Anyone that might have been checking the ticker on Saturday and not watching the game against Yale might have been shocked by a halftime score that had Cornell leading 26-13 on the road. Anyone watching the game wasn’t.
This year’s game was nothing like last year’s against Yale when we were outclassed from the opening kickoff. This year, we were able – on the road against a quality opponent – to physically match up with one of the most gifted teams on our schedule. We were able to play the brand of football we envision in the long term, and we were able dominate in stretches. Yale won eight games a season ago for a reason, though – they hung around long enough for their play-makers to do what they do best.
The substantial improvement from last year to this one continues to validate what our student-athletes are already feeling around campus, on the practice field, in the locker room and on game days – that Cornell football is on the rise. It is blatantly obvious to anyone who has watched the first two games this season that we are a different program, and that growth will start to pay dividends. After two seasons of setting expectations, teaching new offensive and defensive schemes and physically challenging our players to their limits, we’re all starting to see it show up on the field. The effort has never been a question, and it never will be. Games like the first two weeks, while disappointing in the final result, have been anything but disappointing as part of the evolution of this program. I said last week and I’ll repeat now that I’m not in the business of moral victories, but I’m in the business of building Cornell football. Brick-by-brick, we’re building. The project might be unfinished, but the landscape is looking better and better all the time.
We’re excited to play the first Friday night game under the lights at Schoellkopf Field this weekend against local rival Colgate. When I approached Raiders’ head coach Dan Hunt last spring about the possibility of playing on a Friday night, he was fully behind it. Any time we can put the spotlight on our program is fantastic, and this is another opportunity for students around campus to experience a big-time college football atmosphere, much like Homecoming was to open the year.
Colgate been a model of consistency for more than two decades and an example of what we eventually want to be. They are again expecting to challenge for the Patriot League title, much like Bucknell is, and they will be a great measuring stick before we play defending conference champ Harvard next weekend. I think both teams will be ready to put on a show, and I expect it to be another in a long line of fantastic games played between these two programs. I hope you can make it out to the game, and if not, follow live on the Ivy League Digital Network.
Thank you for your unwavering support – it means the world to the kids, my staff and myself.
David J. Archer 05′
The Roger J. Weiss ’61
Head Coach of Football