Cornell 20, Army 10
WEST POINT, N.Y. - Army sprint football hosted Cornell on Friday, Oct. 8 for its first home match of the season. Despite dominating the majority of offensive categories, the typically high-scoring Black Knights (2-1, 1-1 CSFL) were held to their lowest point total of the season and lost 20-10 to the Big Red (4-0, 4-0 CSFL).
Army sophomore quarterback Tim Meier threw for 249 yards and a touchdown, while sophomore Marquis Morris rushed for a team-best 37 yards on six attempts.
The Black Knights bested Cornell in first downs (22 to 13), net rushing (72 yards to 55), net passing (271 to 153) and total offense (343 to 208). Unfortunately, Army also had more fumbles (five to none) and passes intercepted (two to none).
What really doomed the Black Knights, however, was the penalty battle. Army had 10 penalties for 84 yards, leading to five Cornell first downs. While the Big Red certainly didn't play flawlessly (six flags for 48 yards), the timing and severity of the Black Knights' mistakes were overwhelming.
Army scored its only points of the first half when sophomore Kevin Scruggs connected on a 41-yard field goal attempt to put the Black Knights up 3-0 just over five minutes into the game. Army's defense came up big the following Cornell possession, forcing the Big Red to go three-and-out. The Black Knights couldn't get anything going the following possession, punting it back to the Big Red.
After holding Cornell to another three-and-out, the Black Knights got called for their first major penalty of the game - roughing the kicker on Cornell's three-yard line, allowing the Big Red to keep the ball. Once again, Army's defense forced a three-and-out and got the ball back for the Black Knight offense.
Meier led Army's drive all the way to Cornell's 24-yard line, but Big Red senior Clayton Hemminger forced the ball out of Meier's hands, causing the first Black Knight fumble of the game. CU senior quarterback Elliot Corey took advantage of the turnover, leading Cornell down the field and capping the drive by a 29-yard touchdown pass to sophomore Spenser Grunenfelder. Up 7-3 shortly into the second quarter, Cornell would not relinquish the lead again.
Meier was picked off the very next Army play, allowing another Cornell drive. Just outside the red zone, Elliot went for a rush and was stopped cold by a hard hit from sophomore Mark Maley, taking the quarterback out of the game until late in the fourth. What could have been disastrous for the Big Red ended up hurting the Black Knights, as senior captain Carlos Cook was called for 10-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty after the hit, giving the Big Red the first down and setting them up for a field goal to push their lead to 10-3.
Army's defense stopped Cornell once again, but sophomore Cody Nyp's fumble on Army's own 35-yard line set Cornell up for an easy scoring opportunity, stretching the lead to 17-3 to end the first half.
Army's first possession of the second half resulted in another fumble by Meier. The Black Knight defense stopped Cornell from marching down the field, but on the punt return Army freshman Tom Jeffers let the ball bounce off his back and was recovered by Cornell at the Black Knight 30-yard line.
Cornell missed the ensuing field goal attempt, keeping Army within two scores. Cornell couldn't put a drivetogether, getting the ball back in the hands of the Black Knights' offense.
Meier looked to junior Ben Johnson, who entered the game leading Army averaging 95 receiving yards per game. Johnson caught a one-yard pass on the Army 41-yard line and fumbled, setting Cornell up for another field goal to finish the third quarter. Johnson made four catches for a total of 32 yards in the game.
The Black Knights would score their lone touchdown of the game on the ensuing possession, as a Cornell personal foul pushed Army up to the Big Red 33-yard line. Meier connected with Cody Nyp five plays later for a 19-yard touchdown pass, moving Army within 10 at 20-10 with 13 minutes remaining.
Army's defense, which played strong all game, forced four-consecutive three-and-outs by Cornell's offense, but the other side of the football for the Black Knights just couldn't make any big plays, capped by an interception thrown by sophomore Javier Sustaita with under a minute to go.
Army's defense boasted six sacks on the night, including 2.5 by senior Toby Acosta. Nyp had a game-high 81 yards and one touchdown off seven receptions.
The Black Knights continue their CSFL homestand on Friday, Oct. 15 when they host Princeton at Shea Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7:00 p.m.