Cornell football kicks off its season at 3:30 p.m. Saturday in Newark, Del., where it will hope to knock off a favored Delaware squad. Coming off a 3-7 campaign, in which the Red posted a 3-4 Ivy mark, Cornell hopes to achieve its first winning season since 2005.
How to watch or listen:
Stream on bluehens.com, radio in Ithaca WHCU 95.9 FM/870 AM, live updates at cornellsun.com and @DailySunSports on Twitter.
The Blue Hens beat the Red, 41-14, in Cornell’s season opener in Newark last season. This is the programs’ second straight September matchup and second all-time meeting.
Cornell last time out:
This is the Red’s season opener. As usual, Ivy League rules have their teams as the country’s last squads to kick off the season.
Delaware last time out:
Delaware is 1-1, coming off a 37-0 blanking of Lafayette last weekend. Quarterback Pat Kehoe threw for three touchdowns in the victory.
Scouting the Blue Hens:
Ranked No. 15 in the preseason FCS poll, Delaware is 27-2 in its last 29 home non-conference games, including the beatdown of the Red a year ago. Kehoe, a junior, has thrown for five touchdowns against zero interceptions in two games so far. Offensively, Delaware has traditionally employed a downhill, run-first style unlike some of the more aerial attacks in the Ivy League. In a 7-4 season in 2017, the Blue Hens went 5-1 at home.
Head coach David Archer ’05 on Delaware: “Their style is so different, even how you play it defensively, you might not play that exact adjustment to that coverage because they run a lot more two-back and tight end wing than most people do in the Ivy, so not really afraid of giving up too much from that standpoint. Offensively, their defense [controls] the box with five, maybe a sixth guy. They play very soft quarters, they really want to rally everything in front of them and kind of out-athlete you that way.”
Cornell beats Delaware if:
…it gets a little lucky, and if it wins the turnover battle. The Red will need to play a nearly perfect game to keep up with a tough Blue Hen team already in midseason form. Specifically, Cornell needs to take care of the football, something it failed miserably to do against Delaware last season. The Red coughed it up on its first offensive series, the first of five first-half giveaways in its season opener last year.
An improved Cornell run defense and a rejuvenated running game should keep the game low-scoring and within reach if Cornell can avoid turnovers. Defensively, senior linebacker and captain Reis Seggebruch, junior cornerback David Jones and company need a big play or two to set their offense up for success. A turnover battle win might not be enough to take down the Blue Hens, but the Red can’t expect to compete on Saturday without one.
What they’re saying in Ithaca:
Archer: “It’s primarily just focusing on what we want to do and really being smart. I think limiting the calls is really going to help with that…let’s not go reinvent the wheel for Delaware. Let’s stick to our base calls, and that way the kids feel super prepared.”
Seggebruch: “[Delaware’s offense is] different than what we see in the Ivy League which is a lot of one-back, 11 personnel spread teams, so we’re keeping our same scheme really but we’re obviously having more bodies in the box and our linebackers are going to play more downhill.”
Senior quarterback Dalton Banks, on avoiding a start like last season’s five-turnover first half at Delaware: “We’ve been a lot more strict about taking care of the ball, a lot more disciplined, and I think it’s going to make a difference in this first game. We can’t come out like we did last season.”
Banks: “We’ve just got to be smart with the ball. We can’t get greedy, can’t try to push the ball too far down the field. You just got to chip away at them, wear them out, control the ball … We have to help our defense out by keeping them off the field.”
What they’re saying in Delaware:
“We have a lot of weapons … I just let those guys on the edge make plays,” Kehoe told The Review in Newark after the win over Lafayette, a week after a disappointing loss to Rhode Island.
Sophomore wide receiver Eric Gallman and senior running back Chris Walker, who both suffered season-ending injuries last year, are “day-to-day” but expected to play Saturday, Archer told the media on Tuesday. Walker will likely be available, but is “not exactly what he is pre-injury,” Archer said.
Fun fact about the Blue Hens:
Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, the Super Bowl XLVII MVP, played college football at Delaware, leading the Blue Hens to the 2001 FCS championship game.