September 2, 2008

Introducing the Big Red: Nathan Ford

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For once, peeking beneath the numbers could be worthwhile. On the surface, senior quarterback Nathan Ford tossed two fewer touchdowns, ran for three fewer and was picked off five more times in his 2007 season than in his 2006 campaign.
But Ford last year was forced to be a little more risk-reward in a spread offense where he peppered the ball around to virtually every position player on the roster, routinely passing between 40 and 50 times per game. Ford racked up 1902 yards (nearly 500 more than 2006) and was pinpoint accurate with his arm, completing 63 percent of his passes — the second most accurate quarterbacked season in Cornell history. In fact, Ford’s career completion mark of 59.9 percent ranks second all-time.[img_assist|nid=31359|title=Finding the hole|desc=Senior Nathan Ford (17), with a little help from his blockers, runs around a defender during last season’s 38-31 overtime win over Brown on Oct. 20.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
Ford even showed a penchant for throwing the deep ball when necessary. After several years of essentially running the option, Ford put some air under the ball at several crucial moments last year.
Trailing Colgate in the second half of the Homecoming game, Oct. 13, Ford sent a spiral downfield on a fourth-and-19. The ball was placed right into the outstretched tips of sophomore Bryan Walters fingers, as he dove into the endzone. It was the decisive play in the 17-14 victory.
Most of Ford’s season was spent zipping passes within the down markers, over the middle, into the flat, or to the wing on bubble screens. Although this translated into a mere 5.7 yards per pass attempt, Ford is on pace to finish with the third most passing yards ever.