After a strong 3-0 start to the season, the sprint football team suffered its first defeat, 38-14, to the powerhouse offense of the Army Black Knights on Friday.
The Black Knights scored 24 straight points, beginning the game with a field goal by senior kicker Kevin Scruggs and then tacking on three passing touchdowns by senior quarterback Javier Sustaita.
The Red failed to put up its first points until late in the third quarter when junior quarterback Brendan Miller connected with senior wide receiver Abe Mellinger for a 69-yard touchdown.
Army struck back, though, with a three-play drive culminating in a 56-yard touchdown to take a 31-7 lead and end any opportunity for the Red to stage a comeback. The Red and the Black Knights remained even for the rest of the game, scoring one touchdown each.
Both teams scored the majority of their points with a minimum of players. Each of the Red’s touchdowns were executed by long conversions between Miller and Mellinger while Sustaita and senior wide receiver Cody Nyp hooked up for 21 of Army’s 31 points. Each quarterback threw for over 300 yards.
While the Red’s first loss was a disappointment, holding a Black Knights offense that has averaged 53 points a game to less than 40 is an accomplishment in itself.
The Red will face the league’s remaining powerhouse, Navy, on Friday, in a 7 p.m. home game. Navy is 3-0 on the season, scoring more than 35 points in each game including a 62-point performance on the road against Princeton. The squad also hasn’t lost a game since November 5th, 2010 and has only fallen in two games since 2006.
The last time Cornell defeated Navy was in a hard-fought game in 2006.
With 56 seconds left in regulation, the Red scored a clutch touchdown and then converted on the first play in overtime to pick up the victory. Before that, it had been 15 games since the Red had beaten Navy.
With such a difficult opponent ahead, Cornell head coach Bart Guccia has his hands full.
“We’ve had more success against Army than Navy,” Guccia admitted.
Guccia’s week will include watching tape and conducting rigorous practices to get the guys in shape.
He recognizes the difficulty in being a student athlete — the challenge of “[making] weight twice a week,” and “keeping up with studies,” he said.
Nevertheless, the team has a solid record of 3-1 and a number of close game victories including a six-overtime win against Penn. With such a good foundation on the season so far, the Red has the experience to play with any team in the league.
In what will certainly be a test of the Red’s talent, depth and defensive ability, Cornell looks to come away with a rare victory over Navy.
Original Author: Skyler Dale