Julia Nagel/Sun Photography Editor

The Red was unable to hold up against Yale's offense.

September 24, 2022

Football Dismantled in 38-14 Homecoming Loss to Yale

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This story has been updated.

Cornell was blown out, 38-14, in its Ivy opener against Yale on Saturday.

The Red (1-1, 0-1 Ivy) could not keep up with the Bulldogs (1-1, 1-0 Ivy) on either side of the ball. Cornell struggled to move the chains on offense and had no answers to Yale on defense.

The huge loss was a stark contrast to last week’s impressive win over VMI, when Cornell scored four touchdowns and was dominant on defense.

“It’s a disappointing result, and certainly a surprising one to me given what I saw from our team the first week,” said head coach David Archer ’05. “I didn’t think we were going to be pushed around.”

The bright spot of the day on offense was a 99-yard touchdown drive in the first quarter. Backed up on his own goal line, sophomore quarterback Jameson Wang scrambled for a 43-yard gain on third down before finding junior receiver Nicholas Laboy for a touchdown pass a few plays later. 

Aside from the 36-yard touchdown pass to Laboy, Wang never really got going in the passing game, finishing 9-14 for 68 yards. 

“I like that he didn’t force the ball,” Archer said. “But we have to keep creating opportunities where he can get the ball down field. 

The touchdown was the first of Laboy’s career.

“There’s nothing better than that. It’s always good to put points on the board for the team,” Laboy said.

It was Laboy’s only catch of the day, but he finished as the team’s leading receiver.

“I think we should start with the short game a little more,” Laboy said. “We’ve gotta get the passing game going a bit more.”

The long drive evened the score at 7-7 after Yale had marched down the field and scored easily on its first possession. It was the closest Cornell came to competing with the Bulldogs all afternoon.

On the other side of the ball, the Red’s defense regressed after a dominant showing last week against VMI. Bulldogs quarterback Nolan Grooms carved up Cornell’s defense with his legs and passed for 180 yards in the first half.

“I think that’s the worst game you’re going to see us play all season,” said senior defensive lineman Max Lundeen. “It’s the worst game I’ve played in college. We can only go up from here.”

Yale scored again on its second drive, converting on fourth and one at midfield and slamming it in a few plays after a 29-yard completion.

The teams exchanged punts before Yale added to its lead with an 83-yard touchdown drive to take a 21-7 lead early in the second quarter.

Cornell continued to struggle on offense, as its receivers were unable to find separation. After punting back to the Bulldogs, Yale found the end zone once again with less than a minute left in the half. The Red headed to the locker room trailing 28-7.

Cornell converted just four first downs in the first half, going two of seven on third down. The Red generated 112 yards of offense to Yale’s 288.

In the second half, Yale continued to extend its lead, kicking a field goal on its first drive and scoring a one-yard rushing touchdown on its second.

The stalled Cornell offense was forced to rely heavily on the run game, unable to manage another touchdown until Wang found sophomore running back Eddy Tillman for a six-yard touchdown pass early in the fourth to cut Yale’s lead to 38-14.

Despite facing a 24-point deficit with just under 13 minutes to play, Cornell did not attempt an onside kick and Yale bled the clock as it ran the ball down the field. The Bulldogs eventually gave the ball back to the Red, but junior quarterback Luke Duby could not cut into the deficit.

By the time the final whistle sounded, Cornell suffered an embarrassing defeat in front of a homecoming crowd. 14,821 fans were in attendance on Saturday.

“Great crowd, great energy, great Hall of Fame class,” Archer said. “Just disappointed by the result.”

After Cornell’s convincing win over VMI, the loss raises questions about how Cornell will fare against Ivy League opponents this season.

“They’re a heck of a measuring stick,” Archer said. “But it wouldn’t have mattered if it was a good opponent or a bad opponent, we didn’t [make the right plays.]”

Cornell will have an opportunity to make adjustments against an out-of-conference opponent next week when it faces Colgate.