced each other was Oct. 27, 2006 when the Red prevailed 26-7 over the Black Knights at West Point.
The Red’s hopes for the CSFL title were dashed last week with a loss to Penn, but a win over Army, would pull Cornell’s conference record (1-2 CSFL, 3-2 overall) back up to .500. The Black Knights (2-3, 1-1) will be looking to avoid a losing season.
Army has historically dominated the Red. The head-to-head record between the two teams is 52-13 in Army’s favor, including 18 straight wins from 1992 until last year’s upset. The last time Cornell defeated Army twice in a row was in 1987. Despite Army’s tradition of Red-bashing, Cornell head coach Terry Cullen feels that this year’s team matches up well with the Knights.
“They’re just like the other teams we’ve played,” Cullen said. “But they pass a little more so we’re going to try to emphasize pass defense.”
“I think we’re going to match up with them fine,” said sophomore offensive lineman Sam Lincoln. “Army lost to Penn and we rallied against Penn.”
Army quarterback Robert Miner is second in the CSFL with 705 passing yards. He has five main targets: receivers Geoff Phillips, Kevin Atwell, James Antonides, Justin Abbatacola and Wes Pritchett. Despite the effectiveness of its passing game Army has struggled on offense this year, averaging only 19.5 points per game. Army’s offensive troubles can be partially blamed on turnovers; Knights’ quarterbacks have thrown 12 interceptions this year.
The Red, on the other hand, is averaging 29.6 points per game for a total of 148. Cornell is on pace to become the most prolific offensive sprint football team in Cornell’s history. The highest point total ever achieved by a Cornell sprint football team is 153 points, accumulated by the 1982 team through seven games. The 2007 team needs only one touchdown or two field goals today to eclipse that total.
Scoring won’t be an easy task against Army’s notoriously stingy defense. The Black Knights have given up only 290 yards per game for an average of 15.5 points per game. The Red has its own passing weapon in junior quarterback Zak Dentes, who leads the CSFL with 731 yards through the air despite missing time with an injured throwing hand.
Although the Red was not able to defend last year’s CSFL crown, the season was seen as a success.
“We faced a lot of adversity and came through it all,” Cullen said. “We were very competitive.”
That adversity mostly came in the form of injuries to key players. While the starters were down, younger players and backups were given time to prove themselves and gain experience that bodes well for the future, players said.
“Even though it sucked having all our players get hurt I think it’s going to help us for next year,” said freshman linebacker Clay Hemminger.
Many of the Red players want to defeat Army not only to pad the team’s record, but to let the seniors end their careers on a positive note.
“I think we’re going to leave it all on the field,” Lincoln said. “This is the seniors’ last game probably that they’ll ever play besides the alumni game. I think everybody’s really going to be coming out and trying to get a last win for the seniors and to finish up the season strong.”