October 23, 2011

FOOTBALL | Mathews’ Record Day Not Enough to Outlast Bears

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Despite a 400-yard passing day from sophomore quarterback Jeff Mathews, head coach Kent Austin’s squad was unable to contain Brown senior quarterback Kyle Newhall-Caballero and speedy sophomore running back John Spooney, as the Bears put the game out of reach in the second half, earning their second Ivy win of the season, 35-24.A 45-yard pass from Newhall-Caballero to senior wide receiver Matt Sudfeld in the first minute after the break and an 81-yard run by Spooney was enough to end the Red’s bid for a comeback, leaving Cornell winless in conference play.“Coming out of the half they had a big pass play on a missed tackle and a big run in the first three series,” Austin recalled. “So you take the touchdown at the end of the first half, the first two [touchdowns] to start the second half, and we built a huge whole for ourselves. We can’t do that. We’re not good enough right now to give up those types of plays … and expect to beat a good team.”The Red (2-4, 0-3 Ivy League) mounted a comeback late in the game mirroring last week’s conclusion against Colgate, when sophomore safety Josh Barut forced a fumble with 1:28 remaining in the game and Brown (5-1, 2-1) leading by 11. Mathews was sacked twice on the ensuing possession — bringing his total to six on the afternoon — and the offense was unable to recreate the last minute magic from a week prior.“We never think we’re out of the game until the game is over, so we always have that mentality,” said senior defensive end Zack Imhoff when asked about the team’s ability to battle back from deficits late in the game.Mathews started the game firing on all cylinders, finding senior wide receiver Shane Savage for a 14-yard touchdown with the Brown defense in his face as the pocket collapsed. The Cornell offense only needed to pick up 33 yards on the drive after senior cornerback Rashad Campbell returned the opening kick-off 55 yards.Mathews completed 7-of-13 passes in the first quarter, with senior tight end Ryan Houska running the ball only three times during that period.“Our offensive game plan is always to score and move the ball, so [we go with] whatever gives us the best opportunity to do that,” Mathews explained. “Our wide receivers have been playing really well for us, and any time we can get them a short pass and let them run with it a little bit it definitely gives us a chance to get our offense going.”Newhall-Caballero responded on the Bears’ second drive of the game, evading Cornell sophomore defensive end Tre’ Minor and finding wide receiver Jimmy Saros in the end zone to tie things up, 7-7.  The Red closed out the first quarter with a 23-yard field goal from senior kicker Brad Greenway, who was called upon by Austin after the offense failed to convert following a first-and-goal situation at the Brown two-yard line.“We’ve been a good red zone offense, but [Brown is] one of the best red zone defenses, too,” Austin said. “We had a lot of opportunities to score more points, but we [had to settle for field goals].”The Bears faced a similar situation on their next drive, but unlike the Red was able to capitalize on the strong field position, as Newhall-Caballero took care of business himself, running it in to retake the lead, 14-10.Another goal line stand by the Bears forced the Red to settle for another field goal, shrinking the deficit to one, 14-13.With time winding down in the half, Newhall-Caballero led the Bears on a 91-yard drive, which ultimately ended with the quarterback earning his second rushing touchdown on the day — a 14-yard run down the sideline and into the end zone.“We knew he was an athletic kid going into [the game], and he’s shown that in the past,” Imhoff said of Newhall-Caballero. “We just got out of our pass rushing lanes. Defensively we weren’t sound and they turned those plays into big plays.” After two incompletions to start the second half, Newhall-Caballero found Sudfeld 38 seconds into the third quarter for a 45-yard touchdown reception. The score proved to be the back-breaker for the Red, as Brown extended its lead beyond reach, 28-13.Following another field goal by Greenway, Spooney added onto the Brown lead with an 81-yard touchdown run on the Bears’ first play of a third quarter drive with 1:51 remaining to increase the Cornell deficit, 35-16.A 17-yard touchdown pass from Mathews to junior wide receiver Kurt Ondash, who racked up 110 yards on Saturday, and a successful two-point conversion to junior wide receiver Luke Tasker left the Red trailing, 35-24, with 7:10 to play.The Cornell offense failed to capitalize on Imhoff’s fumble recovery with time winding down, and the home team exited Schoellkopf Field still in search of its first Ivy League victory.The search continues in Princeton, N.J., when the Red plays the host Tigers (1-5, 1-2) on Saturday at 1 p.m.

Original Author: Evan Rich