October 24, 2008

Red Needs Win, Help for Title

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This morning, the sprint football team took off for West Point, N.Y., to face CSFL rival Army, with a title-shot and a prominent team record both on the line.
Cornell (3-2, 2-1 CSFL) is coming off a big win against formerly undefeated Penn. Senior quarterback Zak Dentes threw for a season-best 286 yards and sophomore linebacker Clay Hemminger notched a team-high four sacks.
The Black Knights (2-3, 1-1 CSFL) meanwhile, have not played a game in two weeks.
The matchup represents a chance for the Red to achieve, with a little bit of luck, its undisputed season goal: a conference championship.
If the Red can pull-off the win, and if Navy (5-0, 2-1 CSFL) loses its matchup against Penn, the CSFL title will head back to Ithaca.
“Yeah, we’re definitely thinking about it,” said Dentes, when asked about a shot at a championship. “But first, what we have to do is come out and play. We have to win tomorrow, but we’re not counting our eggs before they hatch.”
“It’s definitely on our mind,” Hemminger added. “That’s our main goal for the season.”
Dentes also has the chance to personally notch another important accomplishment; with 93 more yards passing, Dentes will become to Red’s all-time passing leader.
“Wow, I didn’t actually even know that’s how close I was,” said Dentes with a laugh when informed about the record. Dentes even admitted that the record might be on his mind tonight.
“I suppose it will be a little bit, it’s hard to ignore something like that,” Dentes said. “Hopefully though, it won’t cloud any judgment on the field.”
And if five of those 93 yards go to senior Michael Brennan, the wideout will move into second place all-time on Cornell’s career receiving list.[img_assist|nid=32953|title=Be all that you can be|desc=Matt Malleo (12) stops the Penn run in Cornell’s 23-20 win at Schoellkopf a week ago.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
Since a Sept. 19th blowout to Penn, the Red’s soon-to-be record-setting offense has been performing well, and this week, will return to full strength when junior running back D.J. Schiavetta will rejoin the team. The starter had missed two weeks because of a knee injury.
“We’ve been improving all year,” Dentes said. “After that first game, we’ve shown improvement in each game. We’ve given the defense some confidence in us and have given some confidence to ourselves”
That would give the Red “D” two reasons to be confident — since that Sept. 19th game, Cornell has surrendered more than 20 points to an opposing offense only once.
“We really put a lot of pressure on the quarterback, and have been able to shut down the run,” said Hemminger, who anchors an aggressive Red defense that has been sacking opposing passers at an impressive clip all season.
The Black Knights, meanwhile, are a pass-happy offense, led by quarterbacks Bobby Miner and Abe Payne.
“[Putting pressure on the quarterback] is going to be huge,” Hemminger said. “If we don’t get pressure, our secondary is going to be in a bad position, so hopefully we’ll bring pressure and force the quarterback to make mistakes.”