The Cornell football team used a late defensive stop to win a wild 19-15 decision over Lehigh to clinch its first unbeaten non-conference season since 2007 on Saturday afternoon at Schoellkopf Field. The Big Red heads into the final five Ivy contests with a 3-2 mark, while the Mountain Hawks dropped to 1-6 entering the stretch run in Patriot League play.
The Big Red defense held Lehigh out of the end zone on 6-of-7 trips to the red zone and scored on an interception return to overcome two turnovers on offense that led to a pair of Lehigh field goals. Connor Henderson returned a pick 31 yards for the only score in the third quarter and added nine tackles and a pass breakup, while Jake Stebbins notched 10 tackles with 1.5 for a loss, a forced fumble, a pass breakup, and a quarterback hurry in the win. Rasean Thomas also forced a fumble and registered the team’s lone sack, with Brody Kidwell and Paul Lewis IIIeach being credited with two of Cornell’s nine pass breakups.
Offensively, Jameson Wang ran for a touchdown and had 43 yards on the ground, with Robert Tucker III ripping off 54 yards on three carries. Wang was 18-of-30 passing for 202 yards, with Thomas Glover hauling in six passes for 48 yards and Nicholas Laboy grabbing three for 60 more. Jackson Kennedy made a pair of field goals, including a 41-yarder late in the fourth that pushed Cornell to a four-point lead and forced the Mountain Hawks to search for a touchdown on its final possession.
Gaige Garcia had 162 rushing yards and a touchdown on 25 carries to lead the Lehigh offense, with Dylan Van Dusen making three field goals. Defensively, Mike DeNucci had eight tackles with two for a loss and Nate Norris and Donovan Lassiter each recovered a fumble.
Lehigh held a narrow 374-357 lead in total yards, with both squads turning it over twice. The Big Red held twice on fourth down, including to clinch the win in the final 45 seconds on consecutive pass breakups by Brody Kidwell and Anthony Chideme-Alfaro.
Cornell will be back in action next Saturday when they face Brown at Richard Gouse Field. The kickoff is scheduled for 12:30 p.m.