After starting off the season hot with two wins, football has hit a rough patch in its season. The Red lost on Homecoming to Colgate after leading for the first three quarters, and then this past Friday, Oct. 6, Cornell was defeated handily by Harvard. With more than half the season still remaining, the team now turns to its final nonconference game this Saturday, Oct. 14, when it hosts Bucknell.
The Red (2-2, 1-1 Ivy) is coming off its largest margin of defeat this season, a 41-23 loss at the hands of the Crimson. Cornell never led in the contest, and appeared overmatched by the offense led by quarterback Charles DePrima, who was named Ivy League and FCS Offensive Player of the Week.
The ground game, where the Red usually shines, was also a weak point against Harvard. Cornell was outrushed 243-111, averaging just 3.1 yards per carry, as opposed to the Crimson’s 6.9.
The Bison (1-4, 0-2 Patriot League) fell to No. 11 Holy Cross on Saturday, Oct. 7. Bucknell has had a slow start to the season, with its lone win coming against VMI. The game this Saturday will be the Bison’s second against an Ivy League team this year — the first was a 37-21 loss against Penn on Sept. 23.
Bucknell’s offense is led by quarterback Ralph Rucker, who has passed for 1,124 yards. The Bison ranks second in the Patriot League in passing at 236 yards per game.
The Cornell-Bucknell series has been fairly one-sided since the two teams first faced off in 1888, with the Red winning 43 of 58 contests. Cornell is 34-7 at home against the Bison, but in recent history, Bucknell has had the upper hand, winning the past two and four of the past five games between the teams.
This game serves as a potential get-right moment for both teams. The Red is looking to build momentum as it enters the heart of its season, while the Bison is seeking to salvage what has been a disappointing campaign thus far.
Prediction: Cornell 31 Bucknell 17
Bucknell has been struggling all year, and this Saturday will be the perfect opportunity for Cornell to bounce back and get a win. The Red will have greater success returning to its roots than it did last week, and should be able to control the ball for a significant amount of time, limiting the Bison’s opportunities and pulling away early.
Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. from Schoellkopf Field. The game will also be broadcast on ESPN+.