Bison football loses to Cornell

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Cooper Mead

Senior Writer 

The football team took on the Cornell Big Red at Schoellkopf Field in Ithaca, N.Y. where it suffered a 45-13 loss marked by a plethora of turnovers.

As the game took place in heavy rainfall, the Bison suffered six turnovers. Those turnovers proved to be crucial, as four of them led to Cornell touchdowns. Despite such deficits, CJ Williams ’17 led the Bison offense. He ran 148 yards on 30 carries. In addition, quarterback Brandon Wesley ’14 completed seven of 16 passes for 118 yards.

“The offensive line continued to show improvement … the more game experience they have the more they will improve,” head coach Joe Susan said.

The Bison began the first-half scoring when Kyle Sullivan ’14 brought a punt back for a 59-yard touchdown and ended the Bison drought of 10 years without a punt return for a touchdown. The Bison proceeded to score again after another Big Red punt, as Wesley threw a 56-yard pass to Josh Lebo ’15 that brought kicker Derek Maurer ’15 in field goal range and put three points on the board for the Bison.

The second quarter began with a quick Cornell touchdown strike with All-American quarterback Jeff Mathews throwing a 44-yard touchdown pass to Chris Lenz. On the ensuing drive, the Bison countered with a methodical 13-play, 71-yard drive, but were held to a 21-yard field goal kicked by Maurer (four for four this season) that gave them a 13-7 lead with 5:19 left in the half.

Despite the solid Bison play for the majority of the first half, they were unable to carry their momentum into halftime as Cornell kicked a 38-yard field goal to put the Big Red within three points with just over two minutes to play in the half. On the next Bison drive, Matt DelMauro ’16 lost a fumble on the first play, allowing Mathews to complete a 30-yard touchdown pass that gave Cornell its first lead of the game (17-13) at the half.

“We are a team that prides itself in ball security. The six turnovers we had are a reality though, and we must work to eliminate this. We had four offensive turnovers and two special teams turnovers. The impact this has on possessions and ultimately the scoreboard is a reason why the game turned out the way it did,” Susan said.

The Bison struggled throughout the second half. On Cornell’s first possession, Mathews coordinated a 72-yard drive culminating in an acrobatic 14-yard touchdown pass to bring the score to 24-13. On the next drive, Wesley fumbled deep in Bison territory, and Cornell returned it 18 yards for a score to bring the Big Red lead to 31-13.

In an attempt to come back, the Bison orchestrated a significant drive marked by a 19-yard rush by Charles Thompson ’14 and a 30-yard rush by Wesley. The Bison were stopped on third down at the Cornell five-yard line and lined up for a field goal. On a fake field goal attempt, Maurer fumbled in wet conditions and Cornell returned it 82 yards to give the Big Red a commanding lead of 38-13. The Big Red tallied one more touchdown on a one-yard run after a bouncing Wesley fumble was recovered by Cornell.

“Last week is over and all we can do is focus on what’s ahead of us, which right now is Sacred Heart. We will continue to focus on practice each day on its own and come Saturday we will be prepared,” team captain Jeff Goyette ’14 said.

The Bison hope to rebound from this week’s loss when they host Sacred Heart tomorrow at 6 p.m. at Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium.

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