Saturday, November 1, 2008

LIVE UPDATES: Football vs. Cornell

UPDATED 3:17 pm

Princeton gets stopped on its drive, and the defense takes the field with about 7 minutes remaining. Time to head to the field, but you can listen to Ed Benkin and Dan Loney on Full recap later on the Princeton athletics web site.

UPDATED 3:10 pm

Cornell opened up the offense, scoring on a 2-play drive. A 43-yard bomb landed perfectly in Bryan Walters' hands as he crossed the goal line. Cornell attempted a 2-point conversion, but good coverage kept Princeton ahead 24-19 with 9:03 remaining.

UPDATED 3:08 pm

Princeton paid off Cart Kelly's interception with a 5-play, 80-yard touchdown scoring drive. A 52-yard option run turned a third and short into a 1st and 10 at the Cornell 20, and on the next play, Anderson threw another missile to Thanheiser, who caught it at the 1 along the left sideline, kept his balance enough to fall into the end zone as opposed to out of bounds.

Culbreath now has 138 yards rushing. The last Ivy League runner to gain more than 100 yards against the Big Red? Jordan Culbreath.

UPDATED 3:04 pm

Cart Kelly recorded the first interception of his career last season against Cornell. He just had the biggest pick of his career a couple minutes ago. Cornell tried another deep fade, but this time Kelly got inside position, went high in the air and took the ball away in the end zone. Still a lot of time left (more than 11 minutes), but the play keeps Princeton up by more than a field goal.

UPDATED 2:54 pm

Big turn of events for Princeton. A 55-yard end-over-end punt by Coyle sends Bryan Walters back to his 19, where he fields the punt and turns around. The first block is behind a Princeton defender, earning a flag. 81 yards later, Walters is celebrating what he believes is the go-ahead touchdown. Instead, Cornell takes over inside its own red zone.

UPDATED 2:44 pm

Princeton leads 17-13 with 7:27 remaining in the third. A 33-yard flea flicker was caught by Will Thanheiser, who went up with a pair of Cornell defenders and stole the ball from both. Thanheiser was rewarded with a seven-yard bullet from Brian Anderson for the touchdown; it might have been Anderson's best pass of the game, as it hit Thanheiser in the back of the end zone at the perfect moment. It's been a remarkable 15 minutes for Princeton, which found its offense midway through the second quarter and now leads midway through the third.

UPDATED 2:08 pm

At halftime, Cornell leads 13-10. Princeton drove to the 2, but a bobbled snap on 3rd and short kept Princeton from trying a surge at the goal line. All things considered, Princeton will feel great trailing only 3 at half.

Cornell will get the ball first to open the second half.

UPDATED 1:55 pm

After being outplayed for the first 22 minutes of the game, Princeton finds itself down six points. Cornell scored on its last drive, although again it had to settle for a field goal. The Tiger offense finally got in gear at that point, moving 60 yards on five plays before Jordan Culbreath scored his seventh touchdown of the season, a 23-yard run that started in the middle of the line and made its way outside. Culbreath, who made two spectacular moves on one play just to avoid a loss, cut away from two would-be tackles on the score, and when he hit the sidelines (around the 15), the score was inevitable.

The Princeton defense dearly needs a stop, and a sack by Matt Koch on third down gets it done. Princeton takes over at its own 45.

UPDATED 1:31 pm

Cornell leads 10-0 after driving 90 yards on 11 plays. Nathan Ford hits a long fade to Nick Zerante on the left side of the end zone for the score. Zerante also made an unbelievable catch during the drive, catching a bullet over his head and barely avoiding a diving Cart Kelly on the play. The Princeton offense looks out of sync so far; on the bright side, teams that score first are 0-6 this season in Tiger games this season.

Even more on the bright side, the Princeton field hockey team leads Cornell 4-0 in the second half. That would clinch at least a share of the Ivy title, Princeton's third in the last two days.

UPDATED 1:13 pm

Cornell leads 3-0 with 9:37 remaining in the first, but you can call it a victory for the Princeton defense. Princeton got the ball first, but Meko McCray stepped out of bounds at the 3, which left the Tigers in awful field position. A sack on third down forced Ryan Coyle to punt from his own end zone, and Cornell took the field inside the Tiger 40.

The Big Red got to the 3, but was stopped on two plays. A false start brought the ball back to the 8, and good Princeton pressure forced Cornell quarterback Nathan Ford to throw one into the 40-second play clock (which stands 10 feet beyond the end zone and 10 feet in the air). Cornell kicked the field goal, and Dan Kopolovich is in to play quarterback on the second drive.

UPDATED 12:40 pm

Welcome to Schoellkopf Field on -- all things considered -- a lovely fall day in Ithaca. I say all things considered because, six years ago, it was frigid before kickoff, snowing by halftime and absolutely treacherous by the end of the game. My spinout on 79 East on the way home can attest to just how lousy the roads were that day.

No such issues today. It's a little chilly, but the clouds are leaving and the sun may break through soon. If it does, it will shine on a new surface; the old astroturf has given way to the FieldTurf that makes up Powers Field at Princeton Stadium. Cornell was the last team to use the astroturf; it changed surfaces in the last offseason. The end zones are bright, BRIGHT red with Cornell in one end zone and Big Red in the other. The big red C still adorns midfield and faces the home sideline at Schoellkopf Field, a historic and charming facility.

This game should be an interesting one, as is the trend in this series. Under head coach Jim Knowles, Cornell has been a much stronger team at home, especially against the run. The Red held Yale to zero rushing yards in their Ivy-opening meeting, a 17-14 win for the Red. On the other hand, Jordan Culbreath leads the Ivy League in rushing and had his way with Cornell (145 yards, two touchdowns) last season.

This blog will be updated throughout the game, and a full recap will be available afterwards on

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