Columbia rallied from a 13-0 first half deficit, forcing five turnovers and holding off Cornell late for a 34-26 victory on Saturday afternoon at Schoellkopf Field in the season finale for both teams. The Big Red close the 2021 season 2-8 (1-6 Ivy), while the Lions conclude the year 7-3 (4-3 Ivy).
Cornell outgained the Lions 431-257 and held the ball on offense for more than 36 minutes, but turnovers killed off Cornell’s chances of retaining the Empire State Bowl. The Big Red’s three quarterbacks combined for five interceptions, one off a single-game Columbia defensive record. Cornell’s defense was game, allowing just 4.3 yards per play and allowing the visitors a miserable 10-of-24 passing game with one interception of its own, but three of the Lions’ scoring drives covered less than 46 yards.
Jake Stebbins registered a game-high nine tackles to finish the year with 95, while senior captain Lance Blass made five stops, including one for a loss, and intercepted a pass.Isaiah Hogan made six tackles and both Kenan Clarke and Logan Thut had four apiece in their final games in a Cornell uniform. Offensively, Devon Brewer had a career-high 87 rushing yards and a touchdown to lead the Big Red rushing attack, while Alex Kuzy hauled in eight passes for 102 yards. Curtis Raymond III caught a fourth quarter touchdown and Thomas Glover had four catches for 49 yards to close the season with 767 receiving yards. The trio of Richie Kenney, Ben Mays and Jameson Wang completed 26-of-42 passes for 273 yards and aa touchdown from Mays, but also had the five picks.
Senior Scott Lees had a big day on special teams, matching a single-game school record with four field goals, adding a pair of PATs, booting four of his six kickoffs through the end zone (one was an on-sides kick) and averaged 34.3 yards on three punts.
Dante Miller and Gabriel Hollingsworth each had touchdown runs and Joe Green threw for a pair of scores, one to Wills Meyer and another to Bryson Canty. Alex Felkins booted two field goals and both Ryan Rhoden and Scott Valentas had nine tackles apiece. Will Allen had two interceptions for the Lions, while Ben Mathiasmeier, Jordan Colbert and Cameron Brown each recorded one.
Cornell opens the 2022 campaign when it visits VMI on Saturday, Sept. 17 in Lexington, Va.