What Princeton Must Do to Defeat Cornell
BY JAY GREENBERG
1) Get Back on the Ground. Well, actually the Tigers never left, as after managing just 24 yards in 16 first half carries against Harvard, Collin Eaddy broke 26 and 47 yarders in the second half, the latter setting up a touchdown. Princeton still scored 30 points despite only a 2.7 net yards per carry average for the game. Clearly, however, the offense – any offense – works best when it is balanced, as it has been for 174 rushing yards per game and 4.3 per carry this season.
2) Win the turnovers battle. With eight interceptions and five fumbles lost, Cornell had not coughed up the ball excessively. But timing is everything in life, including football seasons, and Big Red has hurt itself at critical times to be just 2-4 (1-2 Ivy) to this point. Princeton has 11 interceptions and not lost a fumble. The relish with which the Tigers surround and ring their ball after every turnover is hilarious but also telling. This is an excellent secondary hungry to feast every week.
3) Hold That Line. Harvard has exceptional block teams this year, but bat downs of a field goal, and a PAT last week threatened for a time to be fatal to this 16-game winning streak. Thus, specials, which really have been special this season, got some extra attention this week. Nickolas Null, who beat Tigers with a field goal two seasons ago, is still the guy for Cornell.
4) Keep up the pressure. Three Princeton sacks last week brought the season total to 18 and tackles for a loss are at 52. Cornell has seven receivers with nine catches or more so quarterbacks Richie Kenney and Dez’Mond Brinson move the ball around from behind a line that has protected them well. Another week, another 2-platoon quarterback system, requiring lane discipline and sharp eyes. Good Harvard backs broke some normally sure hands last week and workhorse Harold Coles threatens to break some more.
5) Play next week’s game next week. Since the beginning of this winning streak Tigers have given us no reason to suspect their focus ever has meandered. But you don’t get this far on assumptions either. Cornell was up on Yale and about to score again when disaster truck on a defensive touchdown, and Big Red had two kicks blocked by Harvard –join the club. Beware of a capable Big Red team looking for a big pelt.