A week after suffering its first loss of the season against Post, the sprint football team rebounded with a rout of Princeton, 49-7. After making several mistakes on defense and special teams last week, the Red really paid attention to detail and eliminated those mental lapses.
“We did a good job of straightening out some mistakes that we had against Post,” said senior tri-captain and linebacker Tim Dooley. “We didn’t have any special teams mistakes, which really hurt us in earlier games.”
The game also marked the return of sophomore quarterback Brendan Miller, which really showed for the Red’s offense. Miller finished the game passing 13-15, with 211 yards and 4 TDs.
[Miller’s] unbelievable; you really don’t find many quarterbacks who have the understanding of the offense that Miller has,” commended senior tri-captain and wide receiver Tim Bruhn. “When he’s out on the field it really just brings up … everybody’s level of play to that next level it needs to be at.”
“He definitely opens up a lot more options on offense,” Dooley agreed. “He really did a great job, especially against Princeton, of putting the ball in the right places so that [senior wide receiver Abe Mellinger] and [junior wide receiver Spenser Gruenenfelder] could make great plays.”
Princeton (0-3) started the game with a spark, fooling Cornell (2-1) with an onside kick to start the game, but that was really the only positive play the Tigers had all game. The New Jersey team quickly gave up possession and in four plays, the Red marched 61 yards down the field for a touchdown on a 23-yard floater to the back of the end zone from Miller to Gruenenfelder.
On the Red’s next possession, Mellinger continued his torrid start to the season with another 9-yard touchdown catch. He later caught one more for his third 2-touchdown game in a row.
With 5:13 to go in the first quarter, the Red regained possession of the ball and on its first play of the series, the Red scored its third touchdown of the day on a diving 32-yard catch by Gruenenfelder to put the Red ahead, 21-0. By this point, the game was essentially over.
As a result of the big lead, Cornell was able to give some non-starters playing time, where they all made the most of their opportunity.
“Everyone stepped in and got a chance to play and really did a great job out there,” Bruhn said. “I cannot really single out one person in particular, but a lot of guys really made the most out of the opportunity.”
Compared to last week, the running game was much stronger against Princeton. Senior running back Doug Famularo and junior running back Brendan Bruno both scored touchdowns, while 6 different players had carries due to the large lead from early in the game. The team rushed for a total of 153 yards on 34 carries.
However, the key to the Red’s offense has been the play of their receiving corps, led by Gruenenfelder, Mellinger and Bruhn. With the addition of Mellinger as a transfer, the Red has prevented the opposition from double teaming Grunenefelder and has given him, as well as the rest of the team, more room to operate.
“Anytime you have two great receivers like you have with Abe and Spenser,” Bruhn said. “It opens everything up tremendously, for both of them and for the offense as a whole. It’s invaluable and really helps us throw the ball around like we can.”
While the Red’s offense ran smoothly, the Princeton offense struggled. The Tigers ran for just 50 yards on 38 carries, an average of 1.3 yards per rush. Through the air, Tigers quarterback Jaison Zachariah threw for just 109 yards and was sacked 3 times and intercepted 4 times, including an interception return for a touchdown by junior defensive lineman William Edmonds.
On defense, the Red lived in the Princeton backfield, where it managed to accumulate 12 tackles for a loss. In their first two games combined, the Tigers only had 11. Along with Edmonds’ pick-six, junior Daniel Sussman, junior Simon Greenberg, and senior Matthew Rosenthal all picked off their first pass of the season. Freshman linebacker Chris Sitko had an opportunity to play against Princeton and really made the most of it, leading the team with 11 tackles, including 2 for a loss.
“Chris Sitko and some of the other freshmen linebackers really stepped up and did a great job for us, Dooley said.
Even though they beat Princeton handily, they know that they cannot be complacent during their upcoming off week. The Red will host Army (1-1), a perennial powerhouse in the CSFL, the week after Fall Break.
“Army’s one of the toughest opponents we’ll face this season,” Dooley said. “We have to mentally prepare for the game plan and we have to be ready for a battle.”
Original Author: Albert Liao