The Cornell Big Red travel to New Haven this week for a 1 PM showdown against the Elis. ESPN+ will be streaming the contest for those not at the Bowl.
Cornell is a much stronger opponent than Holy Cross this season and the Bulldogs will have their work cut out for them to secure a victory. Quarterback Mike Catanese is a dual threat quarterback with serious speed. Catanese scored on a 42 yard dive up the middle last week in the Big Red’s 21-7 victory over Marist. He finished the afternoon with 130 yards passing (75% completion percentage), 79 yards rushing and was only sacked once. Running back Harold Coles torched the Marist defense for 127 yards rushing with a whopping 7.9 yards per carry. Tight end John Fitzgerald is a big target with sticky hands and is a favorite of Catanese especially on play action plays. Receivers Owen Peters and Phazione McClurge will test our revamped secondary. The offensive line played well against Marist, but the improved Bulldog defensive line should matchup well against them. Cornell showed various formations from an empty formation with five wideouts to a full house backfield with three running backs. Outside containment will be critical this week as Cornell loves to attack the edges with jet sweeps and options.
The Cornell defensive line is not the biggest line we will face this season, but they are quick and very active with their hands to disengage from blockers. Defensive lineman Nathaniel Weber was a standout on film showing an effective swim move. The linebacking corps is strong led by Junior Lance Blass. Blass had 8 tackles against Yale last season and was very active against Marist. The secondary is above average and despite not facing a quality opponent in the first week, they did give up long passing plays of 51 yards and 28 yards. Cornell always plays very aggressively against the Bulldogs as they stack the box on running downs and blitz the house on passing plays. The Bulldogs will have to protect Rawlings long enough to exploit the single coverages on our top targets.
Cornell kicker Garrett Patla made all three of his extra point attempts, but missed a 45 yard field goal. Punter Koby Kiefer averaged just 32.2 yards per punt, although he did boom one punt for 55 yards and placed two other punts inside Marist’s twenty yard line.