The Cornell football team welcomed in the “Kent Austin Era” in disappointing fashion on Saturday afternoon, falling to Wagner College, 41-7, in a lop-sided affair. Despite the disappointing result, Cornell showed some promising signs early on; three times driving into Wagner territory in the first quarter. In the end, though, it was turnovers and an explosive Wagner offense that dropped the Red to 0-1 on the season.“Obviously we are all disappointed with the outcome of the game. With a new coaching staff and a new attitude we really wanted to start the season off with a win. However, we know that in the grand scheme of things this game doesn’t affect our number one goal, which is to go undefeated in the Ivy League conference,” said senior linebacker Anthony Ambrosi. Wagner (1-1, 0-0) got on the scoreboard first, as sophomore quarterback Nick Doscher capped off a 58-yard drive with a one-yard rushing score midway through the first quarter. Doscher spent the rest of the afternoon hurting the Red through the air, connecting with junior Tyrone Collins on 41-yard and 11-yard touchdown strikes in the second quarter to put the Seahawks up, 20-0, at the half. Doscher accounted for over 300 yards of offense on the afternoon, gaining 227 yards and three scores through the air and 77 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Sophomore running back Torian Phillips added to the rushing attack, racking up 136 yards on 16 carries.“I just think overall we are looking for more consistency and we just need to play faster … we needed to get off to a great start and we didn’t execute. We can’t wait until halftime to think about rhythm. We have come out and be right on top of them from the very first play, with execution and just being defensive,” said junior cornerback Rashad Campbell. After a long quarterback battle in the off-season, junior Adam Currie got the starting nod for the Red on Saturday. Currie finished 3-7 for 20 yards and an interception through the air and ran the ball six times for 18 yards. The junior was replaced by freshman Jeff Matthews, his main challenger for the starting position throughout the preseason, in the second half. Matthews threw for 97 yards and an interception and ran for 10 yards on four carries.The Red quarterbacks were pressured all game, as the Wagner defense recorded three sacks and two interceptions on the afternoon. One of the interceptions was returned for a touchdown, giving the Seahawks its biggest lead of the game, 41-0, late in the third quarter. The Seahawks defense also forced three fumbles, one of which resulted in a take-away.Cornell’s lone score came on a one-yard rushing touchdown by senior Marcus Hendren at the eight-minute mark in the fourth quarter. Hendren accumulated 34 yards on eight carries in the game. A majority of the Red’s rushing yards were gained by freshman Grant Gellatly, however. Gellatly carried the ball for 87 yards on seven attempts, highlighted by a 63-yard dash late in the fourth quarter.“I think we need to start a lot faster and have to come out and make some plays early and just continue to ride off that momentum. We saw our mistakes and now we are going to move past them. This week is going to be a very up-beat and challenging practice,” said senior cornerback Emani Fenton. “There were a couple things we could have done differently in the game. Something that hurt us last year and continued to hurt us this past weekend was letting up the big play on defense. We had a few lapses in coverage and Wagner was able to expose us and capitalize with long scoring plays. Not only does that put points on the board, but also it hurts a team’s morale. And we also need to tackle better on defense. There was too much lunging and arm tackling going on. On offense, we need to possess the ball for longer to spell out defense,” Ambrosi said. Looking to improve from this disappointing start, Cornell is already making changes to its practice schedule, as it prepares to get more physical. “This week’s practice will be different than how we have been practicing. We are going to go live more often, and tackle to the ground to build good habits that will carry over into the game,” Ambrosi said. Although the game was not how the Red wanted to start, it does give the team some insight as to where it needs to go from here. “I think it will give us a lot of answers as to where we are and what we need to work on as we work forward and for our season overall. This weekend will be another big test and we are looking to make a huge improvement between our first and second game,” Fenton said.
Original Author: Sun Staff