Coming off its best performance of the year, football now enters the back end of its season in command of its future. Taking on Princeton this Saturday, Oct. 28, Cornell can remain at the front of the pack in the Ivy League with a win.
The Red (3-3, 2-1 Ivy) dismantled Brown this past Saturday, Oct. 21. Cornell jumped out to a 33-0 lead and cruised to a 36-14 win.
All three phases showed up against the Bears. On offense, junior quarterback Jameson Wang threw for 330 yards. The defense kept Brown’s high-flying offense in check with three interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown. And on special teams, senior kicker/punter Jackson Kennedy picked up his third Ivy League Special Teams Player of the Week honors this year after going three for three on field goals.
“He [Kennedy] is a real bonafide weapon to score points,” said head coach David Archer ’05. “He’s been a tremendous asset.”
The Tigers (3-3, 2-1 Ivy) upset previously undefeated No. 23 Harvard, 21-14. Princeton held quarterback Charles DePrima to just 152 yards passing, a 42 percent completion percentage and three interceptions.
It has been a volatile year for the Tigers, which suffered an overtime loss to Brown prior to beating Harvard. Princeton’s third Ivy contest this season was a 10-7 win over Columbia.
The Tigers this year is led by its defense. Princeton leads all of FCS in total defense, at 257.5 yards per game, and is fourth in scoring defense at 14.8 points allowed per game. This unit was on display against the Crimson, limiting a team that had previously been averaging 41.2 points per game to just 14.
“They always have a chance to be in the game because of what they bring on the defensive side,” Archer said. “We’re going to have to be able to move the sticks and put points on the board against a team that not many people put points up against.”
The Tigers’ offense, by contrast, has been more suspect. Princeton currently ranks seventh in the Ivy League in scoring, at 17.2 points per game, and in total offense at 321.2 yards per game.
The Cornell-Princeton rivalry has been fairly one-sided in recent years, with the Tigers winning eight out of the past nine games. Last year when the two teams faced off, it was all Princeton, as it routed the Red, 35-9.
With five teams currently sitting at 2-1 in the Ivy League, this game is pivotal for both teams. Cornell and Princeton control their destinies within the conference — winning the final four games of the season would guarantee at least a share of the Ivy title.
“We’ve got to do our job one play at a time,” Archer said.
Prediction: Cornell 17 Princeton 14
Despite the woes the Red suffered in New Jersey last season, this year’s team is more experienced, and is rounding into shape following its win over Brown. With the strength of Princeton’s defense, this game will likely be low-scoring, but the Red will do just enough at home to keep pace in conference.
Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. from Schoellkopf Field. The game will also be broadcast on ESPN+.