October 21, 2010

Football Seeks First Ivy Win Against Brown

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“Do your job, not somebody else’s,” said Cornell football head coach Kent Austin. That’s the advice the first-year leader of the Red has for his players to turn around a poor start to the 2010 season, which features four losses by a combined 103 points. The depleted Red will have to be assignment-perfect when it plays Brown tomorrow at 12:30 p.m. in Providence, R.I., to earn its first Ivy League win in over a year.Cornell (1-4, 0-1 Ivy) has lost twelve of its last thirteen games dating back to the 2009 season, including a 34-14 loss to Brown (3-2, 2-0) on Oct. 24 of last year in Ithaca. Although the task of defeating Brown –– who won last week at Princeton, 17-13, to bounce back from consecutive losses –– will be difficult, the Red is familiar with many characteristics of the Bears, such as its unusual 4-2-5 defensive formation.“We’ve seen the kind of defense they pose before,” said freshman quarterback Jeff Mathews, who took over the starting duties from injured senior Adam Currie after the season-opener. “They have a very good, athletic defense, and we’ll have to be sharp to move the ball.”Cornell must penetrate Brown’s potent defensive line, composed of defensive ends Jeremy Raducha and Joseph Rettig, as well as defensive tackles Clayton McGrath and John Anderson. The four have combined for 64 tackles and 5.5 sacks this season.“[Brown’s defensive line] has a high motor,” Austin said. “They don’t take plays off. They’re big, they’re strong and they tackle well.”Tackling has been an issue for the Red defense, which has allowed an average of 279 rushing yards per contest. Brown possesses two capable rushers in sophomore Mark Kachner and senior Zachary Tronti, who have rushed for 342 and 208 rushing yards in 2010 respectively.“We’ve got to stop the run,” said senior linebacker Brandon Lainhart. “Kachner runs the ball hard, so we’re going to have to get up there and tackle.”      The Bears are also capable of attacking through the air. Senior quarterback Joe Springer, who has thrown for 527 yards and two touchdowns this season, has connected with star senior wide receiver Alexander Tounkara 30 times.      “Tounkara is a really good receiver,” Lainhart said. “We have to make sure not to let him produce any big plays.”      Cornell’s passing attack is not quite as explosive. After an effective start to the season, Mathews has produced only 217 yards through the air since the Red’s 21-12 win at Bucknell three weeks ago. Mathews hasn’t been helped by several injuries along the offensive line, nor by an inconsistent running game.      “We’ve got to do other things to protect [Mathews] in the pocket,” Austin said. “It’s hard with our injury situation and young offensive line, but that has to be our priority.”      The injury bug has hit the Red hard in 2010. Already down its season-starting quarterback and two safeties, and several offensive linemen, the Red announced earlier this week that freshman offensive lineman Tucker Maggio-Hucek was determined ineligible to play against the Bears due to an injured ankle.      After the visit to Brown Stadium tomorrow, Cornell has four games remaining on the schedule –– all against Ivy League clubs –– three of which are at home. The Red has been able to ignore past results, like the 44-3 blowout defeat to Colgate last Saturday at Schoellkopf field, and stay focused on the future.      “The season isn’t over,” Lainhart said. “We have five games left, and there’s no reason we can’t win all five. Every game starts 0-0.”      “We’re on the back half of the season now,” Mathews said. “Our seniors deserve a strong finish, and we’re going to try our best to give it to them.”       Although the Red remains focused on picking up a win against Brown this weekend, it can’t help but put its troubling season into perspective.      “Our young players are continuing to develop and improve,” Austin said. “They’re getting accustomed to the game at this speed, and we know they have a bright future.”      “We’re preaching what it means to be a real team.”

Original Author: Quintin Schwab