September 26, 2008

Red Faces Ivy Favorite Yale to Start Ivy Schedule

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The biggest concern for most students regarding tomorrow’s Homecoming game is the likelihood of rain. The football team, however, has bigger concerns, as preseason Ivy League favorite Yale will visit Ithaca with aspirations of spoiling the Red’s return to Schoellkopf Field.
“It’s not just Homecoming, it’s our first home game,” Rihn said. “I love playing at Schoellkopf. I think we are dangerous at Schoellkopf and with Yale being the preseason favorite, that adds a little something to the game.”
The Red will have its hands full hosting a team it lost to, 51-12, last year in New Haven, Conn. The drubbing can be attributed to the prowess of the Bulldogs running game. Led by All-American candidate Mike McLeod, Yale ran over the Red for a total of 293 yards, most coming from McLeod himself. The senior enters tomorrow’s game with 49 career touchdowns and already holds school records for career rushing yards, attempts and all-purpose yards.[img_assist|nid=32108|title=Don’t stop ’til you get enough|desc=Senior wide receiver Jesse Baker caught two touchdown passes last weekend. Cornell plays Yale at the Homecoming game tomorrow.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
“We have been focusing on stopping the run, trying to get as many people around the ball as possible,” said head coach Jim Knowles ’87. “We’ve done this since last spring and through camp, we’ve worked really hard on some of the things Yale will do to you. Bottom line is, we have to be physical. They are a very physical team, they are a confident team.”
In order to stop the dominant running attack of the Bulldogs, the defensive line will be asked to control the line of scrimmage — a point of emphasis for Knowles since the beginning of the spring practices. In fact, Knowles was so unimpressed by the team’s inability to control the line of scrimmage that he removed the traditional “C” from the team’s helmets, claiming that the team “had to earn that right back.”
But after a tough 21-20 win over Bucknell last weekend, the team started to earn back its decal, beginning with the senior class before Tuesday’s practice. Last week, the Red held Bucknell’s option attack to a total of 46 yards to earn its first win in Lewisburg, Pa., since 1992.
The team will be looking to break another negative streak tomorrow when it hosts the Bulldogs. The Red has failed to beat the Bulldogs in six of the team’s last seven meetings, and the team’s seniors haven’t been able to pick up a win against them since arriving as freshmen.
“The fact that the senior class hasn’t beaten Yale gets under our skin a little bit,” said senior co-captain Graham Rihn. “We are completely focused and we are going to fight really hard.”
The task won’t be easy, as Yale visits central New York after a dominating win over Georgetown last weekend, 47-7. While McLeod is generally the center of attention, the quarterback duo of Ryan Fodor and Brook Hart did most of the damage last weekend, combining for 361 yards on 24-of-34 passes and four touchdowns.
“They are a premier team in the league,” Knowles said, “but we play well at Schoellkopf, that’s for sure.”
In addition to the redesigned helmets, the team will unveil a new look for its home field. Over the summer, the field was changed to FieldTurf, a large block “C” was painted at midfield and the endzones were painted Red, giving the surface more of a semblance of a modern football field.