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Seeking its first four win season since 2019, football traveled to Providence, Rhode Island on Saturday to take on Brown (2-4, 0-3 Ivy). With both teams seeking their first Ivy League win of the year, it was the Red coming away with the victory, 24-21.
Cornell (4-2, 1-2 Ivy) got the ball on its own 25 to start the game. The Red took advantage of the Bears’ defense immediately, embarking on a 10-play, 75-yard drive. Sophomore quarterback Jameson Wang completed just one pass on the drive, but ultimately rushed for the three-yard score.
The drive was powered by sophomore running back Eddy Tillman, who racked up more than 100 yards rushing in the first quarter. On the Red’s opening drive, Tillman had rushes for 28 and 19 yards en route to the score. The Red quickly led, 7-0.
Looking for a response on its ensuing possession, the Bears opted to go for it twice on fourth down. A running into the kicker penalty allowed Brown to convert its first try, but on a fourth and 3 from the Cornell 39, freshman defensive lineman Mason Yacovelli batted down the pass attempt. The Red took over on downs.
Both offenses had struggles maintaining drives, resulting in four consecutive punts. Brown had its best opportunity when a punt block set it up in Cornell territory, but the Red defense forced a three-and-out.
A shanked Brown punt early in the second quarter gave the Red a prime opportunity to score, starting on the Brown 30. After stalling in the redzone, Cornell settled for a 38-yard field goal attempt, and junior kicker Jackson Kennedy drilled it. Cornell extended to a two possession lead, 10-0.
After stalling on its first three drives, the Brown offense began to pick up. The Bears marched down the field for the longest drive of the game – a 16-play, 75-yard possession that took nearly six minutes.
Brown was able to mix the run and pass game as it methodically worked the ball down the field. The Bears was also aided by a pass interference call against senior cornerback Paul Lewis III. The Bears closed the drive with a three-yard touchdown rush to cut the Cornell lead to three.
After punts from both teams, the Red had the ball on the Brown 49 with 90 seconds to play in the half. Following a defensive pass interference, Wang was able to complete consecutive passes to junior tight end Matt Robbert. The second was an 11-yard strike to the corner of the endzone to put the Red back up by 10.
Brown came out of the locker room looking for points fast in the second half. After flying down the field, the Bears faced a fourth and 3 from the Cornell 4. Keeping the offense on the field, the Cornell defense held strong, holding quarterback Jake Wilcox to no gain.
Cornell was unable to generate any offense in the third quarter, and its second consecutive three-and-out set the Bears up at the Cornell 42. On the first play of the drive, Wilcox fired a 39-yard strike to wide receiver Solomon Miller, setting up an immediate goal-to-go opportunity.
The Bears struggled to punch the ball in, and again faced a fourth down. Going for it for the fourth time in the game, Brown was able to run the ball in, narrowing the Cornell lead to 17-14.
Heading into the final 15, the Red was looking for insurance points to bolster its lead. With 12 minutes remaining, the Red began a drive with an eight yard rush by Tillman. The Cornell running back was injured on the play and went to the sideline, and sat out the remainder of the game.
On the next play, Wang was able to connect with Robbert on a 55-yard go route down the sideline. It was the second touchdown on the day for Robbert, and it put the Red back up by 10.
Playing with a sense of urgency, the Bears wasted no time getting back into the game. Brown marched down the field with a 10-play, 75-yard drive, culminating in a 25-yard pass. With eight minutes to play, Cornell held a slim lead, 24-21.
Trying to work the clock, Cornell turned to the run game, rushing on every snap of the possession. The Red converted two fourth downs, one on a fake punt by Ayden McCarter. Cornell stalled at midfield after burning six minutes, and punted back to the Brown 23.
With an opportunity to win the game on a two-minute drill, the Bears began to move the ball down the field. After working the ball into the redzone, Brown rushed down to the goal line. After an initial touchdown call, the decision was overturned by replay, setting the Bears up at the one-yard line.
Fighting down to the last second, the Cornell defense came up with its biggest plays of the day. The Red stuffed the run on first-and-goal, pushing Brown back to the 4. After a false start, fifth year lineman Max Lundeen came up with the play of the game – a strip sack on Wilcox. Junior lineman Brendan Chestnut fell on the ball at the 23, sealing the 24-21 win for the Red.
With the win, Cornell has its first winning streak on the year. The Red will look to extend it to three next Saturday, when it travels to New Jersey to take on Princeton. The game will be available on ESPN+.