Football steals a win to return to winning form

Liam Moore, Contributing Writer

It was an arduous game to help the Bison return to form, regaining the winning record that had slipped from their grasp against Duquesne.

The football team took the fresh wounds from their previous loss with them to Ithaca, N.Y., where they were set for their first road matchup of the season against Cornell.

Sept. 18-19 was Cornell’s annual Homecoming Weekend. Cornell’s squad had reason to feel especially confident heading onto the field, yet it was the Bison who would be celebrating when the clock finally ran out.

From the beginning, it was clear that the visiting Bison would be a different team from the one that had suited up in the first two weeks of the season. Wide receiver Will Carter ’17, who led the team in receiving yards and scores by a wide margin last season, returned to the field after missing the season-openers. Within minutes, Carter made his presence felt, taking a red-zone pass from quarterback R.J. Nitti ’17 to the house from 11 yards out. After two straight games without a touchdown pass, it was nice to see Nitti and the Bison able to threaten through the air as well as on the ground.

The presence of Carter and a refreshed passing game opened the offense across the board, providing for a two-pronged attack that the Bison hopes to further develop as the season continues. Running back C.J. Williams ’17 gave the Big Red a performance usually seen back at Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium, grinding out 133 yards on 35 carries.

The game was competitive throughout, with neither team establishing a solid advantage. Entering the final quarter, it was unclear who would come out on top. The Cornell fans surely did not expect the end result with their team leading 14-10 with less than two minutes remaining. As recently deceased sports legend Yogi Berra consistently iterated, “it ain’t over ’til it’s over.”

With only 1:53 on the clock, Nitti completed a 14-yard pass to backup running back Joey DeFloria ’18, culminating a grueling drive that took almost eight minutes of precious game-time from the home team. This gave the Bison the lead at 17-14. At the same time, it gave Cornell another chance to come back, albeit a slim one.

The Bison defense pressed hard and ensured that Cornell’s odds did not improve, intercepting a pass from Cornell quarterback on the drive following DeFloria’s touchdown. The Bison, having regained possession, were forced to punt the ball back to Cornell, further increasing the game’s intensity in the closing moments.

On the game’s final play, the Bison defense swarmed Cornell in their own end zone, killing the clock and Cornell’s hopes with a game-saving safety, leading to the ultimate score of 19 for the Bison and 14 for the Big Red.

The Orange and Blue will take this momentum and build on it going into their bye week before heading to Lexington, Va., where they will take on VMI on Oct. 3.

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