Cornell Football Drops Fourth Straight

October 25, 2009

By Sam Aleinikoff

For the second consecutive week, a hot start for Cornell (2-4, 1-2 Ivy) was quickly neutralized as the Big Red fell to reigning Ivy League Co-Champion, Brown, 34-14, on Saturday afternoon in Ithaca, NY.

Brown’s Kyle Newhall connected with Buddy Farnham for the Bears’ first two scores of the day and Zachary Tronti sealed the deal late for the Ivy League’s most prolific offense with three rushing touchdowns in the final 21 minutes of play.

“In the second half we came and made some big plays” Brown Head Coach, Phil Estes, said “We had an opportunity to shut the game down with our run game and Tronti was immense in the fourth quarter.”

The Bears (4-2, 2-1 Ivy) eclipsed their Ivy League leading marks in passing offense (338 yards), total offense (503 yards) and scoring offense (34 points) as they extended their winning streak to four games.

It was the Cornell defense that struck first though. Junior, Ben Heller’s interception halted the first Brown drive of the game at the Cornell 12 yard line and Cornell’s Dempsey Quinn forced a fumble on the second Brown possession resulting in a 26-yard Anthony Ambrosi return for a touchdown.

“We practice scoop-and-score all the time,” Ambrosi said. “The ball just happened to bounce high enough for me to grab it, and run it in.”

It took about 20 minutes for the Brown offense to find it’s stride. The first strike came on a 48-yard touchdown pass from Newhall to Farnham in the second quarter. After inserting Cornell receiver Horatio Blackman at safety, Farnham was able to create space against the inexperienced defender. Brown again found the end zone midway through the third quarter when Newhall found Farnham open once more, this time for a 56-yard touchdown.

“He’s going to make plays on you if you cover him,” Cornell Head Coach, Jim Knowles said of Farnham. “It’s even tougher if you let him go free.”

Within 15 seconds, Brown was on the board again. Cornell’s Ben Ganter was intercepted by defensive lineman James Devlin. After several missed tackles on the return and a personal foul on the Big Red offense, Brown regained possession on the Cornell 3-yard line. A quick touchdown run by Tronti gave the Bears their first lead of the afternoon.

“It was huge. It was a big momentum swing,” Estes said.

Cornell’s offense was led by a two-quarterback attack for much of the afternoon. Senior wide receiver, Stephen Liuzza, got the start in place of the injured Ganter. Liuzza, who led the big red on two late scoring drives and ran for a season-high 166 yards last week against Fordham, was effective through the air on Saturday, throwing for 124 yards on 10-of-13 passing. Ganter, who replaced Liuzza for the final two drives of the first half and all but one possession of the second stanza, struggled throwing the ball, completing only 10-of-20 passes for no touchdowns and 2 interceptions. When asked if his injured shoulder impacted his play on Saturday, Ganter denied that it was a problem.

“It’s been getting progressively better,” Ganter said of his shoulder. “I don’t think it really effected the deep ball. Those were just poor decisions, poor throws.”

Without consistent play at quarterback and fewer than 40 yards rushing, the Cornell offense was unable to score on Saturday. One bright spot offensively for the Big Red was the play of Bryan Walters who caught 7 passes for 105 yards, breaking the century mark for the second consecutive week.

Cornell will travel to Princeton on Saturday, November 7 looking for it’s first win since beating Yale on September 26.