In sprint football’s second conference game of the season — a contest that would determine if Cornell’s chances at the postseason would remain alive — the Red trounced Post University 34-0 to improve to 4-1 on the season, good for the team’s best record through five games since 2010.
Unlike last weekend’s matchup against St. Thomas Aquinas — where the Red put up a 23-point fourth quarter to stage a late-game comeback — this time, Cornell did not need to rely on 11th hour heroics to claim victory.
Just less than a minute into the first quarter, freshman wide receiver Colton Kotecki took the opening kickoff a stunning 89 yards into the endzone, his speed and skilled running carrying him past Post’s defenders.
“That play really jump started the whole night,” said associate head coach Bob Gneo. “Scoring on our first possession was really key.”
With six minutes left in the first, junior running back Will Griffen punched in a one-yard touchdown. He followed that up with a 10-yard touchdown late in the second quarter, before connecting with senior quarterback Connor Ostrander to score his third touchdown halfway through the third.
Up 27-0, Ostrander successfully tossed a 25-yard pass to senior Alexander Furman for the last score of the day. Cornell amassed 300 yards of total offense in its thrashing of Post.
“Post had just 28 yards rushing, and 58 total yards,” Gneo said. “Our defense performed incredibly well.”
In addition to near flawless defense, Gneo attributed much of the team’s overall dominant performance to the matchup’s do-or-die status. If Cornell lost, it would be out of contention for a chance at the conference title, rendering next week’s game against Army something of an exhibition match.
“We were incredibly focused on winning this game — to have a chance against Army,” Gneo explained. “We had to beat Post, and we did exactly that.”
And with the convincing win, the Red is now the closest it has been to a title in years. If Cornell can defeat Army this weekend, it will own its conference’s best record, and have the chance to compete to be the league’s champion — a distinction that has eluded the team since 2006
That, however, is a task far easier said than done. Army currently remains undefeated 5-0, and few on the Red’s roster can forget last year’s unmitigated catastrophe — a horrific game in which Cornell fell to West Point in an 0-55 landslide.
But Gneo hopes that — now that payback and a title are on the line — the Red will put such brutal memories far in the rearview mirror.
“We have to not turn the ball over, and give them opportunities … they will take advantage of any mistakes,” Gneo warned. “But if we can do that, we have definitely have a shot.”
The Red travels to take on Army this Friday at 7 p.m.