With non-conference play in the rearview mirror, Cornell football will look to build Ivy League momentum as it makes the trip to Providence this Saturday for a 1 p.m. kickoff against last-place Brown. It will be the first of five straight Ivy contests to close out the season.
How to watch or listen:
Video on ESPN+ (subscription needed), radio in Ithaca on WHCU 97.7 FM/870 AM.
Brown leads the series 37-27-1 dating back to the first meeting in 1895. Although Cornell won last year’s contest at home, 34-7, Brown has won 14 of the last 17 meetings. The Red is looking for its first win in Providence since 2002 and its first back-to-back victories over Brown since winning four straight from 1990 to 1993.
Cornell last time out:
Cornell was shut out, 31-0, on the road last week by Colgate’s top-ranked defense. The Red’s offense struggled to get anything started all game and committed three turnovers.
Brown last time out:
The Bears were dominated on the road by undefeated Princeton last week, 48-10. The Bears’ 10 second-half points were the first points any team scored in the second half against Princeton this season. Junior wide receiver L.J. Harriott had nine catches for 117 yards.
Scouting the Bears:
The Bears might be last in the Ivy League with their only win coming against a dismal Georgetown team, but Cornell’s players and coaches are not taking the matchup lightly. The Red is getting ready to face a deceptive offense and a line-stuffing defense.
Head Coach David Archer ’05 on Brown’s schemes: “I see pretty good schemes. Offensively it’s a lot of the New Hampshire Chip Kelly RPO a lot of fast sweep nakeds a lot of trick plays.
Archer on the Brown defense: Defensively I see a 3-4 which is different for them for the first time in like 20 years. What they’re doing is very similar schematically to what Colgate does. It’s a 3-4 but you might as well call it a 5-2 because the three defensive linemen who are traditionally on the nose and the tackle are [instead] just inside the tackle and they’re taking away all the gaps and stacking two linebackers right behind it, so they build a nice wall [against the run]. They try to take away the read game and the quarterback run game that way. We have to get in formations that put them in a bind where they need to loosen that front up and walk one of the linebackers out or expand the gaps a bit.”
Senior linebacker Maxwell McCormick on Brown’s offense: “They’re going to try to trick us so we’re going to stay true to our fundamentals and go out and get it done.”
Cornell beats Brown if:
… it runs the ball and stays disciplined. Running and taking care of the football has been Cornell’s bread and butter this season, and Brown has shown little ability to stop the run. If Cornell can keep getting a good push from the O-line, junior Harold Coles has shown he can do the rest. Look for the Red to punch through Brown’s 3-4 wall and rack up some serious yards on the ground. The Red’s defense has been solid all year and seems ready for a Brown offense that has tended toward stagnancy this year, especially on the ground. As long as the defense doesn’t get fooled, Cornell should subject Brown to the Bears’ status quo.
What they’re saying in Ithaca:
Archer on Brown: “They’re very sound, they’re playing a lot of young guys, they play tough and they play well at home. I think it’s going to be an absolute battle. We haven’t won there since I was a sophomore in college. We need to play with a chip on our shoulder.”
Senior running back J.D. Pickell: “I think we’re a pretty confident bunch. We’re resilient, which is a strong point in this team that makes it different from other Cornell teams. We’re all in a good place physically and mentally so I’m excited to see what we do Saturday.”
What they’re saying in Providence:
Quarterback Michael McGovern to the Brown Daily Herald after last week’s loss to Princeton: “Now we’re going to learn from our mistakes in this past game and get better for Cornell. We don’t need to change the plan, we just need to execute it.”
It is unclear if junior quarterback Mike Catanese will play Saturday. Catanese, the offense’s spark-plug run-first QB, did not play last week after limping off the field against Harvard two weeks ago.
Cornell and Brown are two of the six Division I football teams that have not yet lost a fumble this season; Cornell is the only team in all of Division I without a fumble.
Fun fact about the Bears:
NFL long snapper Zak DeOssie played linebacker for Brown. In 2004 he recorded 12 tackles and a sack against a Cornell offensive line that featured both Archer and DeOssie’s future Super Bowl XLII and XLVI teammate, Kevin Boothe ’05.