Editor’s Note: This story was written by and republished with the permission of the Big Red Sports Network, which provides excellent Cornell sports coverage throughout the year for alumni, parents, students and fans everywhere.
Providence, RI — It was the same old story for the Big Red.
Their offense sputtered once again, and the defense was unable to consistently make plays, as Cornell (0-6, 0-3 Ivy) was routed 42-16 by Brown (3-3, 1-2 Ivy) Saturday afternoon at Brown Stadium in Providence, RI.
The Big Red initially got off to a good start, as freshman quarterback Jake Jatis was able to lead the team to the visitor’s 29-yard line. However, the drive stalled there, as Cornell elected to take a five-yard delay of game penalty and punt from the 34. It didn’t take long for Brown to respond, as starting from inside their 10, they quickly moved down the field, leading to a two-yard touchdown run by Andrew Coke.
Jatis, and later fellow freshmen QB Kyle Gallagher were unable respond, as the only points the Big Red scored during the first half came when Brown QB Marcus Fuller stepped out of the back of the end zone on a passing attempt for a safety. That was set up by a terrific punt that pinned the Bears on their one-yard line from sophomore Chris Fraser, who had another phenomenal game, averaging 42 yards per punt, placing four of them inside the 20.
Despite the blunder, Fuller picked apart Cornell’s defense almost the entire game. The senior QB was 20 of 33 for 306 yards and four TDs, with all four going to different receivers. The Big Red were able to keep Brown scoreless in the first few drives after the first touchdown, but towards the end of the second quarter, the lack of rest the offense was giving the defense caught up with them. Taking advantage of the good field position, Fuller was able to throw two touchdowns in the final 3:38 of the half, the last of which a spectacular catch by a diving Brian Strachan.
Up 21-2 at the half, Brown quickly added more, as it took them only six plays to drive 75 yards on the second half’s opening drive, culminating with a 29-yard touchdown pass to Troy Doles. Fuller finished his day with a fourth touchdown pass early in the fourth quarter to make it 35-2, as Cornell’s defense was unable to create any sort of pass rush, or consistently keep Brown’s receivers in check. They were however able to force a fumble in the Bear’s territory in the third quarter, but the offense quickly turned it over on downs, wasting what was at the time, their best opportunity to score a touchdown.
This was unfortunately yet again a theme for the Cornell offense, as they have yet to find their identity this year. Jatis and Gallagher were ineffective, combining to complete just 5 of 15 passes for an anemic 32 yards. Even though Luke Hagy was able to rush for 63 yards, Brown was able to stack the box the whole game to prevent much production from the run game.
The Big Red however got a boost when Robert Somborn, making his season debut, was put in at QB. The sophomore completed 7 of 14 passes for 118 yards and threw two touchdowns, both to Chris Lenz. Even though he was playing against the second string defense playing soft coverage, Somborn still looked impressive.
After his first touchdown was followed by a 44-yard kickoff return touchdown on a botched Cornell onside kick, he hit a streaking Lenz in stride for a 51-yard touchdown to complete the game’s scoring on a throw that brought Cornell fans memories of watching Jeff Mathews.
But even with his performance, it will take much more offensive production and execution for the Big Red to have a chance to win.
Cornell will continue their search for their first victory next weekend, as they take on the visiting Princeton Tigers (3-3, 2-1 Ivy).