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.

Ithaca, N.Y. — Although Cornell has had a rough start to the season so far — being outscored 122 to 39 in the first four games — its defense is coming off a huge performance in last week’s game against Harvard.

That momentum could help with Saturday’s Homecoming game against Lehigh, in which the Big Red will look for its first victory.

”Our defense held Harvard scoreless for an entire half; the last time that happened was back in 2010, so it was a huge accomplishment,” said Head Coach David Archer.

“…One of the biggest positive things that came out of our defensive play during the Harvard game was our ability to take the football away.”

One strong point of the Big Red offensive unit has been the consistency of its backup and now starting quarterback Jake Jatis, who in last week’s 24-7 loss against Harvard went 14-22 for 140 yards and a touchdown.

“He continues to develop game by game and is learning on the go,” Coach Archer said about Jatis.

The Big Red has also been able to rely heavily on punter Chris Fraser, who so far this season is averaging over 40 yards a punt.

Lucas Shapiro and Collin Shaw have helped keep the Big Red in games as they are both averaging 30 or more receiving yards a game and both have scored a touchdown. Last week against Harvard, Shaw scored the only Cornell touchdown of the game when he caught a 26-yard pass from Jatis with 3:05 left to go in the game.

Some key players who stepped up and made some big plays on the defensive side of the ball are Rush Imhotep (Brooklyn, NY), Justin Harris (Dacula, GA), J.J Fives (Scott Township, PA), and Miles Norris (Baltimore, MD).

Imhotep had an interception and tackle for a loss of seven yards. Harris had an interception and 5 total tackles; Fives had seven total tackles, two for a loss of eight yards and a sack for a loss of five yards; and Norris recorded 15 total tackles two for a loss of eight yards, and a sack for a loss of seven.

“We need to have players such as Imhotep, Harris, Fives, and Norris continue to make plays and take the ball away if we want to have a chance to beat Lehigh,” Archer said.

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Jeff Stein

Jeff Stein is the founder and former editor of the Ithaca Voice.