The Bison claimed a 26-18 victory over Cornell on Oct. 14 at Schoellkopf Field. This marks the second time in program history that the football team has won two consecutive games against the Big Red, and brings their season record to 3-3.
Quarterback John Chiarolanzio ’20 completed 11 passes for 176 yards and two touchdowns, John Burdick ’18 kicked four field goals – the most by a Bison in one game since 1989 – and Ben Richard ’19 led a strong defense with 11 tackles.
The Bison were up 10-3 at halftime, but the Big Red opened the second half with a 65-yard touchdown drive to make it a 10-10 game. On the ensuing play, Omar Garcia ’19 had a 49-yard kickoff return, which swung the momentum back in favor of the Orange and Blue. After Garcia’s return, Burdick finished the drive with a 38-yard field goal.
Garcia discussed his momentum-changing kickoff return for the Bison.
“They set it up perfectly with all the blocks and all I had to do was hit the hole,” Garcia said.
The Bison continued to prevail over the Big Red for the rest of the third quarter. Alan Butler ’19 had a diving catch in the end zone for a 22-yard touchdown. The eight-play, 80-yard, drive culminated in Butler’s first touchdown reception of the season. During that scoring drive, Chiarolanzio completed 67 passing yards.
Later in the third quarter, tight-end Jared Morse ’18 set the Bison on Cornell’s 24-yard line after blocking a punt. Burdick concluded the drive with a 33-yard field goal. However, the Big Red took advantage of the 38 seconds left in the quarter and were able to advance to the Bison 17-yard line. After a sack by Roger Mellado ’21, Cornell settled for a 35-yard field goal to close the quarter.
The Bison stretched out their lead to 26-10 with just over three minutes left in the fourth quarter. Though the Big Red scored a touchdown and a two-point conversion in a last-ditch effort, Jack Horan ’18 recovered an onside kick to clinch the Bison victory.
The Orange and Blue were able to successfully prepare for this match-up during their bye week. They largely relied on their defense, which combined for a total of 52 complete tackles and two sacks. Six different receivers reached double digits in yards, and four of them did so with only one reception.
“As a team we played a great game and executed our game plan. A turning point in the game was after Cornell scored and Omar Garcia had a long kickoff return, which gave the team some momentum and led to 16 unanswered points,” Chiarolanzio said.
The Bison return to business on Oct. 21 at Lafayette for a Patriot League contest.