Yale emerged from Saturday’s contest victorious with a hard fought win over Cornell 27-16.
The first drive started off beautifully with the offensive line opening big holes for Dudek and Rawlings slinging the ball to open receivers. The drive stalled inside Cornell’s redzone and instead of taking the three points on fourth down, Cahill gambled with a Dudek run up the middle that was stopped short. As we mentioned last week, Dudek is not a fourth and short runner. Dudek has excellent vision, balance and quickness, but he needs space to operate that simply is not there on fourth and short situations. Given that our power backs Lamar and Alston were out with injuries, we should have tried for a field goal or come up with a short passing play to our plethora of talented wideouts and tight ends. There seems to be a disconnect on the offensive side of the ball as to how to utilize the talent that we have effectively. The offensive line play started off strong, yet deteriorated as the game went on. Rawlings never seemed comfortable in the pocket finishing with 181 yards passing, one touchdown and one interception. Running a slant pattern in the redzone is no longer a safe option at the collegiate or pro level with every safety and corner looking to jump the route. Klubnik, Shohfi, and Tipton each hauled in four passes, while Roman had another strong showing at tight end.
The Bulldog’s defense was a lifesaver in this contest. Burke and Pope were out with injuries and Dean was injured during the contest, so the front seven struggled to contain Cornell’s potent rushing attack. With their backs against the wall, the secondary came up with big play after big play. Rodney Thomas had two interceptions including a “pick six”, while Dathan Hickey also had two interceptions at critical moments. Awodiran had a nice showing as he racked up a total of 10 tackles on the day. Ifesinachukwu added the lone sack for the Elis and continues to get better each week.
The special teams play improved tremendously in just a week. Tuckerman did not miss a kick, while Bosman averaged just shy of 40 yards per punt. Shohfi had the second best highlight of the afternoon (behind Thomas’ interception for a score) taking an onside kick back for a touchdown to destroy any chance of a Cornell comeback. Other Ivy opponents will be thinking twice before attempting an onside kick against us.