Red Football lose to No. 16 Penn in season finaleNovember 20, 2010 —
Photo courtesy of Athletic Communications
The Red were the true underdog story heading into their season-ending game against Penn, but they did not create a Hollywood ending or play the role of Cinderella, losing to the No. 16-ranked Quakers (9-1, 7-0 Ivy League) in a 31-7 blowout at Schoelkompf Field Saturday afternoon.
The Red (2-8, 1-6) were held to less than 200 yards of total offense, and continued to struggle defending against the run, giving up 282 yards on the ground.
According to freshman quarterback Jeff Mathews, it was a difficult season across the board, especially for seniors transitioning under a new system.
“It’s tough because you want to send these [seniors] out the right way…I mean the right way of winning a [Ivy League] championship, doing something that’s big,” Mathews said. “And it’s tough because they deserve that, and obviously we were not able to do that.”
The Red finished with the same record under Austin as they did under his predecessor Jim Knowles: 2-8.
But for seniors like Red defensive back Emani Fenton where it is hard to leave as seniors with a 2-8 finish, Fenton also believes that the Kent Austin Era has been short lived and the team will continue to get better.
“I feel bad for the rest of my seniors, but the good thing is that once you’re part of this Cornell football family, you’re part of [it],” Fenton said. “So when we get this thing turned around…I think that all the seniors can say that we’re champions as well.”
The mentality exists among the Red players that a championship is not a farfetched goal, but for Austin, the dedication to excellence also has to exist to make a championship a reality.
“We got to be more disciplined, we have to be more focused and we have to be more committed,” Austin said. “The whole entire water level of everything we are doing has to rise several levels for us to be able to compete in this league.”
Despite the 2-8 season, including only one win in Ivy League play, Austin believes the team has matriculated throughout the course of the season.
“I think we made a lot of progress in areas that don’t always show up to the outside [observer]…we’re tying to change the culture here,” said Austin. “We’re trying to teach our guys what it means to compete, what it means to prepare at a different level, what it means to finish, what it means to practice hard. All of those things.”
The Red lose eight starters next season, including Fenton and three starters on the offensive line, as Austin hopes to set a precedence for winning as his tenure with the Red progresses.
But until then, Austin believes it starts with a tough off-season if the returning players ever want to be in Penn’s shoes.
“I think the vast majority of our guys now know what the expectation level is and they better get ready for a pretty hard off-season,” said Austin. “We’re going to find out who really wants to commit…we’re going to bring along guys that really want to be football players.”