Coming off a victory at home on Oct. 19 against Saint Thomas Aquinas College (1-5, 0-4 North Division), Cornell Sprint Football (2-4, 1-2 North Division) had all the momentum heading into this past weekend. With a desire to start their first win streak of the year, the Red traveled to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on Friday to take on the Chestnut Hill Griffins (1-5, 1-2 South Division).
In a game headlined by rainy, windy and muddy conditions, the Red was able to grind out a 6-0 victory, winning their second game in a row to improve to 2-4 on the season.
It was clear from the get-go that the Red would be playing this game differently than their previous ones. Head Coach Bob Gneo said he believes in a balanced attack, mixing the running and passing games at around a 50-50 share of snap count.
However, amid heavy rain and fast winds, both teams were forced to throw out their regular playbooks and focus solely on the run game.
In what became the Red’s scrappiest game of the year, junior quarterback Xavier Martinez went 1-10 passing with eight total yards, while the Griffins attempted only one pass, an incompletion. Nevertheless, this did not disrupt the Red’s success on offense.
“I don’t think we threw past the middle of the third quarter because of the weather and so we relied on our run game as they did,” Gneo said. “They knew we were doing it, we knew they were doing it — it was just the ability of our offensive line and receiver to block. Jacob [Wynkoop] runs as he always does, runs hard, finds the hole, puts his head down and fights for yards.”
Much of the Red’s offense fell on the shoulders of junior running back Jacob Wynkoop. Wynkoop attempted 38 rushes for 189 yards, good enough for five yards per carry. The Griffin defense seemed to have no response for him, and he played a major role in the possession battle which took up much of the time of this game.
Cornell’s lone score came in the first quarter from a three-yard rush from Martinez. It was the defense that stepped up for 60 minutes and completely shut down the Griffin offense.
Defensively, the Red had its best game of the season in terms of points and total yards allowed. The team limited Chestnut Hill to only 156 total yards of offense, forced five punts and four turnovers on downs. Sophomores Will Anderson and Billy Turner led the team in tackles with 10 and eight, respectively, including two pairs of tackles for a loss. In conditions requiring stoutness on the defensive side of the ball, particularly against the rush, the Red was fully prepared for the challenge at hand.
“Our guys stepped up regardless of the conditions,” Gneo said. “The guys came to play and made plays when we really needed them.”
The Red closes out its season with a home game on Friday, Nov. 5, against division rival United States Military Academy (5-1, 3-0 North Division), who leads the north division with the only undefeated record in conference play. Despite how formidable of an opponent they will be, the Red is ready to meet the challenge.
“We know Army will be a tremendous challenge for us,” Gneo said. “I think we’ve earned respect from the rest of the league with these two wins. Our guys are ready to go but it’ll be quite a challenge. Our guys will certainly take it head on.”