Cornell Rallies, Kicks Late FG To Claim 29-28 Football Thriller

  • October 29, 2017

Princeton University football vs. Cornell University, Princeton, NJ, October 28, 2017.

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Cornell sophomore Nickolas Null kicked the longest field goal by a Princeton opponent in nearly four years, and he did it at the most opportune time for his Big Red teammates. Null’s 43-yard field goal with 48 seconds remaining gave the Big Red a one-point lead, and Princeton missed a potential game-winning 44-yard kick to end a 29-28 Cornell victory.

Princeton led 28-16 entering the fourth quarter, but the Big Red controlled the ball for nearly 11 minutes and scored on each of its three possessions to move into a three-way tie for first place in the Ivy League with both Columbia and Yale. After Null converted on a 28-yard field goal, Cornell quarterback Jake Jatis scored on an eight-yard run to get the Big Red within two points.

Princeton got one first down on its ensuing drive, but a third-down incompletion forced a punt. Cornell took over on its own 23 and drove 51 yards on 12 plays, a drive that ended with Null’s field goal. Tiger quarterback Chad Kanoff did all he could to get his team in field goal position, including a 24-yard strike to Tiger Bech that got the ball in Cornell territory, but Tavish Rice‘s final kick went left and was no good.

Kanoff finished the day 28 for 41 for 340 yards and a pair of passing touchdowns, and he also scored the first rushing touchdown of his career in the first quarter of the game. Junior Jesper Horsted caught 10 passes for 133 yards, while classmate Steve Carlson caught six passes for 72 yards, including two touchdowns. Bech had one of his most productive games, catching seven passes for 97 yards. Charlie Volker had a team-high 41 rushing yards for Cornell, while Kanoff and Ryan Quigley scored rushing touchdowns.

The defense, which saw two more key linemen suffer injuries during the game, was led by a career effort from junior Tom Johnson, who led all players with 16 tackles, including seven solo stops. Senior Quincy Wolff had nine tackles and an interception, while Ben Ellis added an interception to go along with his seven tackles. Edward Rudinski, who moved into the starting lineup after an injury to Mike Wagner at Brown, had his second straight impressive game with nine stops.

Penalties and special teams hurt the Tigers throughout the game. Princeton, which entered the game ranking among the FCS’ best in penalties and penalty yards, was flagged nine times for 66 yards; in comparison, the Tigers were called for eight penalties total in their first three Ivy League games this season. Besides the winning field goal, Cornell also got big production in the kick return game; the Big Red averaged 35.5 yards per return, while Princeton was forced to settle for touchbacks on each kickoff.

The Tigers will return to action Saturday at 1 pm when they face Penn at Franklin Field in a rematch of the 2016 Ivy League co-champions. Princeton won the last meeting 28-0, though Penn rallied for an overtime victory at Franklin Field two seasons ago. The game will be televised live on NBC Sports Philadelphia, NBC Sports Chicago, and the Ivy League Network.